Nice Piece For Parents: “12 ways to identify a good school”

Jay Mathews has just published a nice post in The Washington Post titled 12 Ways To Identify A Good School.

Here’s how it begins:

Fourteen years ago, I wrote a Washington Post magazine piece about a young couple seeking a school for their daughter, including 12 things to look for in a good school. The article survives online. Parents still ask me if I would change any of those recommendations.

I would, a bit. Here is the original list, with my updates in italics:

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Health Center Planned At Sacramento School

Community health center planned for Sacramento’s Johnson High is the headline of an article in the Sacramento Bee.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t mention any kind of parent involvement in the effort, though it does mention the possibility of starting up a similar project at the high school where I teach. If that happens, I guarantee that parents will be engaged in the conversation — neither our principal or our parent involvement coordinator would have it otherwise!

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools.

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Parent Revolution Throws A Fit

I’ve written many posts about the destructive impact the organization Parent Revolution can have on schools, teachers, students and their families.

Their march of destruction continues as they are now threatening to sue the Los Angeles school district if they don’t allow the use of the “parent trigger” (see One Good Thing Comes Out Of Ill-Conceived CA District NCLB Waiver: LAUSD Not Subject To Parent Trigger).

To their credit, Parent Revolution has tempered their methods slightly from what they were doing originally. The main reason, though, why their work hasn’t been so damaging lately is because more and more people are seeing through their rhetoric, and few families want to have anything to do with them anymore.

If they really wanted to help families, though, their best move would be dissolution.

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Charlotte Schools Say Undocumented Parents Can’t Volunteer In Schools — For Now, At Least

Here’s how the article, Solutions elude CMS on undocumented volunteers, in the Charlotte Observer begins:

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools team assigned to find a way undocumented immigrant parents can volunteer in schools is running short on time and even shorter on potential solutions to the hot-button issue.

The team’s final meeting is Tuesday, and it has yet to find a quick, easily affordable fix to the current policy, which requires anyone volunteering in schools to produce a Social Security number and driver’s license for a criminal background check.

Undocumented immigrants – people not in the country legally – do not have such forms of identification, making it impossible for them to volunteer in schools where their children are students.

Thanks to K-12 Parents and the Public for the tip.

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Newark District Continues To Be Model For How NOT To Treat Parents

I’ve written so much about the ongoing disaster in Newark for parents and their children.

Here’s the latest — a post from Bob Braun titled Cami’s Newark enrollment plan collapses in the heat, with these being the first two paragraphs:

The implementation of the deeply flawed “One Newark” student-dispersal program all but collapsed Thursday as the state administration’s highly paid bureaucrats kept hundreds of angry and frustrated parents and children waiting in un-airconditioned school rooms or outside in 90+ heat to register their children for the few remaining public school seats. Just hours into the chaos, Newark school officials locked the doors to Newark Vocational and told the men, women, and children waiting outside to come back at 5 a.m. the next morning.

The people in line outside shouted angrily at the bureaucrats and demanded a “number”–as shoppers do at meat markets–and the chance to get inside so they could plan for their children’s education. Many said they could not return the next day because they had taken the day off from working and couldn’t take another day.

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The Best Advice On Engaging Parents At The Beginning Of The School Year

I have a fairly popular post titled The Best Sources Of Parent Engagement Advice For Teachers.

I thought it would be useful to put together a different list focusing specially on advice to teachers on this topic related the beginning of a new school year.

Here’s a short list — each post contains links to additional resources:

Writing Letters To Parents At The Start Of The Year

“I Want Parents To Know This…”

7 Questions to Ask Parents at the Beginning of the Year is by Elena Aguilar.

Additional suggestions are welcome.

I’m adding this post to my Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Parent Engagement.

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“I Want Parents To Know This…”

It’s that time of year when you start seeing posts and articles about what teachers want parents to know.

I Want Parents to Know This… is a particularly good one by Matt Gomez (thanks to Sheila Stewart for the tip.

You might also be interested in these other ones in the “genre”:

My Advice To Parents In “USA Weekend” is something I wrote last summer.

5 Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew: Your Children Can Do More Than You Think is a good piece by Jessice Lahey in The New York Times.

10 things teachers wish parents knew before the school year begins is from The Today Show.

If you want to see a terrible example of this kind of list, check out one of my previous posts, Jeez, What Was Ron Clark Thinking?

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“Oklahoma PTA Unanimously Calls for End to High-Stakes Testing”

Oklahoma PTA Unanimously Calls for End to High-Stakes Testing is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Over 340 delegates at the Oklahoma PTA’s annual convention voted unanimously to adopt resolutions that call for a ban on policies that force the state’s public schools to rely on high-stakes testing and put an end to mass administration of field tests.

Wow! Wouldn’t it be nice if other state PTA’s viewed this as a model?

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One Good Thing Comes Out Of Ill-Conceived CA District NCLB Waiver: LAUSD Not Subject To Parent Trigger

The U.S. Department of Education has granted eight California school district and ill-conceived waiver from No Child Left Behind.

Fortunately, our Sacramento district — one of those eight — withdrew from the group earlier this year.

The whole thing is doomed to fail. However, at least one good thing has come out of it — the Los Angeles Times writes about how, because of the waiver, those districts are now immune from the equally ill-conceived parent trigger law.

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My Best Posts On “Conditional Cash Transfers”

Conditional Cash Transfers are payments made to families to encourage them to do things like go to doctor appointments, and to children for increased school attendance and higher standardized test scores, and have been in the news lately.

I’ve published a number of posts about them, and I thought readers might find it helpful if I brought them all together:

Politico Asks:”Can You Fight Poverty by Paying Kids to Go to School?” The Answer Is “No”

Will This Report Put “The Nail In The Coffin” Of Conditional Cash Transfers?

Conditional Cash Transfers, Parents, And Schools

New Study Shows That Paying Families To “Engage” In Schools Doesn’t Work

I’m adding this post to my collection of other “Best” lists on parent engagement.

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Useful Follow-Up Article On White House Family Engagement Conference

I’ve previously posted about the recent White House conference on family engagement (see “White House Symposium on Transformative Family Engagement” Was Held Today).

Carla Thompson from the Kellogg Foundation, who sponsored the conference, just published a piece at The Huffington Post about it.

Check out Family Engagement: The Top of Everyone’s Back-to-School Checklist.

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Politico Asks:”Can You Fight Poverty by Paying Kids to Go to School?” The Answer Is “No”

I’ve previously published several posts on this blog about the concept of Conditional Cash Transfers, which are basically programs that provide money to low-income families to “incentivize” certain behaviors.

As I shared in those previous posts, I’m all for getting more money into the hands of low-income people and, though I think there are more effective ways to combat poverty, who am I to criticize strategies that result in more cash for them? However, one thing the research has been pretty clear about is that these kinds of programs have no positive effect on actions related to education and, in fact, can have the opposite results.

Now, Politico has published a lengthy article about another experiment that is making the same mistake.

Check out their piece, Can You Fight Poverty by Paying Kids to Go to School?, as well as my previous posts on the topic.

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Ridiculous British Policy Of Punishing Parents For Student Vacations Continues — 64,000 Fines Issued

I’ve previously published a number of posts about the ridiculous British policy of punishing parents for taking their students on vacation during the school year.

Here are two new resources:

Number of parents fined for term-time holidays soars by 70 per cent is from The Telegraph.

School holiday fines in England ‘unfair’, say parents is from The BBC.

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“More Denver Public School teachers reaching out through home visits”

More Denver Public School teachers reaching out through home visits is the headline of a recent article in the Denver Post.

Here’s an excerpt:

In the past few years, kindergarten teacher Kori Leaman-Miller can’t think of any student who cried on their first day of school.

She hadn’t given it much thought, but officials who are growing home-visit programs in school districts say it may not be accidental.

Leaman-Miller is among more than 800 teachers in Denver Public Schools who visit students at home in an effort to reach out with resources, and to create a connection with children and their parents.

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