At the heart of Innovative Education Management’s core values is a strong belief that the only way America’s schools are going to improve is if they become parent-driven once again.
What does “parent-driven” mean?
It means you, the parent, are in control of your child’s education. It means you have more influence than the room full of PhD’s and politicians who decided that your child should be judged solely by his or her outcomes on standardized tests. It means you are actually consulted about how your child’s school operates, what the goals and objectives of the school will be, and what standards your child’s school will have. It also means that you have a choice in the type of school your child will attend-fitting your child into a learning environment that best suits his or her unique personality, interests, and learning styles.
It means you have a voice and a lot more power.
However . . .
. . . parent-driven is not a magic phrase that makes all things good again if you say it three times while clicking your heels. “Driven” is an action word. If your child is in a district or system that is parent-driven, that means you should be driving.
Nothing will change if parents do not take advantage of the opportunities that school systems across the country are testing. We cannot decry the state of our children’s education and then do nothing when we are given a choice.
As part of “No Child Left Behind,” the Milwaukee Public Schools district (MPS) enacted both public school choice and parental involvement programs. Their initial findings are disappointing. In the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Report, Fixing the Milwaukee Public Schools: The Limits of Parent-Driven Reform, by David Dodenhoff, PhD, which provides plenty of statistical data, the result comes to this: only 10% of parents are taking real advantage of school choice and less than 25% (at best) are highly involved both at school and at home in their children’s learning.
Taken as a whole, the[se] numbers indicate significant limits on the capacity of public school choice and parental involvement to improve school quality and student performance within MPS. Parents simply do not appear sufficiently engaged in available choice opportunities or their children’s educational activities to ensure the desired outcomes. WPRI Report: Fixing the Milwaukee Public Schools
The desired outcomes he’s talking about, of course, are children who can read, write and do sums to more than just a marginally functional standard; children who graduate from high school at more than a 68% rate.
It can be hard to get information about the options available to your children or to evaluate that information once you have it. We, as parents, are not necessarily adept at deciphering “education-speak” or knowledgeable about credentials and programs. That is not our job. But we do know – all of us – that we want our children to be grounded in an education that will give them opportunities to succeed in the future.
The good thing about being a parent in the driver’s seat is that you don’t have to know how to build the car; you just need to be able to steer. IEM is here to help you take the wheel – a driver’s ed resource center, if you will – so that you aren’t stuck sitting in the driveway. We offer tools, information and encouragement to parents to assist you in taking back your child’s education.
If you don’t know how to “drive” your school, we do!
If you’re not sure what a “market-based education system” is, have no fear. We can get you there.
You have a lot to do already and IEM wants to help you with this. You aren’t starting from scratch. You don’t always have to drive a thousand miles when you get in your car – sometimes it’s a simple trip around the corner!
Other parents are facing the same challenges you are. That’s another thing we offer at IEM: a forum for parents to discuss education issues with each other. If nobody else has raised a question, why don’t you raise it yourself? There is somebody else out there who knows or cares or who also wants to talk about it.
Make no mistake – IEM believes that parents are the solution to the education crisis in this country. But saying that and acting on it are two different things. Parents are busy people; it goes with the territory. Another action item on your list – did you really mean to sign up for this?
Because no one knows your child or cares about your child’s future in the same way that you do.
So start with that short drive in the school zone. You’ll just be going 20 miles per hour. And you won’t be alone. IEM is driving, too, and thousands of other parents across the country are on this same route.
You are the parent in “parent-driven” schools. Are you driving?
Read our latest survey that gathered and identified issues, challenges, assessments, and perspectives from parents concerning the education of their children.