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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

National PTA News

Reading Our Children (the national PTA magazine) I saw a couple of interesting items.

One was the response from the national PTA on the Supreme Court ruling on SPS's enrollment plan.

"The national PTA organization was deeply disappointed with the decision in these cases. In its statement, PTA said, "The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against diversity in schools, taking a significant step backward in ensuring inclusive, multiracial students bodies. By limiting the ability of school districts to use narrowly-tailored criteria to create inclusive schools, the Court is undermining the importance of providing our children with the opportunities and advantages of a diverse learning environment."
"Bridging the gap between communities not only ensures a level of educational equity within the school district, but helps break down barriers among various segments within the broader community. A democratic society demands equal opportunity to learn."
This position is consistent with PTA's stated mission of being a powerful voice for all children and a strong advocate for the education and well-being of every child."

Also in this issue were letters from different PTAs on what works for them. One of them, about boundary realignments, caught my eye.

"Last year, school boundaries were an issue and realignment meant the school board faced critical decisions regarding overcrowding in several schools in our county. Our PTSA proudly united with various PTSAs and educational advocates to update and inform parents through e-mail, encouraging them to attend public hearings and learn about the issues. We strongly urged members to wear purple shirts while attending. Hundreds of families who normally would not attend meetings became involved and voiced concerns."

On the one hand, this may be something for PTAs (regionally or even throughout the district) may want to think about. The Seattle Council PTSA might need to start thinking about how they can support their membership and yet not take sides. The issue of boundaries and assignment will affect every single child in SPS (who isn't graduating in 4 years or less). Maybe the Seattle Council should encourage PTSAs to work together - now - with their own ideas. The district is certainly working on their own plans; parents should do so as well. Waiting until public hearings are called is too late. Coming in with plans, drawn up by PTA members, would be very powerful.

On the other hand, no t-shirts. It makes for a great photo op but (1) doesn't ever change anyone's mind and (2) might make a group look united temporarily but as we saw from school closures, people desert a group once their particular school/area is taken off the list.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melissa, your point about parental involvement in boundary changes is well taken. But, what is your point in making the assertion that,

"...as we saw from school closures, people desert a group once their particular school/area is taken off the list."

As a member of the Graham Hill community, I would strongly disagree with this statement, at least in our experience.

Phoenix

Melissa Westbrook said...

I meant overall. When the final list came out, the numbers of people at meetings was far lower and you saw many school communities, once their name was taken off, were no longer there to support other schools (even though it was a "one for all and all for one" at the first round. Certainly a few schools continued to support other schools but the difference was noticeable.

Anonymous said...

most notably TOPS, who were out in great force to protest the outrage of school closures in general, the audacity of the closure committee to eye a building that had been built especially for them, and the enormity of the racist crime being perpertrated on Thurgood Marshall students.

Take TOPS off the list and the red shirts vanish instantaneously, leaving their erstwhile closure brothers to twist in the wind.

I wonder if they've continued their philanthropic interest in Thurgood Marshall...

Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing many of the blue Graham Hill shirts around either, nor have I seen any of them in the circles of CPPS or PTA that are engaged in district and state level advocacy...

Anonymous said...

You're right, anonymous. We Graham Hill folk usually leave our blue shirts at home when attending the many SPS, CPPS, SE community, etc. meetings we're part of. Many of us are very involved in school and community issues but don't feel the need to fly "our" school banner at every turn.

Coalescing is more productive than sniping, wouldn't you agree? Does it matter which school your children attend if we share common goals such as adequate state funding and great schools for all kids?

Phoenix

Anonymous said...

I think it was difficult for all of the school communities to sustain the level of involvement that was required to show their support for their schools. The timing of the process made it particularly difficult, spring is so busy at school and then summer comes and it's hard to maintain your momentum.

By the way, TOPS shirts weren't red. (maybe Viewlands?)