Saturday, October 1, 2011

Other school districts cutting back on costly PR

On a "Start a new post" South Hills Stan wrote:

South Hills Stan has left a new comment on your post "On the September "Start a new post" SolutionsRUs w...":

Did anyone see this editorial in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Friday, September 30, 2011:

"A silver lining in the belt-tightening forced upon public schools by budget realities is reduction or elimination of public relations specialists, whose self-serving spinning of districts' images is an obscene use of taxpayer dollars.

School districts -- and boroughs and townships, for that matter -- are government entities, accountable to those whose tax dollars fund them. Their results -- and their officials -- should speak for themselves. Yet they pay in-house spinmeisters and gatekeepers to filter the truth and insulate them from the public.

Let's call it what it is -- government propaganda. You're paying to be spun.

In fact, the more that local-level officials rely on such "flacks," the more reason the public has to suspect that those officials have something to hide.

That holds true regardless of what a particular school district, borough or township pays a particular PR person -- though the higher the salary, the greater the misuse of taxpayer money is. Every dollar that a school district or municipality spends on PR, after all, is a dollar not spent on the core functions it exists to perform.

Especially at the local level where school districts and municipalities operate, the fewer layers of bureaucracy -- and obfuscators of fact -- there are between the public and public servants, the better.

Read more: Government spinning ... With your money - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review"


Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Roosevelt but in the case of PPS I do think there has to be some money spent on PR. The media relishes painting a bleak picture of city schools as a haven for nothing but violence and drugs. SOME money has to be put into play to combat this. Perhaps Roosevelt went too far, but I don't agree that all PR money spent in this effort is in vain.

Anonymous said...

I remember groups of parents telling him this when he got here 5 years ago -- please, get the word out about the strong programs that you do have.

Unfortunately, most of those have been gutted, changed, moved, or retain the same name but use the new curriculum, etc.

So, at the same time the spin machine was gearing up, the things to cheer about were being wound down.

Now, my general feeling is one of horror when I see a positive piece. It usually means just the opposite of what it says, it means that some other good program has bitten the dust or been gutted.

Anonymous said...

Spotlighting our great kids is super-- but,
1) changing letterhead to Pittsburgh _____ was stupid;
2)false propaganda like how "wonderful" the programs are- like all the PR as to how much the STAFF wants RISE ?!?!
3) expensive high gloss advertising pd for sent to STAFF not public by joint union/board crew--really wasteful--I didnt meet anyone that was impressed and didnt complain about that
4) various content-management companies doing website wotk putting layers between teachers, kids and parents-- and making sure every school was "ALIKE" dooming us to NOT showcase accomplishments of various schools- yes the goal was to be like MacDonald's- and yes, it does come off as bad and cheap- but check the numbers
South Hills Stan is right-- other districts have weekly newsletters- one part info/ one part showcasing student accomplishments, websites that show good things--
look around Pittsburgh Taxpayer- you are being ripped off.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of websites...each school has one, but check thoroughly and you might find they are not maintained. Sure, the good news gets there but even staff directories are not up-to-date. You need people to keep things current. Who in a building has the time?

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of websites...each school has one, but check thoroughly and you might find they are not maintained. Sure, the good news gets there but even staff directories are not up-to-date. You need people to keep things current. Who in a building has the time?"

They gutted the IT department and hired an inept CIO. Information is the enemy.

Anonymous said...

Langley Football Coach attacked by a Langly player, then jumped by several other players after loss to Perry Friday night. The game was attended by Dr Lane & her husband. This was not reported by the media. This happens WPIAL

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have video posted on youtube?

Anonymous said...

I was unable to post the list of Web/techincal errors on PPS site due to volume.

That should speak volumes.

Old Timer said...

I always have to hand it to the Roosevelt Regime and its remnants for following Corporate Leadership Model 101 in "leading" PPS.
Certainly, everything that we have seen--from the incredible amount of administrative hires, to the additional hiring of consultants and research groups, to the destruction of labor unions and the us versus them approach to management in its dealings with teaching staff, to public relations--all was predictable and all fits the mold.
PR--whether providing sanitized, nice stories to the media or by controlling what actually gets to them--is a huge part of the corporate structure.
PPS completely mesmerized the PG and local electronic media over the past six years to the point that no questions are even asked anymore. Everything PPS does just deserves the proverbial smiley face.
It would appear that only The Trib dares to look beyond the press releases these days (and I can't believe I am saying that).

The PFT has learned from this model, to be sure.Propaganda comes to teachers in various forms: mailings, posters around school, it's all there, and it's all ridiculous baloney.

It's amazing to me that the PFT sounds exactly like PPS these days. They've signed off on RISE. They actually believe that somehow, all of this tyranny and mutation we see at local schools is empowering teachers. They've squelched the voice of the average teacher. When 2 of the 4 candidates who won full time positions were set to move out of the schools to the PFT building, they invoked caveats that precluded that move. Those teachers--who represented a mandate from the rank and file--have been continually muted.

Doesn't this sound something like our school board?

This coming spring, teachers will vote in the PFT elections. As many here know, Mark Sammartino is gathering momentum as a voice of change.

Predictably, the PFT is seeking ways to undermine him. They are writing bylaws that would forbid him from meeting with teachers after school hours. Let me write that again...AFTER school hours.

The point is, we are dealing with dirty, deceitful people within PPS and PFT. Reprehensible, grotesque methodologies and ideologies are glossed over by news releases, mailings and proclamations about "PSSA gains", "Pathway to the Promise" and "Empowering Teachers."

I am near retirement and could say nothing but please know that whether you are a parent, taxpayer or teacher...IT IS ALL A LIE. A complete and utter sham.
The facade the general public is treated to just can't cover the stench of corruption.

And no one questions.

Anonymous said...

Gee, beat up the coach cause the team loses-- sounds alot like-- booing teachers cause the scores are down-- is this the culture WE are creating-- cant blame the parents this time -- this is OUR school climate-- I'm just sayin'

Anonymous said...

I'm just sayin',

I hope that you are not blaming teachers for the "blame everyone else for my failures" climate!? It was administration, not the teachers, that asked the students to 'boo' the teachers who 'failed them.' Administration and Union Leadership have created this negative, blame everyone else climate. Now, the anger is escalating to violence. Shame on Lane for allowing this to happen. I hope that she takes steps to truly discipline the players involved in the act of beating up the coach. If not, we need to demand that she step down!!!

We need leadership that teaches those who fail to look inward and reflect upon their behavior and actions to make changes to succeed. The administration, board, and students need to be RISEN. LOL!

Anonymous said...

The players are off the team and suspended. They should be expelled for this type of behavior, I hope that coach files charges.

This incident should have it own post, this happened

Old Timer said...

Expelled? You mean transferred to another PPS school, right. You'd have to kill someone to be expelled and even then, it's not a sure thing.
PPS would rather bow down to buffoons than risk a lawsuit and, heaven forbid, bad PR.
I'm sure that the PPS PR office was doing its best to keep the lid on this all weekend.
That's no problem with the PG...just call and tell then that the athletes were just playing around and still on the 'pathway to the promise."

Old Timer said...

I'm actually very glad to learn it never happened. Restores my faith in kids, if this is true.