Yesterday, the Denver Post ran a story that dared to suggest that someone other than teachers are responsible for students’ educations. Apparently, one Denver high school is doing the obvious–engaging parents in their childrens’ educations. (Good for them!) But how did this Thought Crime get into a major media outlet, especially one that has so vigorously promoted school “reform” schemes premised on the precarization of teachers’ professional lives?
Much of the talk around educational reform has focused on the role teachers play in students lives, all but ignoring another big player: parents.
One Denver high school is changing that narrative, creating a multi-school system that empowers parents with the goal of getting more students into college.
Antonio Esquibel, principal of Abraham Lincoln High School, is using money from a three-year federal school-improvement grant to build a collaboration with its feeder schools — CMS Community School, Godsman Elementary and Kepner Middle School.
How does this amazing new theory of education work?
The collaboration is focused on aligning academics and empowering parents — providing them with training, taking them to visit colleges, encouraging them to volunteer and getting them to attend parent-teacher conferences.
Not long ago, it was typical for only 100 parents to attend parent-teacher conferences at the high school. This year, an estimated 1,500 parents showed up.
“You talk to any of our teachers, they can attest to the difference,” Esquibel said.
About 50 parents are volunteering in the high school, organizing books and helping out in classrooms.
Many are immigrants who had been successful in their home countries but have not been able to work here.
“I hear parents who now say, ‘Thank you. You helped me feel professional again,’ ” said Fernando Guidice, Lincoln’s parent coordinator, who was a principal at a school in Venezuela.
“When the parents are in the schools, the environment is different,” he said. “They may hear a student sassing a teacher in Spanish and will say . . . ‘Hey. Respect.’ ”
This is fantastic! But where are the fresh new theories and smoking hot-off-the-presses research? Is there any new research to support this kind of “school reform?” Buried at the end of the article, we learn this:
Decades of research show that the more parents are involved in education, the higher the student achievement. That involvement can be at home working with students on their assignments or in the schools being a volunteer.
One respected study from the 1960s said that about one-half to two-thirds of the variance in student achievement can be accounted for by home variables rather than school variables.
Oh–so when can we get a bill through the General Assembly and Colorado Senate to revoke parental tenure and start firing parents? Because, if these numbers (ONE- HALF to TWO-THIRDS of the variance in student achievement!!!) are correct, I don’t see how we can avoid it. After all, only the enemies of reform would oppose such a law. Only we reformers really care about the children.
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