Monday, May 19, 2008

No real "education" stories coming out of schools

The real problem with this community is as clear as the front page of the Herald - or every page inside. If you visit and try to find any meaningful story about educators, education or the plight of students in our community, you find absolutely nothing. Visiting the quick links on their web page doesn't yield much either. The only "newsworthy" stories appear to be related to sports. I pay property tax to support education, not prepare Johnny for the minor leagues or Susie for the WNBA.

If I were a superintendent in Snohomish County, I would seek to change such irrelevant and inadequate coverage.

Some months ago, Nick Brossoit mentioned that he would never advertise the success of the Edmonds School District in and effort to increase enrollment at the expense of a neighboring school district. Why not advertise success so that our community might have a clue as to what the District does to our children every day? And by "advertise" I mean have someone not on the District's payroll write something meaningful.

Everyone in administration knows that 70% of this community doesn't have children in district schools. When there is a public relations problem, a mailer goes out to parents so they can circle the wagons. The last mailer was totally reactionary (and intentionally misleading) and cost more than $6,500 to promulgate. What about the rest of us? I pay my fair share of property tax and yet only receive a quarterly newsletter - which, quite frankly, is far too often. I don't need the District's propaganda machine weaving drivel into something that looks like news. I want something spontaneous, not some old swill cooked up in the District lab for the general population.

Where are the stories of student success? Where are the stories of personal struggle and the fight to overcome adversity? Where are the stories about a diverse workforce and efforts to strengthen community cohesion?

The knee-jerk response from the District would likely involve pointing to a number of unsophisticated publications and websites. But no doubt they are targeted at a defined audience - Parents. The time has come to broaden your definition of an audience and pretend like there is some degree of community accountability - not just parental accountability (if there is such a thing).

3 comments: said...

Okay, there is an interesting story today, but normally there isn't much more than sporting events.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, agreed, agreed! I've often thought the HeraldNet's coverage should be labeled "sports" rather than "schools" in their community section. There is so much more going on with our students than the latest track meet scores. I would love to see more substantive stories, and more transparency with the district overall.

With the levy coming up, I surely would be interested in ANY news from our schools that doesn't involve sports or how much we need the levy to pass.

That quarterly newsletter looks very nice, but is very expensive, and is largely just "sounds-good" blurbs from each school. Anyone can come up with a short paragraph sound bite that sounds great, but I'd love to get info on what's really going on in our schools.

More community connection would lead to more community support.

Anonymous said...

The story on student personal stories? Yes, good article. A theatre group that we were involved with toured a play about bullying to several schools in Edmonds SD in the mid- to late-90's. Excellent response from students and principals. Ironic that we should be bullied out of the district 10 years later.

We went to the Enterprise/Herald with our story. They were not interested. It's too easy to publish the District line. Or perhaps they were afraid to investigate for fear of retaliation :-)