Parental participation the backbone of education
TBO.comA current hot topic here in Hernando County is the magnet school program. The magnet schools have traditionally drawn its student body from all over Hernando County. Prospective students had to present a portfolio, which was scored, to gain admission.
Published: November 11, 2011
Published: November 11, 2011
Another requirement was the participation of the parents or guardian. In my opinion, this was the most important requirement. Enrollment requirements have been changed over the years, such as allowing siblings to attend and then not.
Now the school board wants to allow partial zoning to the schools' enrollment. An idea that was met with much resistance. It also came to light that by opening up the school to zoned students, the school system is now eligible for more federal grants.
On one hand you have parents who are trying to maintain the level of education at their child's school. On the other hand, you have an administration that is trying to provide education on every level while working with a very restrictive budget — all the while having to meet state mandates on class size.
The current magnet system has proven to be very successful. Overall the students — both portfolio and those not — have scored very well. The school has met state and county goals. It performs well compared to the rest of the school system.
Parental participation is a backbone to the success of the magnet system. These requirements have been eased recently but play a big part in the system working. When parents are brought into the teaching environment, they are invested in their child's future. Because of this involvement, they are more passionate about their child's school and its success.
There is another important underlying issue here. Teachers are being asked to accept cuts and merit pay. I know that if I was a teacher I wouldn't want to lose my best students to another school because the one I'm at can't meet its needs, especially if my pay was based on it
At a not so distant past county commission meeting, a citizen made the analogy that a neighborhood was like a reef, and that if it wasn't nurtured properly, it dies. Our whole school system is a reef also, with our children as the beautiful fish that swim there. All our children deserve to learn and grow. The teachers need access to the resources to ensure success.
Another source of contention is the money the magnet system draws away from the rest of the schools. As a taxpayer and parent, I see one school receiving more resources than another. I also see children being bussed 15 miles to attend a magnet school while a child living less than two miles away from their zoned school is not receiving any bussing.
We shouldn't have disparity like this.
No one wants to do away with the advanced teaching programs being offered to our students. I just think that the school within a school would work better and more efficiently. The bussing and zoning issues would end. Advance programs would be offered at every school and at every level with greater flexibility. We would be eligible for more federal grant money to fund these programs.
Lastly, require parental participation on some level at every school in our county. This requirement alone makes everything else work. The school is not your nanny. You, the parent, are just as important as the teacher in ensuring your child's education is met.
If we demand that the teachers are properly educated and instructed in the classroom, then we owe it to them to give as much support right back.