Do Parents Really Want Control Over What Students Learn?

What’s the reason for the loud and raucous fights at school board meetings at the local level? Ones where parent groups organized by the parents are present to speak on anything from race critical theories or bulletproof entrances?

Many everyday factors are at play that is divided. We’re still struggling with the pandemic and its impact on children. Sexism, racism, and worry of being denied “rights.” Violence from guns. The political crisis resulted in an uprising broadcast live on television networks across the nation.

Also, money and help from external sources and organizations that see these current crises as an opportunity to cut down on the public education system.

I’m not unfamiliar with parent-led fireworks during Board meetings. I’ve witnessed a lot of verbal scuffles about sexual education, teacher strikes, and teenagers who actually wanted to work out as part of the team.

In my second year of teaching in October, in October, my second year of teaching, the month of October School Board decided to lay off 20 teachers (including me) who had signed annual contracts in the spring due to the millage election in August had not been successful. The Board cut the entire curriculum and enacted a pay-to-play model for all high school sports. The Board had a massive meeting that lasted until late into the night. And what was it that parents were unhappy over? Doing away with foreign languages or music or art classes in elementary schools?

No. It was about the football team.

One mother was furious when asked to contribute to her son’s last year as a player. “This is his chance to shine! Teachers are always looking for a new job, but my son will have just one shot to be a football player during high school!” There were perhaps 100 teachers in this gathering. It’s easy to imagine how they received that comment.

My argument is this: If parents are so angry to speak out during a school board meeting, it’s not always focused on a scathing critique of the established curriculum, instructions, or even tests (unless somebody has been lying to them regarding what’s happening in their child’s classrooms). Even book bans–a constant hotspot for school officials–occasionally flares up because a parent has carefully gone through their child’s book and was then compelled to take impulsive action.

What we’re witnessing now is a different kind of thing: an orchestrated and funded effort to discredit educational institutions and the students who teach in public schools. It’s all about power and control. The whole thing is about inciting fear and using deceit as a tool. As John Merrow notes:

Many of the people who have disrupted the local school board meetings don’t just don’t have children in these schools, but they are typically outside agitators or even from nearby states.

The underlying issue of the recent control debate — parental rights, or parents’ rights, is entirely political. It received a considerable boost when the governor of the moment, Glenn Youngkin, promised to strip the teaching of culturally sensitive students from the schools of VA.

Parents have always had rights, including the right to observe the things they are teaching their kids, access to educational resources, the option of watching their child’s progress in the classroom, and having the chance to discuss with their teachers regarding the subject matter.

Teachers must be knowledgeable about the curriculum and be able to explain to parents the reasons why specific tools and methods of teaching were chosen. If parents are truly worried about one of these issues, the responsibility is to justify the benefits of a particular method or material, and to modify or provide alternatives.

In a nutshell is good teaching based in trusting relations and the ability to communicate. Every teacher and school leader who reads this has had a difficult conversation with parents regarding the way their students are learning. This is part of their job. It always was.

It’s another reason why teachers have resisted using the Common Core: the standards did not fit the children the teachers were teaching. Shifting the responsibility for establishing standards, curriculum and assessments upwards, teachers are forced to explain what they’re teaching because it’s in the state test even though it might be unsuitable or inappropriate for a specific student.

Parents aren’t the only ones who would like to take the school out of control. In Week in Education: Week:

States are given a limited amount of control over the use for their teachers in their classrooms. A new study shows that some are attempting to influence the curriculum regardless. For the vast majority of countries, districts operate under local control. This means that school systems or even the teachers of individual schools are the sole authority for curriculum selection.

This means that states who want to have an impact on the methods teachers use it is necessary to be imaginative about the levers they can pull. A new report by RAND Corporation RAND Corporation suggests that some states have succeeded in doing precisely this.

Find the words ‘High-Quality Instructional Materials and be sure to read some disgusting blah-blah about how ignorant teachers create lessons from what they find on Pinterest. So, professionals in the field of curriculum decision-making must take the initiative and select better materials. Well-paid deciders, naturally.

In the spring of this season, Jennifer Berkshirefound an opportunity to believe in:

I’ve spent the last few days talking with people who vote and the candidates of New Hampshire who powered record participation and resounding victories for advocates for public schools. The same theme is constantly recurring. Voters were appalled by the extreme views of “parents’ right to rights” groups. This was a reaction to the backlash.

The yelling and the shouting have made teachers drained and discontented. A message from Connecticut educator Barth Keck

Schools across the country are accused of teaching “critical race theories” were able to make they made it into Connecticut regardless of any evidence of its existence or any precise explanation of what it is from critics. The superintendent Freeman “cited editorials as well as posts on social media regarding the school’s equity and teaching policies that suggest that parents should not be relying on the school’s teachers and administrators who have shaped the learning experience for their children at Guilford.'”

I’ve not experienced such stress personally, besides posts on social media by those who claim I am a “groomer” or “brainwasher” for children. Of course, I don’t know the people I’ve mentioned; the most they have is that I’m an educator. However, that’s not the issue that a strategy of political rhetoric has many people convinced that, instead of being a noble and vital job, teaching is a shady job that’s primary goal is to promote a leftist agenda.

It’s not about what parents already influence their children’s education.

It’s about creating an issue in public.