Welcome to the EduVerse with ProfessorJBA. Here’s what I want to say to parents and parent/family advocates. Your voices matter, and we need you. Advocacy isn’t easy work, so thank you for everything you’re doing on behalf of children.
As an advocate for families and children, I know the barriers parent advocates face. One common barrier of advocacy work is getting the buy in of educational leaders and teachers. Many educators look at the work of parent advocates as extra work on top of the work already behind schedule.
I say to parent advocates, keep pushing for change and remember that one thing we can all agree on which is equitable, quality educational opportunities, and positive outcomes for all kids. Period.
As a public education educator, I’ve experienced many schools that don’t make the investment in parent and family engagement. I believe it’s because the work of parent advocates isn’t really valued in public schools like it should be.
Valuing parent advocates is important to the work of school improvement. School improvement work is a continual movement. Parents and families play a pivotal role in ensuring accountability and academic excellence are upheld. They also play a role of getting buy in from their children and their neighbor’s children to do their best.
Support for parent advocates includes advocating for family engagement standards to be identified and implemented on the district and school level. I see lots of parent advocates at school board meetings, school parent meetings and even at the capitol speaking about academic concerns that connect more to the process as opposed to the development of policy. Helping parent advocates understand the nuisances between what they’re advocating for to different audiences is key to helping them win.
Another way to support parent advocates is to have a family coordinator who can support the academic needs of students while also being able to connect with and support families. This could include building community partnerships with parents and supporting them socially, emotionally, mentally as well as locating financial support for families in need. Supporting this position on the school level through grant development and fundraising for family engagement is a must.
Remember, parents winning is a win for our students!