Thursday, June 01, 2006

Re: Behind the Story:Redondo Elementary by Pinzur

Matthew Pinzur is the education reporter for the Miami Herald. On his blog recently he reported on the successes at Redondo Elementary. One of his comments dealt with the involvement of Mexican immigrants in their child's education. Re: Parent involvement leads to better quality of education...This statement alone has become a rallying cry among administrators eager to get in line with the trend towards privatizing education. Administrators and politicians talk about schools as businesses serving their customers. It is this idea that makes talk of parent involvement just another sideshow for public schools to tout to their neighborhoods and recruitees.Parent involvement can take many forms. Parents often call teachers when students receive poor or failing grades. Parents often call teachers when a progress report or report card shows a failing grade. I have received calls when a student can't get along in his group or can't turn in an assignment on time. Many would feel that a parent who calls is concerned and therefore involved, but these types of correspondence only help to further the gap between the teachers and the students. In this day when students are customers, education is being limited to the lowest common denominator. If the customer is always right, then the teacher is no longer looked upon as the expert.Real parent involvement means the parents are in the classrooms, working with teachers, and relying on the teacher to teach, inform, and enlighten. The parent who is involved needs to reinforce the teacher's lessons, encourage their children to listen to and respect the teacher's knowledge, and finally to question the teacher's motives, lessons, and assignments in order to understand the purposes behind what each teacher does. Quick note on Dade County Policy: I had a student last year bring in her mother for a presentation on her mother's life. The school security guards quickly stopped this child's mother from entering the school and sent her home because she had not been fingerprinted and registered by the school board. If we want parents to really be involvend, we have to find a way to let them in and out of our classrooms at their convenience.

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