Education and Public Relations

“Public relations is a function schools cannot afford to ignore (2001). “ Today more than ever the use of Public Relations in schools is essential for success.  In order for a school to do well they need to attract parents and students to their school.

When considering the k-12 education system the attention is more focused on attracting parents into a their specific school. What exactly does a PR plan for a school look like? First, media is a frequently used tool to implement the PR requests of the school. The media tools used are press releases, paid advertisements, e-mail, website, and radio.

Through all of these tools the school is able to reach the community and attempt to portray the image they desire. “Today, school public relations is less about conveying information than it is about establishing and promoting partnerships within the community. An effective school public relations plan provides value by giving people information they can use, not just information that the school needs to convey about process. Effective public relations means schools ask for and receive information just as much as they transmit it (2001)”

Concisely it is clear that involving the parents and people of the community in the k-12 school’s decisions is key in successful school public relations. It is imperative that parents feel as if their voice is heard and matters to the school system. Additionally it has been found that in this level of education the “little things” matter the most. For example a simple hand written note from the principle to a parent expressing how well that student did on a particular assignment or a simple welcome baby card sent to new parents in the community, it’s never too early, has been proven most effective (2001).

When addressing higher education such as colleges the PR campaigns are definitely more apparent. “Higher education is big business in the United States” (Wilcox, 2013, p. 385). This type of public relations differs from the k-12 education because it is more similar to the public relations of a company. Many public relations employees of a college will perform many different tasks. These consist of writing, photography, graphic design, broad casting and computer networking (2013).

These tasks are important in higher education because they are trying to appeal to the student and parent. “Higher education is also a business that has millions of customers—namely, students. In the United States, more than 20 million students are enrolled at more than 4,000 colleges and universities. Almost ever one of these institutions has personnel working in such activities as public relations, marketing communications and fund-raising”(Wilcox, 2013, p. 385).  High education requires a more intense and business type of PR in order be successful.

Previous to this post I was somewhat oblivious to the significant use of PR in all school systems from k-12 to higher education. I have also found that the use of PR is somewhat more complex in Higher education due to the more competitive and business-like nature. Overall, Its now clear to see how often and how valuable PR is in all education systems.

Reference

Carlsmith, Laura & Railsback, Jennifer. (2001) The Power of Public Relations In Schools. Retrieved from http://educationnorthwest.org/webfm_send/447

Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., Shin, Jae-hwa. (2013). THINK: Public Relations. Upper saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

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