The PowerPoint presentation, School and Community (Concordia Online Education, n.d.), demonstrates the theory of school as a social institution. This is true for all schools. Both public and nonpublic schools operate “at the pleasure” of the society in which they exist. Public schools must face this reality in the form of regulations and laws. Nonpublic schools will not continue to exist if they do not meet the needs of the constituency. Therefore, it is important for all schools to identify the needs of the communities they serve.
Take a closer look at the institution called school—and its social functions—through the eyes of Dr. Michael Kearl (2010), an award-winning professor at Trinity University:
I will always remember a sign that hung directly under the clock in one of my middle school classrooms: “Time Will Pass But Will You?” A haunting thought for the perpetual clock-watchers of the room.
On the spectrum of social functions provided by education, one of the most central is its inculcation of social rhythms. It is here that the young child is first subjugated to the universalistic time demands of the broader society and comes to have his/her rhythms of the day, week, and year shaped by the obligatory student role. In the instance of homework assignments, as Wilbert E. Moore observed in Man, Time, and Society (1963), “the school may extend its temporal control even beyond its physical boundaries and formally allotted hours, with consequent problems for the child and therefore for adults of temporal allocation among family, school, and play or peer-group activities” (p. 24).
The rhythms of this institution echo broadly across many facets of both self and society. At the personal level, they shape individuals’ identities and sense of self- worth. At the social level, the time individuals spend in educational systems is used as a means for sorting and certifying them in terms of their adequacy for work roles—greater school time translates into a higher status level entry into the work world. Ironically, society has not kept pace in redesigning jobs to take advantage of its increasingly educated workforce, leading to over-education and underemployment, worker alienation, and boredom. From the social level, schools can also be understood as an abeyance mechanism, a holding pattern designed to keep the young out of an already crowded workforce.
For most American youngsters, school is the major source of lessons about bureaucratic time—lessons in the genre of social rhythms, which, if observed, allow one to survive and thrive in American adult society. For the educational novice, the shift from the more spontaneous times of family life to the thoroughly structured times of school can be a difficult transition. Consider the following lessons:
- Lateness is defined as being tardy, a punishable offense. Further, school times are totally arbitrary. Lunch time for an elementary school student begins precisely at 11:51 a.m.
- How time can be used as both punishment (students “do time” or are placed in “time out” for failing to conform to rules) and reward (as when “released” early for having done a good job).
- The importance of being on time in terms of one’s educational biography. Schooling is rigidly age-based. Age 10 and still in the second grade = loser. Skipped a grade = winner. Graduate college at age 13 = article about you in the newspaper. Educational timetables instill long-range thinking, providing individuals with a normative path that takes a person from early childhood to early adulthood.
- Precise temporal realms for specific activities, leading to one-at-a-time monochromic thinking. Each subject matter receives its own niche in the flow of school hours. Here middle class students have a distinct advantage over their working class counterparts. The latter, being more likely to have grown up in temporally unstructured homes, do not understand time and feel powerless when placed within time-slotted school environments. Billy, for instance, has not finished his coloring during art time and feels resentment when told to put away his crayons for reading time.
Given the centrality of education to the institution of work and given several decades of declining standardized test scores, it is not surprising that school times have become a matter of considerable political significance. According to a 1994 study by the Education Commission titled Prisoners of Time (National Education Commission on Time and Learning, 1994/2005), American high school students spend only 41 percent of their school days on academic subjects. Secondary school students spend only about three hours per day on core academics.
The study by the National Education Commission on Time and Learning (1994/2005) presented the issue of time this way:
Learning in America is a prisoner of time. For the past 150 years, American public schools have held time constant and let learning vary. The rule, only rarely voiced, is simple: learn what you can in the time we make available. It should surprise no one that some bright, hard-working students do reasonably well. Everyone else—from the typical student to the dropout—runs into trouble. (p. 5)
Assume the issue of time spent in learning during the school day is currently a hot topic in your school and community. Write 3-4 paragraphs that describe the following:
- Based on your school’s current PR efforts and their effectiveness, how would this issue be handled? Would it be managed successfully?
- In what ways could your school present more and/or better positive messages to the community it serves? Provide at least two suggestions.
Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.
Click here for information on course rubrics.
Concordia Online Education. (n.d.). School and community [PowerPoint slides]. College of Education, Concordia University, Portland, OR.
Kearl, M. (2010). Temporalities of social institutions. Retrieved from http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/time-4.html
Moore, W. E. (1963). Man, time, and society. New York, NY: Wiley.
National Education Commission on Time and Learning. (2005, October). Prisoners of time [PDF]. (Original work published 1994). Retrieved from http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/64/52/6452.pdf
School, Community, and Family
Welcome to EDGR 620, School and Community Partnerships. This course focuses on development of skills and strategies to link a school with its constituents (or stakeholders), namely parents, citizens, business, government, and special interest groups in the community.
The subject of public relations may seem quite unusual as a component of an M.Ed. program. However, this course and its content represent an important part of an educator’s professional life. This course will examine the many relational aspects of education because, after all, an educator spends the majority of his or her time relating to others, both the internal (classroom teaching) and external (e.g., meetings, forums, events) environments. One school leader says, “Be clear. Be strategic. Be targeted. And get the message out” (VanAusdle, 2010).
During the next five weeks, you will explore the intersection of public relations and the professional educator. You will discuss and practice skills to create relationships with stakeholders—the various individuals and groups who have interest in the quality of your school. You will develop an awareness of formal and informal mechanisms for involving stakeholders and business interests. You will also discover specific strategies for building a positive, supportive relationship between the classroom and the external and internal public.
(Bennett, 2015) [Closed captioned]
As you consider this course in the context of real life, it is important to recall your own experiences as a student. Was school a safe haven for you? A mixture of shame and dread? Were teachers your heroes or fearsome tormentors? Haim Ginott (1976) states:
I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized. (p. 13)
It is critical that you seek to understand others’ perspectives about school, because it is usually a direct result of their experience as a helpless, voiceless, and innocent child. Some parents and stakeholders have fond memories, whereas others feel revulsion and fear. Some see school as a community partner, others a community failure. In his quote above, Ginott (1976) starkly delineates the classroom climate that creates these responses. In the context of public relations, you must be able to understand both ends of the adult response continuum to find a balance in your professional efforts and decisions.
It is critical to be aware that the simple act of stepping across the threshold of a school’s doorway can elicit strong and sometimes overwhelming emotions, positive or negative. It is the educator’s role to discern these responses and gently teach about your school, where, under your leadership, students experience intentionally inviting classes led by informed, astute, and caring teachers.
Review these important definitions to help guide your thinking this week:
- Public Relations: Public relations are the acts of relating to the many groups of people involved in the institution of education. A public relations program includes two-way communications. The program is an overt and conscious effort to open the channels of communications for the sake of better education.
- Public: A public is a group with a common interest or background. Within the course, you will discuss groups such as parents, teachers, businesses, and community residents.
- Internal Public: Internal publics include any groups that function within the school organization.
- External Publics: External publics include groups that function outside the school organization, but still influence (or attempt to influence) the functions of the school.
- Stakeholders: Stakeholders are simply persons who have, or perceive they have, a vested interest in the quality of the school. This could be almost anyone. The most common examples are parents, students, teachers, businesses, and local residents.
Bennett, B. (2015, November 30). Ginott’s theory-congruent comm [Video file]. Retrieved from
Ginott, H. (1976). Teacher and child. New York, NY: Macmillan.
VanAusdle, S. (2010). American Association of Community Colleges Convention: Meeting the Challenge. Seattle, WA.
Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:
- Facilitate implementation of both parent and community school public relations program. (10m)
- Community Inventory
- Describe strategies for developing a positive school climate. (9o, 10m)
- PR Programs
Wednesday you will make a list of 25 people you come into contact with on most days. Read ahead to the discussion board instructions, and spend some time thinking about who you will add to your list so it will be as complete as possible.
At the end of the week, you will complete an inventory of your local school community. It will be important to plan ahead as the inventory will take time to complete. Read ahead to the end-of-week assignment for instructions.
The discussion board within this course is your virtual classroom. It is the space where you interact and discourse with your peers and instructors and where important class discussions about course content will be hosted. Your time and investment to the prompts and peer responses are needed and valued. As with any quality discussion, deeper learning takes place while you wrestle with the concepts and learn from each other. Imagine you are face to face with your online peers. Proper etiquette suggests you share common thoughts and ask questions of your peers’ work. In return, you will respond when questions are asked about your work. As a result of your time and investment to the discussion board activities, you will be rewarded with deeper learning and understanding.
The following materials are required studies for this week. Complete these studies at the beginning of the week, and save these materials for future use.
The School and Community Relations (Gallagher, Bagin, & Moore, 2016)
- Chapter 1: The Importance of Public Relations
- Chapter 2: Public Character of the School
- Chapter 3: Understanding the Community
- School and Community (Concordia Online Education, n.d.) [PPT]
- School and Community Partnerships: Information Inventory (Concordia Online Education, n.d.) [PDF]
- National School Public Relations Association (National School Public Relations Association, n.d.) [Web