Need, Goals, Objectives
Magnitude of the Need
In his January 2011 State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama discussed the shared responsibility of the home, school, and community in enhancing our country’s education system, stating, “...the question is whether all of us — as citizens and as parents — are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed. That responsibility begins not in our class- rooms, but in our homes and communities.”
In his keynote address at the MOM Congress on Education and Learning in May of 2010, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan likewise defined his vision for how parents can and should be engaged in their children’s education:
“My vision for family engagement is ambitious...I want to have too many parents demanding excellence in their schools. I want all parents to be real partners in education with their children’s teachers, from cradle to career. In this partnership, students and parents should feel connected--and teachers should feel supported... We need parents to speak out and drive change in chronically-underperforming schools where children receive an inferior education. With parental support, those struggling schools need to be turned around now—not tomorrow, because children get only one chance at an education.”
The President’s and Secretary’s remarks are aligned with a robust and comprehensive view of the role of families in their children’s schooling. Instead of the involvement of parents being seen as a peripheral, compliance- driven aspect of whole school improvement, their vision calls for parents to be full partners with school staff and other members of the community in the work of creat- ing and sustaining excellent schools.
Our nation’s leaders recognize the power of parents. However, the limited capacity of parents and state, district, and school-level personnel to partner with each other and share the responsibility of improving student performance factors heavily into the relatively poor execution and oversight of the Title I parent provisions Mapp, K. L. (2011).
Capacity Building Across America
Project Appleseed actively looks for schools, districts and states, that share our set of standards for effective parental involvement. We seek to form partnerships that will organize parental involvement around these beliefs:
Project Appleseed rests on two truths that are founded in research: First, we know that when parents and caring adults volunteer in schools and commit themselves to supporting children, educational outcomes skyrocket. And second, while recruiting such school volunteers is not always easy, aggressively recruiting community members by going door to door — in other words,
community organizing — does work.
Like the double helix that combines and re combines genetic material to renew life, ac cording to the Rand Corporation, a school improvement strategy must combine two complementary strands:
Many communities have the financial, intellectual, and leadership resources needed to build their own educational improvement strategies. To initiate an effort to improve the public schools, Project Appleseed concentrates on the outside strand of school improvement. Families must be mobilized and organized to become engaged with their local public schools (Hill 1989).
Project Appleseed’s Capacity Building Partnership program supports the development of fam ily engagement throughout multiple schools, multiple school districts and across entire states. The individual components parental engage ment and community organizing will be de livered in a researched based and integrated manner, to increase student achievement.
Goals, Inputs, Activities and Outcomes
Unlike parent involvement projects that focus on an individual child’s school success, the goals of education organizing focus on system change and school accountability. While or- ganizing sometimes involves helping individual children and reforming single schools, organizing groups work toward changing the system for all children. Primary issues addressed by community organizing include accountability, parent engagement, school environment, equity, standards and performance, special programs, and quality of instruction (Lopez 2003).
Long-Term Outcomes Activities
Copyright 2010 PACE / Project Appleseed, the National Campaign for Public School Improvement, a 501 (c) (3) Nonprofit All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2010 Project Appleseed - All Rights Reserved