Did you know the fourth Sunday of July is National Parents’ Day? President Clinton established this day in 1994 to promote responsible parenting and to recognize positive parental role models. And shouldn’t parents’ role in education be a part of this designation? While we rely on parents to make sure their children go to school, do the required work and stay in school, too many parents are finding their voice is unheard in discussions about how schools can best serve their students.
This National Parents’ Day let’s listen to what parents want from schools. A recent Harris Poll of more than 5,000 parents found education ranks high among their concerns ahead of the critical midterm elections — and that 82% would vote for someone outside their party if the candidate’s education agenda matched their own. It’s clear that the pandemic substantially shifted parents’ views on education, making them more assertive about their own decision-making power in their children’s schooling.
Another recent survey of parents conducted on behalf of Good4U, a coalition of educators and community members, supports proven solutions that include a fair access to education and opportunity, personalized and flexible instruction specific to the individual, and job and life skills training to give students a jump-start on their futures.
Among surveyed parents:
• 92 percent say it’s important to ensure students advance from grade to grade based on their competency in the subject matter, rather than how much time they sit in a classroom.
• 86 percent say that it is important to help address societal inequalities by keeping kids connected to food, counseling and technology such as food, counseling and technology such as Wi-Fi, especially in rural areas and for students of color.
• 86 percent say that it is important to treat the behaviors associated with trauma-induced stress and grief as opportunities to teach life skills, not as discipline cases.
• 89 percent say it is important to structure school to serve individual students and understand that not all students learn in the same way.
Learn4Life, a network of 85+ high schools, has seen a growing demand by parents for schools that offer individualized instruction, flexibility and job training skills. “Our proven model is ideal for the students who don’t thrive in a traditional classroom,” said Lindsay Reese, area superintendent for Learn4Life. “Elected officials and educators need to recognize and support the role parents play in the education of their children and the changes they want to improve student outcomes.”