IBJOpinion

MEREDITH: Involved parents can lend support to their schools

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Teresa MeredithThe “parent trigger,” which allows parents of children in failing schools to vote to petition their school board to force major changes, nearly passed the General Assembly this year. This summer, a parent group in California became the first such group to win a court battle to enforce the trigger. Should parent triggers be reconsidered in the upcoming legislative session?

As a mom, I have enjoyed the opportunity to have an impact at the schools my four children attended. From volunteer opportunities to curriculum recommendations to serving on committees, I have worked hard to make sure their needs were covered. And there are numerous paths for parents to make a difference.

But I do not think parents need a trigger law to allow them to do what they should be doing already by advocating for their children.

So often, everyone is looking for a quick fix. Taking over a school and subcontracting it out to a private group to deal with the headaches might sound like a good idea on the surface.

However, reports show that takeover schools in other states have no record of success. I wonder if the parents who want to take over schools have really bothered to get involved in their communities and their schools to see what could be done to improve circumstances for all children before they jump to support a sellout.

Studies suggest trigger laws divide communities, create stress among parents, and cause turmoil for students. We know parent triggers demoralize educators.

I agree with school reformer Diane Ravitch, who wonders why parents would want to take control of a school and hand it over to a private company. She asks whether the tenants of a public housing project have the same power to privatize their building. How about the patrons of a public library?

Ravitch asks if states could pass a law that might allow parents to sign a petition that forces the state to provide funding to fix a building, supply books, or provide special education services, and more. What kind of spark might those opportunities set off?

As a parent, I am concerned about class size, curriculum and course offerings. When I am not happy with how something is being done, I contact the teacher or administrator. If the issues are not resolved, I call school board members and speak at board meetings. I do have a way to make my voice heard.

As an educator, I support those same efforts, but I am also interested in ways to change how teachers are supported once they enter the profession, and I want more meaningful opportunities for parents to engage in school improvement.

I think Ravitch said it best when she said, “A public school is a public trust. It doesn’t belong to the students who are currently enrolled in it or their parents or to the teachers who currently teach in it. All of them are part of the school community and that community needs to collaborate to make the school better for everyone. Together, they should be able to redesign or create or discontinue programs and services. It is part of the public patrimony, not an asset that can be closed or privatized by its current constituents.”

I know that students benefit when trust is established and schools and the community collaborate. My kids are lucky to have schools that are open to all and parents choose whether to be involved. Each school exists beyond the bricks and mortar and I am proud to be a part of it.

A parent trigger law is not going to change the level of engagement of parents or community members. If everyone reached out to their local public schools to lend support rather than to take over, children would be far better for it. And isn’t that what our community should be about—building up, not tearing down?•

• Meredith is vice president of the Indiana State Teachers Association and has taught for more than 18 years in Indiana schools. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT