Parent Trigger Supporters Attack PTA, Compare Schools To Batterers

The Los Angeles Weekly, a big supporter of the parent trigger law, has just published a story that indicates that parent trigger supporters seem to be going over the edge…

In the article, they are not only attacking teachers and their unions, but now they’re attacking…the PTA?

Also, Gloria Romero, defeated candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, gives what I can only call a bizarre response to what many, including me, say should be done when groups like Parent Revolution start talking to parents — letting the school district know (you can read about why I believe that’s essential at The ‘Parent Trigger’ doesn’t help schools or parents). Here is what she says:

Sen. Romero compares that to a woman notifying her abusive boyfriend before filing a restraining order. “You’re telling the parents they have to go and stand before their batterers and tell them, ‘I’m going to go file papers on you!’ ” she says.

When you start attacking the PTA and comparing schools and teachers to batterers, it’s a pretty good indication that your efforts are reaching the point of desperation…

Thanks to Alexander Russo for the tip on the article.

(Kenneth Libby has written another good post on the article at Parent Trigger, Media Coverage, and More…)

More On Newark

I’ve previously posted about my deep skepticism about the parent outreach efforts that are being done in Newark with the recent huge grant that was received.

Here are some recent articles about the effort that have appeared in the media:

A Deeper Look at the Newark, NJ Public Schools and the Zuckerberg Donation by Dana Goldstein at The Nation

Asking a $100 Million Question at The Wall Street Journal (it also has a slideshow) Thanks to Alexander Russo for the tip

The Importance Of Conversation

In my book, I emphasize the importance of two-way conversation as opposed to the typical one-way communication schools use with parents — calls home to inform parents about problems with their children, notices given to students to carry home, “connect-ed” automated phone calls.

Check-out yesterday’s Pearls Before Swine comic strip to get an idea about how NOT to define a conversation.

The Power Of A Positive Phone Call Home

I’m a big advocate of teachers and administrators call parents when kids are doing well — not just when there’s a problem. You can read a post I’ve written titled “Mr. Ferlazzo, I Need My Post-It, Too” to give you one example of the enormous impact a call like that can have on a family.

Another great example can be found in Chris Wejr’s post over at Connected Principals. It’s titled Power of Positivity: The Friday 5. He tells about an effort that he and his vice principal make to call five parents each Friday with positive news. He includes a wonderful “transcript” of one.

“Time To Stop the Hypocrisy About Poverty and Education”

Time To Stop the Hypocrisy About Poverty and Education is the title of an excellent post by Renee Moore. You should read the whole post, but here’s an excerpt:

I’ve also seen too many educators blaming poor children and their families for not caring about education, while ignoring that those attitudes may in large part be reactions to the school systems which have failed them and their children for so long. How can we, with straight faces, tell poor parents that we take the education of their children seriously, when they can see the physical differences between the schools in their neighborhood and those in neighboring upscale communities? When they can see a constant rotation of administrators, and cycles of temporary, underprepared teaching staff for their children, but veteran, highly accomplished teachers for the children of those who have more? And why should they have to move themselves or their children to get access to those resources and teachers?

Well said, Renee!

Closing Schools

“Closing Underperforming Schools” is the headline of a piece by Walt Gardner at Ed Week.

He recounts the huge recent problems in Boston and Charlotte when schools were closed without parents being involved in the process in any meaningful way.

He ends the article this way:

The next school district that is forced to make the tough decision to close schools needs to involve parents in the decision-making process. Telling them after the fact is not the way to build a partnership.

This Is The Best Piece I’ve Seen On Parent Involvement & Obama’s “Blueprint For Reform”

Holding on to Parent Voices is the headline of an article in the new issue of District Administration. It provides an in-depth analysis of how parent involvement issues are affected by the Obama Administration’s “Blueprint for Reform,” which lays out general principles for reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. These issues include the proposed elimination of guaranteed funding for 62 Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs).

It’s the best piece I’ve seen on the issue, and I doubt you’re going to see a better one written.

Tenth Anniversary Of FINE: Family Involvement Network of Educators

This is the tenth anniversary Of FINE, the Family Involvement Network of Educators. It comes out of the Harvard Family Research Project.

Their most recent newsletter includes:

a handful of our favorite FINE resources from the last 10 years, all of which are related to some of the content areas we will be exploring in greater depth during FINE’s 2011 anniversary year: teacher preparation/professional development, early childhood education, data use and technology, and evaluation. Meanwhile, this special issue’s commentary reflects on how the field of family, school, and community engagement has evolved over the past decade, and outlines the upcoming projects in the field that HFRP aims to showcase through FINE in the coming year.

“LA aims to engage parents in schools with services”

“LA aims to engage parents in schools with services” is the headline of a new Associated Press article on the reorganization and expansion of a District parent involvement program.

Unfortunately, it appears to promote a misguided “If you build it, they will come” model of creating parent centers and coming up with classes that they think parents are going to be interested in, instead of making home visits, listening to what parents want, helping connect them to other parents and groups who share similar concerns, and working together in partnership to approach those challenges.

I would be happy to be shown that I’m wrong, and maybe the article doesn’t provide an accurate describe of the plan…..

“Beyond Random Acts: Family, School, and Community Engagement as an Integral Part of Education Reform”

Beyond Random Acts: Family, School, and Community Engagement as an Integral Part of Education Reform is a new report issued by the Harvard Family Research Project.

This is how they describe it:

Beyond Random Acts provides a research-based framing of family engagement; examines the policy levers that can drive change in promoting systemic family, school, and community engagement; and focuses on data systems as a powerful tool to engage families for twenty-first century student learning. Because education reform will succeed only when all students are prepared for the demands of the twenty-first century, the paper also examines the role of families in transforming low-performing schools.