Monday, November 3, 2014

School officials want parental involvment, except when they don't

"The need for parental involvement in a child's education is almost universally acknowledged," The Oklahoman editorializes today. "Yet too many school officials send mixed messages regarding their support for parental participation."
Some school administrators in Oklahoma, who undoubtedly cite lack of parental involvement as an education challenge, have fought against legislative proposals that would boost parental power.

Most famously, school officials in the Tulsa area sued the parents of children with special needs who qualified for state scholarships. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ultimately tossed that lawsuit, but it sent a clear message: School administrators' support for parental involvement has its limits, particularly if the parents of a child with autism seriously seek the best education possible for that child.

In 2012, legislation was filed to create a "parent trigger" law in Oklahoma. Under that proposal, if 51 percent of local parents signed a petition to intervene in a chronically low-performing school, they could force the replacement of staff or convert the school to a charter school.

School administrators opposed the bill.

This year, legislation was filed to create education savings accounts (ESAs) that would allow low-income parents of children at failing schools to use state money to pay for a child to receive tutoring or attend private school. Another bill was filed to allow the creation of charter schools in rural communities when local parents want more options.

School administrators opposed both those bills as well.

Apparently, some administrators think parents should be involved in children's education — but not too involved.

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