Today, the Congressional Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing on “Exploring State Success in Expanding Parent and Student Options.” In the midst of parent trigger and voucher advocates, Dr. Maria Fletcher, president of the New York State PTA, provided some important wisdom. Here’s an excerpt from her testimony:
Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question – instead of asking how to empower parents by providing alternatives to their neighborhood school, why aren’t we empowering parents by engaging all stakeholders to ensure that every neighborhood school lives up to the quality promise we’ve made to educate all students? All public schools – traditional, charter, magnet – must have the capacity to build and capitalize on effective school-family partnerships to increase student achievement.
We should empower parents by preparing our teachers and leaders in research-based and culturally competent family engagement practices that have demonstrated positive impact on student achievement and school climate. We should empower parents with real, tangible tools to supplement student learning at home coupled with accessible, understandable, and actionable student and school data that serves to inform and support instruction and learning. “Your school is broken – send your child here instead” isn’t tantamount to effectively engaging parents in education.
You can read the less wise testimony today from others here….