Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Call for the End of "Parent Trigger"

We've got to stop using the phrase "parent tri**er." For those not literate in edu-speak, "parent tri**er" is a process in which parents can call for the closure or transformation of a school if it is not doing well.

As a society, we've got to eliminate the use of "trigger" in association with our schools. It evokes violent imagery and sets up parents v. teachers when the real issue is two-fold:
  • Are children arriving at school ready to learn? Children need to feel safe and be well-fed, well-rested -- and curious -- in order to do well in school. If the answer to this question is "no," then we need to look at the variables that influence learning readiness. That is a societal issue worthy of a systemic response.
  • Do schools have the capacity to engage students? In wealthier schools, the answer is yes, but we have to ask to what end? Are we preparing students for individual achievement or civic engagement, or both? In our less wealthy schools, we need to develop the school cultures that foster effective learning and working conditions so that students make connections between school and society and teachers can do their jobs -- and flourish.
Can schools be more effective? Certainly. However, we've got to develop systemic solutions that engage families and unfurl educators' professional stewardship of education.