What if? - More Parent Involvement

What if more parents became more involved? What if more parents committed to attending one board meeting a month? You would be surprised at what you would learn about the business of the district and how much influence parents in the board room audience have. What if every parent volunteered at one PTA event a year? The PTAs are providing much of the fun activities we all took for granted when we were kids. What if more parents volunteered to serve on one district committee a year? Few committees meet more than a handful of times a year.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I have been doing all I can to encourage the administration to increase parent involvement. But no matter how much, or how little, the administration supports parent involvement, parents are the ones who are ultimately responsible for getting involved.

One other parent, Cheryl Burge, and I have been regularly attending board meetings and expressing our concerns. I can tell you we are making a difference. The board is beginning to exercise more oversight. They are openly discussing their positions and ideas. Recently, Cheryl was able to influence the language adopted in board policies and administration regulations. A small group of 10-20 parents demanding more control and influence on what is happening in our district could not be ignored.

I’ve heard from parents who say their work schedules prevent them from getting involved in committee meetings, site council meetings, PTA meetings, and other events. Most of the meetings are held at times convenient to the district employees involved. I’ve brought this to the attention of the administration and they tell me the meetings are scheduled at the best time for the bulk of the participants, mostly teachers and classified staff. If more parents were willing to get involved, I guarantee you the meeting times would be adjusted.

This week my post about charter schools generated a lot of attention. The one thing I don’t think anyone would argue is that the success of a charter school, and for that matter a public school, depends on the level of involvement of the parents. Many parents are willing to send their kids to charter schools not knowing much about them because they want more control and influence over their kids’ education. There isn’t any reason we can’t start having more control and influence over our public schools through more parent involvement. Study after study has shown that parent involvement is the key to a successful public school education.

If more parents were to get involved, wouldn’t we all be better off?