By now, you can name a big idea within your community that has met with resistance. Whether we’re talking sweeping national reforms, such as the Common Core State Standards, local bond initiatives, or the always controversial choice to close underperforming or underused school buildings, every decision you make is seemingly one angry parent phone call, letter, or tweet from ballooning into a full-on public relations crisis.
Even at the highest levels of school leadership, it’s natural to question whether a potentially transformative initiative is worth the professional and political capital it will cost to see it through. But resistance does not have to lead to inertia.
Going forward, I think we are going to see public school leaders fall into two camps: Those who will channel the energy inherent in that resistance into fuel for their vision and those who will continue to operate in fear of opposition from the vocal few. Too many brilliant school leaders have watched their careers fall apart under the weight of minority opinion. It’s time for this to change.
New brand of school leadership
At K12 Insight, we’ve spent more than a decade partnering with local school districts to help educators foster support and buy-in from community stakeholders. As a former school superintendent in Michigan and Louisiana, I’ve seen firsthand the difference that transparency and strong communication can make. The old way of reacting to stakeholder complaints and concerns doesn’t work. We need to be proactive and head off problems in our districts before they are allowed to evolve into full-blown crises.
As the AASA’s 150th annual conference kicks off in San Diego this week, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through this content, which includes practical, proven ways to turn public opposition into positive change for your students and local school communities.
As head of our partnership efforts with school district leaders and superintendents, I am committed to ensuring that you have access to the resources and tools you need to achieve your goals.
If you like what you read here — or, even if you don’t — I’d love to hear from you.
Yours in support of high-quality education,
Dr. Gerald Dawkins
Senior Vice President for Superintendent and District Relations, K12 Insight