“Blame” has certainly been a theme of many school reform discussions — including blaming teachers and blaming parents. Here are some commentaries on why no one, including teachers, should get sucked into that morass. You might also be interested in seeing all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.
Parents Are Our Allies is a post I wrote excerpting an article by Pedro Noguera.
Parents Aren’t to Blame for the Achievement Gap: A History of Injustice Is! is the titled of a piece in the Huffington Post written by a teacher. It a good perspective on look at the assets of parents, and the importance of not “blaming” them.
Teachers Have Got To Stop Blaming Parents is a post I wrote.
Next, let’s go after the parents! is a good post by my Sacramento colleague Alice Mercer about one of the ramifications of the ongoing school reform debates.
“Parents Agree – Better Assessments, Less High-Stakes Testing” is a post I wrote about a recent survey.
A Parent’s Advice to the Chicago Teachers Union was written by Diane Ravitch. She a comment left by a parent on her blog. Here’s part of the parent’s statement:
For every irate, blustering, nasty parent you’ve encountered, I guarantee you there are 2 or 3 or even 9 who feel differently. And a lot of them will have your back, stand with you, speak out for you, support you fully: but you have to approach them, one on one. You have to make the first move, reach out, and ASK their help.
Teachers and Parents: Natural Allies in Defending Our Schools is a useful post by Anthony Cody at Education Week.
“Organized Parents, Organized Teachers was produced by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform as part of AISR’s ongoing efforts to support community organizing for better schools and collaborative, effective partnerships between community members, parents, and teachers.”
Building Parent-Teacher Unions is an important article about the extraordinary work going on in St. Paul Minnesota. Here’s how it starts:
On a Saturday afternoon in early March, some 60 people packed into a classroom at a technical high school north of Saint Paul, Minn., to discuss the strategic course of Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) Local 28’s upcoming contract negotiations. The remarkable thing is that most of them were not card-carrying union members, or even teachers. They were students, parents and community activists concerned about their schools and the attack on public education.
During the session, one group focused on the needs of teachers by answering the simple, yet important, prompt, “If you had the best school in the world, what would teachers deserve?” The other focused on students and asked, “If you had the best school in the world, what would students look like?”
The answers from the two groups mirrored each other. They called for wages and working conditions that sustain a teaching career and long-term professional growth, smaller class sizes, a focus on interdisciplinary and experiential learning, an emphasis on teaching over testing, and time set aside to allow students to learn, process and grow.
The session reflects what SPFT President Mary Cathryn Ricker calls the “new model” of community involvement, “with teachers, and parents, at the center of advocating for their profession, as opposed to teachers standing on the sidelines.”
Trusting Teachers Is a Means to Authentic Parent Engagement is an interesting post by Kim Farris-Berg over at Education Week.
If you need another reason why parents should be looked at as allies and not targets of blame, check this out:
Parents Add Heft to Bond, Tax-Measure Campaigns is an Education Week article worth reading.
Here’s an excerpt:
Though the specifics may differ from community to community, parents throughout the country are increasingly becoming advocates for bond and tax measures needed to fill budget holes and better the quality of schools.
Their outreach often goes beyond knocking on doors, posting on Facebook, and running ads on local TV stations: In Baltimore, for example, the nearly three-year campaign included a 3,000-person rally and weekly parent bus rides to lobby state legislators in Annapolis, the capital.
According to Michael Griffith, the senior policy analyst for the Denver-based Education Commission of the States, parents are vital in pushing local voters to pass both bond measures, which typically pay for lengthy infrastructure projects, and tax or levy measures, which pay for district operating expenses.
“While in most school districts these measures have to go through the school board or the district’s fiscal agent to be put before the community, it is the parents that have to rally to support the measure,” Mr. Griffith said. “Whether it be organizing a campaign or voting for the measure, parent involvement is crucial to getting these measures passed.”
Parent involvement at L.A. schools getting new look is an article looking at various ways parents are organizing around school issues.
It ends with an important quote from Charles Kerchner, “a professor at Claremont Graduate University who studies labor and education politics”:
“When there are disputes between unions and districts,” he said, “the side parents align with typically wins.”
Feedback is welcome.
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You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.