Parents must work to ensure their children have a high quality education. There are many factors that seem out of our control as parents: class size, teacher quality, education funding, and resources.
First, parents have to be VERY informed. Take time to follow what is happening at your local school district by attending the school board meetings. You will be surprised to witness how your school board votes: budget, textbooks, facilities, compensation, etc. Get a group of moms to join you and rotate. Second, follow what is happening with education policy. The state legislature creates legislation that directly impacts the education of our children. While we cannot go up to Sacramento voicing our opinions, we can certainly take five minutes to call our legislator to remind them our children should come first in education.
Another important aspect for parents to watch closely is your child’s homework. It is a big clue into how your child is learning, and it can fluctuate depending on the teacher. As a former teacher, I understood that not all of my students learn the same, and my lessons had to reflect a broad base of learners. This does not always happen in a classroom. It is your responsibility to take action if your child is struggling. One of the biggest concerns I hear from parents is that they do not want to make the teacher or principal mad at them. I remind them that they are there to be a partner with their child’s team of educators. Your child has one chance from grade to grade to make sure he/she is successful. Studies have shown even one failed school year can set your child back academically for years to come. Talk to your child’s teacher first, and be very honest and open. If that does not work, have a serious discussion with your child’s principal, who is there to help ensure your child is having a solid learning experience. In some cases, parents have had to take things farther and speak to the district Superintendent and the school board.
The bottom line is to remember parents have a voice, and they must use it. It is not always easy being the questioning or sometimes loud parent, but it is worth it. Your children will see that you not only value their education, but are willing to fight for it. That is the best lesson your child can learn. Please visit our website www.parentsadvocateleague.org for more information.
Julie Collier, Founder of Parents Advocate League