California parents on school participation is a new article in The San Francisco Chronicle.
Here are some excerpts on the unsurprising results of a new survey:
Wealthy parents are more likely to make cookies for bake sales, volunteer in classrooms and be otherwise involved in their children’s schools than lower-income mothers and fathers. That’s the conclusion of a survey of California public school parents released Thursday….
“There had been no other poll, really, that drilled down to give us a baseline to see how involved parents are, what the attitudes are to their schools,” Freedberg said. “We asked parents what it would take to get more involved.”
The answer: Parents want to participate more, but schools need to make it easier, Freedberg said of the results.
“Parents are more likely to cite a lack of time, rather than a lack of interest or a system that is unreceptive to their input, as an obstacle to greater participation in advising and decision-making,” the survey concludes.
Parents want translators, advance notice of meetings, weekend options and perhaps most importantly, they want to know their input matters, the poll found.
The Harvard Family Research Project has just announced the formation of a Parent University Network.
Here’s how they describe it:
First launched in the 1980s, Parent Universities have become a promising capacity-building mechanism across the country to help families develop knowledge and skills that enable them be proactive in their children’s learning and growth. Parent Universities are parent education programs that offer a variety of opportunities, including courses, trainings, and other activities to help parents ensure their children’s success. HFRP has identified 140 Parent Universities and is committed to helping them connect on key issues and learn about innovative and promising practices from each other.
I have shared my perspectives on these types of academies at My Best Posts On Parent “Academies” & “Universities.”
I do hope that HFRP use their influence to move many of them away from “off the shelf” curriculum towards a genuine parent engagement model where parents identify what they want to learn and are help determine how it is taught to them….
A proposed bill in Utah has got to be the latest addition to The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas:
Utah Republican State Senator Aaron Osmond has introduced a bill that would make this a new law:
students who fail to achieve academic proficiency would be required to participate in remediation, the cost of which would be charged in full or in part to their parents.
Here’s the response from a member of the State School Board:
“I think it’s better if we can find ways to engage parents in schools in positive ways and encourage these parent-teacher partnerships and not have to legislate what parents will do and what they will pay for if they don’t do it,” she said. “It can just come across, I think, as punitive or heavy-handed if you’re not careful.”
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.”
For that quote alone, I’m adding this to The Best Reasons Why Parents Should Be Looked At As Allies & Not Targets Of Blame.
Teacher Trips Can Help Students Learn is an interesting article by Joe Nathan about what one school is doing to connect with its neighborhood a bit more.
Here are a couple of excerpts:
Local field trips for students are common, but not so much for teachers. A Minnesota school recently took its teachers around neighborhoods they serve to help them understand more about their students and families…
Understanding and respecting the community can help a school and classroom be more welcoming, encouraging and successful. So, for example, Academia Cesar Chavez educators learned about the close, ongoing relationships between families it served and their extended family members who still live in Mexico. Part of what ACC educators learned was that many of the families are simultaneously working to support their families and to attend classes so they can learn or improve their English. Thus, it’s important to schedule conferences at times that will work for parents.
Closing a Fear Gap So Children Can Achieve is an article in The New York Times about genuine family engagement — teachers helping parents of their students navigate the immigration process.
Here’s how it begins:
The meeting began, as so many in middle-school auditoriums do, uncomfortably. Parents squeezed into chairs fit for 12-year-old knees. The speaker’s first question fell flat.
“Estamos listos a aprender mucho?” repeated Montserrat Garibay, an official with the local teachers’ union. Are we ready to learn a lot?
The response — “Si!” — sounded more convincing the second time around. So Ms. Garibay, 34, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt that said “My Dream is Our Dream,” pressed ahead with her presentation. For the next several hours, she led a step-by-step workshop on navigating the country’s immigration laws, with a focus on President Obama’s pledge to let certain undocumented minors remain in the country.
Parents want districts to keep them in the funding loop, according to feedback from bus tour is an Ed Source article about a bus tour in California organized by the California Endowment foundation.
The foundation organized the tour to encourage parent involvement in the state’s new funding process for schools.
As I wrote in my previous post on this tour, it sounds like it was a good opportunity for parents to share their concerns.
However, I just don’t understand why foundations do these kinds of things themselves. Why don’t they just stick to their job of providing funding to groups? If they had done that here, not only would they have involved parents, but they would have also built capacity for long-term parent engagement.
I’ve previously published a number of posts about the effort to collect and distribute student data and the campaign to have parents opt-out of having their children take standardized tests.
Now, the director of the Data Quality Campaign (funded by – who else — Gates) is bringing the two together by claiming that parents who opt-out of tests and, therefore, make that data unavailable, are equivalent to parents who don’t get their kids vaccinated and put everybody else’s kids in danger.
Come on, now. I think it’s possible to have a very reasonable discussion on the pros and cons — both in substance and in strategy — on data collection and opting-out of tests.
But ridiculous hyperbole likes this gives the appearance that some “reformers” might be feeling a bit defensive and desperate these days….
Bronx Partnership Aims to Build Parent-Engagement Skills is an article from Education Week about an interesting partnership:
Last fall, Mercy College opened the Bronx Parent Center to help improve student achievement by teaching, training, and supporting parents to become education advocates and active partners in their children’s schooling. The center wants to provide meaningful and individualized support for parents to assist their children academically, socially, and behaviorally from kindergarten through college.
Program aims to get parents on their children’s academic team is an article in the Los Angeles Times about a program I’ve previously blogged about called “Academic Parent-Teacher Teams.”
I’ll just reprint what I’ve said in an earlier post:
Admittedly, all I know about the program is based on the resources I’ve posted about it, but it seems to me to be pretty teacher-time intensive, data-driven, and leading with the “mouth” instead of the “ears.” I would contrast that with other family engagement efforts I’ve written about, including home visits, that tend to be more relationship and listening driven.
Let me know if you think I’m missing something…
Earlier this week, I posted about a Milwaukee Journal article titled “What to do if your child is accused of being a bully.”
Now, the BBC has published their own article on the same topic, What should you do if your child is ‘the bully’?
I think the first one is more useful to parents, but this new one is probably also worth a look…
What to do if your child is accused of being a bully is from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and offers pretty decent advice.
It’s a delicate issue, but I think it’s a useful article for parents to read….
A fairly substantial experiment has been launched in Great Britain — 14 schools will start paying parents of their students to attend eighteen parent training sessions. You can read more about it at The Telegraph and at The BBC (and at The Guardian).
You can read more about why I don’t have a good feeling about it at my Washington Post column, Why paying parents to attend school events is wrong.
The Twin Rivers School District in north Sacramento has undergone many challenges recently, and has just hired a new superintendent. According to an article about him in today’s Sacramento Bee, he seems to have a good grasp on the importance of family engagement:
Among his many ideas: Partnering with Pacific Gas and Electric’s Power Pathway program, which provides job training for adults and high school graduates who can later work for the utility, its many contractors or other operations like Comcast and AT&T. That, combined with a relaunching of the district’s adult education program, could offer parents a pathway to future and even career employment.
“This is exactly where we want to go with our adult-ed program,” Martinez said. “PG&E has never engaged with an adult-ed program before, so this model would be the first of its kind in the state. With 22 percent unemployment, a public-private partnership like this can be a game-changer. With parents feeling a whole lot better being employed, having benefits, you get a student who is fed, clothed and ready to learn.”
Rethinking Parent-Teacher Conferences is the subject of The New York Times feature “Room For Debate.”
It includes responses from eight educators — my favorite being Jose Luis Vilson.
I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences.
Turn On, Tune In, Opt Out is an article in The Nation about the growing popularity of efforts by parents to have their children “opt-out” of taking standardized tests.
I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Parents “Opting-Out” Of Standardized Tests For Their Children.
The Role of the K-12 Parent is a special multimedia Education Week report.
It includes a number of important articles, videos and infographics.
Here’s a small sample of what it offers:
And I’m adding their infographic to The Best Infographics About Parent Involvement In Schools:
Parents push for more prominent place at the school budget table is an article at Ed Source about an effort sponsored by The California Endowment, one of the largest funders in the state, to encourage parent participation in implementing California’s new school funding formula.
It’s certainly an important and necessary goal. However, I have to admit I get nervous when I see foundations actually doing things instead of funding other groups already on the ground.
Funding initiatives like that don’t have a long track of success….