How much say do you have in your child’s education?
More than you think. Each day, school boards, legislators and others make decisions that affect your children and their education. As a parent, your input matters. But education decision makers are not going to come to you asking for your thoughts. You have to speak up.
Do Your Homework
Take time to understand the facts behind the topic. Once you do, be prepared to offer potential solutions to the issues at hand.
Taking a solution-centered approach is especially necessary when dealing with schools and their budgets, many of which have been particularly hard hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic aside, schools throughout the state continue to face the reality that the cost of education is going up faster than most schools can handle. The goal of remaining fiscally sustainable can result in the loss of school programs due to budget cuts.
The only way to know how fiscal matters affect your child’s education is to stay informed. Attend school committee meetings. Look on your child’s school website for meeting dates and information. Once you do your homework, you’ll be better prepared to share what you know with other parents and advocate for what you believe are in the best interests for your children’s education.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Want to promote change in your school? Find out how you can let your voice be heard:
• Attend your local school board meetings and speak up. These meetings are often the easiest way to learn about what’s happening at your school. Don’t be afraid to express your concerns. Attending with a group of moms and dads who share your views can also put emphasis on an issue.
• Write a letter. These days, emails sent directly to administrative officers are more than likely to be answered by an administrative aide. A hard-copy letter—no matter how old-fashioned it may seem—is still an effective way to share your opinions.
• Create a coalition. Look around in your community for groups who may have an interest in your goal and work together with them. There is something to be said about power in numbers.
• Join your school’s PTA or PTO. School PTAs and PTOs do more than organize school fundraisers. School principals and members of school committees generally attend these meetings to provide updates about school operations, budgets and programs. Find out when your school’s PTA or PTO meets and plan to attend.
• Visit your elected representative. Your local elected representatives offer another audience with whom you can share your thoughts. You’ll likely have a better chance of meeting your representatives if you visit their local offices, although you may end up meeting with one of their legislative aides.
Remember that you are your child’s best advocate. Don’t be afraid to raise a voice and share ideas you have about bettering the educational experience for your child and other students. If enough parents speak out, they can be heard.