Your Name Prof’s Name Date Critique # Norton, M. S. (2008). School public relations: Personnel roles and responsibilities. Journal of School Public Relations, 29(3), 345-359. Public relations are obviously a primary concern for any school district for a wide variety of reasons…
Every teacher or educator knows that they cannot teach children without parental or external involvement, that learning cannot just be done in the classroom if a child is to succeed, but also at home and everywhere else in life. Public relations thus actually have a discernible impact on the quality of education that pupils receive, and is not only about the school district’s perceptions but also the actual education it is able to provide. In a recent article in the Journal of School Public Relations, MS Norton argues that, while it is the district’s responsibility to set the overall tenor and goals of public relations, and strategies to carry them out, it is the responsibility of every person employed by the district, including academic and support staff, to participate in public relations, and that decisions made by low level staff can sometimes have the greatest impact. The revelations of this article are not exactly world shattering: any educator will know that they play a significant part in how a school is perceived. They have a great deal of contact with parents, and for parents who do not read things like school news letters or web updates, they may be the main public relations face for a school or even a district to some of their constituents. One of the corollaries of this fact, however, is that teachers and other low level employees of a district need to be included in discussions about public relations, their impact and how to deliver them. While teachers may be the face of the district to many people, surprisingly few have actually analyzed their role as part of the district’s public relations strategy (Norton 2008, pg. 349). This means that some of the most powerful influences of how the public might view a school district are usually not acting in line, or necessarily even with knowledge of, the overall public relations strategy of a school district. This demonstrates the needs for greater training of teachers and other people that have contact with the public. They need to be encouraged to act critically and with full knowledge of the overall public relations strategy in a school district. Furthermore, personnel decisions must be made with public relations in mind – teachers that are talented at bridging the gap between the schools and the public, getting parents involved, and acting in accordance with the district’s overall public relations strategy are much more valuable than those who cannot or do not accomplish those things. Hiring these teachers should be a priority (obviously without ever sacrificing educational quality) and whenever possible these teachers should be rewarded monetarily or with recognition of their services, to encourage others to follow suit and develop similar skills. While overall this article is well composed, though out, and defends its points, it does have some problems. One of these issues is the fact that, while it consistently argues that every level of personnel must be responsible for public relations in a district, it gives concrete examples of how this could be enacted in very few examples. Some cases, such as teachers and principles are obvious – others, such as support staff, are less so. Thus it may have been better to narrow the scope to personnel where this thinking is more directly applicable, or else broaden the article to include a better analysis of more particular cases. Furthermore, this article does not delve ...
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