Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Parents and Education

The states of California, Texas and Mississippi have passed laws that allow parents to initiate a schools their children's school's conversion to a charter and/or the firing of the staff. The details of these so-called "trigger laws" vary from state to state but California's law has been used only once, in Compton. As the inevitable law suits play themselves out, backers of the law are having second thoughts:
Proponents are now out campaigning to remind parents the laws have to be about more than just signing a petition and hoping the rest will take care of itself. They argue the trigger attempt should be a starting point for parents to organize, rally, meet and educate themselves. They've even started handing out what they call a Parent Power Handbook, a slim pocket-size notebook with hints about how parents can stay involved and remain active in the day-to-day operations of their children's school. [emphasis added]

NBC Nightly News
These parents are acting out a sense of powerlessness. They either have not taken the time to stay involved in the school, have faced a brick wall when attempting to do so or are in a situation where the factors impeding effective education are nearly insurmountable. Do we really expect a bunch of parents to come in and fix the situation? This is not something a bake sale can fix. These are challenges that the entire country is struggling with and, in my opinion and that of most real experts, failing at.

The most likely outcome I can see is that these unfortunate and frustrated families will fall prey to slick marketing from some charter school operator and realize only when it is too late for their kids that there was no quick fix.

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