Parent Alliance for their Children’s Educations

Kristen Shumway contacted me with a great idea recently. She lives in Alpine School District but the idea is worth sharing for other parents to get organized similarly. There are so many issues related to curriculum choice at our schools that having a body of local parents involved in this way makes a lot of sense especially if other parents at the school know about the group and can share concerns and ideas. These groups could easily become the “go-to” group for curriculum and activity choices as they become the involved parents who are most concerned with their children’s educational material. The Investigations math failure (click for new article from MD) and similar constructivist programs which Alpine School District and others continue to use K-12 continue to be shown an utter failure around the country. ASD has no studies to support the use of these programs and ignores the studies showing vastly superior programs such as Singapore, Saxon, and a few others. Parents need to mobilize at the local level and get the information out to parents in their own schools. I’m not sure if Kristen realizes the scope of what she’s sort of offered to do, but I’m so glad parents like her are getting involved.

Kristen mentions below that she will hold a meeting in her home, but I’m hopeful she’s overwhelmed with people like YOU :) wanting to do this at their own school and she’ll need a bigger meeting location.

Here is her email and contact information:

I would like to begin forming parents’ groups that would be associated with each high school, and the elementary and junior high schools that feed into it.  For example, my kids go and will go to PGHS.  I would like to start a group that could discuss the district issues, national tests, etc. per high school and its feeder-schools.  (According to a friend of mine, school districts on the East Coast are usually set up this way.)

I am hoping that by creating parent groups per high school we could create nascient “school board training groups” where parents could get educated, practice their skills, and exercise their voices on behalf of the people they care about most–their own children. Over time, if this idea takes off, these groups could start pushing for change on local levels, be elected to boards, and hopefully unite, creating a force that could give parents more voice in the education of our children.  Ideally, we could push for decentralized, smaller school districts.

As I see it, there is little strength among parents because there is no gathering and training place.  If parents have a problem, they have to come up with their own network.  PTA’s are really just an extention of the teachers’ interests to a large extent.  But a PACE group (Parent Alliance for their Children’s Educations) would be a group where we could disperse information and discuss goals for our own schools–tapping some of the positive energy Charter schools enjoy.  Also, parents could address problems/concerns and then prepare their solutions to be presented as powerfully and unitedly as possible.

We need a positive focus on building and improving.  Obviously there is a lot to fight against, but people are more powerful when they are fighting for something. I think these groups would be amazing training for citizenship and political activity as well.

So please send me your ideas and comments.  I would like to include them in a meeting I will be organizing at my home. Let me know (by email or phone) if you would like to be involved and how.    Anyone who would like to come help with ideas for creating a structure, defining goals, etc., is welcome.  Afterwards, I will post the results, and we will go from there.  We will need individuals who are willing to spearhead things in their schools.  This is a start-up so don’t count yourself out.  Anyone with the desire to improve their school for their children can gain experience along the way, just like the rest of us.

Kristen Shumway 801-701-0641

Sheldon Shumway 801-556-3431

kristen dot shumway at gmail dot com

2 Responses to “Parent Alliance for their Children’s Educations”

  • Buffysnell:

    Great idea!

  • Kelly:

    I feel this is what SCC (School Community Council) is for.  They do all the things that you mentioned that you want to do in the PACE groups.  Have you been able to go to a SCC meeting?  If you haven’t I encourage all to do so.  They are a great place to discuss all the things you mentioned.  PGHS has a SCC meeting every second Thursday of the month during the school year.  Every school in the district have SCC meetings where all parents are welcome and the principal attends every meeting so you are able, as a group, to discuss any problems, concerns and or goals that you have for the school. It is usually a small meeting where open discussion is encouraged.