Another Parent Trigger Effort Fails In California

Last week, another attempt at using the “parent trigger” to take over a public school failed.

Here are some articles on the effort:

Anaheim parents fail to convert struggling school to charter is from The LA Times.

Anaheim school board rejects parent petition to turn Palm Lane Elementary into a charter is from The Orange County Register.

Local Board Rejects ‘Parent Trigger’ Petition at California School is from Ed Week.

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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“Parents Support Later Start Times for High School”

Parents Support Later Start Times for High School is the headline of an article at Scientific American that schools might want to take note of…

Here’s how it begins:

A new, national survey released by the University of Michigan has found that 50 percent of parents who have teenage children would support later start times for high school. That number might not impress you. But it is much higher than even a few years ago, when many parents felt that such a change would cause practical problems. A steady drumbeat of studies showing that teens who start school later are healthier, safer and smarter is having a real affect on public opinion. As a result, more and more school districts across the U.S. are beginning the day later or are considering doing so.

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“Students take the lead in parent conferences”

Students take the lead in parent conferences is the headline of an article in the Alaska Star.

Here’s how it begins:

Gone is the long wait outside the classroom for middle school students while their parents or guardians talk with teachers during parent conferences. Instead, the Anchorage School District is moving to a student-led model.

It’s the student’s job to select which completed assignments represent his or her best and worst work. It’s up to the student to come up with improvement goals, and give an assessment of academic performance.

You might also be interested in other articles on the same topic, which can be found at The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences.

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Yes, Schools Should Help Students Who Are Obese &, No, Their Parents Should Not Get Fined

Puerto Rico has announced a plan to have schools help students who are obese to lose weight and become more healthy. Much of it sounds good.

However, I don’t think fining parents whose children don’t respond positively to the program is a “bridge too far.” I don’t

You can read more about the program at:

Puerto Rico’s controversial proposal would fine the parents of obese children is from The Washington Post.

Could fining parents cut childhood obesity? is from The BBC. Here’s an excerpt from the BBC article:

Hill dislikes the Puerto Rican proposal. “We need to move the argument away from saying it’s all about individual responsibility and ‘it’s you to blame’. People do have some responsibility but we must recognise the power of environment and how difficult it is to change for the rest of your life.”

Philadelphia – the most overweight of America’s major cities – has cut the obesity rate among children. The city authority has persuaded shops to stock more fruit and vegetables in areas once described as “food deserts” because of a lack of nutritious offerings. It has also banned full-fat milk from school canteens, as well as deep-fat frying, while sugary drinks have disappeared from vending machines.

“None of these efforts involved stigmatising or penalising parents,” says Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Connecticut-based Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. “In contrast, these changes exemplify ways to support and empower parents to make it easier to improve the health of their children.”

Puhl argues that a more integrated approach. involving schools encouraging better eating and more exercise, is needed.

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“AFT teacher brings community schools message to Congress”

AFT teacher brings community schools message to Congress is a post at the American Federation of Teachers site.

Here’s how it begins:

Stressing that the majority of kids in American public schools now live in poverty, a Baltimore teacher and AFT member urged Congress on Feb. 5 to battle that challenge through a redesigned Elementary and Secondary Education Act—one that helps schools and students overcome poverty’s deepest obstacles by supporting proven strategies like community schools.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools.

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Scary Example Of Parent DISengagement: “States weigh turning education funds over to parents”

States weigh turning education funds over to parents is a Politico article about some very scary efforts to create something called Education Savings Accounts.

Here’s how the article begins:

A radical new concept in school choice will come up for vote in at least a half-dozen states from Virginia to Oklahoma in the coming months, as lawmakers consider giving hundreds of thousands of parents the freedom to design a custom education for their children — at taxpayer expense.

Twenty-one states already subsidize tuition at private schools through vouchers or tax credits. The new programs promise far more flexibility, but critics fear they could also lead to waste or abuse as taxpayers underwrite do-it-yourself educations with few quality controls.

Called Education Savings Accounts, the programs work like this: The state deposits the funds it would have spent educating a given child in public schools into a bank account controlled by his parents. The parents can use those funds — the amount ranges from $5,000 to more than $30,000 a year — to pay for personal tutors, homeschooling workbooks, online classes, sports team fees and many types of therapy, including horseback riding lessons for children with disabilities. They can also spend the money on private school tuition or save some of it for college.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten provides the perfect response to this dangerous program:

ESAs create “an unregulated, unaccountable market,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “Instead of the exit strategy from public education that these programs represent, we need a renewed commitment to strong neighborhood public schools for every child.”

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Important Study: “Money, Not Marital Status, Has the Most Impact on How Parents Raise Kids”

Money, Not Marital Status, Has the Most Impact on How Parents Raise Kids is an article in Slate about a very important study.

Here’s how it begins:

Despite all the attention paid to marital status when it comes to raising kids, a new report from the Council on Contemporary Families finds that, in reality, financial status actually matters more.

I’m adding it to The Best Articles Questioning The View That Single Parents Are A Problem.

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State Of California Rules That Public Schools Can’t Require Parents To Volunteer

I’ve previously posted about the ridiculous rules many charter schools in California have requiring parents to volunteer if they want their children to attend (see L.A. Times Editorial Headline: “Charter schools’ volunteer demands may discourage needy students”).

The State of California has now officially declared that schools can’t have those kinds of requirements.

You can read more about it in The San Francisco Chronicle article headlined Schools: Ask, don’t tell when it comes to parent time and cash.

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“Concerns about parenting in poorer families ‘misplaced'”

Concerns about parenting in poorer families ‘misplaced’ is the headline of an article in The Telegraph.

Here’s an excerpt:

Common perceptions that poorer mothers and fathers are likely to be less involved in their children’s lives are unfounded, according to research.

A new study argues that less well-off parents are just as likely to help with homework, play games and read with their children as those from wealthier backgrounds.

I’m adding it to “The Best Research Available On Parent Engagement.”

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Cupcake Ban Picks An Unnecessary Fight With Parents

I’m no fan of junk food but, as I’ve previously posted, banning parents from making baked goods for bake sales or to give to an entire class is, in my humble opinion, not a good use of a school’s “relationship capital.”

Texas’ agricultural commissioner just proclaimed a “cupcake amnesty” eliminating any local schools’ restrictions.

I’m not convinced that it’s an important enough issue that the state needs to make or repeal related rules, but schools just need to be more careful about picking their battles.

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Another Good Critique Of The “Broken Compass” Book On Parent Involvement

Jay P. Green, with whom I often disagree (but not this time!), has written an excellent review of the infamous “Broken Compass” book on parent involvement titled Wrong Diagnosis on Homework Help from Parents: Authors find correlation, mistake it for causation.

Here’s how he ends it:

After examining more than 300 pages of The Broken Compass with its dozens of regressions and charts, I know no more about the causal relationship between parental involvement and academic progress than I did before. If the purpose of The Broken Compass were simply to raise questions about this inverse correlation, it might be a fine book. But when the authors and unthinking reporters use it to recommend that parents stop helping kids with homework, they are being irresponsible, no less so than advising sick people to avoid hospitals because they tend to kill you.

I’m adding it to The Best Commentaries On The “Broken Compass” Parent Involvement Book.

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L.A. Times Editorial Headline: “Charter schools’ volunteer demands may discourage needy students”

I’ve previously posted about a report on California charter schools which found that many require parents to volunteer their time as a condition of their child attending the school (see “Concern over charter schools’ requirement for volunteer time”).

Now — a little late — the Los Angeles Times has published an editorial commenting on the report. Here’s how it ends:

Once children are enrolled, it’s fine for schools to encourage voluntarism as a way of engaging parents in their children’s education. But setting discouraging rules should be prohibited. The state Board of Education should impose firm rules to stop schools from requiring unpaid parental labor; California students are guaranteed the right to a free and public education.

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Must-Read New Yorker Article On The “Word Gap”

The New Yorker has just published what I think is probably the best article written on the “word gap.” It’s titled The Talking Cure: The poorer parents are, the less they talk with their children. The mayor of Providence is trying to close the “word gap.”

It includes a substantial section detailing critiques, too. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Word Gap.”

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