Positive PR for Education
Over the last several years it seems as though every media headline that is education related is negative. There is rarely a mention of the gains in student achievement that we’ve made or the innovative strides schools are taking to help all students to achieve. The impact of the negative messaging is taking a toll- not only on our reputation but also on morale and our ability to attract quality people to the field of education.
Because this is a concern to all of the education associations in Michigan, several weeks ago at the Annual Education Alliance of Michigan meeting in Traverse City, we met with researchers from Harrison Group, a strategic research firm, who has worked with Dr. Barbara Markel and Dr. William Schmidt from MSU for several years to brainstorm a plan to counteract the negative messages about education in our State.
RECOMMENDED PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND CALL TO ACTION:
The Harrison Group is currently working with the Office of K-12 Outreach at Michigan State University to build a comprehensive, congruent communication plan targeted to Michigan’s students and parents. The goal of this campaign will be to build enthusiasm for the current change efforts in Michigan in order to better ensure that students come to the classroom motivated to learn and parents support their children’s learning by being energized by the changes, rather than resistant to or skeptical of the changes.
In order to do this effectively, the teams at Harrison Group and the Office of K-12 Outreach at MSU are committed to anchoring the ideas for this communication plan (the execution of which will be funded by private monies) in primary research among all who have a stake in improving outcomes for Michigan’s children. This includes teachers, school administrators, parents, and student’s themselves.
This is where we ask for your help. We encourage you to be on the lookout for an INVITATION VIA YOUR SCHOOL EMAIL EARLY NEXT WEEK (the week of September 17th) to take a survey that will allow you to express:
- Your views on the macro and micro issues that impact student success
- Your views on what it takes to motivate students to learn
- How well you think parents and students understand the changes that are happening in Michigan schools
- The challenges you and your school face as you begin to carry out program mandates including Common Core implementation issues and ESEA Waiver requirements
- The degree to which you need specific supports and resources and how well your needs are being met
The email subject line will reference "Share Your Thoughts on Michigan’s Schools." The Harrison Group is obtaining email addresses from a third party vendor so no one at the district or state level will know who is invited to participate. In fact, all survey responses will be kept completely anonymous. No attempt will be made to link responses to individual educators.
We know this is an exceedingly busy time of year for you, but this effort can only be successful if the educators who are invited to participate in the survey do actually participate.
Also starting next week, parents and students will be asked to participate in complementary surveys to reveal their point of view. Combined, this information will be used for three main purposes:
- To inform the communications plan and have that plan be driven by the needs of students, as expressed in their own voice
- To provide feedback on ways Michigan’s School Improvement Tools can continue to be sharpened, and
- To share with all parties the commonalities and dissimilarities across stakeholder groups.
We hope you will make every effort to participate in this research. If you have questions about the research or the overall project, feel free to email Kristen Harmeling, at Harrison Group: email@example.com.