The Power of Parents

THE EDUCATION ACTIVIST: FROM STUDENT TO TEACHER is a blog written by education blogger Mel Katz

So much has been happening in the fight against education reform, encompassed in part by Common Core and PARCC, that the New Jersey activist scene has been blowing up. Groups are forming all over the place, new Facebook posts are flowing every 30 seconds, discussion threads have hundreds of comments, editorials are appearing all over the state from top to bottom, and there’s one thing that stands out among all of these things: much of it is at the hands of the parents.

Yes, the parents. The angry mommies and daddies and grandparents and guardians.

So much has been able to happen – and will continue to happen – because the parents are stepping forward to fight for the education their children – OUR children – deserve.

Don’t get me wrong, this fight has to be a collective effort: that includes parents, teachers, students, community members, and taxpayers. But parents hold so much more power than many of them realize: they have nothing holding them back. They are not seen as having a “vested interest.” The power to ignite this movement is in the hands of the parents.

The PARENTS are researching all they can get their hands on about Common Core and PARCC.

The PARENTS are spending hours upon hours reading, writing refusal letters, sharing concerns with other parents in Facebook groups, writing responses, and saying “I’m doing that too! I had that experience too!”

The PARENTS are attending board of education meetings in record numbers and testifying during public comment to superintendents and local boards of education.

The PARENTS are planning their own meetings: gathering a few other friends and discussing education in the kitchen over some [*much needed wine] research. Gathering community members for a discussion at the local community center and handing out pamphlets of information. Gathering community members – teachers, other parents, and students – for movie screenings, most popularly to see Standardized: Lies, Money, and Civil Rights: How Testing is Ruining Public Education. Gathering parents and attending State Board meetings to testify on the dangers of these reforms.

Parents, the message is short, simple, and to the point: Do not stop. Keep the pressure on, keep the research going, keep collecting more and more parents, and keep making your voices louder and louder.

Because you can’t fire a parent. You can’t silence a parent (and they for damn sure will try, but nothing is going to stop parents from advocating for their children). You simply can’t stop a parent once they have this knowledge. 

The power of the parents must never stop. 

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Mel Katz is an Education Blogger and an Urban Elementary Education and Women’s and Gender Studies double major at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).

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