Saturday, February 12, 2011

Managing the Message

The Parents Coalition blog has been informed that at the recent MCCPTA Board of Directors meeting, "Media Training" was provided to those present by MCPS' director of Public Information, Mr. Dana Tofig. If this is not accurate, please let me know, and I'll be happy to revise or remove the following questions:

1. When MCCPTA issues a press release from now on,will MCPS provide advice and specific preferred language? Will there be any involvement or prior review of outgoing materials by MCPS?

2. Did MCCPTA pay for this "Media Training?" Did MCCPTA seek "Media Training" from any other organizations?

3. Is MCPS willing to provide "Media Training" to other school advocacy groups (for example, Gifted and Talented Association, McNeeds, the Parents Coalition, GTLD Network, NAACP Parents Council, XMinds, and others)?

4. Did MCPS's Director of Public Information provide handouts? Media contact lists? If so, will MCCPTA share the materials with the broader advocacy community?

5. Was there discussion as to whether the MCCPTA "message" would be supportive, and not critical of, of the MCPS message?

We invite the participants in this media training to contact us with more details about this training, if they believe it to be helpful to others engaged in school advocacy.


  1. is there a problem with having had this training? it sounds like you are jealous.

  2. Welcome back "libraries are obsolete."

    Here in Montgomery County parents pay dues to join their local PTA. Local PTA's exist as part of a National PTA association. The dues go to the local PTA organization and not to the school system.
    PTA is not a subsidiary of MCPS or any other school system. Their purposes are different.
    PTA is a grassroots, local advocacy effort for parents and those interested in public schools.
    For example, MCPS "no vegetable gardens" at schools, but local PTAs have advocated for vegetable gardens.
    A few years ago MCPS said "get rid of school land so it can be developed for housing." PTAs across the county said no, save school land for schools!
    Different messages.
    But if the MCPS Public Relations Department is now running the MCCPTA PR then that makes one wonder how independent MCCPTA is from the school system.
    Maybe PTA members should find out more about what they are getting for their dues?

  3. Regarding the relationship between the PTA and the school system, MCPS is no different from other school districts. With that out of the way, so you are saying that you can't talk with the central office staff without agreeing with them or thinking like them? Why can't they just hear what Mr. Tofig has to say and go on about their business? You seem to assume the worst and hope for even worse. Maybe try a little harder to see the good in people?

  4. Well, libraries, why dont' you give readers a synopsis/minutes of what went on at the meeting?

    PTA member have a right to know the meeting took place, don't they?

    Don't PTA members have a right to minutes from the meeting?

    In fact, why weren't PTA members allowed to attend?

  5. I have copied the MCCPTA contact information below. Instead of grandstanding and trying to humiliate a group in public on your website, why not call them directly and ask? With a little research (no library needed), you could get your answer much more quickly, directly, and respectfully.

    Montgomery County Council of PTAs (MCCPTA)
    2096 Gaither Road, Suite 204
    Rockville, MD 20850
    (301) 208-0111

  6. @ libraries

    Why do you think this topic is on this blog? PTA members want answers that they aren't getting through their organization.

  7. I hear "Media Training" and it makes me think of BS lessons.

    How to keep as much secret as possible from the media.

    It might also mean how to use media to make MCCPTA meetings more productive. Details would be nice.
    If the MCCPTA HQ is not forthcoming, the cynical answer may be the accurate one.

    Oh well, there's always the option of forming a competing PTO. PTA hierarchies can produce people who want to run for the Board of Education. Such peple must curry favor with unions if they expect to harness the thousands of dollars of free labor and printing costs tied up in the much revered "Apple ballot", the teachers' union endorsement list.

    Independence of MCCPTA leadership from MCPS can be quite a tightrope walk for those with thoughts political ambition given the Apple ballot temptation not to mention the MCGEO and Retired Teachers endorsement hurdles to be leapt.

  8. So why don't you call them and ASK what they did? This is kind of an underhanded way of getting the information. Ask them and then post what they say here. When I communicated with the CCCPTA president she got back to me within a couple of hours. I am sure you would get the same response.

  9. what makes you so sure? this is mccpta not cccpta.


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