A Phillie Teacher

I was a starry-eyed teacher from New Jersey. Now I work for Philadelphia Public Schools.

But what do the parents want?

Posted by aphillieteacher on October 3, 2010

Teachers certainly live in interesting times. We stand squarely in the center of a gigantic controversy: public education.

Many of us will see the movie Waiting for Superman and read commentaries discussing the merits or fallacies presented there.

But in spite of all the media hoopla, what do the parents want?

Recently Washington DC mayor Adrian Fenty lost his re-election, which also meant that Education Chancellor Michelle Rhee, one of the “stars” of Waiting for Superman was out of a job as well.

Fenty and Rhee had trouble digesting the idea that parents weren’t happy with the way they were handling the DC school system. They blamed the teacher’s union for staging a campaign to oust the pair.

Once again, they were not listening to the parents – to the real constituents in educational matters – which is why they are out of a job.

Education Week has a *wonderful* discussion about  corporate and high government’s push for charter schools, and the public responses to that push.

Take a few minutes. The column covers so many issues, gives some interesting perspective, and made me feel hundred percent better about the future of public education. Not to say the battle’s over. Not by a long shot! But my feeling is “hang in there. We’re going to make it.”

Why Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty Lost

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One Response to “But what do the parents want?”

  1. Grumpy said

    My area’s heavily Broad influenced district has a lot of the same issues, in that the people who HAVE children in the district (and we still have some white, middle class support left in our urban area) are becoming more and more disillusioned with the “reform” that has taken place. Closing schools (and increasing segregation), more and more scripted and paced curriculum, new, young principals trained within the district and very “yes, administration”, losing or changing strong, rich or diverse programs, cutting of electives and extras while extolling rigor and depth, etc.

    However, when you talk to the people who don’t have children in the schools (have children in private schools, for instance) their only source of information seems to be the newspaper which acts as a mouthpiece for the district’s press releases. They think things are
    getting better — though it isn’t like they’re considering the schools for their kids.

    We’re seeing declining enrollment as well — even though our population remains stable. Parents leave, either moving out to another district, moving to a charter (or an online option), going private or parochial.

    Yet, the arrogance, the lack of any interest in the expertise of teachers or the opinions of parents, continues apace. The school board currently has one dissenting voice, sometimes two. Otherwise, the superintendent doesn’t even announce a plan until it’s already got the votes from the board.

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