Prove Progress Since a Nation at Risk or Start Ducking Now

The 30th anniversary of the landmark report, A Nation at Risk, occurs this month. We can bet that national and perhaps even local media will use this event to ask, “What has changed?”

And then they will ask the natural follow-up question, “Are our nation’s school still at risk?”

We must be proactive and anticipate how these questions will play out for your local communities. If we do not take the lead on this one, the education-bashing machine will again turn our schools, staff, and leadership into punching bags.
As NSPRA colleague Larry Ascough noted in his Texas daily newsletter:

Anyone who has set foot in a school of late already knows that education today is not anything like it was 30 years ago. It’s improved, and it continues to get better. Teachers and kids are doing things no one could even imagine in 1983. But there are a lot of folks who don’t know it. Wise leaders will anticipate and be proactive in letting their constituents know about their education progress, how much schools have improved their strengths and plans for the future.

Begin today to compile your system’s story and messages about your improvement and make sure your entire staff understands just how you have improved since 1983. Your staff should be willing to talk with pride about their progress as well. Give them insights (or talking points) for discussing how far your district has progressed since the early eighties.

Outstanding gains have been made at a time when we are:

  • reaching more diverse audiences,
  • serving more exceptional children,
  •  increasing technology to boost instruction, and
  • delivering more positive results in a climate of diminished resources.

Use the spotlight to talk about future initiatives and the support your schools and staff need to continue to deliver results that we can all be proud of.
Be proactive now to tell your district’s story or be prepared to duck when the media comes calling.

Rich Bagin, APR
NSPRA Executive Director

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