Tuesday, December 05, 2006

PR and the Education Gap 

I found this article interesting. It touches calmly on an inflammatory issue that divides the nation -- a persistent IQ gap between African-American and non-Hispanic White Americans. The article appears to point -- at least one of the commentators points -- to a cultural divide over education. That commentator noted that other minorities in the US excel in education because academic learning is part of family values.

If this is even partially true -- and there is evidence that it is -- then a question arises. How does one change the attitude and behavior of an entire class of individuals? What public relations, if any, or marketing, might convince millions of individuals that a better future lies in a good education? You have seen advertisements that have pushed for learning among African-Americans. You have witnessed educators pleading with students to focus on studies. What will actually change students to drive for excellence?

This is a question on which local, state and Federal governments have spent billions without much effect, it seems. The commentator appears to think change starts at home, and only at home, with expectations parents place on children. Somehow that seems too simple. There is also the environment in which children grow up. That is why parents try to get their children out of drug- and violence-ridden environments into locales where they can focus on academics. In other words, it is a multi-tiered problem for which there is no easy answer -- or one would have been found. Yet, some African-Americans excel in academics and continue to do so. What is different about them? Could a program be taken from their experiences and transferred to others? This too is being tried, seemingly without broad success. What, then, allows millions of individuals typed in a class to change direction?

It is an unsolved mystery of PR, marketing and government policy.


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