Medium 9781475824162

Jspr Vol 32-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 KOWALSKI

As the author of a widely used text on school public relations (PR) and the editor of this journal, I am often asked, why do public schools need to engage in PR? The query stems from a narrow and incorrect conceptualization—one that views PR as simple persuasion, press agentry, or even propaganda.

For more than five decades now, scholars have emphasized that PR is really about relationships. In the business world, these associations are external and internal. External relationships involve associations between company employees and customers; internal relationships involve associations between and among company employees. Applying to PR to colleges and schools therefore entails relationships between educators and other stakeholders and relationships between and among educators working in the same institution. Although persuasion is an acceptable PR objective, if done ethically, it is certainly not the sole purpose. Thus, this journal is dedicated to publishing research and best practices that affect internal and external relationships in education institutions. Its primary foci remain general public relations, school and community relationships, human resources management, communication, community education, and conflict management–resolution.

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Neighborhoods and Schools: Using Charter School Policy to Foster District Change

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ANN ALLEN

ABSTRACT : This article presents the case of community leaders who used the charter school policy as a way to effect district change for the benefit of a neighborhood in need. The case represents the potential of charter school policy to reshape the political and institutional arrangements of urban school districts, and it reengages the idea of what makes effective school-based management (SBM). The case also illustrates the necessary duality of voice and exit as a means of improving public services. Finally, the research indicates that what is necessary for such change goes well beyond the classroom doors.

T he charter school movement aimed to develop a new education market that would provide choice and competition. Charter school policy promised to be more than a market mechanism; it was a chance to create innovation that would diffuse across charter and district schools, helping to meet the needs of students who have traditionally been underserved. Much of what we have seen, read, and studied over the last 15 years focuses on the competitive aspects of charter schools, the creation of a new market of public education, and the sustainability of that new market (Buckley & Schneider, 2007; Hubbard & Kulkarni, 2009). Less work has focused on how charter school policy might foster the diffusion of innovations to public school districts.

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Dissatisfaction Theory in the 21st Century

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LOUISE ADLER

ABSTRACT : This case study uses two theoretical lenses to analyze political events in a Southern California school district: dissatisfaction theory and groupthink. The case study technique of pattern matching was used to frame the analysis (Yin, 2009). Data for 1992–2008 was gathered from interviews, the Orange County Registrar of Voters, newspapers, webpages, grand jury testimony, and other documents. Dissatisfaction theory was evident in the retirement of a controversial superintendent and the turnover of incumbent board seats. The outsiders successfully employed both political and web-based networks to take control of the district.

I n 2004, four incumbent board members returned to the Capistrano Unified School Board without having to stand for election, because no one filed to run against them. Within a year, however, community dissatisfaction was so strong that it led to a political upheaval, a so-called perfect storm according to multiple community leaders. In 2006, a coalition of three new board members was elected, who subsequently initiated a successful recall (2008) of two other long-serving incumbent board members. The district has had six superintendents and interim superintendents between 2006 and 2009.

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Redefining Tradition in Education: Invoking an Ethic of Community

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LISA BASS

We have the chance to reimagine our schools as places where communities come together.

—Steny Hoyer

ABSTRACT : In this article I discuss the demographic shifts that have occurred in the United States, which have disrupted the traditional school environment. I contend that the changes have been so drastic that students who were once called traditional are now seldom seen in the school environment; whereas students once viewed nontraditional are becoming the norm. The implication is that school reform efforts should reflect the new traditional students seen in schools. The community school model is suggested as a comprehensive school reform measure. I conclude by discussing the importance of having school leaders who are equipped to lead community schools if they are to be effective at increasing student achievement.

Tradition is a universal concept that spans all cultures and exists within most contexts. Tradition refers to practices that are regularly done or are accepted as being common and preferred (Inglehart & Baker, 2000; Merriamwebster, 2010). Practices that qualify as being traditional are usually those that have been observed over a period of time. Although no two cultures share all traditions in common, every culture has traditions that are highly referenced and held in great esteem. For this reason, traditional practices are sacred and believed to be right without question. Tradition is the comfort zone.

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