I'm going to draw parallels from how parents were treated 40 years ago to today.
My first experiences of frustration and stonewalling by "the system" led me to search far and wide for help. Locally, little was available, and the PTA was, as we know, tame and in place to maintain the status quo.
I searched the literature, and one of the first items of note was an American group, National Committee for Citizens in Education (NCCE). They did good work on parent rights, student records and did a fabulous newspaper. Will bring these forward from time to time.
Note: That was 40 years ago. Before today's quick, instant searches via Internet.
Today, I'm just going to list the Table of Contents of their book Public Testimony on Public Schools, 1975 to show the extent of their findings after hearings and research:
- School Governance in Trouble
- The Public Hearings: Pressure Systems
- The Public Hearings: The Central Issues
- The Public Hearings: The Underlying Concepts of Governance and Policy Making
- The Erosion of Lay Control
- Teachers' Organizations and Bargaining: Power Imbalance in the Public Sphere
- Alternative Educational Experiences: The Demand for Change
- The structure of Citizen Participation: Public Decision for Public Schools
- A Plan for Governance: Recommendations and Dissent
I will start with the recommendations in a subsequent post.
For now, I would recommend that those intently interested in this topic of parent involvement and it's history to get this book, used, as there are still copies floating around. It provides some sense of the importance of parent involvement then, and now. The "now" is becoming VERY, VERY important — now — because we are being overwhelmed by new forces which are intent on "transforming" education for the 21st Century — with litte regard for parents. They are being sidelined even more than ever before.
The only thing that will save parent rights, role and duty in the education of their children is for parents to embody the law which is on their side as having the primary responsibility for education. Issues of parental consent will become ever more crucial. This book will help trace the gradual and, I would say, deliberate erosion of parents in education.
[I will be looking, hard and long, even with the help of the Internet, for literature on how modern-day usurpers and colonialists pacify and exploit their subjects. TA]