A staff member shared this quote from a September 2012 Ladies’ Home Journal interview with Barack and Michelle Obama:
“Some of the best women politicians I know started off at a local level because of a specific issue. Their children’s school wasn’t working for them. They
got involved and suddenly they’re on the school board. Next thing they’re in the state legislature, and they rose up through the ranks. As somebody who
started in politics at a grassroots level, I think there’s a huge benefit from that path.”
This reflection of reality carries a strong message about the importance of providing quality training for parents in the way schools work and what they
should be doing to improve student achievement. The Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (CIPL) has trained more than 1,600 parents, helping them
become more effective advocates for quality education, and a large number of them are now serving in leadership roles across Kentucky. These CIPL fellows,
as they are called, have become local school board members, site-based council members, contributing committee members, and two of them serve on the
Kentucky Board of Education. All have played significant leadership roles.
I agree with the Obamas’ point of view, but this cannot simply be left to chance. We must be proactive and ensure that leadership training is available for
those who care so much about our children - their parents.
CIPL training is meeting this need across our country. The program has been so successful that ten other states and Washington, D.C. have adopted it to
help improve their schools.
The purpose of CIPL is to create a cadre of informed education advocates by:
Educating parents about how to assess the progress of their children’s schools
Informing parents about the overall education system and how they can be involved as partners in improving those schools
Motivating parents to help other parents become involved
Supporting parents after they become involved.
I urge you to explore this type of training in your local school district. You’ll be
helping your schools as you prepare the future leaders of your community!
The opinions expressed in Public Engagement & Ed Reform are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.