The parent voice within the school reform movement is paramount to see real change and student success. This idea of parent empowerment was reaffirmed in late July through model legislation proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), “a voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.”
The Student and Family Fair Notice and Impact Statement Act will require charter authorizers to:
- inform families in a timely manner that their school of choice is in jeopardy of closing or in need of restructuring.
- create “Student and Family Impact Statements” regarding the closing and/or restructuring of the school, which will take into account student and parent voices through scheduled hearings.
As Manhattan Institute scholar Max Eden logically explains, “Parents should always have the forum to tell an authorizer what a school means to them.”
Should state legislatures around the country take up this recommendation, parents would become part of the school evaluation process, and rightfully so. They’re the ones who choose these schools! Instead of closing schools based on letter grades alone, authorizers would be required to hear from those actively engaged in learning at the school in question. Parents would no longer be ignored when decisions are being made about schools and would find themselves sitting in a well-deserved seat at the table.