Thursday, March 5, 2009

"a community that wraps its arms around its schools..."

My colleague, Laurie Posner, has been diligently collecting, condensing & punching up educational information for IDRA's Graduation for All e-letter. One highlight in the most recent issue is Parents for Public Schools.

“Show me a successful school district, and I'll show you a community that wraps its arms around its schools, partnering with them for the success of all students.” - Anne Foster, national Executive Director of Parents for Public Schools, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, February 9, 2009.

Mississippi Model. Parents for Public Schools (PPS), which recently selected Anne W. Foster as its new Executive Director, is developing a statewide network in Mississippi that it hopes can become a model for parent engagement in other states. According to the Southern Education Foundation, per-pupil spending in Mississippi, as in other southern states, lags behind national averages, and it remains the only Southern state without state-supported pre-kindergarten. Research compiled by Multicultural Education, Training & Advocacy in partnership with IDRA shows that in Mississippi just one in two African American and Latino students graduate on time with a diploma. Through the Schoolhouse to Statehouse initiative, PPS provides training and tools to help parents become more powerful advocates for their children. Its aim is to “mobilize parents and their supporters to work to achieve equitable distribution of resources to support public education and access to opportunities for all students.” To learn more about PPS’ emerging model, visit “We’re Everywhere” or visit Parent Press. Aurelio Montemayor, M.Ed., director of the IDRA Texas PIRC (Parent Information and Resource Center), serves on the national board of Parents for Public Schools--visit "Toolbox" (below) for a link to a podcast conversation with him on “The Power of Parent Leadership.” Looking to learn more about community organizing to improve public education in Mississippi? Visit Southern Echo, a leadership development, education and training organization, strengthening grassroots leadership in the African-American community in rural Mississippi and the region.

Learn more about the Power of Parent Leadership. Almost everyone agrees that parent involvement in schools is key. But what does "involvement" mean? Isn't it time to go beyond the idea of mere involvement to a model of parent and family leadership? To learn more, listen in to The Power of IDRA’s Parent Leadership Model, a Classnotes conversation with Aurelio Montemayor, M.Ed...

Now me, not Laurie, speaking: It might be self-serving in my blog to quote someone mentioning me, but I really do want to invite my readers to listen to the podcast on the kind of parent engagement that most interests me. I have little interest in improving parenting skills...there are quite a few offerings online and in print to help parents be better parents. Parent leadership in public education is much less promulgated, researched and supported. Even the well-researched, well-written & currently popular "Beyond the Bake Sale" gives limited focus to this issue, gives a tiny reference to IDRA & totally omits my name, so, then, ergo, this blog & related items. After over 30 years of teaching, training, supporting and writing about this issue, it might ultimately get some legs, some traction and families, with or without good parenting skills, will get the public schools their children need and merit.

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