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State of Parent involvement in schools

April 27, 2015 by Tunya

The State Of Parent Involvement In Schools

Today I found my talking notes for a workshop I led at a conference — Stereotyping and Discrimination in Education — Nanaimo, BC, Nov 13, 1976 (39 years ago). It was co-sponsored by the local teachers’ union and Malaspina College, with funding from the Office of the Secretary of State (Ottawa).

My topic concerned parent involvement in education of their children. We had a handout to aid discussion. These are some of the items:

Q: Are there conditions in the formal education system that could be detrimental to the education of children, and which parents should know about, and take a part in correcting?

A: Yes, parents should be concerned about the following:
– 1) teacher union/school board collective bargaining
– 2) student suspensions
– 3) student records, student labeling, mislabeling
– 4) vandalism, “disrupted” youth, alienated youth
– 5) stereotyping of parents
– 6) “innovations”, experiments, psychological and pseudo psychological techniques
– 7) down-grading of the basic skills
– 8) absence of meaningful standards, evaluation, assessment
– 9) lack of parent participation in education
– 10) teacher education often unrelated to the realities of the classroom
– 11) poor information services, little two-way communication between the system and consumers (parents, students, public)

Q: Are there ways that parents can be more involved?

A: Yes, here are a few suggestions:
– 1) formation of parent or school advisory councils in every school
– 2) useful information services, genuine two-way communication

Q: What is the basic minimum each parent should expect now in their child’s school?

A: 1) Easy, comfortable access to the child’s school, teacher and principal
2) All information the school has on the child, all information on the programs child involved in
3) No negative effect or reprisal to the child because of parent’s involvement

Are parents any better off now, 40 years later? Seems like parents still have a very shallow role in school affairs generally and with regard to their own children.

[published as comment on Educhatter, 27 April '15)

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