As a former public school teacher, I was shocked yesterday. I was sitting in a committee hearing at the General Assembly to hear discussion of a bill that would codify parents’ rights into statutory law. What was shocking about the discussion? Was it that parental rights have been eroded steadily by courts and there are numerous cases of government overreach documented every year? Was it that in 2010 a Zogby poll found that 92.4% of Democrats, 97.5% of Republicans and 90.8% of Independents agreed that parents have the constitutional right to make decisions for their children? No.
As a public school teacher, I loved having parents in my classroom. I welcomed any parent who wanted to come eat lunch, attend field trips, or volunteer in the classroom. Why did I love having parents participate? Because I knew that the best indicator of success for my students was parental involvement. The more parents were involved in the educational process, the more likely that student was to succeed. So what was the shocking revelation today in the committee meeting?
A lobbyist stepped forward to oppose H711, a bill that defines the fundamental rights of parents to direct the care, upbringing, and education of their children. That lobbyist works for the NC School Board Association. So as the educational establishment decries the lack of parental involvement necessary for students to succeed in school, that same educational establishment is publicly and openly opposing those same parents’ rights to be involved in the education of their children. I find this outrageous. Parents are the key to success in every child’s education, whether that parent chooses homeschool, private school, charter school, or public school options.
Research supports the importance of parental involvement. A report, from Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (A New Wave of Evidence 2002) , a synthesis of research on parent involvement over the past decade, found that, regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:
• Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
• Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
• Attend school regularly
• Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school
• Graduate and go on to postsecondary education (see A New Wave of Evidence, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 2002)
It’s not just my own personal experience but research supports this hypothesis as well. If parental involvement is the key to student success, why would the NC School Board Association openly oppose a bill that codifies a parent’s right to help direct the education of their child? If the goal of the NC School Board Association is to increase student achievement (as I assume that is the case), why the opposition to empowering parents to become more fully engaged and more involved in their child’s education?
Written By Guest Contributor: Brenda Brown
Bio: Brenda is an educator with teaching experience in both public and private school settings. She currently home schools her children. She became involved in grassroots activism to advocate for values such as parental rights.
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