Online Chat (& Good Research Links) About Parent Engagement

The UK newspaper The Guardian is going to have an online chat for teachers about parent engagement this Wednesday (see Parental engagement: tips, tricks and how to make it work – live chat).

I think it will be interesting to see the comments and responses that show up in the chat, but I was particularly intrigued by a couple of links to related research in the Guardian announcement.

Because of those links, I’m going to add this post to “The Best Research Available On Parent Engagement.”

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“Many residents unaware of changes in education, poll finds”

Many residents unaware of changes in education, poll finds is the headline of a San Francisco Chronicle story about the results of a recent statewide poll.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

California has overhauled how it teaches students, how it tests students and how it funds schools, yet a majority of taxpayers and parents say they have heard little about the changes, according to a poll released Wednesday.

While state students are in the middle of taking new standardized tests, called the Smarter Balanced Assessments, the survey of 1,706 residents found that more than half of public school parents, 55 percent, have heard nothing about them, and another 36 percent had heard just a little. That’s 91 percent combined…

…“Many public school parents are in the dark when it comes to Common Core,” said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California, which conducted the survey. “Local schools need to do a better job of keeping parents informed as the state implements the new English and math standards.”

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“Thousands of Kids Opt Out of Standardized Common Core Tests Across U.S.”

Thousands of Kids Opt Out of Standardized Common Core Tests Across U.S. is the headline for an article in TIME.

Here’s how it begins:

Thousands of students are opting out of new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core standards, defying the latest attempt by states to improve academic performance.

This “opt-out” movement remains scattered but is growing fast in some parts of the country. Some superintendents in New York are reporting that 60 percent or even 70 percent of their students are refusing to sit for the exams. Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers who complain about standardized testing.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Parents “Opting-Out” Of Standardized Tests For Their Children.

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“Advocates of state’s parent-trigger law seek to expand its influence”

Advocates of state’s parent-trigger law seek to expand its influence is an article in Ed Source describing plans trigger proponents have in our state of California.

I was particularly struck by the comments of Professor John Rogers from UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies:

Calling it an “old Wild West metaphor,” Rogers said the law “taps into a real frustration at the core of many parents’ experiences, but it deflects from the real cause of that frustration.”

Instead of shifting power from a “recalcitrant bureaucracy to parents with a holster,” he said developing empowered relationships among parents and educators would be more effective for the entire community.

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NY Times Story On Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parents and Teachers Meet in a New York Minute (or 5 if They’re Lucky) is a New York Times article about…parent-teacher conferences.

Here’s how it begins:

On parent-teacher conference day at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan last week, scores of tense parents bunched together in the lobby, penned in behind yellow caution tape. At exactly 1 p.m., the tape dropped and the grown-ups stampeded up the stairs, jostling to get to the front of the pack.

“It’s like the running of the bulls in Pamplona,” said Randi Amick, the mother of a junior, before disappearing down a hallway.

Don’t miss the comments left about the article, either.

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“Helicopter parents can be a good thing”

Helicopter parents can be a good thing is an interesting article in the latest issue of Phi Delta Kappan.

Here’s its summary:

Helicopter parents get a bad rap. Teachers and administrators should view them as a resource — not a nuisance. By encouraging open communication, teachers can begin to understand the motivations of these parents and find creative ways to connect them with opportunities to promote their students’ academic success and the school’s overall effectiveness.

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“Engage families for anywhere, anytime learning”

Engage families for anywhere, anytime learning is the title of an article in Phi Delta Kappan and written by leaders of the Harvard Family Research Project.

Here’s how it’s summarized:

As society expects children and youth today to explore content-area topics in depth and to develop critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills, out-of-school settings are becoming increasingly important to individual learning. These settings, which include libraries, museums, digital media, and after-school programs, are evolving into extended classrooms. In this context, it is no longer appropriate or fruitful for educators to focus family engagement solely on what happens in school; educators must reimagine this concept within the many opportunities now available for anywhere, anytime learning.

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“After Divisive Start, Use of ‘Parent Trigger’ Law Matures”

Though I’m not impressed with Education Week’s headline, After Divisive Start, Use of ‘Parent Trigger’ Law Matures, its recent article shares some pretty useful info on the parent trigger.

I especially liked this excerpt:

John Rogers, an associate professor in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, predicts the parent-trigger law may have run its course in California.

Mr. Rogers, who co-authored an upcoming research paper about the law, for the journal Teachers College Record, explained that the parent-trigger law was a byproduct of the nation’s crippling fiscal crisis, which ultimately left public schools facing steep budget cuts and angered some parents who already felt their schools were underfunded. Now, California is injecting more money into public schools, and the state’s new funding law requires parental input.

Calling it an “old Wild West metaphor,” Mr. Rogers said the law “taps into a real frustration at the core of many parents’ experiences, but it deflects from the real cause of that frustration.”

Instead of shifting power from a “recalcitrant bureaucracy to parents with a holster,” he said developing empowered relationships among parents and educators would be more effective for the entire community.

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“Family Success at the Heart of Engagement Efforts in Mass. District”

Family Success at the Heart of Engagement Efforts in Mass. District is the headline of an Ed Week article last month.

It describes what appears to be a fairly extensive parent involvement effort at the schools in Springfield, MA.

Here’s how it begins:

If parents in the Springfield, Mass., school system want to help their children with the college-application process, figure out how to balance the family budget, learn to knit, or even become a certified lifeguard, there’s a class for that, thanks to the district’s Parent Academy.

Now in its fourth year, the academy, started by Patricia A. Spradley, the chief parent and community engagement officer in the 26,000-student district, offers more than three dozen courses. Some are geared toward academics, some toward student well-being, some are just for fun.

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“Parent-trigger showdowns loom nationwide”

Parent-trigger showdowns loom nationwide is the headline of a new Hechinger Report article that gives a decent overview of what’s happening around the country related to the parent trigger.

Here’s how it begins:

Lawmakers around the country are gearing up for showdowns against teachers unions and school administrators who are seeking to squash a new round of education bills that would create and strengthen so-called “parent trigger” laws.

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“Texas Lawmakers Consider “Parent Trigger” Schools Law”

Texas Lawmakers Consider “Parent Trigger” Schools Law is the headline of a recent article in The Texas Tribune.

Here’s how it begins:

Hoping to prompt parent involvement and quicker turnarounds at struggling schools, Texas lawmakers are considering a controversial policy known as a “parent trigger” law.

A state Senate panel heard testimony Thursday on legislation allowing parents of students at underperforming public schools to campaign to make changes at their campuses — including hiring new staff, contracting with a charter school operator to take over management or closing the school altogether.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools.

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Ed Week Article On Parent Trigger Might Not See The Forest For The Trees

I’m obviously a big fan of Education Week since I’ve been writing a weekly teacher advice column there for the past four years.  Even before I began writing for them, though,  I was (and continue to be) impressed with its coverage of education issues.   However, I was a bit disappointed with their recent article, Parents Used ‘Trigger’ Law to Leverage School Changes, because I think it makes the mistake of telling the detailed relatively positive story of one school without describing the destructive force it’s been in most other areas.

If you’d like to learn more about the damage it’s caused, check out The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools.

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“Parents in poor communities do care about their children’s schooling. Here’s how to get them involved”

Parents in poor communities do care about their children’s schooling. Here’s how to get them involved is an interesting article at The Hechinger Report.

Here’s how it begins:

Let no educator, parent or advocate ever say parents don’t care about how their children do in school. Most really do, and given the right chance, will do all they can to help.

Here in the heart of the nation’s poorest region, in a historic but partially destitute town, parents are gathering regularly to chart a course for better schools, a better community and better lives for their families.

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Parent Involvement Changes In Scotland

I regularly share news about what’s going on in countries other than the United States around parent involvement issues, and you can find highlights at The Best Resources On Parent Engagement In Countries Other Than The U.S.

Scotland seems to be importing some ideas from the United States, and you can read about it in an article headlined Radical shake-up of parental involvement in schools.

Speaking of Scotland, you might also be interested in Guest Post: Parent Engagement In Scotland.

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