September Advocacy Tip: Communicate Effectively with Parents

advocacy_chalkboardOne of the best ways you can build support for your local schools is by making sure you are communicating effectively with your community and especially with your parents.

The just-released 48th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Schools affirms that the grades people give to their local public schools affect how they view public schools overall.

Importantly, it also finds that parents who give “A” and “B” grades to their local schools report that the schools communicate more effectively with them, give them frequent opportunities to visit and offer input, and are interested in what they have to say.

Poll respondents emphasized the need for good communication between school boards, administration and staff and the community; however, many said their school districts and school staff were not doing good job with it. A particular cause for concern is that just 47 percent of parents said their local school does a good job of providing opportunities for their input and four in 10 parents wanted more opportunities to “visit and see what’s going on.”

The good news is that two thirds of public school parents give their child’s school an “A” (26 percent) or “B” (41 percent) grade–significantly better than the grades Americans as a whole assign to their local public schools (only 44 percent of all Americans give their local school and “A” or a “B”) or public schools nationally. The less good news is that one third of parents surveyed gave their child’s school a lower grade, including “C” (23 percent, “D” (5 percent) and “F” (5 percent). Clearly, there is work to be done.

Building support for public education is an important part of being a school leader, and it begins right in your community.