A new twist to parent involvement–the 'reset' button

“Parent involvement” in education often means “make your kid behave” and “donate to the PTA.”  Parent involvement is taking on a serious new role in Los Angles.  If more than half of the parents of students in struggling demand change, educational options improve—charter schools are opened in their neighborhood, their school is converted to a charter, or the district delivers an improvement plan that meets their approval.  It’s like giving parents a big ‘reset’ button.
Parent Revolution engineered this powerful new bargain.  It works in LA because there are a half a dozen high quality charter operators ready to respond to parent demand.  Even LAUSD is getting on the bus by issuing a request for school operators for new and struggling schools.
The team working on California’s Race to the Top application took notice and incorporated the bargain to improve the state’s chances of winning a half a billion dollar federal grant.  The Governor issued a statement supporting the parent trigger and bills supporting this and other reforms are making their way through the Assembly.
Fox & Hounds says “It would mandate drastic changes at our state’s lowest performing schools – far too many of which are right here in Los Angeles – so that a status quo where 50% of LAUSD students don’t even graduate from high school is no longer tolerated for generations. And it would – for the first time in the history of American public education – give parents direct power to transform their own neighborhood schools rooted in what’s good for kids, not grownups.”
The bargain is catching on.  It will revolutionize how we think about parent involvement.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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