Future of our city could hang on the shoulders of Steve Serkaian and his efforts to sell the Lansing School District
December 01, 2007
You don't have to go far to hear parental concern about the schools in our city. Their fears are telling them they need to put their kids in nearby school districts. Some actually move to do it and others use the state's schools of choice program.
The Lansing School District has lost more than 4,000 students in the past ten years and the numbers keep climbing. The perception that our public schools are inadequate is just a given for many. A continued exodus to other schools will precipitate a continued decline in the city's desirability as a place to live.
Enter Steve Serkaian, the school district's new head of public relations. His job is to change the negative perception, according to the Lansing State Journal. He's a long time public relations professional who cut his teeth as a flak for the Democrats in the Michigan House of Representatives. Since then he has had and continues to operate his open public relations firm.
Tomorrow during their services, city churches should pray for Steve and pray that he's able to help local residents see the positive side of our public schools. There are many who say that these schools just suffer from a bad wrap. Maybe so.
My question: Has he read the Cluetrain Manifesto and does he understand how the marketplace for products, services and ideas has changed. Consumers don't want to be sold to. They want to be part of a conversation. And they are looking for transparency where negative situations and happenings are not spun into something they are not.
Does he know about web 2.0 and social media and understand how they can be used to build a community of support for the school system?
I live in the city and I don't plan on moving. So, I have a vested interest in seeing our schools are successful. That also means that Steve must be successful.
He needs a group of laypeople to gather round him and provide him support. That needs to radiate down to the students, their teachers and all the administration folks.
Lansing's a great place to live. If it's to have viability, then its public schools must reverse the flow of students.
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Tags: steveserkaian, lansing school district, lansing, city of lansing, public schools, urban schools, public relations, web 2.0, social media, cluetrain manifesto