Getting the Good News Out

By Nora Carr

Massive economic, demographic, and technological shifts in the United States are widening generation gaps, with significant implications for effective public school advocacy and communications.

James Goodnight, chief executive officer of SAS Institute, a leading business analytics software and services company with more than 13,000 employees spread across 52 countries, hired 574 employees during the past year. Not one of those employees had less than a bachelor’s degree; 149 had a master’s degree, and 37 held a Ph.D. At SAS, even the grounds crew members have college degrees -- in horticulture.

In today’s knowledge-based economy, where economists say 80 percent of all new jobs will require higher-level math and science, more education is required, not less. With so much at stake and public schools commanding a decisive market share in terms of the percentage of available students served, the case for public education seems obvious, at least to most school board members and superintendents.

Yet advocating for top-notch public schools for all children has never been tougher, or more important. With gaps between generations getting wider by nearly every measure imaginable, school officials need a new communications toolkit.

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