Educrats Ignoring the Parent Voice

Sunday night I read The New York Times’ article Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools.  That Started a Rebellion.  For some reason as I read this article a song kept coming to mind.  The song was The Devil Came From Kansas by Procol Harem from their album A Salty Dog.

There are many issues of concern about Summit Learning and about it being put in place in some schools in Kansas as well as other areas.  I do want to focus on one thing that seems to be popping up more and more these days.  I am not quite sure how best to refer to this focus but it has to do with parent voice.

The parent voice has too often not been raised in the past as parents put trust in the school system.  When the parent voice has been raised, it has often been marginalized or completely throttled with parents being told no one else has raised the issue or the school knows what’s best for their students.  With many of the education reform measures over the last decade or so, the parent voice has been raised and attempts to marginalize or throttle it have not always been successful.  Yet, the education system (and the powers/influencers behind it) do not pay attention to the parent voice and arrogantly don’t seem to care.  The powers/influencers will even go so far as to tell the public (and parents) what parents want without ever hearing the parents.

From the article:

In a school district survey of McPherson middle school parents released this month, 77 percent of respondents said they preferred their child not be in a classroom that uses Summit. More than 80 percent said their children had expressed concerns about the platform.

“Change rarely comes without some bumps in the road,” said Gordon Mohn, McPherson’s superintendent of schools. He added, “Students are becoming self-directed learners and are demonstrating greater ownership of their learning activities.”

77% of parents prefer “their child not be in a classroom that uses Summit.”  As a parent voice, that is a loud and strong message… and very clear.  It is loud enough that if the powers that be don’t pay attention to it, they are going to have problems on their hands.  Like rebellion in this case.  Yet the superintendent blows off the parent voice with his comments that may come back and bite (or byte, in this case) him in the employment contract.

“Students are becoming self-directed learners and are demonstrating greater ownership of their learning activities.”  I wonder where this came from.  Original thought based on evidence or spoon-fed ideology?

And Diane Tavenner, Summit’s chief executive, doesn’t seem to give credence to the parent voice.

Ms. Tavenner said the Kansas protests were largely about nostalgia.

This is a system that is supposed to work for parents and the community.  When will that system start listening to the parent voice?  What will have to happen to get the system to listen and act based on the parent voice?  And parents, are you willing to be a part of the parent voice?  Are you willing to take back control over your child’s education?  Are you willing to be a part of the rebellion it will take to regain local control?

And I wonder if the Devil really came from Kansas… or came to Kansas.


3 thoughts on “Educrats Ignoring the Parent Voice

  1. I took back my right as a parent and enrolled my child in a private school. Very limited use of technology in the classrooms, absolutely no phone use within the school building 8am-4:30 pm, no stupid PARCC tests, no Common Bore curriculum etc.


  2. i wish parents would fight for their rights but I fear most will eventually give up just like so many did with common core. Recently, an article appeared on FB about all the sex ed changes and not being allowed to opt out. I commented that you can opt out, you can move your kids to private school or homeschool or maybe find a charter that isn’t required to teach it. One woman told me that was a ridiculous thing to say. Many others said “I have to work full-time” or “we can’t afford private school.” The mass majority are not willing to make the sacrifice to affect real change. When common core rolled at years ago and parents complained to me, I would tell them “pull them out” or “stage a week long walk out with everyone else.” Nobody did anything like that. If people were willing to leave en masse, the schools would have to do something. Until they are willing to leave, the schools can get away with doing whatever they want.


  3. Seriously parents are “bumps in the road”? Sadly, I’ve noticed that private schools do the same, it’s a take it or leave it approach, very few of them were established during the time parental control was the norm. I wish there were schools where parents directly hired the teachers, perhaps private schools also handle that because they think it makes them look more distinguished (not to me). You have to keep an eye out, I found that most in my area use Common Core and/or computer apps/programs in the early years. And if you think the college admissions scandal was bad; bribes are probably more widespread in private grade schools—I found that they are hard to get into! If they’re so good at what they do why do so many only ask for perfectly behaved prodigies? I looked into co-ops and most were top down managed with secular policies either won’t allow teachers to teach according to their religious beliefs or are controlled by a specific denomination. I would have to pay much more for pseudo-tutors who, although good with their own children, may not be great at classroom management and don’t necessarily want to be there because we all have to do unpaid labor to support the co-op.

    I love home school but it’s hard seeking out the best curriculum; my supposedly challenging–ahead of everyone math program ended up resembling Common Core too much and was ridiculous. The old-fashioned English program that claimed to have your child reading at a college level at the end of elementary wasn’t well organized–the readers don’t match the daily assignments. And this was the better one, I threw out a complicated one that had sketchy research behind it. The History program was terribly dated and many points could definitely been debated by historians. More than half of the time art and science projects don’t work–how well did they test these things out? It would have helped if I could have looked at the curriculum beforehand. HS conferences are expensive and don’t have many vendors. There aren’t a lot of storefronts in my state (Utah) either.

    Anybody else struggling with things like this? How do you overcome them?


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