'Parents Are Always the Constant'

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Our babies become students, our students become our future. All parents--and the entire community--must accept their role in the educational process. That means participation in all aspects of schooling.

The bottom line for any parent-involvement program is simple: improved student achievement and increased graduation rates, resulting in better-qualified young people who are ready to compete in the workplace.

Here in Chicago, we have such a program. A program clearly defined by state law. A program based on site-based management of schools in a decentralized system--one that doesn't render the sub-district and the central administration impotent.

A Family Plan

Main page for the report
'More Than Help With Homework' by Dallin Malmgren
'Allies in Education' by Richard W. Riley
'Literacy Is The Key' by Sharon Darling
'We Must Move Beyond Finger-Pointing' by Heather B. Weiss
'A Better Life for Their Children' by Magdalena Castro-Lewis
'Parents Will Need To Own The Task' by James P. Comer
'The Missing Link' by Katharine Hooper-Briar
'The Central Office Must Take The Lead' by Lucretia Coates
'The Job Is Not a Simple One' by Kelly Allin Butler

The law creates a Local School Council to govern each school, made up of parents, community members, teachers, and the principal.

They are charged with key management responsibilities: reviewing principal performance contracts, approving the annual budget in consultation with the principal, evaluating curricula, working with administrators to create and approve a school-improvement plan, and drafting an annual report.

This kind of parent involvement is like no other in the country. Instead of beginning with a limited number of schools in a pilot program, the law made drastic changes in the entire Chicago Public Schools District 299.

This total structure supports a new kind of parent involvement, where parents have a real voice in decisionmaking.

What we hope to create in District 299 is a system where all the components that make up a school must be considered, weighed, and factored in as we try to properly chart the educational destiny of our children.

In this equation, parents are always the constant.

Vol. 14, Issue 05, Page 30

Published in Print: October 5, 1994, as 'Parents Are Always the Constant'
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