Last week, I wrote about a Well-Intentioned, But Odd & Unworkable Effort To Incorporate Parent Involvement In New Jersey Teacher Evaluations.
Now, Education Week has written a piece on the same issue titled N.J. Lawmaker Wants Parent Involvement Included in Teachers’ Reviews.
Here’s a short excerpt that describe its possible impact:
It isn’t clear how (or whether) this information would affect the student-achievement component of students’ scores; the bill itself doesn’t say. But presumably, a teacher who had to deal with very uninvolved parents might get some kind of protection from a bad evaluation score.
Most States Lack Opt-Out Policies – But Parents Find A Way is a very interesting and useful post by Alexander Russo.
The post gives a very good overview of state laws on “opting out” of standardized tests.
I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Parents “Opting-Out” Of Standardized Tests For Their Children.
The California PTA made some horrible miscalculations leading to the November, 2012 elections (see California PTA Sets Back Parent Engagement Efforts In State) and, though they have a long way to go, it appears to me they are making some good moves to rebuild their credibility.
They seem to be having some success with a School Smarts program, though I think it can be improved.
They are also working on taking advantage of parent involvement requirements in the new California school funding law. You can read about what the present chair of the California PTA has to say about that effort at a new post in Ed Source.
So, it appears they are on the road back to relevancy. With luck, they learned the right lessons from their mistakes in 2012.
I hope so, because we need them…..
A Lesson on the Common Core is a good short and sweat summary of the Common Core for parents. It’s by Jessica Lahey, and appeared in The New York Times.
I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Talking To Parents About The Common Core Standards.
Research Review Gives Thumbs Up to Community Schools Approach the headline of a post at Education Week.
Here’s an excerpt:
In the wake of newly elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to open 100 community schools, a report released Tuesday finds promise in this type of educational intervention. The study, supported in part with a grant from an organization founded by de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, concludes that research and theory support the concept of community schools that seek to boost academic performance by offering mentoring, counseling, healthcare, and other wraparound services that extend well beyond the classroom.
The report itself, unfortunately, says very little — if anything — about the importance of parents being involved in developing plans on how community schools can be developed. Of course, that’s a shortcoming of most, though not all, community school programs.
I’m still adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools.
I’ve previously published a number of posts about the ed-insanity going on in Newark — including, but not limited to, parent engagement efforts.
Here’s the latest from Bob Braun in Cami to Newark parents: Don’t worry, we know best:
Pity the parents of Newark’s public school children. Many are unsure where their children will attend school in the fall. They’ve had to fill out application forms and hope they get their first choices in an ever-changing program called “One Newark.” For many, if their first choice was a neighborhood public school, they’re out of luck. Now comes a new insult—if they want to know how their children were picked for this school or that, they can just forget it. That’s secret information. They’re not allowed to know.
Chalkbeat shares highlights from a letter New York City Chancellor Carmen Fariña recently sent to principals. It runs thirteen pages, but this particular excerpt caught my idea. It seems like an interesting idea:
At M.S. 319 Maria Teresa in Manhattan, Principal Ysidro Abreu and his parent coordinator host a monthly “Parent Learning Walk.” They start each session by discussing the elements of good instruction and then let parents observe their kids in the classroom. Afterward, parents complete a survey to assess the learning environment, noting such things as whether students did the majority of the talking in class, referenced text to explain their thinking, and asked for help when they got stuck. I love this model because it gives parents a continuity of purpose—and the tools they need to become true partners in their children’s education.
Parent Involvement in Early Literacy is an Edutopia blog post offering a number of useful suggestions to parents of young children.
I’m adding it to The Best Ideas On How Parents Can Help Their Kids Succeed In School.
Parents Should Opt Out – And Teachers Should Help is a post by Dr. John Thompson.
Here’s an excerpt:
I plead guilty to not being militant enough in resisting NCLB-type testing. Had teachers put up a real fight, including “sick-outs” on testing day, they could not have fired us all, and our students would not have had to endure more than a decade of bubble-in malpractice.
The Tulsa World’s Kim Archer, in Parents Opting Kids Out of State Testing Could Put Schools in a Bind, points to a way for teachers to atone for our timidity. The state of Oklahoma has joined Chicago, New York City (under Mike Bloomberg), and others in attempting to intimidate parents into dropping their protests against high-stakes testing. Archer explains the reason, “If test participation dips below 90 percent, the district receives an automatic F, according to the A-F school grade law.”
School systems often make herculean efforts to test 95% of students, which is the required minimum for each test. If only one or two students per class were to boycott bubble-in testing, the entire system would collapse. They can’t give every school an “F,” can they?
You might also be interested in The Best Posts On Parents “Opting-Out” Of Standardized Tests For Their Children.
District Leaders Urged to Rethink Community Engagement Strategies is an interesting post over at Education Week about a recent address by former Milwaukee School Superintendent Howard Fuller.
Here’s an excerpt:
Fuller said school district leaders must reflect the racial makeup of the families they serve in order to achieve meaningful community engagement. That presents a real challenge, he added, since white people lead most higher-performing schools, and much of the funding goes to certain groups of “like-minded and racially homogenous reformers.” Further complicating this issue, Fuller said, is the lack of diversity in the pool of future teachers and education leaders which he says is because public schools have failed minority students for years.
The Flip Side of Parent Communication is a blog post from ASCD In Service that discusses taking the popular ideas of flipping classrooms and applying to parent communication:
DeWitt started documenting school events and introduced parents to the concept of flipped communication. Some of the videos he shared recapped the week’s activities (e.g., 11-26-13 and 11-18-13) and others chronicled bigger occasions such as Fire Prevention Day, which brought together fire departments from two communities (Poestenkill welcomed 100 new students when a nearby school closed, making the collaboration especially significant).
I’m adding this info to A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Using Technology To Help Engage Parents.
Dr. Anthony Moore has written two posts in Ed Week about How to Increase Parental Engagement in Urban Education. You can see Part One here and Part Two here.
Part Two has a useful list of ten pieces of advice to parents about how they can help their child, and the might be worth sharing with parents (though you might want to make modifications). Here are six of them:
Make school a priority and insist on perfect attendance and punctuality.
Trust the school, model respect for teachers and staff, and work cooperatively with the school.
Ask your child what they learned at school every day.
Read with your child or have him or her read to you every day and talk about what you’ve read.
Create a study routine. Set a time and quiet place for your child to work every day. Go over homework together and insist that it gets completed before television, internet or games.
Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep each school night.
Parents Should Demand Partnerships With Schools to Boost Achievement is a post over at Education Week reporting on a recent meeting of parent convened by the National Assessment Governing Board (they’re the ones who administer the NAEP tests, which I believe are being given this week).
I’m not really sure how valuable or important the meeting was, but the Ed Week post reports on a talk given there by University of Chicago professor Charles Payne, who I respect.
Check it out….
Educating, Engaging and Mobilizing Parents: A Conversation with Parents for Public Schools Executive Director Anne Foster is a good interview from Learning First.
Here’s how it begins:
Public School Insights (PSI): What is Parents for Public Schools?
Foster: Parents for Public Schools (PPS) is a national organization of community-based chapters working to strengthen public schools by engaging, educating and mobilizing parents.
PSI: Why was the organization formed?
Foster: Parents for Public Schools was started in 1989 in Jackson, Mississippi, by a group of parents. They were committed to supporting public schools and challenging the entire community to do so as well. They were convinced that parents could positively impact public schools, and one of their first acts was to help pass the first bond election in many years, enabling the improvement of the school district facilities. This fledgling movement gained momentum and attention, and PPS became a national organization in 1991.
Keys To Parent Engagement – Relationships, Climate, Communication is the last in a four-part series I’ve published over at Education Week Teacher.
Today’s post highlights responses from Darcy Hutchins and Mai Xi Lee, along with many readers’ comments.
Here are some excerpts:
I’m adding the series to My Best Posts, Articles & Interviews On Parent Engagement.
What Do Parents Want in Their Child’s School? is a good post by Bill Carozza summarizing a semi-recent poll of parents by the Fordham Institute.
I had thought I had posted about the survey already, but I couldn’t find it, so I guess I just thought I had….
Of course, I have posted about many other parent surveys, and you can find all those here.
Parent Engagement Requires ‘Trust, Not Blame’ is Part Two in my Education Week Teacher series on…parent engagement.
Jane Baskwill, Julia Thompson and Bryon V. Garrett share their thoughts.
Here are some excerpts:
Listening To Parents With Our Heads And Hearts is my latest Education Week Teacher post.
This is the first post in a three-part series on parent engagement. Today, Katy Ridnouer, Janice Fialka, and Joe Mazza provide their guest responses
How Teachers and Parents Work Together for Student Success is a useful article from NEA Today.
Here’s an excerpt:
If you show a willingness to learn more about your students from their parents, then they’ll be more willing to work with you throughout the school year. Show an interest in them, and they’ll return the favor.
Mellanay Auman, a middle school language arts teacher, uses the beginning of the year to get to know both parent and student better.
“The first week of school, I send home a fill-in-the-blank letter in English and Spanish for the parents to write to me about their son/daughter,” says Auman. “They get a chance to tell me about what they want their child to accomplish in my class, and about their child’s strengths, hobbies and interests.”
Since you’re asking the parents for input about their children—treating them as partners—they’ll be more willing to communicate with you throughout the year.