TED Conversations

Randy Speck

Superintendent , Madison District Public Schools

This conversation is closed.

Is it right for parents to takeover schools? Should "parent trigger" laws give families the ability to take over and manage schools?

Throughout the United States, there is a movement for parents to take a more active role in their local schools. Actually, a more active role is an understatement. The "movement" is for parents to be able to take-over their local school under what is called a "parent trigger." This happens if their local school is deemed to be low performing, as described by each individual state.

Parents have a right to be involved...any quality school will have strong parent and family involvement. But should parents be able to come in and manage the school?


Closing Statement from Randy Speck

What a fantastic conversation and thanks to the TED community for participating. I also want to thank Ben Austin from Parent Revolution for getting involved in the discussion. Your insight was helpful to me, as a school leader.

The reality is, parents should be involved in their schools. They should have a say in the direction of their child's education. How that is accomplished may be a never-ending debate. As a school leader, I want my parents to be active in helping kids read and with their homework, but do to academic level of the family, that may not be an option. I want parents to be in attendance at parent-teacher conferences, football and basketball games, choral and dance recitals and any other activity that involves their child. However, I am also aware that working multiple jobs and shifts may make attending school events difficult, if not impossible. So how do we do this?

Unfortunately, my answer is little bit of "I don't know." But I do know it has to be a "we" that is involved. I don't believe legislatures can solve this issue. I don't believe for charter management companies can solve this problem. The main question becomes when and how are we going to make education in the United States a priority? When are we going to admit that students learn differently, therefore they should be assessed differently. That the neighborhoods you live in and the amount of resources (like food) that you have really do play a role in student achievement. Until we acknowledge...really acknowledge that socio-economics plays a factor, we may never be able to get passed basic debates.

Thank you again TED for being such a great place for people to safely communicate and share.

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    Oct 9 2012: about this issue .we wont let parents in to mannage the school things .you know it is a system .and most of the parents sre not perfessional .they dont know how to teach.so it is a fault if we let parents in

    while we are not all schools .we need to do other thing which we can not do in schools ,so i think we should let parents come .and meet we may work together to talk about how to teach students well and learn more about the students .and have a exactly project with the student .that is what we parents teachers should do .

    i think we just think too much about school .school can make us more intellegent .and we can learn most of what we need in our life ,
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      Oct 9 2012: Indeed, by what logic do we assume that parents are better teachers than professional teachers?

      There are dumb and smart parents just like there are dumb and smart teachers who know what they are doing.

      If they go by that solution, I feel like the kids might as well just go home-schooling.
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        Oct 9 2012: The possible belief is that because "they are the parents", the investment in which they would bring into school leadership would be greater.
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          Oct 9 2012: But there are also the negligent parents, the uneducated parents, and the parents who are too busy with work to really spend time with kids.

          And I'd say that a good majority of parents fit the description above.

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