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July, 2014

  1. Parent Rights & Their Children’s Education

    July 21, 2014 by Tunya


    The Right to

    1. Choice

    2. Information

    3. Be Heard & Consulted

    4. Special Assistance 

    5. Involvement

    6. Safeguards

    7. Appeal

    The rights compiled here are those that generally apply in most democratic countries. They have been gathered from sources in Canada, United States, England, and Australia. Some of these rights are self-evident, some are inscribed in law. Others are simply standards which parents have grown to expect when good educational practice is followed.


    "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their

    children." (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948)

    This means, that while parents have a duty to see that their children are educated to a reasonable level of self- sufficiency and citizenship, they can choose how this is to be accomplished: public, private or church schools, tutoring, correspondence courses, home study, or other styles. If a style other than a public school is chosen and the parents are challenged, the onus is generally on the state to demonstrate that the child is not being educated at a level equal to his peers in a public school. The mandate of the public schools is to make available to all children in the community an education which is free, appropriate and equal. Parents have a right to choose and expect at least that minimum for their child.




    In order for parents to make a proper choice, they need adequate information. They need to know enough details about schools so that when they do register their child into a particular school, they are in effect, giving "informed consent" for the child to be there. Equally important, they need ongoing information as the child progresses through the school programs so that they can maintain confidence and support for the school, or withdraw the child if things prove unsatisfactory. If theirs is a public school, parents need information for one other reason–to help them provide informed opinions to the school and to participate in school decision-making. Specifically, parents have the right:

    a) to obtain sufficient details about schools to enable them to make informed choices about schools
    b) to receive specific, understandable information about their child’s progress; strengths and weaknesses
    c) to see all student records and files on their child, to expect that the information therein is confidential and respects the privacy of parents and student, and to request that inaccuracies and damaging information be removed d) to obtain information about any program in which their child is engaged, the rationale for the program, the evaluation methods used, and the credentials and job description of those implementing the program
    e) to visit and observe any programs involving their child
    f) to easy access to those working with their child (teachers, principal, specialists)
    g) to receive information about school services–including alternatives in the system, procedures, rules, and to be informed about changes
    h) to see that the public school board is operated as an open public business, that is, that the public has a right to see all policies, budgets, minutes, and official reports, and to see that decisions are made at public meetings. 


    As advocates for their children, parents have a responsibility to inform public schools about their expectations concerning their children’s education. And this means that if the public system is to be responsive, parents must be accorded the right and the opportunity to be heard. They have a right to be heard by the teacher, by the total school staff (for example, on such items as philosophy, goals and programs), by the local school board and the higher educational authorities. Parents, as individuals and in parent groups, have a right to be heard when policies are being formulated, when planning is undertaken, when budgets are being prepared, and when evaluation is being conducted. They have a right to present briefs, make statements, and try to influence decision-making about schools their children attend.




    Parents have the right to expect special services for children with handicaps, limitations, disabilities or exceptional talents. Parents also have the right in these instances to expect special assistance for themselves so that they can understand the situation and be enabled to continue helping their child. Parents whose children have been taken into care by the state (e.g., foster care, correctional institution) also have a right to expect special services to help their children continue their education, and for themselves so that they can maintain a helping contact as much as possible or desirable.


    Parents, as co-educators and guides of their child’s total education, have a right to be involved in that part of the child’s day spent in school. Particularly, it is important to know that parents have the right:
    a) to understand the principles, aims and programs of formal education so that they can support, enrich and provide home follow-through to school programs. At times, parents have also found it necessary to have this basic understanding in order to provide external remediation or tutoring.
    b) to have their child excused from programs or prescribed reading which offends the values of the home, when specifically requested
    c) to consultation before fundamental changes are made which affect the parents, the child, or the total school climate
    d) to participate in evaluation procedures affecting their child’s programs, and in formulation of policy, goals and shape of education
    e) to be involved in the event their child is to be suspended from school. The student has the right to "due process" and parents and student are part of the affected parties to be heard before judgment or action is taken and before the student is suspended for just cause.


    Parents have the right to expect that a school system has certain standards that govern good practice. Specifically, parents have the right:
    a) to expect safeguards which protect their children from physical, intellectual and emotional negligence or abuse; b) to receive assurance that their school does not allow unauthorized invasions of their child’s privacy or property (e.g., questionnaires which pry into family life, searches of lockers)

    c) to expect that parental permission is required before psychological, psychiatric, or medical assessment and/or treatment of the child are undertaken;
    d) to expect strict supervision over new programs, innovations and experiments, and that parents have special rights in these instances:

    i) to receive a written description of the program, rationale, goals and supporting references; ii) to grant or refuse permission for their child’s attendance
    iii) to receive satisfaction that the program is run by qualified, well-prepared personnel
    iv) to be involved in the ongoing evaluation. 


    Parents have the right to appeal decisions which they consider unsatisfactory and to report behavior which they consider might be incompatible with good educational practice. Parents should be informed of their lines of appeal, which generally start with the teacher, then proceed up through to the principal, the school board, to the government ministry in charge. Parents have a right to receive, on request, a written explanation which responds to their appeal, and which they might require in pursuing their grievance further up the ladder. Matters of law can be referred to a court for judgment, and the normal civil remedies exist when it is considered damages should be claimed.

    Parent Role, Rights and Responsibilities in the Education of Their Children





    With respect to educational rights, parents have a two-fold duty: to know and exercise their own rights, and to know and enforce their children’s rights. As users of the educational system, and as advocates for their children, parents are duty-bound to act well and wisely to see that the system works to the advantage of their children and the community’s children. If the rights here described are challenged by school officials, they have a right to ask why rights parents enjoy in other jurisdictions are denied them, And they have a right to receive an explanation.



    Interwoven with rights are responsibilities and some of these have been mentioned earlier. Besides all that parents have to do to provide the kind of home life and support for good education to happen, they also have to do their part in building a co-operative relationship with educational authorities. Parents need that relationship to ensure that policies and programs are developed as close "to home" as possible – close to the important parent-child- teacher relationship. The rights enumerated here should provide the confidence and background to help build that co-operative framework.

    REMEMBER: It has always been, except in totalitarian states, the duty of parents to educate their children.

    England: It shall be the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age to cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability, and aptitude, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. (Education Act, 1944)
    United States: The first School Laws in America (1642) underlie the system to this day: “Universal education of youth is essential to the well-being of the State. The obligation to furnish this education rests primarily upon the parents.”

    Canada: “The responsibility is placed by law upon the parents or guardian to educate their children.” (You and the Law, 1973)
    The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) supports this parental duty.

    The public schools do have a statutory duty to provide a free education to all students whose parents choose to register them. However, it is made clear in all school law that parents are to be kept informed of the progress of the child. This information must be accurate and understandable to the parents so that they in turn can exercise their duty by supporting, augmenting, intervening or withdrawing from that school. Public schools serve a two-fold purpose: to assist parents in meeting their parental obligation in the education of their children and to serve the broader public interest in seeing that citizens are educated to a certain standard.

    [Compiled in 1977 by Education Advisory, an independent research and advisory service in BC about effective parent participation in education. A grant from the Secretary of State (Ottawa) for a 3-yr period ($4800 – ’75-’78) enabled research and codification of the above Rights. Established to model a consumer advisory service in education EA produced newsletters, workshops, materials for parent advisory councils and research projects.  This Rights Statement endures beyond that period and it was hoped that it would become a published part of the schools’ literature reaching parents. It was seen as essential parent knowledge for parents to be effective in their schools and on behalf of their children’s advocacy.  This was identified early in the project as a priority by parents.] 







































































  2. Rise & Fall of Public School System

    July 20, 2014 by Tunya

    Rise & Fall Of The Public Education System

    There are dozens of reasons given for the fall of the Roman Empire — decay, decadence, despotism, centralization, incompetence . . . Add rhetoric, presumptuousness . . . One article describes 210 reasons!

    Mainly, upon close reading, one finds that it becomes self-evident that disintegration would happen.  No external reform imperatives would have ensured such warranted collapse.

    The same dynamic is happening to the industry called “public education” — an experiment of nationalizing education services in many nations of the world — an operation under central command of the government and delivered by government workers.  It is so wrong of people to label reform efforts as “privatizing” when it’s simply a return to a default before government intervened. 

    John Holt, an education reformer in the 60s who reversed gears to help found the home education movement, sensed a lurking fascism within the public education system.  He said:  “Today freedom has different enemies. It must be fought for in different ways. It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.”

    Above is my lead-in to comment on the large number of catch-up news that the blog, Society for Quality Education, has provided.  As a welcome clearinghouse of information for citizens come to grips with “the system” of education we endure it is important to pay tribute to the gift of technology and services like SQE in this crucial cause.

    My half-century of struggle in navigating the ropes — both for my own children and now my grandkids — has not been clear sailing.  It is disturbing to still experience, and see current parents still struggling with, unresponsive systems and officious scolding educrats.  Some educrats still dream of being “education czars” to coerce people into their mold.  Some educrats passionately support a “progressive ideology” which is more self-serving than beneficial to the students. 

    I am so thankful that people who seek and yearn for alternatives to the coercive government system can at least talk about and envision options such as charter schools, education savings accounts, vouchers and low cost private schools.  At least people are informed about the option of home education with its loads of resources and supports available.  We need also to talk about tax deductible scholarships for private education.

    Now adding to the list of readings for more perspective on the “public education system”, here is a straightforward article by Bruce Deitrick Price shining more light on the Reading and Math Wars and the ideology behind them:  Education : None Dare Call Them Commies

    (See more from BDP on American Thinker.)

    to SQE 19 July 2014,


  3. who governs public education?

    July 16, 2014 by Tunya

    Posted in Society for Quality Education, July 16, 2014,

    Who Governs Public Education?

    That is the burning question. Globally, teacher unions seem to belong to one mindset — that it is teacher unions who should govern public education.

    They have three objectives: 1) providing for their members the usual union services relating to pay, benefits, job safety & security; 2) influence over policies and management of their industry; 3) retaining their ideal venue (public schools) in support of social change for an egalitarian world. 

    It is the second goal — governance — that is now in the process of legal clarification.  [This applies to BC at the moment, but will apply to ROC.]  This will take years to settle.  Meanwhile student education and development will be stunted.  Where is Teach for Canada with their six week training for new teachers?

    Teacher union erosion of governmental role in education has been chipped away for decades. When governments start to push back, turmoil erupts.

    Even today, glee and rejoicing has erupted with the news that the tough Education Secretary, Michael Gove in the UK, has been moved out of the portfolio.  Strikes by the NUT (National Union of Teachers) had been imminent.

    Next door, the Education Minister, Jeff Johnson, has just been effectively muzzled in pursuing his probe into the extent of incompetency in Alberta public schools.  The teacher union made a formal complaint.

    In Saskatchewan, the teacher union seems to be lining up with BC to stage a strike. 

    Many point to Finland as a leader in student achievement, a leader in teacher training, a leader in most things educational.  Yet, how many know the true nature of governance in Finland?  This is what their main spokesperson, Pasi Sahlberg, has to relay: 

    Pasi was asked the question, “Why aren’t the teachers at the decision-making table?”  Answer:  “There is a saying … that ‘war is too important to be decided by the military people’ and it’s the same with education. I think education is too important to be decided by teachers – and this has nothing to do with undervaluing teachers’ expertise . . . But the broad issues, the big issues, the principles of education should be based on a more balanced view and that’s why I would only have one practitioner in the room and divide this voice more equally to those who are the key stakeholders, (including) parents and the community members.” [The question was out of 10, how many should be teachers?]

    Here in BC, with our teacher strike, already projected to October, and with the Finance Minister de Jong also now involved and asking:  “Why is it so difficult in this area?”  In answer to de Jong’s question, please go back to the three goals of teacher unions, bearing in mind that it’s the leaders who generally speak.  And be reminded that in the international brotherhood of teacher unions BCTF is not its own boss — global loyalties apply.  (See goals 2 & 3 above

  4. One Worst School System

    July 14, 2014 by Tunya

    One Worst Education System

    Funny, how every nation thinks they have the best system — and it must be public education by government teachers, centralized curriculum planning, compulsory, graded, age-related groupings, etc.

    Yet, schooling systems in different countries differ substantially from each other.  What is agreed, universally, is that each nation must have ONE, universal system. 

    Books have been written about the “one best system”, a search for an efficient, progressive structure — producing docile, conforming students.  A book that had considerable influence was even called, “Dare Schools Build A New Social Order? by Counts.  This one did have considerable influence in foreshadowing current social justice and equity agendas.

    A book worth reading is “Progressively Worse” by Peal.  Further explanations why illiteracy, poor math, entitlement mentality are outcomes in progressive schools. 

    Can we agree we’ve now evolved “one worst system”?.  Yet, people, or those in the education establishment, still insist that they must be in charge — they are to call the shots — one system for all with dribs and drabs of a few options here or there. 

    The “One Worst System” is dreadfully scared of a publically funded arrangement where clients, not producers, drive the provision.  Choice is the only way to open up the field so that both clients and producers can build the relationships necessary for the best education possible for each child.  So much is known about what good education for individual needs can achieve.  It’s such a pity that rigid control freaks and ideology run the show!

    It’s such a hopeful (Yes, hopeful!) signal that there is so much more discussion about options in education being tried out in different parts of the world — charters, vouchers, School Savings Accounts, low-cost private schools, etc. etc.  And let’s not forget the sure way, without much debate, that stands the test of time and prepares so assuredly for college or career readiness — Home Education — and the old standby (besides many curriculum choices now on the market) — the old standby — World Books course of studies which will guide you safely and easily to being well-educated without the hassle.  See their durable list of many decades for all 14 levels P-12

    How I love reading the simple expectations.  Would but the public schools match these expectations!

    [My comment to Society for Quality Education, July 14, 2014,



  5. judgment time for public education

    July 8, 2014 by Tunya



    Legal authorized official judges are not the only ones considering the pro’s and con’s of public education.  The courts of public opinion are also sitting — in many jurisdictions — and their findings and conclusions may very well prove to be much more harsh.  I am reminded of James:3:1 — “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

    It’s not just teachers but the whole education industry that’s under examination.  Why are there, in our developed countries, still so many illiterates who are gagged into docility?  Why is Math being dumbed down when the most-in-demand occupation is a mathematician?  Why are university professors pontificating on poverty and oppression yet exploiting the system for their own good life?

    And so it goes.  Contradictions.  Hypocrisy.  Negligence. An industry exploiting its natural resources for its own benefit with little of quality to show its colonized clients.

    In British Columbia right now, yes, even in the Summer, we are in the midst of an ugly teacher strike.  And, there seems to be a serious logjam to negotiations because court actions are taking their tedious, methodical pace.  No legal resolution is anticipated for a couple of years!  However, formal papers have been filed requesting that citizens and community groups be allowed to intervene in the public interest in these cases.  This is a new and very encouraging sign of backlash — fed up citizens speaking against secret deliberations — WOW!

    In Nebraska the state government is embarrassed with very low reading and math scores and the very high scores in poverty and homelessness.  In emergency mode the state has undertaken an education survey of its citizens.  But, with inaction and the usual opposition practically guaranteed, a perceptive reporter says, in effect, “Forget it.  Our children come through these critical developmental stages just once in their lives.  Give us the 90% education dollar in Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and let the parents choose from the private, public and voluntary field what’s in the best interests of their child.”  See Two Visions for Education in Nebraska

    In Australia concern arose during their recent election about perceived slanted national curriculum and teacher training. Reviews were undertaken by the new government and reports are due this Summer.

    In America the Common Core project is coming under snowballing criticism and opposition.  A noteworthy blog, Jay P Greene’s blog, has just released a reading list of dire early warnings and predictable “ugly” prospects from a rushed and force-fed authoritarian project.

    The backlash and judgment from the public court of opinion will be a fitting — maybe even double or triple — payback for the harms laid on a trusting public by those willfully using the system for private and ideological gain.

    Prepared for ECC, 08 July ’14 response to Deb Andrews….sent to SQE, Sun, Jay P Greene blog.