Executive Summary

Communications and Transparency: Risks and Mitigation

An effective communications strategy is another crucial aspect of gaining the support of the education community for a new evaluation program.  Teachers will be more likely to support a new system if they: (1)  understand the goals and details of the program in advance and  (2) are kept apprised of any changes or new developments that take place. An effective communications plan will allow teachers to be engaged at all times.

Examples of risks:

Risk Educators may be uncomfortable with certain details of the new evaluation plan. Mitigation
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Involve educators in the creation of every aspect of the evaluation program and launch a proactive communications strategy to explain aspects that may raise concerns for full transparency.  Hold forums in the areas of the program teachers express the most concern.

Risk

 

The first two to three years of the new evaluation program is likely to be difficult with not all aspects of the system working perfectly.  The challenges could encourage opposition and cost support.

Mitigation
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The communication plan needs to brace educators, stakeholders, and the public for a difficult transition period.  A new system is an investment that will lead to better schools and better education over the long term.

Risk Despite a comprehensive engagement campaign, there may still be opposition to the planning process and the overall evaluation reform efforts. Mitigation
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State policymakers should also engage each stakeholder group early on, such as teacher unions, parents groups, civic organizations, business leaders, etc. to build good faith and to try and work through concerns or misconceptions
Risk Communication strategies run the risk of not accurately reflecting the new evaluation system or the implementation process. Mitigation
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Close collaboration should exist between the communications team and policymakers to ensure the communication aligns with the implementation plan and is flexible to change along with adjustments to the new system.

 

Risk Opposition may develop to the new evaluation program or the process of creating it.  The opposition could receive significant media attention, which could cost support. Mitigation
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A pro-active media campaign that doesn’t rely on the “react” model could reduce the risk of losing control the message during implementation.

 

Risk School administrators are a key conduit to teachers.  Principals may not have the knowledge to accurately explain the new evaluation program to school faculties. Mitigation
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A communications strategy should include school administrators, involving them in trainings about the new system and equipping them with talking points to ensure a consistent message.

 

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