For the most part, the media has been complicit in this PR effort.
Tragically, in more than a year of energetic campaigning by School Board member Airick L. West and Superintendent John Covington, preliminary test scores reveal little effect in local classrooms.
Like it or not, it takes more than great PR to turn around a School District that has been in decline for more than a generation.
And I sense that West & Co. have never really understood the nature of the media that will tolerate PR stories as long as something noteworthy, interesting and negative is soon on the way. Like so many reformers, West seems to expect only upbeat tales of his good work without reveling in the nasty rivalries that make media stories interesting. Maybe that says something really inspiring about him but good feelings don’t make ratings.
To wit, it only took a day for all of the so-called “progress” in the KCMSD to fall apart. A single complaint from the mother of a disabled son who couldn’t make it to class depicts the KCMSD back at square one. Meanwhile, the KCMSD denies firing a teacher because of a paperwork glitch and only seems to reinforce their contentious relationship with the Teacher’s Unions.
At the outset of the school year the only thing that’s clear is that turning around the district requires more than good media relations. KCMSD officials have closed schools, played for the cameras and continue to push their agenda to the press.
Unfortunately, so much of their effort has little to do with what’s going on in the classroom where test scores, dropout rates and dissatisfaction remain high.