(Apologies; this is a new thread of a post I made on Charlie's thread about APP accountability. I felt like maybe we might want to have this discussion and find out what stops people from stepping up to truly fight for what we want from our district. Arch Stanton had said an APP WASL boycott wouldn't likely happen without advocacy from the APP parent group. Here's what I said.)
Which leads me to...parents have muscle. Oh, we do BUT only in numbers. If we massed at the Stanford headquarters, do you not think there would be notice? If we blitzed the City Council, you don't think they won't notice? If we blitzed the Times with letters or requests to write op-eds every day of the week, again, any notice? If we all staged a one-day walk-out in general protest?
BUT, just as APP is split, so SPS parents are fragmented. Mostly, and I mean this kindly and not coldly, people just don't like to rock the boat. Either they think it won't work or they worry about some unforeseen repercussions. For some, it would be more of a bother than they believe it's worth.
That's sad really because parents in large numbers really could move mountains.
Just as Arch said the APP group isn't likely to advocate or be activists? Very scary. You might be thought of as pushy or annoying or aggressive or nagging or yikes! negative or the worst thing that can be hurled at you "You're hurting the kids."
The PTA? It's the same thing. The Washington State Council tells the Regional Councils and in turn the Seattle Council tells the locals what to do. Yes, we vote but I never hear real discussion about whether these goals make sense to local PTAs. I have rarely, if ever, seen a local council say no to a proposed list of goals or agenda. I have never seen anyone stand up and say, "We have power as PTA. Let's use it." Because, in case you didn't know, PTA is the largest parent group in the country. Those are real numbers.
What if PTAs said, you know what? We're going to raise money for enhancements for our schools but this year, we're not putting money into the school. No paying for teachers, materials, desks, landscaping. We'll do the book sales and support the music and the arts and the chess club. But no money directly to the school. Do you think the school would notice? Do you think the district would?
People love, love, love to complain about this district. And, they will tell you they have written to the Board and written to the Superintendent. And that's good. But words won't work here. Only action and you either have to have some fire-power on your own (hard to come by) or you need numbers. If I could get 1 out of every 3 people who complain, to really speak up and out, it would be great. But that "wait and see" attitude, well, that will get you nothing.
So for many people, as is the case, they like their school. They would love for the district to just leave their school alone. But they see that the power the district has over every school - principal selection, program movement, building condition, etc. - and that NO school is immune from what havoc the district can create. But that still doesn't move them.
For APP, I see the writing on the wall and believe now is the time to fight back. I really believe the Superintendent is not all that interested in gifted programming and it may be too late for Dr. Enfield (who professes a deep interest) to do anything about it. But that's a choice that community has to make.
I mean, my original dog is the fight long ago was Spectrum. And you can see how far I have gotten with that.
Lastly, I should publicly apologize to Dorothy Neville. She's a member of the RHS PTSA and posts here frequently. She was at our PTSA meeting and spoke out on a couple of big issues at RHS that our principal, Brian Vance, was explaining to parents at the meeting. She had valid points and stated them bluntly. She was right on her points; she wasn't saying what was done was wrong or that she disagreed with it. She stated that Mr. Vance had not clearly backed up his points/claims and, despite her best efforts, he didn't clearly explain them as he should.
This is a case where other parents should have chimed in and said, "Wait a minute. Answer her question about equity and the data behind it." And the first person to do that should have been me. So for all my talk about standing up, I was distracted and irritated about other things at the meeting and I just didn't do it.
And I should have.
(P.S. Go vote for Children's Hospital to have a new playroom.)