Tuesday over 1.5 million parents in the state of Virginia turned out to elect a candidate for governor who promoted one main theme “parents should have input into what’s taught in the classroom.”
That candidate, Glenn Youngkin, didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning until his opponent announced in a debate that parents should have no role in directing the education of their children.
That unleashed an army of “Mama-Bears” concerned about what their children are taught in public schools.
It’s good to see parents concerned about school curriculums for their children somewhere because, locally, parental involvement in the curriculum of the city school’s is almost non-existent.
It appears that many parents accept the curriculum offered by the state and district without question; otherwise there is little or no concern.
I have no children in the system today. However, when my boys were young, I made an attempt to be involved in their education. I served as a policy council member at HeadStart, President of the Sallie Humble PTO, Co-President of the Clark PTO, and vice-president of the Carroll Jr. High PTO. I noticed when my sons reached high school that there was no PTO, but an athletic booster club existed, so I volunteered in other areas.
Parents should be involved in the schools that educate their children and should attend meetings in the district that fix the school curriculum.
Someone should question why Home management skills are no longer offered. Shouldn’t students learn 21st century home and personal skills? That would include the essentials of family budgeting, time management, or even how to balance a checkbook or to manage a home in the 21st century context.
Someone should ask why the overwhelming majority of Southside High School students have poor instruction in history and government, reflected by over 70 percent failures on state exams. The history curriculum includes history, general economics, and government, but usually, athletic coaches are selected for these subjects. Often government and economics is not the specialty of coaches, and poor student performance on standardized tests is the result
Someone should ask why research papers, even small ones are not required in all of our high schools. A few teachers teach them, but they are not required for all. Shouldn’t every graduate know how to research a topic, and compose their thoughts or new ideas on paper?
Some parents did complain about the system’s Eureka Math curriculum, but neither the district or the state heard their complaints. Many parents did complain that the new system made it difficult for them to help the children at home. The district heard the parents but ignored them in a “we know more about this than you do” attitude. Eureka Math is still being taught, they must learn what the state says or butt out.
When parents are involved in their schools, they can see firsthand what is missing or can identify problem areas. If enough parents get upset, things can change.
Therein lies the problem. Parents must be involved.
Parents cannot afford to be so busy that they cannot inspect the books and reading material assigned to their children, attend school PTO meetings and meetings of the district concerning curriculum development.
Our parents get upset over the naming of principals, or football coaches. Only a handful seem to get upset about curriculum issues
Power concedes nothing without a demand.
In Virginia, parents demanded access. They switched parties and voted for someone that would change things.
That same principle applies locally.
The state and district dictate what is taught in Louisiana classrooms; parents have little to say about it.
Educational power will concede nothing curriculum-wise, unless there is a demand.
We should take a page from the parents in Virginia and demand more!