Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Craig Spinks: What Keeps More Parents from Getting Involved in the Schools?

By Craig Spinks, Ed. D

Why Do Many Parents Look Like They Don’t Care?

Over the past couple of weeks, I have read and have seen things which indicate to me that there are many caring parents whose kids attend RCSS schools. First, I attended the January meeting of the Windsor Springs Elementary School PTA on Tuesday, 1/10/12 at 6 PM. There, as a consequence of the cooperation of WSES PTA President Terry Morgan and Richmond County Council of PTAs President Monique (Dr. Mo) Braswell, a full house was on hand to hear the incoming National PTA President Otha Thornton, a former WSES alumnus. Also present to meet parents was  current GA PTA President Donna Kosicki of Cherokee County.

During his remarks to the assembled parents, President-elect Thornton challenged his audience to “walk the walk” toward educational excellence for their  kids. Colonel Thornton commended the RCCPTA for recruiting 10,300 members so far during the school year(Minnesota Fatz of Foxie96.3 was the member  #10,300.)- the largest membership in the history of PTA in the RCSS. Colonel Thornton challenged parents to become actively involved in their kids’ schools.

Second, I received a FB message from a friend whose daughter attends Davidson Fine Arts. My friend assures me that she and other parents “walk the walk” when it comes to parental involvement in their offsprings’ schooling. They visit Davidson regularly during the instructional day and during after-school activities. They also provide input concerning what they see there.

Some pertinent facts about public education in Richmond County might help explain why many, many parents who  really do care about their kids’ educations have not acted upon their concerns:

FACT  1: A public school system is a massive bureaucracy.
FACT  2: Changing a massive bureaucracy is no easy task.
FACT  3: Many  parents do not believe that they can effect meaningful change in the RCSS or the schools their kids attend.
FACT  4: Many other parents don’t know how to effect improvement in the Richmond County School System and in their kids’ schools.
FACT  5: Many parents don’t feel welcome in their children’s schools and at RCBOE meetings.

Are these five facts immutable?  While the first two facts may approach immutability, the last three certainly do not. Next week’s piece will feature people who intend to help parents develop faith in their ability to improve their kids’ schools, who intend  to help parents feel welcome in their kids’ schools,  and who intend to facilitate parental acquisition of the knowledge and skills needed to improve their kids’ schools as well as the RCSS as a whole.***

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