DISD Trustees's Magical Thinking: A PR Firm Will Make Them Look Better

Categories: Schutze

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
Oh, goody. I see the Dallas school board has a "request for proposals" out, seeking a public relations firm to come in as a private contractor and help the public school system (meaning the school board) with its relationship with the public. That's a big idea. But they need to make sure they write that contract the right way.

PLEASE SEE MY COMMENT BELOW CORRECTING SOME OF THIS

The first thing, right at the top of the contract, should be a provision like this: "In exchange for several million dollars to be paid on a basis of fairly often, said contractor doth warrant, guarantee, affirm, resolve and promith that the public image of the school board in Dallas, instead of being bad all the time, will be good for a change."

Why not?

magician.jpg
Library of Congress
Introducing the one, the only, the world-renowned Great Peeyarski! Before your very eyes the Great Peeyarski will make the Dallas School Board look good! No, really!
Why else would a public entity pay vast amounts of tax money to a private company to come in and manage its public image? They have an understandable and not inaccurate perception that their image sucks. They have an entirely human and forgivable wish for their image to not suck. They feel that they have tried everything else under the sun, and every day when they wake up and look in the papers or on TV they still look really, really bad. So they're ready to try magic.

It's a big move. Notice, if you will, that the Dallas City Council does not engage the services of a private public relations company to make it look better. Why? Because the council, whatever else bad we may say about it here, still has a little bit of pride. The City Council isn't ready to admit that it needs the political equivalent of plastic surgery. Plus, if the City Council hired a private p.r. company, people would laugh at the City Council.

Very few people laugh at the school board. Most people look at the school board, and it looks awful, and people feel awful. So most people think, "Go ahead, whatever, plastic surgery, trip to Neiman Marcus, medical marijuana, whatever will help ease the pain." I say most people. Yeah. With the exception of us. The damn media. The press. The problem.

I shouldn't even admit this in public, but I will because I know that every other reporter in town will have the same reaction. See, for us it's one thing when people look honestly bad. It's just how they look. It's sort of not even their fault really. It falls under the category of what it is, it is. You snap a photo, slap it up on the web, your day is done.

But when a private PR person in a conical wizard hat trots the school board out on stage all got up in embarrassing makeup and beads, and when the PR person waves a wand at us and says, "Count slowly backwards from 100, and you will see that the school board is becoming better and better looking, slowly, 88, 87, 86, now they are becoming very very beautiful. ..." You know what that is to us?

A dare. In fact it's kind of a double-dare. Well, wait. It's really a double dog dare. Here's the thing. We in the news business are not what you would call intellectuals. Waving a magic wand and telling us that the school board looks really, really good? That's kind of like running a stick down a chain-link fence between you and a pit-bull. Better hope that fence is tall enough.

And here's another secret I'll let you in on. The pit bull loves it. As he or she backs up, half sits, looks up to gauge the height of the fence while loading piston-like hind legs for the explosion, the dog is thinking, "This, my students, is about to be a lesson in the law of unintended consequences."

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22 comments
srishti5yngmedia
srishti5yngmedia

This is a nice blog ! By this blog consultants can easily manage public manage of company. 

Value 360 India is a PR company based in Delhi, India is the leader in providing a core set of services including Media Relations, Marketing PR, Crisis and Issues Management


nammer
nammer

because that worked out so well for Museum Tower?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Long day. I believe that I misconstrued and misrepresented the RFP. The service the district may or may not seek here is public relations help for the staff, not the school board. That does change things, because the staff is not elected and is not supposed to know how to handle the press in every circumstance, whereas I think we do expect elected officials to know how to speak for themselves. I got this wrong. I apologize.  

MikeyLikesIt
MikeyLikesIt

Jim, does the PR fairy only work on members of the press when waving their magic wand of bullshit fairy dust from a penthouse view at the Museum Tower?  

EastDallasDad
EastDallasDad

They want someone to whitewash the stinking, fetid mess that is Mike Miles' pay for test scores, err, I mean pay for performance scheme and sell it to the public. He's pushing the same system he used in Colorado that resulted in minimal improvement on test scores and was designed so that teachers could never earn the big money he promised. If his system is so great, why can't it stand on its own merits? What is he afraid of?

Torchness
Torchness

Here's what I don't understand.  DISD is not selling anything.  Why does it care if its image sucks?  Some companies need PR gurus (see, Paula Deen) because their image has been tarnished and that makes it more difficult to sell things.  DISD sells nothing, so why care?

RankinFile
RankinFile

Jim,

It's the DISD administration, run by Mike Miles, that puts out RFPs. If you will simply cut "school board" and paste "Mike Miles," you will have an accurate and worthy article. 

The pit bull should first determine who holds the stick. Just sayin'....

RankinFile
RankinFile

Jim,

It's the DISD administration, run by Mike Miles, that puts out RFPs. If you will simply cut "school board" and paste "Mike Miles," you will have an accurate and worthy article. 

The pit bull should first determine who holds the stick. Just sayin'....

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

On the phone just now with school district spokesman Jon Dahlander, who told me that the RFP is not for a firm to represent the board but for a firm to represent the district and he named a couple of district programs in particular they might need help with.  I meant to reflect above that I understood the RFP was ostensibly for a firm to represent the district but that I didn't believe it and believed instead the push for something like this would come from the board. The board would not own up to such a thing for the reasons I cite above. Dahlander says I am wrong, it's for the district, not the board. My own personal view is unchanged.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo Bo Knowz Howz Ta Jumpz Uh Fence.

AnEmptyBox
AnEmptyBox

Which of Bernadette Nuttall's friends runs a PR firm? That's the magic question.

dc005
dc005

They saved $200,000+ by not giving a contract to the McKinney company to improve communications with parents.    Makes sense???? that they use the money to improve communications with everybody.


Jim,  WEHT the Mayor's promise he was gonna get involved and straighten things out at DISD?   The Board can't ALL be idiots (well, maybe they can),  surely some of them know what a mess things are.


oc_reader
oc_reader

Mike Snyder is looking for a new client.

stevesinbox2006
stevesinbox2006

They're selling the idea of education to parents. And suburban districts (like Grand Prairie-see wilonskys article from last year about their "marketing") along with charter schools are competing with DISD for those kids. Every kid that chooses an option besides DISD causes the district to lose thousands of dollars in state funding. Forget the "white flight" of the past. What DISD is facing now is a care flight (rock me!!!)

Parents that care about quality are choosing other options, and every kid that leaves costs the district. The more that leave, the more they have to deal with closing or combining schools, declining scores (as the kids that are left are often the hardest to teach, etc)

They need help getting a better image. But miles is half the problem IMHO

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Torchness Right! PR won't fix test scores, it won't improve finances, it won't solve any of the real problems. Individual trustees and/or administrators with an eye on their own futures are the only ones who would benefit from positive spin.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@JimSX At least he didn't use "it's for the children."

This fellow Dahlander must be coated in barnacles, or at least he must shower rigorously after his day's work answering for the district. He's been doing this a long time, and AFAIK hasn't been caught in an outrageous lie in trying to do his job.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

The one with the highest kickback ratio.

Freddy
Freddy

@stevesinbox2006 Actually the schools in Lakewood/East Dallas are overflowing with families choosing DISD.  That includes transfers from other districts ranging from Allen to HP for International Baccalaureate.

Freddy
Freddy

@stevesinbox2006 Actually the schools in Lakewood/East Dallas are overflowing with families choosing DISD.  That includes transfers from other districts ranging from Allen to HP for International Baccalaureate.

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