If there is to be a true “partnership” between schools and families, between teachers and parents, if there is to be a genuine spirit of teamwork and cooperation for the good of the students, then parents need to be valued as team members, as partners in education.
Too often what I have seen and experienced is being shut down by administrators and teachers if I rock the boat by raising questions and concerns about policies that impact my children. Too often, parents who express valid concerns and questions – and, yes, even anger at unjust policies or policies that are just plain bad for kids – are quickly written off as “haters” and as problem parents. Too often, parents are told, “This is the way it is. These are the rules,” and no dialogue is welcomed. Too often, the teacher’s or the school’s word is gospel, and to question it is considered blasphemous. Too often, when parents express frustration with the educational system, it is chalked up to their problem, and not any problem with the way things are done.
If parents are shut down, shut up, and written off – or just as bad, paid lip service that has no follow-through – because they make waves with their input into their children’s educational process, the relationships between families and schools will continue to break down, and this serves nobody.