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Front page of the Washington Post today features a well-done story on todays parents getting more organized, more educated and often more effective at advocating for change in their schools and their districts. All around -- largely thanks to the web -- topics that used to be the sole domain of ...

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Parents Advocating for Change _ and getting it

Posted by: Tim Sullivan on Jan 30, 2009 in Parent Involvement


Tim Sullivan
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Front page of the Washington Post today features a well-done story on today's parents getting more organized, more educated and often more effective at advocating for change in their schools and their districts. All around -- largely thanks to the web -- topics that used to be the sole domain of the professionals (and the professionals loved that) are seeing the light of day. Think about what WebMD has done for patients. That's a good thing.

Quick comment on one of the theories in the article. A quote like this:
Officials caution that the new technology has turned up the volume for select parent voices. It can be especially apparent in parts of Fairfax or Montgomery where well-educated parents are not afraid to throw their weight around and register complaints with a phone call to the superintendent or the media. Blast e-mails and Web sites give these parents even more of an edge, compared with others who lack time or resources, some observers say.

Schools need to be more concerned about the digital divide than ever before, Hunter said. "We don't want to create two levels of power, those with access to information and those without it," she said.

...tries to imply that the folks advocating for changes are somehow doing something wrong. It's something you hear a lot in education debates, and I find it problematic.

Yes, we want all of our schools to be great. And no, we don't want to leave anyone behind. But if two schools are currently at level A and -- through one effort or another -- one of those schools moves up to level B, there's only a net gain there. That's a good thing. Would we rather both schools stay at A unless/until all school can move to B? No way! I'd also submit that effort that moved one A school to level B does eventually re-set the bar for all schools. If the parents at the first school advocate for change at their school and that change works, wouldn't a good administrator eventually make the change at the second school, as well (even if the second school's parents don't advocate as loudly or as well)? I certainly hope so.

Parents getting involved and advocating aren't a [part of the problem. They're part of the solution. Drives me a bit crazy when folks imply otherwise.

Agree or disgaree? I'd love to hear about. Important discussion.
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