Published Online: April 9, 1997

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Mounting evidence suggests that average Americans have become disenchanted with public education. But putting the public back in public schools will require fresh thinking and a new understanding of citizen and taxpayer attitudes. In this series, Education Week explores efforts now under way to reconnect the public with its schools.

  • Divided We Stand: What has come between the public and its schools? Nov. 6, 1996.
  • A Lesson in Winning Back an Estranged Public: A profile of the Edmonds, Wash., school district, where engaging the public has become an integral part of doing business. Nov. 20, 1996.
  • Survey Says: Polls, surveys, and focus groups are becoming popular tools for listening to the public's concerns about schools. Dec. 11, 1996.
  • Philadelphia Story: The Philadelphia school district offers a high-profile, high-stakes test case for public engagement as residents struggle to understand Superintendent David Hornbeck's Children Achieving agenda. Feb. 19, 1997.
  • The Business End: In Ohio, an unusual business-backed organization called BEST is working to build support among Ohioans for improving schools. March 12, 1997.
  • Educated Consumers: Parents steeped in the consumer mentality are putting pressure on educators to give them more choices and a a greater role in making important decisions about their children's education. March 26, 1997.
  • Spotlight on School Issues: The foundation world is backing a new kind of reporting, called public journalism, to help people focus on solving problems together. Such coverage often zeroes in on a community's schools.
  • Information Age: The explosion of information available over the Internet and World Wide Web has broad implications for how the public gets information about schools--and what people do with that knowledge when they have it.

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