Sandra Tsing-Loh is one of my favorite education commentators, because she’s a battle-tested L.A. public school mom and she tells it like it is. With humor. This weekend she had a great column in the Washington Post, posing as a letter to the next President. An excerpt:
Come January, when the election frenzy is over and it’s time to fix (again) our endlessly collapsing U.S. public education system, I can already see who’ll be sitting around that West Wing conference table helping you craft your policies (aka, calculate the flow of dollars): the usual passel of political appointees, lifer administrators, think-tank policy wonks bearing white papers funded by the Gates Foundation, rock-and-rolly inner-city charter school innovators and the “social entrepreneurs.” No actual public school parents like myself will have the remotest input.
In other words, meet the parents! We’re on the ground in schools every day, volunteering, fund-raising, watch-dogging and frantically trying to fill gaps from decades of underfunding. The column goes on to say:
In a testament to the incredible can-do American spirit (and I mean that in the most drop-dead-serious way), activist public school parents are fighting back against U.S. public education’s wasteful and unresponsive corporate “professionalism.” . . . City by city, homegrown “parents for public schools“-style Web sites are springing up daily, little rebel force fires on the horizon. From New York to Chicago, Seattle to San Francisco and beyond, activist parents are starting to blog their outrage over millions of education dollars wasted on non-working computer technology, non-child-centered programs and, of course, those entities whose education dollars are never, ever cut — the standardized-testing companies.
Even more amazingly, these activist parents are partnering with their administrators, teachers and communities to help improve their struggling public schools.
Nice to see someone paying attention!