Lately there has been lots of talk about parental involvement as the solution to our local public education problems. But does Racine Unified really want parental involvement or do they just want a ready excuse for their collective failings?
One of the most important decisions an involved parent can make is to decide which school, if any, will be entrusted to educate their child. This decision ought to say something about what a parent values. Is it high test scores and graduation rates and college acceptance success? Is it the importance of religious instruction along with the the three R's? Is safety an overwhelming consideration?
I don't think this is what Unified means by parental involvement. Unified wants your children educated at Unified regardless of the other educational options that exist outside of Unified, and regardless of what you as a parent value.
So Unified wants a parent to be completely uninvolved in the most important education decision - who should educate the child - but to then become hyperinvolved in education once the child is enrolled in a Unified school. I am not buying it.
Presently Unified employees and their national counterparts are the only obstacles to meaningful parental involvement in education decisions. If tommorrow the National Education Association issued a statement declaring that parents should be empowered with education vouchers to choose the school, whether public or private, for their child, it would be only a matter of days before such legislation would pass nearly unanimously.
This will not happen as this type of parental involvement would seriously erode the power of public school employees.
So when you hear public school apologists lament the lack of parental involvement in schools, know that they don't mean it. What they really mean is that the lack of parental involvement, that they alone perpetuate, provides a handy excuse for the ongoing demise of our public education system.