Sunday, March 11, 2012

Getting Parent Voices Heard in Education Debate

One of the biggest challenges of the education reform movement is to get parent voices heard.   Parents are important stakeholders in the discussion about how to improve education, but too often their voices are suppressed by the adults in the system.  Partnering with education reformers is one of the very best ways for parents to get their voices heard.  While they may have numbers, we have the money and access to the media to amplify parent messages.

The problem is lately, parents are missing this point.  Parents are actively fighting school reform and as a result, their voices are not being heard.  In Florida this week, exciting new legislation allowing a parent trigger to give parents more say in closing low performing schools for charters, was defeated in the Florida Senate by a coalition of parent groups.  In New York and Chicago parents have been actively fighting against turning around unsuccessful schools, and in Chicago parents are leading a ferocious charge against the longer school day. 

By fighting the reformist agenda, parents find themselves without a voice.  The illusion of inclusion is vital to making the changes that parents should want.  Groups like Stand for Children, Students First, and Last Stand for Children First are well funded organizations full of media savvy, but without parent buy in, there is only so much we can do.  Politicians who support are agenda have gotten so desperate that they've taken to paying protesters.  Surely, working together we can do more and appear more authentic. 

You can make your voice heard by doing the following:

1. Join an organization like Last Stand for Children First, Students First, or Stand for Children.
2. Attend regular meetings where you can be told what your interests and opinions should be.
3. Avoid causing dissension by debating policy or veering from the company line.
4. Remember that we care about students and if you do too, this is the best way to get your voice heard.


  1. As a parent, this is really good advice for me. I look forward to being told what my opinion should be; thinking for myself is just so HARD.

  2. Tell me this post is meant to be tongue in cheek, a parody or satire. Many parents are having their voices heard in opposition to the agenda of LSFC. Don't presume to tell me what parents "should" think. I'm not drinking your koolaid.

  3. Spell check third paragraph. Signed a concerned educator.

  4. Yeah, that is a weird thing to say! I was also concerned about the use of 'are' instead of 'our' in the last paragraph. And point #3 confuses me, too. It all started out so promising!

  5. I have absolutely no idea what is best for my own children. So yes I do want government control and the advice of that wonderful grassroots group Stand For Children.They make it so simple for us parents. They come in with their own agenda.They have yet to ask concerned parents questions or venture inside our schools. So easy!! Many times the government has told me that my our children our not as smart I think they are. You know kids can take almost 21 college classes in high school now.My children need more time in school to do "fun stuff".And besides Stand For children, has so much more money than I to pay off the politicians to get their agenda passed.I do not have this kind of money.