Magazine article District Administration

The Gender Question

Magazine article District Administration

The Gender Question

Article excerpt

Creating a magazine is so different from reading a magazine, and even as I realize this, sometimes the gap between the two can be glaring.

Take the cover of District Administration's January issue, for example. For nearly a year, I've wanted to do a major feature story on the Western r States Benchmarking Consortium. These seven district leaders, who I first met during a session at the 2005 American Association of School Administrators' conference, have created their own group. They share information with the goal of pushing each other's districts to improve, from upgrading technology to using data to make better curriculum decisions to choosing the best management style.

The story was originally slated to run in our December issue, but it lacked a compelling image. When we discovered this group had a meeting set up, we decided to hold the story for January and take a picture of the entire group. This is exactly how we ended up with a cover picture of seven white, male superintendents. Now, I'm not naive enough to say I didn't notice the lack of diversity in the picture, but since we were writing about an established group I didn't give it much more thought.

That is, until the e-mails started pouring in. Our readers, in particular our female readers, didn't quite see it this way. And taking a big step back from the production of the magazine, I can see why.

Our cover, titled Strength in Numbers, makes no mention of the consortium and leaves the reader thinking the magazine staff selected the seven superintendents. That's obviously a mistake we made in presenting the story. (For more comments on our cover, please see our Letters section on page 12.)

For that oversight, I do apologize to those who were offended. Of course, I know there are terrific superintendents, both women and minorities, in school districts throughout the country. …

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