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If You Disagree With Your Public School... What Kind of Critic Are You?

In September, 1993, school board members from West Central Nebraska school districts gathered in North Platte, NE and were told it’s important to keep the lines of communication open between their school and their community.

Brian Hale, the Nebraska Association of School Board’s public relations director, spoke to a study group on “Working Effectively with Pressure Groups”.

Hale suggested those attending to find out about pressure groups. He said board members need to know what their (groups) real purpose is, how they are funded-if they are-and what is the composition/size of the group. He also said the board must identify who it will benefit if the board bows to pressure group demands.

“Too often people have agendas about schools that don’t include kids,” he said. The following are some types of critics school board members might face, according to Hale:

Uninformed Critics

These are the people who don’t know about the issue but do have opinions. They can be persuaded early on but if allowed to fester, they’re difficult to persuade.

Professional Critics

These are people who collect all sorts of evidence that only support their point of view. Although they present the information in a biased way, school board members need to listen to them with an open mind but review the criticism objectively.

Hostile Critics

These people are extremely emotional and difficult to talk to about issues until they get over their emotions. Usually their point of view is charged by family, political, or religious agendas.

Constructive Critics

Generally these critics have good comments among their hair-brained schemes but they need to be listened to.

Invisible Critics

These are the people who sit behind a cloak of secrecy and they send out fliers whether facts are right or not. They don’t play on a level playing field because they’re afraid of being exposed but even if they are discovered, they usually run.