Friday, March 27, 2015

My two cents on Amy L. Kovac-Ashley's Medium piece on searching for a school in DC

Here are my thoughts about We visited 18 schools in 90 days in D.C., and this is what we learned. (in no order):
  1. PTAs.   Like the author, I often wonder about the inequities created by active/inactive PTAs.   It's not only about money, it's about oversight and accountability related to the school and it's leadership and parent/caregiver connectedness to the classroom.   Media reports about inequities abound; see How Budget Cuts and PTA Fundraising Undermined Equity in San Francisco Public Schools, PTA fundraising data shows massive gap between haves and have-nots, and As parents raise cash, schools confront big gap.    What fewer people pay attention to are the reasons why parents may not be engaged in their children's school: inflexibility at work, disabilities, transportation, dislike or fear of schools and teachers... the list goes on.   (See Improving Parent Involvement Programs and Practice: A Qualitative Study of Parent Perceptions (PDF))
  2. Elite status.   In response to "we often heard the refrain of 'Our school is more difficult to get into than _______________,' where the blank was filled in with the name of the Ivy League school du jour," I say read Two important discussions on college and listen to Frank Bruni on the Diane Rehm Show.
  3. School data.   Simply, more data should be readily available.
  4. Arrogance.   "It was dispiriting to hear one charter administrator speak with some level of hubris as if her school answered to no one, least of all the parents of the children in her school."   Oh, hell no.

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