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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Detroit School Tells Parents To Come To Meeting On State Testing Or Their Child Will Be Suspended

Detroit Parents Missed a School Meeting But Their 3rd Grader Is the One Who Might Be Punished For It is the headline of this news article (and video).

Here’s how it begins:

Parents of third graders at Coleman A. Young Elementary School in Michigan were recently asked to attend a mandatory parent meeting — during the workday — which addressed the importance of state testing.

Twenty-four parents were able to attend, but the children of parents who didn’t were threatened with suspension if their parents did not show up at a make-up meeting scheduled the following week.

This incident is the newest addition to The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas.

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“To build better relationships, Bentley School teachers visit their students at home”

To build better relationships, Bentley School teachers visit their students at home is a nice article in a local newspaper that I believe, but am not sure, in Massachusetts.

Here’s how it begins:

A key piece of turnaround efforts at the Bentley School is a yearly home visit to parents or guardians by a student’s teachers. The initiative isn’t just aimed at struggling pupils or troublemakers — the goal is to build strong, positive relationships with each of the school’s families.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Home Visits.

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District Superintendent Visits Parents During Their Break From Work In Fields

Sunnyside school officials engaging parents of local students in the fields is an article about a rural Washington Superintendent visiting parents during their break from working in the fields:

In what observers called a historic moment, Sunnyside Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole visited with a group of parents at their north Outlook work site Thursday morning.

#Cole’s meeting with the parents during a mid-morning break from pruning apple trees is the first in a series of outreach efforts to increase parental involvement.

As long as it, indeed, was not just a one-time photo op, then this seems like an excellent parent involvement strategy.

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“Some parents across the country are revolting against standardized testing”

The Washington Post has published an article headlined Some parents across the country are revolting against standardized testing.

Here’s how it begins:

A growing number of parents are refusing to let their children take standardized tests this year, arguing that civil disobedience is the best way to change what they say is a destructive overemphasis on tests in the nation’s public schools.

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

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“Bridges To High School” Is A Family-Focused Program That May Have Potential

Bridges To High School is a family-focused program designed to support middle-school students who are experiencing challenges in school.

You can read more about it here and here.

It seems like it might have some potential, and the federal government is seems to be looking at it for potential nationwide expansion.

Anyone have experience with it that they’d like to share?

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“Parents’ belief that a child will attend college plays big role in early academic success”

Parents’ belief that a child will attend college plays big role in early academic success is the title of a Science Daily article about a new study. It’s not going to be surprising to anyone, but is interesting nonetheless.

Here’s how it begins:

Numerous studies have shown that socioeconomic factors play a major role in students’ success in kindergarten. Children whose parents are more educated and have better jobs and higher incomes tend to have stronger math and reading skills than their peers.

Now, a study by researchers from UCLA and the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that the factors influencing children’s readiness for kindergarten include not only whether they attend preschool, but also their families’ behaviors, attitudes and values — and that parents’ expectations go a long way toward predicting children’s success throughout their schooling.

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“Teacher: Why expanding ‘parental rights’ in public education sounds good — but isn’t”

Teacher: Why expanding ‘parental rights’ in public education sounds good — but isn’t appeared in The Washington Post, and offers an interesting take on the opt-out movement.

I think the piece exaggerates some of the dangers, and I still support the opt-out movement, but we do need to be careful of our rhetoric.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

If we rally mainstream America around parental rights as a cause, and advocate boycotts of the PARCC tests, I fear we are legitimizing the efforts of special interest groups who want to cherry-pick their way through the public education system. Will parents next be able to select which parts of science, or history, their children are allowed to learn? And will they then be able to opt out of sections of college entrance exams such as the SAT or ACT?

As we follow this slippery slope, some may try to opt out of having their children in class with gay students or teachers because of religious beliefs.

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“As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out”


As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out
is an article in The New York Times.

Here’s an excerpt:

A new wave of standardized exams, designed to assess whether students are learning in step with the Common Core standards, is sweeping the country, arriving in classrooms and entering the cross hairs of various political movements. In New Jersey and elsewhere, the arrival has been marked with well-organized opposition, a spate of television attack ads and a cascade of parental anxiety.

Almost every state has an “opt out” movement. While its true size is hard to gauge, the protests on Facebook, at school board meetings and in more creative venues — including screenings of anti-testing documentaries — have caught the attention of education officials.

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

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March 3rd Webinar On “Parent Universities”

The Harvard Family Research Project is sponsoring a free Webinar on March 3rd, 1:00 PM (EST) on parent universities.

Here’s how they describe it:

Parent universities are committed to building parent capacity to support their child’s school success. To do so effectively, parent universities must continually respond and adapt to the changing and expressed needs of families. Join us on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (EST), to learn about some new resources and ideas that can help spark innovative thinking and planning for those involved in parent universities.

You might also be interested in My Best Posts On Parent “Academies” & “Universities,” where I share my concerns about how these kinds of parent universities are typically run in schools, and also share my praise for schools (including ours) which do them, in my opinion, the right way.

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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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Most Popular Parent Engagement Posts In January/February

I’m going to start publishing a bi-monthly post sharing the most popular posts on parent engagement that I’ve published here. Some may have been published in other months, but still remained popular.

Here’s the first edition:

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

2. Useful New Study On Parent Engagement

3. Jeez, What Was Ron Clark Thinking?

4. The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences

5. “Want your kids to opt out of standardized tests? The Constitution may be with you.”

6. A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Parent Engagement

7. Good Advice For Parents About Their Children Reading

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“Letting Parents In On the Secret Of School”

Letting Parents In On the Secret Of School is a good post by Peter DeWitt at Education Week.

Here’s an excerpt:

School leaders and teachers do their best to engage parents in the fun events or the ones that focus on report cards and grades like parent-teacher conferences. But we don’t always engage parents when it comes to those things that focus on learning. It’s a balance because we don’t want to always use educational language but we also don’t want to patronize them by using non-educational language either.

The bottom line is that when we are initiating changes within our classrooms and schools we have to make sure we don’t leave parents out of the equation.

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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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“Smart Parents” Might Have Potential

Parents, Share Your Story: How Do You Empower Student Learning? is a Huffington Post article by Tom Vander Ark kick-off a project inviting parents to share “powerful learning experiences”:

We have partnered with the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to tell parents’ stories and to bring together key lessons to create a resource that will help guide important educational decisions facing parents today.

Check out the article for details….

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