The federal No Child Left Behind Act allows parents to transfer their children out of failing or dangerous public schools.
But a new publication from Parent Leadership Associates, a parent-training organization, offers advice to parents who choose not to take advantage of those options.
“Ten Tips for Parents Who Choose to Stay Put” suggests that parents identify what’s working well in a district and build on that.
“Amid the inevitable bad news and challenges, it’s important to identify and celebrate successes,” the publication says.
To help schools be more successful, it recommends that parents take assertive roles in pushing them to get more help for children who are struggling academically, and make sure children have the time and support they need to be well-prepared for school.
The publication also encourages parents to look for ways to be involved in their children’s schools and to make sure schools are giving them ways to voice their opinions.
“Many schools have gotten limited input from parents in the past and their [school improvement] plans often sit on the shelf,” the booklet says. “Now that schools face real consequences, such as losing students, there’s a better chance that these plans will actually be used—and your voice will count.”
The publication also emphasizes that parents should evaluate school improvement plans to make sure school leaders are focusing on areas where students need the most help.
In addition, it recommends that they talk with other parents about the school’s “parent involvement policy,” raising questions such as “What kind of training will parents get in order to better understand the school’s academic standards and tests?”
Parent Leadership Associates is a joint effort between the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a citizen’s advocacy group based in Lexington, Ky., and KSA-Plus Communications, a marketing company in Arlington, Va.
Beyond the “Ten Tips” booklet, Parent Leadership Associates provides free publications that explain in greater detail what parents need to know about the No Child Left Behind Act.