The CBC is calling for changes to the way we communicate with parents on social media after a recent review found a high percentage of content on the service was negative.
“We need to be very clear to parents that their children’s school content will be viewed with suspicion, as it has been for years,” said Sarah Furlong, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of School Administrators (CASA).
“It’s really important that we don’t have this kind of misinformation that’s permeating the education landscape, where misinformation about what our children’s education will look like is very pervasive.”
“The evidence is overwhelming that misinformation about students’ educational outcomes is a real problem, and schools need to work together with parents and students to prevent it from being repeated,” Furlon added.
The report found a majority of school content on social networks was “overwhelming” negative and had been reported by parents as such.
“The majority of social media content on schools’ websites has been overwhelmingly critical of our children and has been shared by many parents and educators,” Frelong said.
“Parents need to know that if their child is a good student, they will get the quality education they deserve.”
It’s time for the government to act on this urgent issue of misinformation in our education system.”‘
No accountability’ for content on school websites While it’s not uncommon for school websites to feature content critical of children, Furlond said it’s concerning that many parents are reluctant to report the negative content.”
There are so many different kinds of information that can be shared through social media, and if parents are not aware that some of the content is not good for their child’s education, that’s a very big problem,” she said.”
If parents don’t know what’s going on with the content that they’re seeing, that means they’re not seeing it.
“Furlong said the government should look at how schools can “police” their social media pages for negative content that is shared as part of their efforts to improve students’ learning.”
I think the government needs to have a very clear definition of what’s a positive and what’s not a positive,” she added.”
You have to have some kind of set of guidelines, so that people can be clear about what’s being shared and what isn’t.
“This is a very complex issue that involves many different factors and that the government has been slow to address.”‘
The problem is everywhere’Furlond acknowledged there are “significant issues” in how schools communicate with their parents, adding it is up to the parents to make sure their children are receiving the best possible education.
“When parents are communicating with their children on social platforms, it’s really difficult because they have a lot of information about them and about their child and they want to be able to make informed decisions about how to spend their time with their child,” she explained.
“But when we see parents, particularly parents of disadvantaged children, making a very negative and inaccurate assessment of the school they’re in, I think we need to have an honest conversation with them about the issues that they have and what their concerns are.”
“It makes no sense to us that we’re trying to build a better education by putting so much negative content on a platform.””
There are a lot more positive aspects to learning than negative and there is a lot less negative content than we are seeing,” she stated.
“It makes no sense to us that we’re trying to build a better education by putting so much negative content on a platform.”
She said CASA is encouraging parents to speak with their local school boards to make suggestions on how they can better manage the content on their own social media accounts.