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Education Week Commentary Section Looks at K-12 Parents' Roles in Schools

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Education Week's commentary editors have created a special multimedia section devoted to exploring the crucial, yet often ignored, relationship between K-12 parents and schools.

While testing, academic standards, and school funding woes dominate most education debates, the commentaries in "The Role of the K-12 Parent" provide a thoughtful and passionate discussion about the proverbial missing link in most education-reform efforts: parents and families. Here's a quick preview of the opinion pieces featured in the section.

  • Gloria Romero, a former California state senator who helped author the state's so-called "parent-trigger" law writes: "In no other part of American life do we tie parents to the land, define them by ZIP code, and empower government officials who are strangers to families to make fundamental, life-altering decisions on behalf of their children based on five digits of geographic identity."
  • Steven Sheldon, the director of research for the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, writes: "Good teachers are those who are able to connect with students' families, helping those families see what their children are learning at school, what the children need to learn, and how they can help students excel through high school."
  • Karran Harper Royal, a parent advocate in New Orleans, writes: "In addition to the traditional ways of being involved, parents must be given more information and support to properly evaluate the ever-changing array of school options before us." 
  • Arnold F. Fege, president of the Washington-based Public Advocacy for Kids, writes: "Parental choice, market models, and rhetoric do not substitute for family mobilization, advocacy, or organizing."

Also featured in the special section is a video about Mercy College's Bronx Parent Center in New York, which I also wrote about for Education Week here

Finally, in conjunction with the special section, Education Week will be hosting a free webinar, "Empowering Parents to Transform Schools," on Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. to discuss how schools and districts can improve parent involvement, especially in underserved communities, to boost student achievement. Joining Arnold F. Fege and Karran Harper Royal for the webinar is Alberto Retana, executive vice president of Community Coalition in Los Angeles. Elizabeth Rich, Education Week's commentary editor, will be the moderator.

See our full coverage of parent empowerment issues.

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