Black Education / Schools : On Parent Participation.. a single case.

Discussion in 'Black Education / Schools' started by skuderjaymes, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. skuderjaymes

    skuderjaymes Contextualizer Synthesizer MEMBER

    Nov 2, 2009
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    independent thoughtist thinker, context linker
    theory to application to discussion to percussion
    +6,028 / -14
    This post is in response to the very common assertion that Parents don't care enough to
    show up to PTA/Other meetings..

    Showing up isn't even enough. It's about effectiveness and organization. School systems
    dictate the way that parents can participate in district decisions. The fact that very few
    parents show up is testament to the inadequacy of the current model of parent participation.
    When I was chairman of my son's school's School Site Council, I attempted to update the
    model to include: Email and Post mail and telephone. A poll on how to handle a certain
    situation would be decided by just the folks that showed up. I asked why couldn't we just
    send them letters or allow them to phone in or send and email? What was the big deal about
    physical presence? I found out that the rules and regulations for how school site councils
    where run dictated the ways in which parents could participate. And, as if it was written in
    the 1800s, the only way for parents to have a say in anything was to physically show up.
    What sense does that make? Why can't the parents participate via conference call? or email?
    Why? because the myth of Parent apathy would no longer be available to the district or the
    teachers union. Parents are the patsy. In this school, the SSC meeting was held at 5pm. 5pm
    happens to be the time that most folks get off of work. So, the only folks that showed up
    were the few that lived near or had a non-standard work schedule. 5 parents would show up
    but that didn't mean that the other parents didn't care.

    I moved to have the meeting changed from 5 to 7. A move that received a chorus of silent
    groans from the Principal and the two teachers in attendance. Starting at 7 would mean they
    wouldn't get home till about 9.. never mind that this was important for the kids achievement
    or that this meeting as held only once a month; these teachers and principal were only
    concerned about themselves. They fought moving the meeting to 7 on the grounds that
    parents just didn't care. And, the parents in attendance seem to take that as some sort of
    compliment regarding themselves.. It made them look good.. they cared! Them other parents
    didn't care! Thats the kind of thing they would say to their friends and to everyone else
    anytime someone mentioned black student achievement. But. I say it's just not true.
    Something is broken but to point to the character of the individuals involved is to point to
    nothing.. it's to throw your hands in the air and leave everything as it is.. it's a blank check
    for the folks in power to keep doing whatever they're doing while the brunt of the blame goes
    to black parents.

    My critique of parent involvement has to do with effectiveness of that involvement.. I don't
    doubt that parents care for their children. I got that meeting changed to 7 pm. The
    attendance jumped from 5 or 6 women homemakers to as high as 50 parents... proving my
    point. Once everyone came, I then realized the limitations of the ways that parents can
    participate once they do arrive. The only difference more people made was that the statistics
    for the schools parent involvement were improved. Which meant the Principal, the teachers
    and the district had one less excuse as to why this school was not doing better. When we
    deify teachers and administrators we lose an opportunity to figure out what's really wrong
    and.. fix it.