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Climbing out of the Bunker

“Education reporters throughout the nation tell me that openness in school districts is rare and subject to constant negotiation,” writes Richard Lee Colvin, head of The Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College.

"Education reporters throughout the nation tell me that openness in school districts is rare and subject to constant negotiation," writes Richard Lee Colvin, head of The Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College. Colvin is referring to a recent trend in education that has many school districts retreating from the media, being less open and relying on the data that they must provide on class size, salaries, textbooks, teacher qualifications, test scores and so on to represent themselves to the media.

 

Colvin notes that this trend is also visible with the national government, but feels that schools would want to stand apart from this trend to help its communities to be better informed. Data, he writes, is just numbers, it would take the district opening its doors and honestly explaining the challenges they face and efforts that they make.

 

This trend may be coming from pressures on schools that never existed before, "public schools are losing educational as well as political dominance. In New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, mayors or state governments have gained control over the schools. Charters schools pose a challenge. The performance demands of the federal No Child Left Behind Act have created defensiveness among some educators," writes Colvin.

 

However, this reticence to talk is not in the best interest of schools. Colvin writes that "Leaders who refuse to tell the stories of teachers and principals miss an opportunity to connect with the public. "

 

 

Education Week

Published:

http://www.edweek.org

 

Published Friday, Nov. 12, 2004

Climbing out of the Bunker

"Education reporters throughout the nation tell me that openness in school districts is rare and subject to constant negotiation," writes Richard Lee Colvin, head of The Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College. Colvin is referring to a recent trend in education that has many school districts retreating from the media, being less open and relying on the data that they must provide on class size, salaries, textbooks, teacher qualifications, test scores and so on to represent themselves to the media.

 

Colvin notes that this trend is also visible with the national government, but feels that schools would want to stand apart from this trend to help its communities to be better informed. Data, he writes, is just numbers, it would take the district opening its doors and honestly explaining the challenges they face and efforts that they make.

 

This trend may be coming from pressures on schools that never existed before, "public schools are losing educational as well as political dominance. In New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, mayors or state governments have gained control over the schools. Charters schools pose a challenge. The performance demands of the federal No Child Left Behind Act have created defensiveness among some educators," writes Colvin.

 

However, this reticence to talk is not in the best interest of schools. Colvin writes that "Leaders who refuse to tell the stories of teachers and principals miss an opportunity to connect with the public. "

 

 

Education Week

Published:

http://www.edweek.org

 

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