North Carolina Bill Targets Undocumented Students

Hot on the heels of a Tennessee bill targeting undocumented immigrant students, the North Carolina legislature is considering a bill requiring principals to ask each parent if their child is documented or not.

Now, that will really be a tool to encourage parent engagement…

The North Carolina bill was also introduced just weeks after federal officials warned states and school districts against checking student immigration status.

Maybe North Carolina legislators need to check their mail…

“Complain at school and get a knock on the door”

“Complain at school and get a knock on the door” is how a New York Daily News article (Parents say administrators are siccing ACS on them to retaliate for complaints) about parents claiming that if they make a complaint about their school, then the school reports them to child welfare investigators.

Of course, there’s no way at this point to know for sure who’s telling the truth, but there does appear to be quite a few of these parent complaints. If there is validity to their concerns, it’s certainly not a good way to encourage parent engagement, to say the least.

Thanks to Ken Libby for the tip.

House Committee Votes To Retain Funding For Parental Information & Resource Centers

A House committee voted today to retain funding for the Parental Information & Resource Centers (PIRCs).

I haven’t been following this issue that closely, but I have to say that I’m surprised. I’m not sure if the National PTA was the primary lobbying force behind it or not but, if whoever was appears to have done a pretty darn impressive job.

What Do Students Think About Parent Involvement?

Last week I wrote a post titled “Failing” Parents, which shared a New York Times article about misguided punitive steps to encourage parent involvement/engagement.

Since that times, The New York Times Learning Network has invited to students to respond to the question:

Whose Fault Is It if a Child Is Failing in School?

So far, there have been sixty-nine responses. They’re pretty interesting.

“Judge to throw out Trigger petitions”

The campaign to use the “parent trigger” law in Compton is now over, and supporters are trying to start a charter school at a local church instead.

“Judge to throw out Trigger petitions:Compton parents to open charter nearby” is the title of a post at the Thoughts On Public Education blog that gives an update.

It will be interesting to see what kind of approval, and from whom, they need for their proposed charter school.

“Teaching the Teachers: Preparing Educators to Engage Families for Student Achievement”

Teaching the Teachers: Preparing Educators to Engage Families for Student Achievement is a new report from the Harvard Family Research Project and the National PTA on how teacher education programs can better prepare teachers for family engagement.

This is how they describe the report:

Teaching the Teachers highlights those promising strategies through five case studies, and examines how teacher education programs can create the foundation for meaningful and effective family engagement. This brief describes five core elements necessary for a system of teacher training and professional development in support of family engagement, distilled from the case studies of existing teacher preparation programs. The brief also addresses the policies needed to support this type of teacher preparation system. The five core elements in the system are:

•Standards for family engagement
•Curriculum that advances the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that teachers need to engage families
•Collaborations among various stakeholders
•Continuing professional development around family engagement
•Evaluation for learning and continuous improvement

“Failing” Parents

The New York Times has just published an article on recent efforts by not-particularly-enlightened legislators to “help” students learn by punishing their parents. It’s titled Whose Failing Grade Is It?

Here’s a Diane Ravitch quote from the article:

That is not surprising, said Diane Ravitch, an education historian and the author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System.” Yes, parenting can be “taught” Ms. Ravitch said, but not this way.

“If we could just find the right person to punish,” she said of the philosophy behind too many education reform plans. “Punish the teachers. Punish the parents. It’s Dickensian. What we should be doing instead is giving a helping hand.”

I’ve written about several of these misguided efforts in the past, and you can read those posts here.

New York City Mayor Insults Parents — Again

The NY Times reports that New York City Mayor Bloomberg today complained today about the predominantly minority parents who are fighting against his plan to close twenty-two schools:

“Unfortunately there are some parents who just come from — they never had a formal education, and they don’t understand the value of education.”

It’s an outrageous insult against all parents, and especially to immigrants. In my experience, often immigrant parents who have little formal education are some of the biggest boosters of helping their children improve themselves through schools. On top of that, his comments show the arrogant perspective that if you don’t support what he wants done, then you obviously don’t care about schools. It’s similar to the refrain often used by school reformers against anyone who opposes their plans (see The Best Posts Discussing Arrogance & School Reform).

Unfortunately, this comment is just the latest in a series of actions he’s taken to show he does not respect parents of the children he is responsible for educating (in New York, the mayor is in charge of the school system). You might be interested in reading:

Mayor Bloomberg Appears Tone Deaf…

What Is Mayor Bloomberg Thinking?

“Bloomberg talks down to parents, teachers and students fighting for lives of their schools”

I wonder if this attitude is one of the reasons why 65% of New Yorkers don’t approve of the way the Mayor is handling schools?