Yesterday demonstrators protested outside Barack Obama Global Prep Academy in Los Angeles. Protestors were upset with the removal of Principal Veronique Wills. Teachers spoke in favor of Ms. Wills and said that she was doing a good job since being assigned to lead the school in 2009. Community leaders such as Rev. Eric Lee spoke out against the action and also weighed in on Clay Middle School being handed over to Green Dot Charter Schools. He said that district officials have disregarded the community’s voices regarding improvements at Clay. And that there were moral and ethical violations of public trust from the district.
With serious concerns about traditional and charter school operators being able to effectively provide urban children (especially underserved students) with a quality education – is it time to make some sweeping changes as to how our children are educated? While district, county and state officials grapple with best methods to educate urban school children, parents and caregivers of these children should learn how to become more engaged in the process of supporting student(s) learning. A recent report states that there is a high teacher turnover in the charter school community (especially in urban districts) and traditional schools are having their own problems with teacher attendance in many of their own schools. However there is evidence that both traditional and charter schools can produce quality education outcomes.
So is it time to create a new and innovative industry of “parent & community educators” and support providers? Yes the village concept if you will. The one constant in a student’s life is their parent /caregiver and the community in which they live. So it stands to reason that parents and trained community members should be more involved in educating the children who live in their homes and within their communities. I don’t know if we will ever go back to the way schools were run fifty years ago – but one thing is clear……….efforts over the past several decades has not served families or communities well.
Parents and community members can be trained on how to educate children using certificated teachers, and support personnel. Educate parents on how children develop and learn. Many parents of underserved students are out of work. What a great partner for public education. Legal and moral adults of the very children the system is charged with educating. If the public school system does not find a way to meaningfully and effectively engage parents/community into the process of educating children then we will continue to see unacceptable levels of student achievement.
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