At the National PTA Conference in Charlotte, North Caroline, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave a speech about parent participation in their children’s education. The details of his speech are below, and I am going to make comments for each paragraph.
Parents are critical assets in education. Parents can be a voice for high expectations for children and for supporting educators in creating schools where all children receive what they need to succeed. An excellent education is every child’s civil right; and while our nation has made great strides—with a record high school graduation rate and college enrollment at all-time highs—we have much further to go to ensure that every child has equal opportunity to learn.
My suggestion would be to actually listen to parents Arne. Hundreds of thousands of parents in our country are opting their kids out of standardized assessments that your reign as Secretary has FORCED on schools through waivers and little or no choice requirements. You are right though, an excellent education is every child’s right, which is why parents are exercising their rights to make sure our children are not forced to take assessments that have no bearing on their educational growth.
Parents can play a key role in demanding the world-class education that their children deserve. But, for many parents and families, it can be an uncertain task determining the best ways to support their children or the right questions to ask to ensure their children are learning and growing.
But one thing many parents know is tests like the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the PARCC are not valid methods to determine how our children are learning and growing. Let me ask you Arne… you are Secretary of Education of the most powerful country in the world. Did your education prevent that from happening for you? Was Bill Gates education so bad that he felt the need to change it all? Neil Armstrong? Stephen Hawking? So why do you want to remove that kind of education and make it so all children are forced to be the same? Is it possible there is a lot of money to be made by making it appear children are doing bad in school?
That’s why, today, speaking from the perspective of a father of two young children, Secretary Arne Duncan described a set of educational rights that should belong to every family in America in a speech at the National PTA Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. This set of three foundational family rights can unite everyone who works to ensure that students are prepared to thrive in school and in life. These rights follow the educational journey of a student—from access to quality preschool; to engagement in safe, well-resourced elementary and secondary schools that hold all students to high standards; to access to an affordable, quality college degree.
I actually don’t have a problem with these rules. However, the policies you have set in place put minority students, low-income students, and students with disabilities at an unfair advantage. We can talk Civil Rights any day of the year, but what you have implemented has caused further distances in the education gaps between these sub-groups and their regular peers. And the humiliating way you have disparaged and insulted teachers in our country is shameful.
Parents and families can use these basic—but necessary—elements of an excellent education to build deeper relationships with educators, administrators, and community leaders to support schools so that these rights become realities. At the Convention, Secretary Duncan also noted his hope that parents will hold elected officials and others accountable for accelerating progress in education and expanding opportunity to more children—particularly our nation’s most vulnerable.
I do believe parents in Oregon and Delaware were very proud of their legislators for passing parent opt-out legislation honoring a parent’s right to choose the best education for their child. Parents will hold elected officials accountable once the scores on this year’s standardized assessments come in. They will remember the elected officials that allowed their children to be non-proficient and in need of intervention. Especially those parents who did not encounter these problems before.
Secretary Duncan’s discussion of this set of rights complements work by the Education Department to reach out to parents—from the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships released last year, to tools that can help families and students select the best colleges for their needs, to support of Parent Training and Information Centers and resource hubs.
Is that way the College Board is turning the SAT into a Common Core based assessment? One that will mirror the SBAC and PARCC assessments? And parents don’t need training. We need responsible people like the Secretary of Education of the USA to get his paws out of local education and stop interfering and causing constant disruptions. We all know you want to get rid of traditional public school districts and open up charterville across the country.
While in Charlotte, Secretary Duncan also participated in a “Future Ready Schools” panel to emphasize the importance of integrating technology into the classroom, especially as a tool for promoting equity for all students.
Ah, yes, more personalized learning modules for students to learn from home and then have a teacher go over homework questions in the classroom. That’s very crafty. Teachers won’t need as much education and they will just have to follow a script. We won’t need those pesky teacher unions anymore and we can lower the salaries for these robot teachers. Promoting equity? Are you kidding me? This will ensure that those who struggle the most will continue to be left behind.
To learn more about the rights that Secretary Duncan discussed today and to find other resources for parents and families, visit the Department’s Family and Community Engagement page. And, consider joining Secretary Duncan in a Twitter chat to continue the dialogue about parent involvement in education on July 1 at 1:30 p.m., ET, using #PTChat.
I hope ALL parents join that Twitter party. I will get a lot of parents to come to that fiesta. I hope you seriously answer the questions your advisors tell you “don’t answer that question” if you are serious about wanting parent engagement.
This was written by Tiffany Taber and can be found here: http://www.ed.gov/blog/2015/06/the-critical-voice-of-parents-in-education-2/