Barram's discussion on returning California's public school system to greatness neglected to include a very important component--namely, the school's clients, the parents of the children the educational system serves.
The problems facing education today are not problems of the school alone. To be resolved successfully, the home must become an extension of the school. Numerous studies show that it is crucial for parents--all parents--to be involved in their children's education, both in the school and in the home. It is essential that schools acknowledge the role of parents and consistently involve them at all levels of their children's education.
Parents want to know more about the instructional program the school is providing for their children. They need reassurance as to what is expected of their children at each grade level, how curriculum changes they hear about are being implemented at their school and how they, as parents, can be of support.
The California State PTA agrees with Barram that it is time for Californians to take dramatic action to return our schools to greatness; and when we work together at the local level, there will be success. All of us, however--administrators, teachers and parents--must make a commitment to the reforms we want to see happen.
PTA believes that for all children to achieve academically, school must become a place where teachers understand the merit of helping parents support their children; where administrators understand the benefits of participation by parents who are knowledgeable about student and school needs; and where a sense of shared responsibility makes change and reform a welcome challenge. These are the keys for successful reform.