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Opinion: Empower Parents in the American Education System to Make It Work

Opinion: Empower Parents in the American Education System to Make it Work

Gerard Robinson, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, contributed an article to U.S. News to reflect his opinion that education policy should better reflect parents--a child’s first educator.

Specifically, Robinson looks at school choice laws and the lack of empowerment given to parents. In a study or 102 school choice policy legislation, Robinson studied how each references the parental figure.

"If states want school choice to truly work, they must have a critical eye for how laws treat parents, how they invite them into the lifelong process of a child's schooling and how they call equal attention to both rights and responsibilities,” Robinson says.

Robinson says that it is in “haste” that legislators leave parents out of the school choice process, rushing instead to get new choice laws on the books.

In Robinson’s study, he found that over 60 percent of the mentions of the word “parent” in several of the school choice laws he studied "are not about rights and responsibilities.”

Robinson says empowering parents moving forward is a job that moves beyond legislators and expands to schools and communities.

"Keeping in mind that a law in and of itself can accomplish only so much, policymakers and reformers must also look beyond policy and invite schools, nonprofits, corporations and the faith community to partner in this endeavor. This process will return our focus to education not just as a means to an end, but as the foundation for a healthy and productive civil society.”

Parental involvement in education is an age-old talking point as our education system shifts and grows.

A recent push for home-visits, for example, has developed from a need to better engage parents in students’ learning, particularly in low-income communities.

According to Robinson, if parental engagement started with empowerment in legislation, a stronger foundation will be built moving forward.

Read the full post.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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