Education Policy & Parents

I follow Education Policy. If you do the same you know policy implementation is largely State-driven. As such, there are only a few nominal players in the ongoing ed. policy discussion. Parents, are not a nominal player. This is really frustrating as a parent. Lawmakers bicker endlessly about the inherent problems and failures of whomever isn’t writing them checks, or otherwise tied to them at the Party-hip.

Ask yourself what you know about your kids upcoming school year. Have you read the applicable standards in your State? Can you utilize them over the summer to prepare for the upcoming school year? Does your school system provide you this information?

Here in Ohio a new budget was just signed. And with it, myriad new Ed. policy Moves, Adds, and Changes. Charter Schools in Ohio, recently characterized by The Washington Post as “A Joke,” will get more money than ever, eclipsing a Billion a year, each 1 of those dollars extracted from public schools. Despite this glutting, public schools in Ohio cosmically outperform Charters. Why?

On the other side of this pointless dichotomy are the educators. With their sports cars and over-inflated benefits? In Ohio, education standards change drastically every year. I sympathize with teachers who have to find a way to adapt. That being said, who cares. What about us parents? Last year I tried to figure out the PARCC test, this year it’s shifting to AIR. PARCC made around $25 million in Ohio tax dollars, and was dropped in about a year.

So, it’s July 2015, and by next Spring (January 2016), lawmakers are apparently going to have all the time they need to completely design an Ohio-based K-12 testing standard, write, design, and deploy the tests, allow educators and schools time to train, adapt, and prepare? All this and they’ll have to FIND a way to make Charters somehow exempt?! Heroes, I tell you — all of them. This process, in Ohio, is largely repeated year-over-year. I assume it’s reflective of the national model, as we’ve barely moved the needle on education in the past 30 years.

Now, let’s move back to the real joke here, us parents! Yeah! This year I’m going to have to be an Educational Juggernaut, a ninja. But I will prevail. I’ll search those websites and find those materials. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll have time to actually prepare the kids for the tests — I guess we’ll just wing it.

I never signed up to be part of a system making it categorically impossible for me to help and prepare my kids for their school curricula, and presumably, their future!

So here’s my idea. No new policy! Any policy efficacy, or lack thereof, will be outstripped by the aggregate ability of Parents to prepare their kids, to assist them on a day-to-day basis, and to have a voice and be a PART of educating them. If 50–100 legislators and special interest people are able to redesign an entire new education system in Ohio every year, perhaps parents too, can be a part of this educational magic. Or maybe us denizens should clamor for a better model — one beholden to those kids, not the abstract ones, but the ones WE Parents teach.

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