Why Every State Needs Strong
Parent & Community Stakeholder Participation to
Address Power Imbalances in Decision-making

The unions do not speak for the American public --- (But, do they speak for certain political groups who represent the public --- who rarely speak out against their political stances, especially policies that work against children of color? This is a critical issue that needs to be pondered.) By now, of course, the public should know, without question, that the nation had 43, 000 failing schools, at last count, or before the unions declared war on objective testing measures or any type of information, penalty or sanction that had anything to do with
teacher accountability in the classroom.

Should parents and community members (including parent leaders) join the unions in ensuring that the U.S. public school system will continue to shun bona fide accountability practices and policies and/or effective change efforts --- 52  years after the passage of ESEA 1965 or 152 years after December 6, 1865?? Should they support them in creating a culture of anti-accountability, on behalf of all public school students --- as though all stakeholders are against testing?  Should they continue to join them in going backward in time, to the days, when school accountability measures were nowhere to be found or when 99% of U.S. teachers and, in turn, schools were considered highly effective even when they were not? (By the way, we still do not know ​what happened to those schools.)

This is an important topic to explore, especially since most educational leaders don't seem to know what happened to them, either. This fact can be proven in many ways but, most importantly, by reviewing the latest NAEP scores. For instance, only 7% of black 12th graders are proficient in math and only 13 % are proficient in reading. I do not believe that the scores are the fault of the students at all. No, this is what school-based neglect looks like in public school systems across the nation.  (Please note that NAEP scores cannot be explained away or criticized for being  crude measures of accountability in schools.   Valid and reliable ESSA tests or assessments at the state level, in this sense,  depend on many factors and serve many purposes. Most importantly, their purpose and development must be based on ethical concerns that always allow stakeholders to know and understand if schools can do what school officials say they can do.

These long-standing problems ---  represent state, district and school-based neglect of children of color and the poor --- neglect that parents & community stakeholders must bring up on a regular basis if state, district and school-based transparency and accountability goals are to be reached at every grade level, in every school. In other words, parents and community stakeholders must be the ones who always expect school leaders to establish genuine partnerships and collaborations with them --- that reach beyond mere consulting roles --- so that they feel free enough to discuss issues that impact school effectiveness. 

In fact, fully functioning educational systems require their input --- if not, demand it. In this light, parents and community stakeholders must never take on the roles of  loyal subjects who can only think and speak when they are allowed to think and speak.  They must not act as if their views must be limited, corrected or interpreted by state officials, school leaders or teachers --- and/or filtered through school representatives until they
no longer recognize their own input. 

To address this need, parents and community stakeholders must never be confused about the roles of school representatives or see them as  supreme beings or deities --- even if they do seem to be jealously guarding public spaces as their own territories. Acting  omnipotent (or all powerful) and omniscient ( or all knowing) and even vengeful on a human level is entirely different from actually being God --- that role, of course, has already been taken. Instead, they must be viewed as true public servants who, as a matter of principle, are strong enough to handle challenges, answer questions or respond to concerns.

Why? These longstanding concerns keep showing up in the nation decade after decade as the   unfair distribution of effective teachers in schools and across districts . They show up as  low academic standards,  watered down school curriculums and classroom instruction for children of color based on  low expectations of   children of color --- even children of color who take part in gifted programs.  They show up as inflated graduation rate schemes, which are symptoms of school leadership problems across the nation  (click here,   here, herehere and here for more info). They show up  ---  in the poor implementation of research-based   targeted interventions. They show up as nation-wide school ratings that keep masking a multitude of concerns, leaving many stakeholders to wonder if
state, district and school officials are accurately "auditing, monitoring or reporting" on school practices and their impact on student achievement at all.  

For example,  Maryland's ESSA plan shows that only 65 percent of the school score — will be based on objective academic measures: "the operative word here is objective." (The Scottish economist Adam Smith once said: "the disposition. . .to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.”) This is an incredibly low percentage, a percentage so low that it should be rendered meaningless when it comes to transparency, accountability or the responsibility of school officials to prove that they are educating children of color, especially since this percentage will remain in place for the next 15 years if their plan is approved. In contrast,  Delaware's 80% focus on academic measures has already been deemed too low (to put MD's in perspective) --- for a bona fide school system with a public mission by other, if not most, educators. Clearly, more parents, community leaders, community stakeholders and faith-based leaders must ​ show up and speak up on behalf of public school students about these concerns.), etc.   For more information, click here.

​​News About the Trump Administration 
Input about Trump. . .
from a wide range of perspectives representing parents, community stakeholders,
 civil rights leaders, teachers, educational leaders, charter school leaders, etc.

Learn more about how Trump is refusing to denounce white nationalists
by clicking here. To learn more about Heather Heyer, click here

Learn more about how states are " removing eligible voters from the
rolls without adequate evidence" under the Trump administration and/or
"through a sham commission."

Learn what civil rights organizations are saying about his
strategy for public schools here,  here, and here

Learn what teachers' unions are saying about his
strategy for public schools here,  here, here and  here.

Learn what educational leaders are saying about his
strategy for public schools herehere, here,  here and here.

Learn what public school parents are saying about his
strategy for their children here,  and  here .

Learn what community members are saying about his
strategy for public schools here.

Will Trump address equity and fairness concerns between districts in public school systems?   Will he try to do away with educational standards as he said he would do and lead the public education system back to a time when most children were failing without anyone even understanding why or how it happened? To learn more, click here, here, and here.  

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COPACS is a U.S. collaborative of parents and community stakeholders (across races/ethnicities, gender, geographical regions, socioeconomic status and age groups) that was organized to support public school effectiveness.
This mission-driven goal moves beyond the “one size fits all” traditional school-based approach to parent engagement.  Instead, COPACS supports
parents as well as community stakeholders in gaining access to the latest research-based findings, best practices, lessons learned and/or the best possible solutions tied to positive student outcomes. 

To meet this need and/or to  further deepen parent and community stakeholder involvement in public schools, COPACS offers its members a wide range of programming ---  from capacity development opportunities aligned with research-based practices --- to "shared democratic spaces for knowledge creation, exchange and use." 

At its root, COPACS' purpose then underscores the importance of a culture of inquiry that guarantees  transparency and accountability in public school governance, discourse and decision-making connected to student achievement. 
To learn more about COPACS, please click here.

Joining  COPACS