Friday, September 19, 2008

Supporting Strong Parent Engagement

Attendees to Monday's National Education Summit were interviewed for their thoughts on key principles of the Summit. Individual interviews of these attendees and others will be available for viewing on the Aspen Institute website.

Bill Jackson, President and CEO of GreatSchools
The road to civic engagement passes through the realm of self-interest. Parents have to understand that this is about their children. Parents are the students 1st teachers, the need to advocate for students and hold their schools accountable.

Jeanne Allen, Founder and President of the Center for Education Reform
This is a key issue and parents are tuned in. The reason we are often complacent is because we don’t have the options for parents to ask the difficult questions. What parent’s value more than anything is the report card, if you don’t give them something to do, if the child comes home with a ‘D’ - you turn them off…. Information is power. It is an old statement, but it really is true. Mothers do go to the web, dads do go to the web, and children do go to the web!!

Michael Wotorson, Director, Campaign for High School Equity
The first and most important thing parents need to know is that they have access to their children’s school leadership. They need to establish a relationship with school administrator and understand how the system works. And lastly, they have a role in what is going to happen to their children.

Lillian Sparks, Executive Director, National Indian Education Association
The parents I represent have the same concerns as all the other parents in the nation. NCLB, at its core, really does want to help every child. Now that we know that – how do we fix it to.

Peter Zamora, DC Regional Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
MALDEF is currently working in communities providing a 16-week curriculum for parents in 10 states to educate them on ways to get engaged in their children’s education.

Patricia de Stacy Harrison, President and CEO of Corporation of Public Broadcasting
Public education is in our DNA. Our mission was to educate and inform. 40 yrs ago we were given the mission of reaching out to under-served populations. Parents are our partners. We earn the trust of parents, so they know that we provide a safe place for children to learn and take education very seriously. We currently have a bilingual show, “A place of their own” to help parents and caretakers learn how to educate their children. A recent poll showed that 95% of all public TV are on the ground working with parents and teachers not only through broadcast but also through other means. We are funded by taxpayer dollars, but also by community sponsors. We are committed to a public-private partnership.

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