Did I Vote for this School System?

The state of public education in the United States is a concern to many. However, parents often find little response to their concerns other than FYI meetings and emails informing them about their responsibilities in the process. What should parents and guardians do when they believe or have evidence of the following in the school system proximate to them?

  • Many teachers are mediocre or incompetent.

  • Their children’s skills are falling progressively behind those in other neighborhoods in their community.

  • Teachers appear to obtain tenure and job stability very quickly (within three years).

  • Teacher tenure appears problematic. Upon being granted tenure, seem to be even more dismissive of student, parent and guardian concerns.

  • The school system appears very adept at testing the performance of students, assigning the causes of poor outcomes to students, peers, families, communities, etc, and suggesting the solutions exceedingly outside of their control.

  • The school system does little to critically assess the school infrastructure and staff regarding their contribution to sub-par academic performance by their students.

  • Low performance teachers appear well protected compared to their corporate peers.

  • Collective bargaining professionals and union members appear to be substantially involved in local education.

  • Administrators act as though their employees work together in a spirit of collegiality to address the best interests of students in spite of apparent facts to the contrary.

  • It is difficult for you to get to observe classroom activity.

  • Substitute teachers are frequently assigned to subject areas in which they have no qualifications.

  • When a substitute staff are used, little or no learning takes place.

  • Graduation rates are low and transfers to continuation or other alternative schools numerous.

  • There seems to be a greater emphasis on campus security, property, dress codes and behavior than academic performance and post-graduate success.

You are paying for the above described educational services even if you do not receive itemized bills. You would demand more accountability of any other product and service providers. Being busy is not a sufficient reason or excuse for not taking the time to be a good education customer, for you and your family. Your non-participation in school administration as a parent/guardian-customer is similar to not voting in political elections. Someone is going to win, to get to make the decisions, to spend your money, and you will have given away your right to provide input. Get involved. Stay involved. When asking yourself “Did I vote for this school system?”, be able to respond favorably.