An elementary PR strategy

I wish more kids wrote news releases. I’ve been meaning to post this one from Katherine Irving, a fourth-grader from Hillcrest Elementary, for awhile now. She makes a pretty good case for educational opportunity, don’t you think?

Fourth graders at Hillcrest Elementary School have started a campaign for Pennies for Peace, a program made by the Central Asia Institute, otherwise known as the CAI. The CAI is a non-profit organization that helps to build schools all over Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Everyone knows that pennies don’t matter much in Oakland and many other cities and states in the US, but in Pakistan and Afghanistan it can buy a pencil and, with a lot of them, they can start an education there. And an education can give a child a much greater opportunity of things to do for a living. It can also make a child feel better. I myself always feel uncomfortable when someone keeps on talking about something that I’ve never heard of.

You can find Katherine’s full release about Hillcrest’s Pennies for Peace drive, which ends April 17, here.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    Another example of Leftist Public Schools indoctrinating children to their view of foreign affairs. Fourth graders have no buisiness getting involved in this kind of thing. If they (the adults behind this) are so hot on charity they could have raised money for local programs such as victims of crime assistance.

    The real goal here is the one-world-you-are-responsible-for-happiness-of-foreigners, at 4th grade. This is the teaching of anti-nationalism. I’d have more respect for the teaching of the Star Trek Prime Directive.

    This kind of nonsense is why the productive public is dissassociating with public education and public school teachers. This kind of thing makes it much easier to cut the school budgets.

    Public Schools are being turn into the Medi-Cal of Education. And in case the readership isn’t aware, good doctors are refusing to see Medi-cal patients (participate in the program). Our public schools were once more interested in patriotism. That’s no longer taught.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Well, with OUSD forced to cut TWENTY PERCENT of its budget for next year, according to today’s Tribune, maybe they should collect pennies and send ’em down to HQ at 10th St.

    “Oakland, which has remained on the list, must cut $85 million, or about 20 percent, of its total budget for next year, including about $36 million from its $250 million general purpose fund.”

  • Donna

    @ Nextset:

    I’ve read about efforts like Hillcrest’s occurring at private schools and what you would call “public Ivies.” Indeed, Hillcrest’s demographics are close to what one would find at those types of schools: No poor kids, no English language learners, and the only family that doesn’t speak English at home speaks Hungarian (per greatschools.org website).

    If pennies were being collected in Piedmont or at Head Royce or Bentley, would you be so dismissive?

  • Nextset

    Donna: I went to Catholic 1-8 school and they were always taking up a collection for some mission in a jungle. Likewise other private or church schools have their “missions” of one sort or another. The parents sign up for all this when they enroll their kids in such schools.

    Public Schools are not on “missions” for anybody but the welfare of their students, their community and the nation. When the rad-lib educrats hijack the kids for their favorite 3rd world charity they start to turn the public school into their personal private school – which is exactly how they think. Problem is that now they are disidentifying the students and school from the broader public interests. They they wonder why their budgets are getting cut, etc – they have lost the support of the voters and taxpayers.

    It’s not like the kids are in cub scout uniforms – or any other uniforms – marching in civic parades, helping out at retirement homes, or doing anything civic around their own town.

    And I haven’t heard about pennies being collected at Piedmont. I doubt you’d collect much but gales of laughter. They have their own Charities, believe me! Most of this issue is who’s charities are these people using the schoolchildren for.

    My detractors may complain that I’m being negative or provocative again – no, this is an important issue. Incessant identification of the public school with rad-lib politics is going to be the death knell of the CA public school. This kind of thing is why no one important is caring about the destruction of the public school system right up to the University Level.

    As we move into Depression 2 you are going to see efforts to close or suspend public education (to the extent not already done by Charters, and raising tuition & fees). What will be left over will be a public school system for welfare people – deliberately left in existance to take the people no one wants elsewhere. And the American Caste system will be operating at first grade on.

    If they know what’s good for them these schools had better get with it and do more local civic things and less rad-lib 3rd world gameplaying. Leave that for the Rich White Liberals who don’t need public support.

  • Nextset

    PS: Non-profits that “build schools” in Pakistan, etc just might get you into a scandal over supporting what ends up being terrorist organizations. Maybe the schoolkids would be safer sending money to “build schools” in Israel.

    Actually, no, they shouldn’t do that either. Not from a public school.

  • Sue

    “This kind of thing is why no one important is caring about the destruction of the public school system right up to the University Level.”

    Interesting theory – too bad it’s wrong.

    Just to pick one example, my employer (4th largest finacial services company it the nation), is extremely serious about supporting public education. They just announced 53 grants awarded to public school teachers in the East Bay. They’ve been dollar-for-dollar matching employee payroll deductions to educational instutions for longer than the 18 years I’ve been an employee – I can’t say how much longer, but probably decades. But every year when the United Way / donations time rolls around, I get letters and special recognition for supporting my kids’ schools, as well as getting those schools an extra grand on top of what I donate.

    I seriously doubt that my employer is unique in this support for public education. But, hey, you can live in your version of “reality” and I’ll live in mine. I like the “glass half full” perspective better than its opposite.

  • Katy Murphy

    Here’s a link to the article that ran in today’s Montclarion about Hillcrest’s penny drive:


  • aly

    i love that nothing is beyond reproach for you, nextset. here you have a group of students who have found a way to make a difference using something nearly worthless in their own pockets and it has to be attacked as a sign of the educational apocalypse.

    there are two main problems with this: 1) other posts of yours suggest that schools should be socializing students as part of their education, and 2) there are numerous academic skills that will be gained from this exercise.

    one of the most important aspects of being a well-socialized human being is compassion for your fellow humans and respect for their needs. life is awfully hard, lonely, and empty without the ability to see things from another’s point of view. good leaders make decisions after considering how their decisions will impact the lives of those they lead, and i think it is invaluable for students to feel the power they can have with such a small action. so often students- and people- in oakland forget how little it can take to make a big difference, and that leads to despondence, crime and lack of accountability. these kids are now responsible for something, and they are learning to like that feeling.

    two, it is obvious how academically strong this program is, and in ways that apply to real life. first and foremost, the students will have a far more clear understanding of how money works than others their age, or even older. they get to learn about inflation, exchange rates, and the price of goods and services from one country to another. they are also clearly practicing their writing skills as they promote and reflect upon their efforts. the press release was clear, concise and thoughtful. katherine is able to describe the difference her efforts will make with a mature voice that she should be proud of. the experience also broadens the students worldview and appreciation for other cultures. while you seem to think that is a waste of time, in our ever-shrinking world xenophobia is a major roadblock. being able to compare the lifestyles and needs of nations other than the US will prepare students for interactions and work with people from other countries.

    it isn’t about missionary work. it is about recognizing what you have and how to make it have the biggest impact. besides, nationalism is indoctrination, too. i won’t use sensational names with you, but i’m sure you’ve studied your european history of the 1900’s. two world wars that can be easily traced back to nationalist movements might have dampened the desire to teach blind faith in one’s country.

    congratulations to katherine and hillcrest for undertaking this project. it is a fun, engaging, and rewarding way to gain skills that will guide students to critical thinking and leadership roles.