I continue to follow with great aplomb the twists, turns, knots and twirls of reform in education and am most amused by the process of tenurization. Each and every time there is not an entry for parent involvement and participation, the smirk on my face becomes more pronounced, after all, PARENTS HAVE THE GREATEST IMPACT OF ALL ON A CHILDS EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS. While it has crossed my mind to think it is sloppiness in not addressing parental involvement, reality indicates society could not actually stomach what it will find and furthermore, we would be unable to push all the badness back in the box once it sprang out (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/12/MNUP1GNRHS.DTL). Clearly the demographics of Oakland Unified School District in California and the city of Oakland, CA demonstrate the issue. When parents care and are engaged, school function, students thrive. When parents never were engaged or choose to become disengaged, bad things happen.
To this end, parents absolutely need to be required to be part of the process (not merely the part of getting pregnant, giving birth, and so forth) and this should be part of what teachers are measured upon since IT MATTERS. Not accounting for this one ingredient is the equivalent of making spaghetti sauce and completely, deliberately neglecting the garlic and trying to make it edible.
While Jeffrey Canada of The Harlem Children’s Zone may be looking for Superman, there are no superheros with extraordinary powers; there are ‘merely mortal’ parents who need to do their part to turn education around. While tenure is an absolutely valid process and many schools, districts and states are finally implementing change where accountability means principals actually have to ‘coach’ and not just hang out in their office, there are missing pieces.
I encourage people such as Michelle Rhee, who is looking for a cause, to jump on this. It is not a money thing or a teacher thing – it is a parenting thing.