Spotlight

Consider Parents Your ‘Stand Up’ Partners

One of the keys to successful communications for school leaders is to recognize that parents also can be your partners. Many of them understand the challenges you face and want to help.

Consider what some parents told AASA during focus group sessions commissioned by the association during the past year about what they consider successful education and public schools:

  • “Go and learn what your kids are learning … offer continuing education to parents … they have a lot of parenting and parental education courses.”

  • “Go and learn what your kids are learning … offer continuing education to parents … they have a lot of parenting and parental education courses.”

  • “These are jobs. We all need to realize that these (school leaders’ positions) are jobs just like we all have. Teachers are overworked, overstressed and responsible for more than the three R’s. You take money away from a school, they are going to leave. … [R]etention is the key for the good administrators and educators.”

  • “Go and learn what your kids are learning … offer continuing education to parents … they have a lot of parenting and parental education courses.”

  • “Remember how there was litter all over this countryside. I remember people threw stuff out. Remember the national campaign that came out, ‘Give a hoot, don't pollute. Don't be a litterbug.’ They ran those commercials and they inundated everybody. It took years, but I think we had a cleaner country because of that, and it blossomed into the ecology movement. People are taking everything more seriously. We need a national campaign that is targeted to parents to say you must take responsibility … in raising your children. You must. It is going to take years for us to see the fruit. … I see that a lot of our problems are because people say, ‘Well I'm going to send my kids off to school. It's the government's responsibility.’ It's not. It is theirs. We need to remind our citizens that it is your responsibility.”

The bottom line: When school leaders listen to their communities and partner with the public and parents, all sides will have a clearer understanding of both what is expected and how goals will be met. This can lead to partnerships between school leaders and their stakeholders who will in turn help create stronger and better schools.

When AASA members participate in the Stand Up for Public Education campaign, remember that you want parents, teachers and principals standing with you and not against you. Ultimately you all want the same thing—the best for America’s children. You all know that they are the future of our country.