October 13, 2014

Children of Our Community

One of the joys of this job, serving education, is when I see and hear examples of people in a community pulling together — inside education and in other professions — caring about kids, and that they have the support to go the distance to graduation.

Most people I suppose know the statistics in America: though the graduation rate seems to be improving in recent years, too many kids are still not getting a diploma.

So, I was encouraged to hear a report recently on Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), my community’s local radio and TV affiliate of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as part of their current series following a Portland, Oregon “Class of 2025,” now in 2nd grade, tracking their progress toward graduation. 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit I mightOregon Public Broadcasting not have heard the story if someone hadn’t called me at work and told me “the news did a story that highlights your product.” It’s true, one of our products, Redcat classroom audio system, was highlighted in the story as a tool that was purchased in the widespread improvements made to a local elementary school as a result of a bond issue. Grateful as I am for the news coverage, what really impressed me was all the caring that was evident in the radio report, on both sides of the microphone, and what this ongoing series of stories will mean to our the children in our community.


A Teacher's Testimonial

One of the teachers in the story, for instance, showed her compassion for students, talking about wanting to give them each a voice in the classroom. This I felt is in perfect keeping with the current trend in education to give children, even at that age, a bigger stake in their own education, and in learning to teach each other. This is something that is going to be vital for preparing these kids for participating in life at large, beyond high school.

The same teacher spoke of helping “soft speakers,” the kids who don’t project, and are too shy to speak up in class. She spoke about how she did not want them to “get lost in the crowd.” And she talked about her desire to “engage and focus” kids, the “energetic” ones who tend to get distracted in class.

Many educators that I’ve met and talked with around the country share the same perspective. And I was glad my local Portland-area radio listeners were getting the message from a committed teacher, and by a reporter who clearly cared about the content, and the implications, of his story.

The radio reporter did a great job of letting the teachers, and the kids, express themselves for the listening audience. It made the story very real, and underlined the importance of what teachers and kids do together, in the learning experience.

I saw on the media outlet’s website that the Portland series of stories is part of the larger, nationwide Corporation for Public Broadcasting support of the initiative, American Graduate — Let’s Make It Happen! That program is meant “to address the drop-out crisis” in America. The website informs us that “more than 80 public radio and TV stations in over 30 states have joined forces with over 1,000 partners and schools-at-risk to shed light on the problem and offer solutions.”

The website lists such local examples of broadcasters taking action in reporting on this crisis through similar stories in places such as Cincinnati, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., New Mexico, Mississippi, and Los Angles. (I now know that Portland is part of that effort, too, thankfully.)

Perhaps your state, city, and or community is a beneficiary of this kind of radio and TV reporting, all aimed at helping raise awareness and drive action, to help the cause of education and keep kids in school. I hope so.

I’d love to hear from you if you are getting this kind of reporting in your city, and if your schools are getting a chance to get a very important media light shined on them, for the future of our children.

If these types of reports are not yet being done in your community, and you have a local public broadcasting station where you live, you might want to call them about your school of choice where good things are going on to prepare kids for graduating, no matter what K-12 grade level they are in now. Reporters love good story ideas. This surely is one of those.

David Solomon

David Solomon

David’s been on the forefront of audio development for 12 years. His passion is uncovering the unspoken, often unrecognized challenges teachers and students struggle with daily and finding ways to apply audio technology to take down barriers to learning.

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