Medium 9781475823783

Jspr Vol 25-N3

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The Journal of School Public Relations is a quarterly publication providing research, analysis, case studies and descriptions of best practices in six critical areas of school administration: public relations, school and community relations, community education, communication, conflict management/resolution, and human resources management. Practitioners, policymakers, consultants and professors rely on the Journal for cutting-edge ideas and current knowledge. Articles are a blend of research and practice addressing contemporary issues ranging from passing bond referenda to building support for school programs to integrating modern information.

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Notes From the Editor

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THEODORE J. KOWALSKI

Community education is a topic that captured my attention in the late 1970s. While serving as a superintendent I became active in the National Community Education Association (NCEA) and served as president of the Indiana Community Education Association. With Dr. John Fallon, then president of NCEA and now a university president in New York, I coauthored the Phi Delta Kappa Fastback on community education in 1986. My dedication to this concept is nested in its philosophical roots. Based on the tenets of open systems theory, community education identifies public schools as the hub of community life, views education as a lifelong process, and promotes democratic participation in school governance.

This issue contains four articles and a book review relating to the issue’s theme, connecting community education to school and community relations. Written by prominent figures in the community education movement, they address the potential and positive effects of community education’s processes and programs. This issue contains a fifth and unique article that examines how education is portrayed in editorial cartoons.

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Introduction to Theme Issue: Building Positive School Community Relations Through Community Education

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LARRY E. DECKER

VIRGINIA A. DECKER

ABSTRACT: One of the goals of school public relations is to have the general public understand that everyone in the community benefits when schools are able to carry out their mission of academic success for all children. As guest editors, it is our contention that positive community relations can be built through community education. In this issue, we have brought together articles that illustrate the value of community education to school public relations and how its implementation strategies can be used to involve people—individually and in agencies, businesses, and organizations—in partnerships with schools; to create and sustain programs designed to help meet the diverse needs of a community, to employ the varied tools of public relations to reach out to all parts of the community, and to engage in the politics that are needed to achieve educational objectives.

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The Impact of Community Education on School Community Relations

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CHARLES F. PORTER

ABSTRACT: The task of achieving and maintaining good school community relations has never been easy, but new challenges bring with them a new urgency. Now, more than ever before, it is imperative for school districts to recognize and embrace community education. The community education philosophy strives to be all-inclusive. In a broad sense, it enables the community to strengthen the schools, and the schools to strengthen the community. When implemented to its fullest potential, it involves schools, parents, students, community members, and the neighboring organizations in the effective education of youth and their families. At its core, it supports school improvement, increases public involvement in and support of educational efforts, and strengthens families and communities. This article examines the benefits of integrating community education into district-level community relations through its six various components of programs and process.

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Linking the Goal of School Community Relations to the Community Education Process

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IRENE T. PETRISKY

STEPHEN L. STARK

ABSTRACT: Education in the 21st century must respond to the needs of an increasingly diverse school community and all of its stakeholders. Changes in both the United States and the broader global society call for updated knowledge and new skills. The primary goal of school community relations is to create an understanding among everyone in a community regarding the benefits of education and the gains inherent to a society that supports education for all. Using the precepts and strategies of the community education process can ensure the success of a school community relations initiative.

Between the years 2000 and 2020, the number of minority children under 17 years old is expected to increase at a faster rate than that of white children. Education must also respond to the need for updated knowledge and new skills to function in a global society. As Bagin and Gallagher (2001) point out, the school has an important responsibility to provide parents and taxpayers with complete and accurate information regarding its needs, activities, and the development of educational policies and programs that represent popular interests and desires.

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Connecting Schools and Community Through Service Learning

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H. LARRY WINECOFF

KATHY GIBSON CARTER

ABSTRACT: Schools are facing major problems today that are only marginally addressed by most reform initiatives or by standards-based federal and state legislation. New and different strategies are required if schools are to adequately serve their students and communities. This article demonstrates that service-learning is one dynamic way to promote school success because it increases family and community involvement in education, develops adult mentors, makes the curriculum relevant, reduces student feelings of alienation and isolation, and builds an ethic of service.

Schools, teachers, and school administrators are faced with a growing multitude of problems, which range from intense pressure to meet academic standards to disarming students in hallways and classrooms; from students who show little or no respect for teacher authority to parents who fail to demonstrate civil behavior. In addition, schools across the country face the issue of a rapidly changing student population where the traditional white, middle-class student is increasingly in the minority, being replaced by students who come from poor families (23% of all children), at-risk families (estimated to be as high as 45%), or families who speak English as a second or third language (over 12% and rising) (Decker, Gregg, & Decker, 1996, pp. 12–15).

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Visions of Education: How Education Is Constructed in Editorial Cartoons

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DICK M. CARPENTER II

ABSTRACT: At the center of the social construction and interpretation of education sits the fourth estate. Through ideological media “voices,” in part, education’s meaning and the social reality in which schools reside are constructed for and with the community. This study looks at one vehicle of popular and influential communication overlooked by educational researchers: editorial cartoons. The cartoon’s influential qualities grow out of its ability to define complex issues through graspable, portable realities. The study used a sample of 153 editorial cartoons spanning 13 years to define the most pressing educational issues during the given time period and the rhetorical visions of education perpetuated through the artists’ constructs. As the study revealed, readers see a decidedly negative vision of education through editorial cartoons. In the social construction and interpretation of and debate over education’s purpose and future, such a vision holds significant implications for educators and public relations professionals.

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