The Los Angeles Times reports today that State Senator Gloria Romero has just amended her unfortunate legislation to supposedly help California get more federal funds for education to include yet another amendment that I’m not thrilled with — it parents new power to trigger change at a school.
You might think this to be a strange position from an advocate of parent engagement. However, as I wrote earlier this fall about this act’s precursor in Los Angeles, it seems to me that this may be a veiled attempt to give charter school operators a “leg-up” at privatizing schools.
The number of parents required to trigger this change would be 51% of the school — but not really “of the school.” Pretty much a parent of any child living in the attendance boundary of the school — whether they attend it or not — can sign.
I don’t think holding a gun to the head of schools and giving parents of students (who might not even parents of students) the right to make one change and one change only is the best way to promote parent engagement. If the state (and federal government) was really serious about promoting parent engagement, they might work with teachers, administrators, and parents to figure out a way to develop incentives for schools to encourage making parent engagement a higher priority — perhaps giving “credit” on state rankings to those schools who are trying innovative ways to do so, or excusing them from doing some onerous required bureaucratic task or, best of all, providing some extra money.