Central Ohio schools are in trouble. I live in Licking Heights school district, who wants more money. My wife teaches for the Gahanna schools, who need more money. And I coach HS soccer in Olentangy, who needs more money.
The real problem is – they all haven’t gotten the message out enough, in my opinion.
I could sit and debate all of these different strategies, but that’s not what I want this article is about. This is about the lack of foresight in each district’s use of technology. They all preach that they are teaching technology to our children and how to succeed in a technology-driven world. But when it comes to using it themselves, they get an ‘F’.
I’m sure a very high percentage of teachers out there are on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Many of them blog and (hopefully) all of them are decent writers. Why not create a site and allow the teachers, administration to communicate to the public about why voting for their respective levies are important? Licking Heights at least tried to do this in their site. Not a grandiose effort, but an effort nonetheless.
My wife and I had a great idea for Gahanna that got turned down by some higher-ups. Create a blog to start a conversation with the public about the levies. Let them discuss how poorly teachers are paid for the hours they put in, how their books are old and their facilities are lacking in basic needs.
There is no sounding board for the teachers, but the public uses any means necessary (Columbus Dispatch message boards, etc.) to bash the education system. So those hateful, negative (usually ignorant) messages get read over and over again, with no defense. Embrace negative comments and turn them around from the voices of the people who the levies mean the most to, the teachers.
Do you think any of those ‘brave’ posters on the Columbus Dispatch web site would be so brave if they were talking directly to a teacher? Doubt it. It would be a place for real conversation. Just like any other restaurant or small business dealing with the public.
A small web design company like me would probably even donate the time and hosting space for the levy season to help get the message out.
I hope that all three levies pass, but if they don’t, I hope they think a little more about how to best get the message out next time. Teachers, administrators, students, parents and voters all have something in common: they all use the internet. Most of them use it for social media. It’s time we start using it for good.