Teachers Go Door To Door To Recruit Families Back To Public Schools

Teachers are going to extreme, desperate measures, going door to door recruiting students back to public schools.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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recruiting students

Most Americans know that when an unexpected doorbell ring comes in the middle of the day, it’s more than like a salesperson. From makeup, food, cleaning supplies, knives, religion, you name it – nearly everything has been sold in these styles of pitches. But selling a public school education? That is something no one is likely used to or heard of. However, it is happening – in a sense – as public school teachers are now going door to door recruiting families and students in a desperate plea to get them back in the public school system. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Gazette reported about this odd occurrence happening in the Steel City of Pennsylvania. It was all part of a joint initiative with both the city’s teachers’ union and the school district itself to lure more families into Pittsburgh’s public schools, which have been hemorrhaging students for quite some time. More than 50 teachers participated in the effort, canvassing neighborhoods and knocking on doors with a sales pitch aimed at extolling the benefits of the city’s schools and recruiting more students. 

Specifically, the quirky campaign was targeting households that had previously enrolled children in the city’s PreK district program but had yet to enroll them in kindergarten, which starts in just a little over a month. But that’s not all, as the district also targeted known households where students were currently enlisted in either charter, private, parochial, or home schools, in an attempt to persuade them to join public schools. Lastly, the teachers also were recruiting students in a last-ditch effort, hitting up households of children who had simply dropped out, or stopped attending school altogether for unknown reasons. 

With only one day of training on how to be exceptional salesmen and not just great teachers, the educators began their effort in recruiting students and took to the streets of Pittsburgh. While it may seem quite pervasive to many, those involved said they simply hope to spread the word that teachers are there to help and to listen. Ms. Allen, a middle school teacher from Beechwood was one such participant, who noted that the teachers were asked to spark a conversation with families, and find out what it was that drove them away from public schools, or more especially what they could do to bring them back.

Losing students isn’t just a public school issue in Pittsburg, it’s happening all across the nation. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason why, but experts believe the pandemic and feeble department of education responses, extended school closures, polarization from politics, and perpetually declining academics have all driven this. If anything, this door-to-door tactic of recruiting students helped the city gauge specific reasons families no longer wish to send their children, as teachers were given tools to document any given reasons for leaving. 

recruiting students

This summer marks the second that the Pittsburgh School District has enacted this bizarre form measure of recruiting students. It’s unknown whether or not the initiative has garnered them any more enrollees, however, it’s at least showing the community that the district and teachers are putting in the effort to understand what needs to change in order for the district to gain back trust. However bold and brave this initiative may be, it is likely not enough to backtrack on years and years of losses suffered by public schools.