Kablau Communications has evolved over the past couple of years. Beginning as a space highlighting brilliant PR ideas and genius, Kablau Communications evolved into a forum for education-related issues. I found that it was hard to keep limiting myself on what I wanted this blog to be about, so decided to make it a little more rounded based on my educational and professional experience.
Kablau Communications provides insight into education policy/project-related issues, the job hunt, leadership, and genius and not so genius PR. I hope you enjoy the insights posted on this blog.
After a brilliant career in public relations, I went back to school to study education policy. What moved me to make the switch from PR were 4 very life-changing moments.
Moment 1: My brother started going to school in Ramona, California to an elementary school that did not offer art, music or P.E. as part of his curriculum. I was flabbergasted. I remember that these subjects aided in discovery of self and provided an outlet for creativity and educational improvement through kinesthetic learning. I am not saying that I would not have educationally advanced without them, but the subjects provided flavor and enveloped my passions that gave me a well-rounded educational experience.
During my research at the University of Utah, I read that California had passed a statewide bill coming from the heavily researched and proved hypothesis that smaller classroom sizes bolster student achievement levels. One thing that California lawmakers failed to grasp was that the research, taken from results of Project STAR and similar data, catered to a specific kind of demographic.
Project STAR yielded evidence of the achievement benefits specific to classrooms in Tennessee. In fact, the research showed specific groups of children who benefited from small classroom sizes, but the data showed that it did not necessarily benefit ALL of them. I wasn’t sure if policymakers just didn’t know about the research or understand that trying to reduce classroom sizes as part of a statewide initiative would be the best solution to the achievement gap problem. In fact, additional research showed that the state had a bill of $1.5 billion dollars for the 1997 initiative. I am sure that a cost-benefit analysis took place prior to the passing of this initiative, but in the meantime it meant that there would be more teachers added to the roster (yay for teachers), more buildings built for the school (boo to portables with no AC or heat) and that it would cut other programs like music, P.E. and art because the schools no longer had the fees for teachers and/or equipment (boo). This process intrigued me. I went back to school.
Moment 2: I worked at The Summit Group Communications, a public relations and advertising agency in Salt Lake City. One of my clients was the 100% for Kids Credit Union Education Foundation. As part of the Education Foundation, I had the opportunity of working with former Senator Paula Julander (D-Utah), a huge advocate of education and health care. I was also able to meet with a board of credit union representatives and select teachers to decide which schools to give money to. Schools throughout Utah would turn in an application for a grant to be given by this Education Foundation, giving 100% of their monies to these schools. I was surprised at how many grants only requested books. It is a sad day when schools don’t even have enough money to purchase a library for their students. I went back to school.
Moment 3: I was reading Clayton M. Christensen’s book, Disrupting Class, which discusses why schools struggle to teach differently when each student learns differently. He talked about how some people say that if students had more parental involvement it would advance a student’s motivation to learn, and how others advocated that more money, or socioeconomic background all have to do with a students desire to learn, therefore affecting overall academic results. He talks about the use of technology as a means to break through and motivate students to learn. The more he described what affects education, the more I became intrigued. I went back to school.
The Final Moment: I was shown a clip from TED of one Sir Ken Robinson, who makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize — much less cultivate — the talents of many brilliant people. During my research, I came across several articles that backed up the fact that everyone learns differently; one size does not fit all, and yet packing as many children as possible into classrooms and expecting that all of them are going to do well, is a falsity. I went back to school.
Why the Job Hunt?
Moving out to the Washington DC area without a job or income was challenging, to say the least. I find that there are a lot of other people doing the same thing, and perhaps those who have been looking for a job for a long time. For me, every piece of advice on the job hunt helped me find my current job. The hope is that my thoughts will encourage and motivate others to find and grow in their intended profession.
PR and communications will forever be a part of my life. How does a product evolve from an idea in someone’s head to being the most purchased and recognized in the world? By what means do ordinary people become extraordinary – is it a thought, an idea, personal gumption, predominance, social standing, etc? What makes trends tick? The world of communications and social science in everyday life, and particularly in the workforce is ever-changing. I am constantly intrigued with what is and what isn’t working for businesses, people, things, ideas, etc. I am a fan of innovation and ideas, and want to see people take the world by storm because they know how to communicate them!