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The Messaging Of School Choice
Transcript of The Messaging Of School Choice
NAME, ORGANIZATION, TITLE
VITALS FOR NSCW MEDIA INQUIRIES
National School Choice Week
Manager, Coalitions & External Relations
Talk to Allison Schneider
HELL IS THIS GUY
WHY DO THEY MATTER?
SCHOOL CHOICE STORIES:
WHERE IS HE FROM AGAIN?
WHO IS THIS GUY?
You want to be read
Parents can comprise a huge % of anyone's web traffic
Parents' paramount concern is their kids' success
Ergo, write about the biggest issue affecting their children's success: their Education
You may already have a niche
You can always have another
Few people know enough, or write well enough, about school choice
There is a huge opportunity in the education journalism space to be the go to guy/girl
Lack of public knowledge + lack of authorship = Bad
Every parent makes a school choice whether or not they know it
They'd make a better choice if they had more information
That's your cue
Zero barriers to entry for being proficient in this field
Proficient experts drive opinion, wield influence, create change
They press lawmakers for:
if you're a sadist, no options at all
AM I LOOKING FOR?
WHAT TYPE OF STORY
IS DISCUSSED ON THE INTERNET
HOW SCHOOL CHOICE
"WHAT ARE THE SCHOOL CHOICES?"
FOR ALL THIS INFORMATION?
WHERE DO I START TO LOOK
FOR GREAT SCHOOL CHOICE JOURNALISM
ADDITIONAL POINTS OF EMPHASIS
Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are public schools that enjoy more curricular independence than traditional public schools
Students can apply to attend public charter schools, and are selected based on a random lottery
You can choose to go to the public school in your assigned district if that's the best fit for you
Open Enrollment is a policy designed to allow students to transfer to another public school if that's a better fit for them
Full-time online schools involve regular student-instructor interaction
Online learning also can supplement learning at traditional brick and mortar schools
Online schools are popular among student-athletes or student-performers with a demanding schedule who need flexible learning hours
Tax credit scholarships, vouchers, or ESAs allow families to send their kids to private schools
Those are each types of private school choice PROGRAMS, not types of schools or types of choice
23 states have a total of 48 private school choice programs
Magnet schools are rigorous public schools that specialize on a certain curriculum
Common magnet curricula are often science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as the performing arts
Roughly 2 million children are home schooled each year
Dozens of states actually have organized homeschooling networks that support parents who home school
Homeschooling is often overlooked, but valuable! I shouldn't have made it the smallest olive in the martini glass. That wasn't nice
Choices ≠ Programs
Other choices exist within choices
People of all geographies need choices
People of all social of economic backgrounds need choices
People of all intelligence levels need choices
Very few people know what their options really are or why they matter; this is the "Big Middle"
Here I am, writing about school choice...
Appeals AND Applies
Faces And Places
Lots of awareness
All subsets of readers drawn to you equally
Big Middle engaged and active
Readership and brand extended
You're the expert on all options, not selecting the "right option"
Change is possible
Little to no awareness
You talking to people who already read and agree with you
Big Middle either alienated or apathetic
Readership and brand limited to one population
Writer's are on "that side" of an issue
Reporting a story diligently, then interpreting the facts of that story for your reader in a way that validates your pre-existing opinion
Reporting a story diligently, then writing it with snark
Reporting a story diligently, then not being specific enough to explain the nuances of the issues/choices/etc.
Reporting a story diligently, then inserting yourself in it
Now We're Getting Somewhere
Writing snarky op-eds
Singling out a specific sector to bash (i.e. unions)
Arguing with readers in the comments section
What the "right" and "wrong" types of choices are
School Choice Information
If you're out doing the aforementioned reporting, these won't happen, because these are crutches in the absence of actual events, actual quotes, actual multiple-perspectives, etc.
Kiiiind Of Advancing
School Choice Information
Bringing people new, specific information --> from new policies to long-term themes
Making it clear why this information is useful --> 'why is this important to me?'
Discovering trends across the landscape --> New Orleans and Philly WSJ articles
Name-dropping National School Choice Week 2014 --> j/k, kinda, but not really
Most of what we see falls in to this category
Interviewing parents and students to learn what struggles and success are occurring, and why
Interviewing educators and ed reformers to learn about what they're advocating for or against, and why (you might be surprised)
Interviewing state lawmakers to find out their take on ed policies, and how they plan to address the above needs
National Center For Education Statistics (
Education Commission of the States (
Nat'l Alliance Of Public Charter Schools (
Int'l Association For K-12 Online Learning NACOL (
Excellence In Education (
Keeping Pace With Education (
Friedman Foundation (
American Federation For Children (
The Scales Of School
...Don't tip them over!
**look to these national groups for information or agencies based in your state**
Multiple Voices & Multiple Choices
Stay up to date on people, policies and procedures you disagree with
Feature different viewpoints in the same piece (e.g. teacher and parent, taxpayer and student, lawmaker and activist, etc.)
Even in states with few options, write about more than one school choice sector
Play Devil's Advocate
Don't take what someone writes or tells you at face value
Challenge "Good School/Bad School" characterizations (e.g. Roosevelt v. Wilson, test scores)
Get to the meaning of connoted terms like "corporate", "for profit", "innovation"
Don't Recycle Existing Stories
e.g. "The Ohio Senate approved a bill last night that would allow families earning less than $36,000 per year to earn tax credit scholarships up to X in value that could be used at Y schools starting in the 2014-15 school year. Census data indicates an estimated Z families qualify for this credit, which can go against A costs. The will now move to the state House."
Additionally, school choice writers who foster brand, readership, information & change also tend to....
e.g. "In a huge victory for our state, the Ohio Senate passed a significant tax credit program for poor families!"
Sure, draw on them, but reposting something and then opining is only a recipe for hits, not the other three
There's a significant chance what you're reposting is inaccurate, opinion-laced, lazy, etc.
The Omaha World-Herald FAIL
www.schoolchoiceweek.com and www.schoolchoicetrain.com
Contact Allison Schneider if you'd like to interview myself or NSCW President, Andrew Campanella
This presentation is online and searchable at Prezi.com
System- defining changes