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The Ed. Dept.'s PR Efforts

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Since President Bush took office in 2001, the U.S. Department of Education has taken aggressive and sometimes creative steps to promote its agenda, including its support for school choice options and the No Child Left Behind Act. Some of these promotional efforts, such as the payments through a public relations firm to the commentator Armstrong Williams, have caused controversy and led to investigations by federal officials. But the department's public relations efforts have taken a number of other routes as well, including outside contracts for print advertisements, radio spots, and Web sites.

How effective have the Education Department's efforts to promote its agenda been? Are they in keeping with the agency's role? How best can the public learn about the No Child Left Behind Act and other federal education priorities?


6 Comments

Would it be great if local school districts had the budget, that the federal government has, to hire outside firms to promote their views to the general public? Most districts are struggling to get enough money to keep enough staff on board to run the basic curriculum that is required by law. The federal government talks a good talk, but has yet to back up the talk with the money and support for the mandates that are breaking the budgets of the school districts.

Federal agencies except for those conducting intelligence or security related work have been required to formally acknowledge and clearly note in publications and related public notices the agency, program and even grant number funding the project. Some agencies even stipulate that their unit's logo be visibly displayed on any published literature including flyers, advertisement and related publications. Do these guidelines not apply to PR grants?

I think all the states should just give up now. Close down the schools and let the federal government show us how to do it! Any states up for the offer? I wonder what they will do with the special ed. kids?
I see nothing wrong with schools of choice, IF the parents want to provide the transportation. It is breaking our county.

I believe that when the federal government needs to hire consultants to promote their policies that it is called propaganda. Allowing families to send their children to schools that are higher performing in more affluent communities further segregates minority and poor children from the priviledged.

Have Bush & his appointees done an effective job in promoting his agenda? It depends on who you think the audience is. Have they been effective convincing educators to get on board...no. Have they been effective in convincing the average voter that testing and accountability are good...yes.
No matter where they work, people are going to try to keep their job and please their boss, even if its at the Department of Ed. The measures they've taken are completely out of the Department's scope, but that's politics.
Educators need to continue to bring thier message to the public to underline the problems with the legislation, but in a simple way that people can understand. The obstacles inherent to testing are nuanced and difficult for individuals outside of the profession to grasp. They do, however, understand when the federal government is bossing them around or when the states are going to go broke. Make it simple and they will come.

I spent the last two weeks in my 2nd grade classroom giving the state required diagnostic tests which were developed to meet NCLB. It took 4.5 hours each day for 2 weeks! That is completely unrealistic for many adults let alone 7 and 8 year olds. Does the general public realize what the government is putting our children through? I think that is why they need to hire consultants pull the wool over voters eyes with fancy words. Children are getting left behind and giving up on learning because they are so frustrated with all this testing.

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