Friday, May 11, 2007

Our headline on school story missed the mark

Two readers questioned our choice of words in the headline Thursday announcing that the Arroyo Grande High School principal was stepping down to become an elementary school principal at Ocean View in the same district.
We wrote: "A.G. High's principal announced a downgrade."
That headline “is an insult to Ocean View and it is a slap-in-the-face to all elementary school principals,’’ wrote Ann Dennis of Cambria. “ You could have used "departure", "reposting,' or even a compound like "job change." It may not be in the dictionary, but it is kinder than "downgrade." They all have the nine letters needed for that headline.”
Colleen Marin, a trustee with the Lucia Mar Unified School District, wrote us that Ryan Pinkerton, the high school principal, has “performed as an excellent leader of one of the county’s largest companies (Arroyo Grande High School),” and simply asked for a transfer. “All of our schools are important and Mr. Pinkerton's new position at Ocean View Elementary will be a win for our district. Perhaps a better headline could have read something like "Pinkerton reaffirms his commitment to Lucia Mar."
I agree with our critics.
Pinkerton had asked for the change of duties so that he could spend more time with his family right now.
Our headline writer did not mean to slight Pinkerton or elementary schools. Still, the headline gave two erroneous impressions – first, that Pinkerton was demoted and second, that being an elementary school principal is somehow a lesser job. Both are false.
-- Sandy Duerr

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