Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Can You Support A Local School System That Really Wants to Reform

The Answer Sheet's guest blogger, Ronald Willett, provides parents with some information to help local school systems engage in real reform. Read his post 20 questions for parents about K-12 school reform .

Willett, a former university professor, researcher, administrator, corporate executive, entrepreneur and CEO, asks a series of questions of parents which he says will
reveal how you would support a local school system that wanted to seriously reform.
His questions begin with easy items such as,
  • “Would you like your children to have informed opinions and values that may differ from your own?
  • Are you willing to advocate for higher taxes to lower class sizes, raise teacher salaries to attract better candidates to the profession, and buy technology?
  • Are you willing to have your children’s performance measured in ways other than standardized test scores?
The questions get progressively more difficult until the parent answers questions about becoming seriously involved in the political process surrounding schools.
  • Are you willing to run for a school board, advocate a PTA for your system and support it, or step up to volunteer to serve on school committees that are heavy time users?
  • Would you be willing occupy your school’s parking lot and protest if the system was teaching to the tests, misrepresenting its financial condition, protecting poor or unprepared teachers and teaching, obscuring bullying by either a teacher or administrator, producing flawed curricula, falsifying its true learning performances, or covering up parental complaints, or are those just board problems?
Those who cannot answer yes to most of the 20 questions he proposes cannot expect their child to get the education which they deserve.

His final words are a challenge to parents...
America’s parents are as much a part of the infrastructure that creates real learning in K-12 as schools. You can delegate the chores, but not the responsibility.

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