Why Parents Are Not More Involved
I believe class size requirements exist primarily to prevent students from being placed in the
right class for them. The reason often sited for not being able to place them correctly is
lack of space in the class. And the reason they rely on isolated, single tests for class
placement is to encourage parents to know as little as possible about their childís education,
because too much knowledge results in intolerable frustration. It is intolerably frustrating
when the District will not allow a parentís first hand knowledge of their own children to
influence class placement or class content. These are decided by people that donít even know
the child (e.g.: the creator of the test does not know your child). If, as is claimed,
teacher recommendation plays a role this even further undermines parent involvement by
recognizing the teacher as having rights over and understanding of the child that the parent
completely lacks. Granting teachers a say and parents none necessarily implies teachers have
rights over your child and you have none. It necessarily implies that the teacher understands
your child and you do not.
Parents are led to believe that teaching children is a professional job that requires special
training. Parents come to believe that for children to learn they need teachers who have been
trained in teacher colleges. They believe ďThe nature of learning puts it out of my scope of
training or ability.Ē Myths about the nature of learning prevent parent involvement.
I pay for schools. It is their job to educate our children. That is why we have schools.
Division of labor puts it out of my responsibility. If they want me to do half the joy then
they should return half the money. Forced payment for the service creates contractual
expectations that keep parents uninvolved.
The system decides exactly what, why, when, and how my children will learn. I have no
business taking part in that which I have no say in nor control over. Lack of control
keeps me from being involved. ďAn organization that only allows its participants the
choices of conforming or leaving will see only apathy and desertion.Ē
Teachers donít like me in the classroom. How can I get involved where I am not welcome.
Feeling unwelcome or out of place keeps me out of the classroom.
Schools are a secret society. It takes great persistence to find out something as simple as
what textbooks are being used. Getting a copy to actually examine is out of the question. Why
should I get involved where I am treated as an outcast. Inaccessibility of information
makes me an outcast.
Parents are not respected or believed. When they file a complaint, no matter how traumatic the
consequences to their child they are silenced with name calling, lying, or any other
technique; and nothing is done. Unprofessional treatment silences me and keeps me
The parent is treated as if he or she has no capability of understanding or evaluating his/her
own child. Children are placed and evaluated from tests and/or teacher evaluation. The
unwillingness to use parent evaluation assumes that parents are totally stupid ignoramuses
that donít know the first thing about their own children. How can one expect parents to get
involved when they are treated as if their children donít belong to them, that they are owned
exclusively by the School District. Lack of respect for my rights and knowledge
prevents me from being involved.
I believe parents know, understand and love their children more than any teacher or
administrator and therefore make better and more effective teachers of their children than any
teacher. I believe this is true of every parent and child without exception.
All parents then should be given the greatest voice in class choice, class content, and
teacher choice. These are not administrative decisions. These are parentís decisions. For
administration to usurp the rights of parents and then expect them to be involved demonstrates
their total stupidity. If we have administrators that are that stupid then we need new