Seth Rosenblatt

Seth Rosenblatt

Almost all schools need parent volunteers, and educators will universally agree that getting supportive parents and other family members to be part of the educational process is crucial. This involvement can be anything from just making sure a child does their homework all the way through volunteering at the school, tutoring, helping the PTA organize schoolwide events, raising money, attending school board meetings and other district events and forums, or dozens of other ways parents can (and should) get involved. Parents have essentially become the part-time workforce upon which our schools rely, particularly in this age where public education is being defunded.

Each school district will likely have its own approach to engage parents and other community members. The ones more focused on this engagement often have inclusive decision-making processes with multiple community committees and other ways to encourage involvement and feedback (both positive and negative). But even if they do, it’s inherently a self-selection process as parents will choose how (and for what issues) they want to get involved (or choose not to get involved). Many of the specifics are dependent upon both the size and culture of a particular community, but I believe that most districts recognize the power of the community energy unleashed by such involvement, but often struggle to harness it well.

Part of this is based on the fact that in modern public education, parents are placed in the odd position of being simultaneously the customer, the shareholder (as taxpayer), and the part-time (unpaid) employee of the school district. And this relationship happens on a daily basis – very few services are consumed with the frequency of public education. There is no relationship on earth, with either public or private institutions, that rivals this intimacy.

This dynamic creates a number of side effects on both ends of the spectrum. On one end, there are communities where it is difficult to harness this type of community energy, which could be based on factors like limited economic resources and/or a less-educated parent community. Parents may just not have the time, money, or knowledge to be involved to the extent the school needs them to be. On the other end of the spectrum are parents who crave to be involved and whose schools thrive on such involvement. But a segment of these often highly-educated, higher-resource parents take the stance that they “know better” than the hired “experts” at the school. Although it’s certainly possible that any individual parent is an expert, most are not (and even if they were, it doesn’t mean they understand everything that’s actually going on in that school).

There is a fundamental difference between being involved intimately in supporting schools and actually running a school or educating children. We’ve all had the experience of believing we can run the restaurant better because we all eat. But intellectually, we know it’s very different to actually run a restaurant than to patronize one. Yet we are all too easily tempted to believe that we better understand how to educate children because we all went to school.

Already schools deal daily with parents who are requesting that their kids be in certain teachers’ classes, complaining about a teacher or a policy, or arguing with a teacher over their kid’s grades. Although most parents are actually quite supportive of their schools and their teachers (and many of the criticisms are justified), it would be disingenuous not to recognize the incredible burden of time, effort, communication, and justification that our public schools have to carry because of the organization’s accessibility and intimacy with its community. Although not common, there are more extreme examples, such as parents actually telling principals or teachers “you work for me” (yes, that happens!) or parents suing the school district because of a minor procedural error made in a child’s Individualized Education Program (on a related note, there is an interesting article in the University of Chicago Law Review about the side effects of our current adversarial system for enforcing special education services).

Also, this dynamic can lead to convenient sounding yet ultimately flawed policy decisions; for example, allowing a “parent trigger” to fire principals, teachers, or even a superintendent because a school is underperforming. It grossly simplifies the likely issue with that school and makes an inherent assumption that the parents somehow know better. Although there may be examples where this is true, they are likely the exception. To be clear, I am not excusing poorly performing schools (or teachers or administrators or board members) – there should be accountability and remedies to address problems. But automatically assuming that parents know better is a very dangerous slippery slope.

Parents and all community members can believe multiple truths that are not in contradiction: that it is absolutely our job to demand great schools and to hold people accountable, but at the same time have a level of humility to recognize the fact that we are not experts, that schools only succeed as a partnership between the school the community, and that there is a fundamental difference between being a foodie and running a restaurant.

Seth Rosenblatt is the president of the Governing Board of the San Carlos School District, currently in his second term. He also serves as the president of the San Mateo County School Boards Association and sits on the Executive Committee of the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Sustainable Schools Task Force. He has two children in San Carlos public schools. He writes frequently on issues in public education, in regional and national publications as well as on his own blog. In his business career, Seth has more than 20 years of experience in media and technology, including executive positions in both start-up companies and large enterprises. Seth currently operates his own consulting firm for technology companies focused on strategy, marketing, and business development. Seth holds a B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


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  1. Bea 4 years ago4 years ago

    It is ironic that representative democracy was used to strip the communities surrounding “trigger” schools of their representative democracy.

    CSBA was asleep at the switch on this one. Again.

  2. navigio 4 years ago4 years ago

    Its funny, I think these exchanges show that the issue isnt anything inherent about representative democracy per se, rather its the question to which its actually representative. I also believe people who are fighting for increased transparency--to some extent accountability--and improved education are fighting to change the system every day. The only thing that will 'fix' anything, is us. Our 'representatives' should be nothing more than tools to that end, except of course when they … Read More

    Its funny, I think these exchanges show that the issue isnt anything inherent about representative democracy per se, rather its the question to which its actually representative. I also believe people who are fighting for increased transparency–to some extent accountability–and improved education are fighting to change the system every day. The only thing that will ‘fix’ anything, is us. Our ‘representatives’ should be nothing more than tools to that end, except of course when they are also leaders; then they can also provide useful input into those decisions.. but that doesnt happen too often.. 😉

    Because you know I cant resist the opportunity, this quote sums it up:

    “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
    – Frederick Douglass

  3. Brenda Martin 4 years ago4 years ago

    Nice article with some good points. Unfortunately, some who have trained to run schools aren't fairing too well either in many states. True, it takes parent, teachers, administration, communities working together~ There are many dynamics that interplay but if schools are failing consistently, then it's only fair play that parents have a voice and a choice in what's next for their children and those schools. I don't think parents want to have to take over … Read More

    Nice article with some good points. Unfortunately, some who have trained to run schools aren’t fairing too well either in many states. True, it takes parent, teachers, administration, communities working together~ There are many dynamics that interplay but if schools are failing consistently, then it’s only fair play that parents have a voice and a choice in what’s next for their children and those schools. I don’t think parents want to have to take over a school. Some parents bring a wealth of experience to the table, but many administrators don’t know that because there is a limited place setting at many of the decision making tables. I also think that if Parents did use a “trigger”, that they would get consultants on-board to get expert advice as well as look at best practices. Ultimately, we as parents have to make sure our children are getting a quality education and if your car kept breaking down and was sitting on the side of the road most of the time, I think you would learn how to fix it, contract an expert to fix it or sacrifice to get another one! 🙂

    Replies

    • Seth 4 years ago4 years ago

      Brenda -- I agree of course that some schools are failing their kids, and I made a specific point above of saying that none of my argument was meant to be an excuse for failing schools. But do note we have a system for addressing these issues...that's why we have an elected school board. Of course, you can argue that some school board members are incompetent -- of course some are -- but … Read More

      Brenda — I agree of course that some schools are failing their kids, and I made a specific point above of saying that none of my argument was meant to be an excuse for failing schools. But do note we have a system for addressing these issues…that’s why we have an elected school board. Of course, you can argue that some school board members are incompetent — of course some are — but that is how democracy works; at least there is some accountability in this system. My point was that one can’t make the automatic assumption that parents know better (even if in some cases it’s possible), yet this supposition is implicit in “parent trigger” policies. And of course, anything that allows the use of a very blunt instrument to address a problem, without really analyzing what the real problems are, is going to have some flaws. So, as I say at the end of the article, we can hold two truths to not be in contradiction: that it is indeed the responsibility of parents to make sure our schools are serving our children but at the same time maintain some humility that it’s a lot harder than it looks.

      And to Rachel’s point above, I’m sure that any rational school district would accept the tradeoff of having some pushy parents if it meant that it was a highly involved parent community — no question. This may just be human nature, but it doesn’t hurt to put the issue in perspective, which I have tried to do.

    • el 4 years ago4 years ago

      Seth addressed this very well in his reply, but I want to echo it a bit. The school board is the elected body that your community has selected to run the school. As part of the community, you have the right to see their agendas and minutes, and the right to attend the meetings and speak during public comment. You can ask ahead of time to have an item added to the agenda. If they don't listen … Read More

      Seth addressed this very well in his reply, but I want to echo it a bit.

      The school board is the elected body that your community has selected to run the school. As part of the community, you have the right to see their agendas and minutes, and the right to attend the meetings and speak during public comment. You can ask ahead of time to have an item added to the agenda.

      If they don’t listen to you, your main option would be to vote them out (generally also coupled with recruiting replacement board members). Just organizing a large group of parents to attend meetings and perhaps present a list of grievances would be very powerful. There are even more drastic measures, like breaking away from the district, proposing a charter, and probably others.

      (In a large district like LAUSD, overseeing 700+ schools, the dynamics are more challenging than in a relatively small district like Adelanto.)

      The Parent Trigger has the perverse result of taking all these methods of redress away, and is created by parents whose children will eventually leave the school. (Remember that some public schools only cover 2-3 grades.) Instead of elected board members, your school now has board members appointed by the charter operator.

      Finally, I’d say beware of consultants. Why is it that you think those professional educators – who aren’t staying in the community – have your children’s best interests at heart better than the professional educators who already run it? Why not instead lobby for a new principal or new superintendent if you think the professionals who currently direct your school aren’t doing a good job?

      A school does not belong to the parents whose children temporarily occupy it. A school belongs to the whole community, and the whole community should discuss and vote and have a voice in what happens to it and with it.

      • Paul Muench 4 years ago4 years ago

        We should remember that it was the voting public that delegated the responibility to the schools parents. one may not like the outcome of democracy but that is how it currently stands. And if you don’t like it you can always organize to get it changes.

        • CarolineSF 4 years ago4 years ago

          Can you explain that, @Paul? It was the so-called Parent Empowerment Act, a sloppily written piece of legislation authored by then-State Sen. Gloria Romero as she was kissing up to the "reform" sector for the cushy job she now has (as head of a bounteously funded anti-public-school, anti-teacher, anti-union "reform" operation). The state lege passed the law with reported reservations in the hope that it would help California get Race to the Top funds from the feds. It … Read More

          Can you explain that, @Paul?

          It was the so-called Parent Empowerment Act, a sloppily written piece of legislation authored by then-State Sen. Gloria Romero as she was kissing up to the “reform” sector for the cushy job she now has (as head of a bounteously funded anti-public-school, anti-teacher, anti-union “reform” operation).

          The state lege passed the law with reported reservations in the hope that it would help California get Race to the Top funds from the feds.

          It was representative democracy, if that’s what you mean.

          But the wealthy forces behind the Parent Empowerment Act have our legislators in their grip, as supporting so-called education “reform” is a litmus test for big donors. The pushback will be that teachers’ unions have financial power at their disposal too, but the “reform” sector has been very successful waging a war against teachers, minimizing their clout and throwing the power to the ultra-wealthy attackers of public education.

        • Bea 4 years ago4 years ago

          @Paul, the Parent Trigger bill was passed under extraordinary circumstances with virtually zero parent input. At the time of the hearings, I believe just about the only parent group who grasped the implications was TransParent in LA. The bill was written by EdVoice & Parent Revolution. The "expert" speaking for parents at the hearings was Bill Lucia of Ed Voice (Romero couldn't even speak to the specifics of her own bill, she had so little to … Read More

          @Paul, the Parent Trigger bill was passed under extraordinary circumstances with virtually zero parent input. At the time of the hearings, I believe just about the only parent group who grasped the implications was TransParent in LA.

          The bill was written by EdVoice & Parent Revolution. The “expert” speaking for parents at the hearings was Bill Lucia of Ed Voice (Romero couldn’t even speak to the specifics of her own bill, she had so little to do with it). The bill and all of the deliberations took place between Thanksgiving and early January and were part of a rushed package to qualify California for the first RTTT competition.

          It was intended to be a process that excluded community input, to great success.

        • el 4 years ago4 years ago

          Ably stated already in replies, but this was passed by the legislature on very short notice, with no real public discussion, and certainly no input by the voting public at large. To say it’s the will of the voters to take away community input on school governance I think is incorrect.

          Of those who supported it, I think only Parent Revolution envisioned it as a process that would work in secret and be directed by private entities outside the community.

          • Paul Muench 4 years ago4 years ago

            Yes, I did mean representative democracy. The same form of democracy represented by school boards. And yes I understand the messiness of the system. But that’s the system we have. And if we don’t like the system we can organize to change the system.

  4. Rachel Dewey Thorsett 4 years ago4 years ago

    I certainly agree with the authors overall point that education is a lot more complex than the average parent or community member realizes. It's the job of the school board to be the bridge, and in a healthy school district the board is responsive enough to the community, and willing enough to listen to the professionals to maintain the balance. But in the end, there's an extremely high correlation between the quality of a school … Read More

    I certainly agree with the authors overall point that education is a lot more complex than the average parent or community member realizes. It’s the job of the school board to be the bridge, and in a healthy school district the board is responsive enough to the community, and willing enough to listen to the professionals to maintain the balance.

    But in the end, there’s an extremely high correlation between the quality of a school system and the support/involvement of the parents and community, and on balance I think a few parents who cross the pushiness line are a small price to pay. It’s hard to really focus on the needs of students without actively engaging with their parents, and it troubles me when I hear teachers and administrators complain about “helicopter parents.”

    The challenge is that schools and school districts need to look for ways to channel parent involvement so that it benefits all students, and not just the students whose parents are most involved.

  5. el 4 years ago4 years ago

    Great article, and some excellent comments in reply too.

  6. CarolineSF 4 years ago4 years ago

    This is a thoughtful commentary that assumes that there are any current or future parent triggers that are truly grassroots efforts, and questioning whether those would be based on misguided or unrealistic thinking. And that's a valid subject for discussion. But let's be clear that there's a different story going on with the two existing real-life parent triggers -- let's look at what's actually happening, not what the PR claims to be happening. Take the two actual … Read More

    This is a thoughtful commentary that assumes that there are any current or future parent triggers that are truly grassroots efforts, and questioning whether those would be based on misguided or unrealistic thinking. And that’s a valid subject for discussion.

    But let’s be clear that there’s a different story going on with the two existing real-life parent triggers — let’s look at what’s actually happening, not what the PR claims to be happening.

    Take the two actual parent trigger cases that have occurred (one defunct; the other still in play, at Desert Trails Elementary in Adelanto, CA). Neither was a mass movement from the parent community. Both were hatched in secrecy and sprung.

    For those who follow the parent trigger story, I think everyone has pretty much accepted by now that the Compton, CA, parent trigger, which has now fizzled out, was created by the AstroTurf, education-“reform”-sector operation Parent Revolution, and sprung fully formed upon the McKinley Elementary. That’s not the way the story was originally told (and the press coverage was in the grip of the “check it and lose it” mentality), but reality gradually became apparent.

    The parent trigger that’s currently in play, in Adelanto, is still being portrayed as grassroots in the press (and needless to say in the PR) But from what the actual Desert Trails parents are saying, it was hatched in secret by a small cadre (a former school board member, a former principal and a very few parents) and sprung on them suddenly. The press can easily learn more about that, as the parent trigger critics in the Desert Trails parent community seem to be available and willing to talk. (How about if EdSource Today shows the MSM how to do it right, by reporting on the ground and giving the other side a full airing?)

    Replies

    • DT parent 4 years ago4 years ago

      I'm a parent at Desert Trails elementary. I find it insulting that you claim that Parent Revolution pulled this off in secret. We, 70% of the parents, signed the petition because the school is failing our kids. I have a college degree and help my child every day, which has been very hard because the teacher gives no homework and gives my son good grades despite the fact that I see him struggling with … Read More

      I’m a parent at Desert Trails elementary. I find it insulting that you claim that Parent Revolution pulled this off in secret. We, 70% of the parents, signed the petition because the school is failing our kids. I have a college degree and help my child every day, which has been very hard because the teacher gives no homework and gives my son good grades despite the fact that I see him struggling with his writing, reading and math.
      70% of the kids in Desert Trails are not proficient in math or language arts. I’m not a parent leader within the movement, but I attended and witnessed many meetings all led by up to 100 parents at a time. If that is not grassroots, I don’t know what is.
      Please don’t speak or give your opinion, these are our children in a terrible school. If the parent trigger is not the answer, what is?

      • el 4 years ago4 years ago

        @DT parent, I am curious as to whether you or any of the other parents you know who were concerned ever attended a school board meeting or formally asked the board for specific changes to the school before the parent trigger petition was circulated.

        • DT parent 4 years ago4 years ago

          We have been asking the board for changes for many years they answer was always to transfer us out of a particular school or classroom. Zero accountabilty. Are you aware that our board president carlos mendoza is a fired educator from the same district he now overlooks and that his entire purpose for runnig for board was to fire the people that dismissed him. The majority of the school board has or is currently suing … Read More

          We have been asking the board for changes for many years they answer was always to transfer us out of a particular school or classroom. Zero accountabilty. Are you aware that our board president carlos mendoza is a fired educator from the same district he now overlooks and that his entire purpose for runnig for board was to fire the people that dismissed him. The majority of the school board has or is currently suing the district they currently serve its a well known fact that jermaine wright funds field trips and other activities only to the school where his kids attend. We called parent revolution because we were not listened for many years The parent leaders of our movement participated in SSC, brought PTA into the school to try to fix the concerns with no luck. And now, I just read that our board is one of three to violate a court order in the history of our nation- the other two did it to maintain our country segregated.

          • el 4 years ago4 years ago

            As I understand it, Desert Trails had a brand new principal when the petition was turned in, a principal who was specifically selected because he had success turning around another school. That doesn't sound like no action was taken. If that school board trustee is so terrible, why was he elected? Adelanto does not appear to be an expensive place to run. It seems to me that if you could get all those people to sign petitions, … Read More

            As I understand it, Desert Trails had a brand new principal when the petition was turned in, a principal who was specifically selected because he had success turning around another school.

            That doesn’t sound like no action was taken.

            If that school board trustee is so terrible, why was he elected? Adelanto does not appear to be an expensive place to run. It seems to me that if you could get all those people to sign petitions, you could get all of them to vote for a new slate of trustees too. It’s not as sexy, maybe, but it is effective.

            I hope whatever happens in Adelanto works out to be a positive change. But it saddens me to see so much precious time, money, and energy wasted on legal battles in an era where resources are in such short supply.

          • CarolineSF 4 years ago4 years ago

            Parent Revolution already has a prepared response to concerns about time, money and energy wasted on legal battles. Although it’s Parent Revolution that continues to launch legal salvos against the Adelanto school district, Parent Revolution then issues press releases assailing the Adelanto school district for wasting money on legal costs.

            Now they’re engaging in savage personal attacks on parents and community members.

            And when, oh when, oh when will the press stop parroting press releases and start doing its job?

      • CarolineSF 4 years ago4 years ago

        That contradicts what other Desert Trails parents are saying, @DT parent. They say it was hatched in secret and sprung. And no, turning the school over to a charter operator is not likely to be the answers. Charters have a lackluster track record overall, and an especially poor track record taking over already troubled schools. One of the charter operators look at the school now is already running a charter with MUCH lower test scores than … Read More

        That contradicts what other Desert Trails parents are saying, @DT parent. They say it was hatched in secret and sprung.

        And no, turning the school over to a charter operator is not likely to be the answers. Charters have a lackluster track record overall, and an especially poor track record taking over already troubled schools. One of the charter operators look at the school now is already running a charter with MUCH lower test scores than Desert Trails’ scores. The cure is very likely to be worse than the disease.

        • DT parent 4 years ago4 years ago

          @ Caroline, you are from a teachers union backed organization. Can you explain why CTA got involved in confusing and intimidating the parents and submitting fraudulent documents into the district. The whole time that we met at the Park, in house meetings, and outside the school for months during the time our parent union gathered signature we had not one incident or call into our local law enforcement agency and how once the 10 opposing … Read More

          @ Caroline, you are from a teachers union backed organization. Can you explain why CTA got involved in confusing and intimidating the parents and submitting fraudulent documents into the district. The whole time that we met at the Park, in house meetings, and outside the school for months during the time our parent union gathered signature we had not one incident or call into our local law enforcement agency and how once the 10 opposing parents, yes 10 opposIng husband and wives totaling 10 with the help the peoPle that fund u parents complains and calls into the sheriff office escalating from 0 to 5-10 a day. Please call our local sheriff department to verify and they will confirm that it wasn’t until the people from Sacramento arrived (CTA). Those parents that are misinforming u are lead by a parent who brags about being bipolar, had a restraining order against her by another parents, and was recently involved in a hit and run accident. Oh by the way the other opposing parents are all white in an almost a Latino and black school and have comments on their public face books pages about wetbacks and ghetto talk. Check it out after all they are your sources. It’s very sad actually. The opposition have offered nothing but character attacks and Lies while we have offered the district with solutions way before we submitted our petitions.
          Last question Caroline, why did CTA kill the bill recently that would have made it saker to fire teachers who sexually abuse our kids? Thanks CNN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1O3LPayC0s&feature=youtube_gdata_player
          And you are a parent Caroline???

          • CarolineSF 4 years ago4 years ago

            Wow, nice best-defense-is-good-offense, DT "Parent." I'm a longtime volunteer advocate for public schools who has been combating the propaganda from the billionaire-funded education "reform" sector since 2000. In 2011 I became a founding member of Parents Across America. We got a startup grant from the AFT and are proud to be supporters of teachers and public schools. I reject the notion that teachers are contemptible and that association with them tars Parents Across America or me … Read More

            Wow, nice best-defense-is-good-offense, DT “Parent.”

            I’m a longtime volunteer advocate for public schools who has been combating the propaganda from the billionaire-funded education “reform” sector since 2000. In 2011 I became a founding member of Parents Across America. We got a startup grant from the AFT and are proud to be supporters of teachers and public schools. I reject the notion that teachers are contemptible and that association with them tars Parents Across America or me as a founding member.

            Parent Revolution’s war against teachers is one of the many fatal flaws in what will be the short-lived parent trigger fad. You can’t improve education by waging a hate campaign against educators. Teachers need to be partners.

            I’m Facebook friends with some of the Desert Trails parents, who are a racially diverse group, and I dispute that they’re posting racist comments.

            It is already easy to fire teachers who sexually abuse students — in fact, it’s required. LAUSD administrators (not the union) screwed up horribly in dealing with the Miramonte Elementary abuse, claiming they couldn’t find evidence. The notion that it’s impossible and that unions are defending sex perverts is particularly low-road gutter propaganda from the so-called education “reform” sector.

            I’m the mother of two college students who attended San Francisco public schools K-12. I started following Parent Revolution’s propaganda when they first burst on the scene and threatened to assault schools in my district.

            The press should be asking tougher questions of this operation. You can see the personal-attack campaign they are waging in the above comment, yes, John and Kathryn? Do you think it will stop here?

  7. navigio 4 years ago4 years ago

    Good article Seth. I absolutely agree that we tend to take a simplistic view on complex environments. That said, I'd like to point out a converse to the engagement mantra. I believe there are too many administrators who feel parents are not worth engaging. Sometimes thats just a logistical barrier (takes a lot of time to engage and work with the (unpaid) community over a period of time--that can be exacerbated when they try but the … Read More

    Good article Seth. I absolutely agree that we tend to take a simplistic view on complex environments.

    That said, I’d like to point out a converse to the engagement mantra. I believe there are too many administrators who feel parents are not worth engaging. Sometimes thats just a logistical barrier (takes a lot of time to engage and work with the (unpaid) community over a period of time–that can be exacerbated when they try but the parent eventually flakes out). Other times, it is a belief that the administrator simply knows best. While I wont argue that admins are in fact ‘paid experts’, they are in no way infallible, and they should never ignore the opinions of the community (if they disagree with them or find them simplistic then they should explain why instead of dismissing them as naive). Thats a difficult line to walk.

    The irony of this kind of attitude is that when it exists, it invariably translates into a justification for lack of transparency. So that kind of ‘doubles down’ on the the impression on the part of the community that they are being excluded.

    Regarding the ‘you work for me’ comment. I think your point that education is so intimate is really important. This is about people’s kids. They need to feel like SOMEONE is working for them. More often than not, the only interaction a parent has with a district is the principal or teacher. So it is not surprising that they’d take that attitude. I do think the attitude is valid when applied to school boards (they are elected) and to some extent the superintendent (who is hired by them). I dont think this necessarily means individual community members should have the power to set policy, but as a group they are clearly the ‘owners’ of the public education effort for their community (to some extent thats the very definition of community). Personally, I wish the state would require districts to report how many of its employees (especially administrators) live in and/or send their children to the district’s schools. I have seen too many examples of an apparent lack of stake on both principal’s and administrators parts due, if not directly by lack of participation, by simple lack of understanding of the community.

    Not to get too tangentially esoteric.. but, I believe in this country we are more interested in personal gain than we are in community gain. This has a direct impact on the extent to which we trust others (there are other reasons too). I think, justifiably so. Thats not intended to be a judgement, just a fact of our culture. Some even go so far as to claim that monetary incentive is the only effective way to get people to do ‘the right thing’. (When you think about that for a while it actually seems absurd, but, hey, we’re good at absurd.. 🙂 ). Then we are ‘surprised’ when they actually do look out only for themselves. 🙂 Anyway, I think this explains in part some of the dynamics/conflicts (even sometimes hypocrisy) involved in engagement, partnership, transparency and accountability.

  8. Bob Nichols 4 years ago4 years ago

    Back in my high school teaching days my principal once told me that while he valued the work done by a small corps of dedicated parents he also knew that one day, each of them would come in to his office, close the door and ask for a special favor for their student and that he would have to “pay up”.

  9. Paul Muench 4 years ago4 years ago

    I suspect a lot of the undesirable cases are a parent trying to get more resources for his child in a resource constrained environment. So thank you to everyone in our public schools who plays a role in protecting fairness!

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