Public Engagement in School Reform

Posted by on May 19, 2006

[posted from Public Education Network newsblast]


While parents, educators, employers and the public may agree that education reform is important, research shows that different groups see things through very different lenses and often operate on surprisingly different wavelengths. And a lack of communication in a community can be serious enough to stall or derail progress. In this article in “The School Administrator,” Jean Johnson and Will Freidman discuss the increasing importance of public engagement in school reform. For example, they note: (1) Parents may not be ready for change; (2) Communication within schools and districts may be more wish than reality; and (3) Districts and communities may not agree about where to put their money and what to do first. The authors then outline an approach of authentic public engagement that can succeed in getting differing groups talking to each other and on the same page. Also featured in this article is an interview with Nebraska State Commissioner of Education Doug Christensen, who has successfully
employed Public Agenda’s engagement strategies state-wide.

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