( How Can I Keep From Singing? )

Everybody knows that the U.S.  public education system has overlooked or simply ignored a wide range of educational issues and concerns (throughout the nation) for years. This so-called unintentional (?) failure to notice or to question why the U.S. has become less competitive on a global scale for all students --- (in spite of the passage of ESEA 1965 and its many reauthorizations) --- is a matter of neglect on many different fronts   due to an undermining of American democratic principles.  The purpose of COPACS, however,  transcends the view that the public school system is incapable of offering all children an excellent and equitable public education.  This begins with reaching higher and recognizing a vision for the public school system that is not built on neglect or a deficit model  but one where all children can expect a quality education.   

As a result, many Americans are currently waiting for educators (who have normalized inequality and inequities for decades ) to explain why "nonwhite districts across the nation have received 23 billion dollars less than white districts."  They are also concerned about the ESEA Title One funds that have never reached their intended beneficiaries or poor, underserved students. Why are these funds being  redistributed to wealthier districts and schools in many states  based on policies that can only be interpreted as legalized theft or the "miscounting" of poor children? And, of course, there is the longstanding comparability loophole that has "never" been addressed since this particular underhanded strategy was first utilized in   the 1970's --- (e.g. please consider Senator Alexander's reasons for the loophole)_ that argues for less paperwork (or reporting requirements) as well as the redefinition of all teachers as identical widgets (????) for the sake of union contracts. Where are the outcries from elected officials and pundits about these racial disparities that clearly represent a crisis in public school governance, a crisis that has never been normalized, at least, in communities of color? 

Transparency and accountability goals then (especially in understanding public school governance tied to equitable practices) are needed at  the foundational level. These goals have become a necessity based on lessons learned and must not be taken for granted. Why? It stands to reason that anyone who really cares about public schools must understand the decisions made by public school officials and special interest groups who currently dominate the conversations connected to schools. Clearly, the way that special interest groups limit or overlook the need for democratic principles must be identified and addressed to better understand genuine opportunity spaces for discourse and decision-making connected to opportunities to learn (e.g. identifying the root causes of disproportionality , etc.) (To read  more about this subject, click here.)  From this stance, transparency and accountability goals are mandatory since they are  tied to U.S. Democracy.  These goals are also why COPACS was created. 

With this purpose in mind, there is an urgent need for the public to be informed and engaged in public school conversations if schools are to improve, at all. (At last count over half of U.S. public schools were failing to educate their students, a fact denied by many educators but a fact that should be acknowledged and repeated often for the sake of children. Note: Private schools  aren't any better at educating children than public schools.) Yet, many Americans, even highly educated Americans, have never even heard about ESEA 1965, let alone ESSA. Why?   This question, in and of itself, may show that:  principals, board members, and administrators — operate with an assumed “logic of confidence” between public schools and their constituents ---- a strategy that allows them to buffer schools from outside inspection, interference, or disruption ."

On the other hand, it may prove that our nation views the U.S. public education system as a low priority area in which the educational needs of children can be,   without much fanfare, underserved --- unless children take on the roles of their parents to make demands on public schools  or something shocking happens and some new information is revealed causing the public to react to it. For instance, consider the fact that college dropouts now outnumber high school dropouts showing that many high school graduates are not prepared for college. Also, consider   the overall low NAEP scores for high school students across the nation in comparison to other nations or  that " two-thirds (68 percent) of U.S. high school students do not know that it took a constitutional amendment to formally end slavery ." What then can parents and community stakeholders do to improve student achievement? Why are there schools in the United States of America without one student who is proficient in reading or math?

To address these concerns, COPACS mission emphasizes the importance of a well informed and aware citizenry whose overall purpose is to deepen and advance transparency and accountability in public school governance, discourse and decision-making connected to student learning. This includes capacity development tied to best practices and lessons learned in school effectiveness. Note: Capacity development changes things since it “reconfigures the balance of influence and power” by ensuring that parents and community stakeholders are able to contribute to the discussions centering on school quality and student achievement.  

This  goal also encourages and allows a broader representation of the school community to contribute to educational solutions. It also creates a unifying force of parents and community stakeholders who are committed to public school effectiveness. These are the  stakeholders who are willing to  attend school meetings and, in the process,  determine agenda items that can lead to state and local educational priorities and timelines that support ESSA's effective implementation. (Note: Since 1965, ESEA's implementation, along with each of its reauthorizations have never been fully realized in any state across the nation due to lax oversight goals . This lesson learned shows that parents and community stakeholders must "get involved" to ask questions about the inability of state, district and school representatives to follow through on their roles.)  

Unfortunately, political conservatives who say that they oppose federal overeach at the state and local levels do not seem to mind that their political stances omit the purpose of the U.S. Public School System or the  educational needs of children. (Some say this conservative political strategy is not new and is based on an hidden agenda that promotes political patronage or clientalism at the state and local levels  where they have more control --- if the federal government does not disrupt this process.) Parents and community stakeholders then can shed light  on specific educational goals and their implementation and, in turn, the much needed oversight goals that need to exist in each state, district and school in order to create successful educational outcomes  for public school children, first and foremost.  

But, there are other added benefits that go along with this purpose.  Note: Public school students tend to be more responsible for their own learning when they know that the adults in their lives care about their education. (This purpose  not only applies to  parents and community stakeholders but also to teachers and school officials who must promote high expectations for all of their students.)  When they see stakeholders making demands on schools to address specific educational priorities things improve for students as well as the wider school community. 

Students also need to know that they are safe when they attend school. School safety then  is an overwhelmingly urgent  need for the public to address . While priority areas can change with each public school community there is, at least, an agreement across the nation that students must always expect to be safe at school.  As a result, the debates centering on public school safety issues include everything from lax gun control legislation to deficiencies in school safety provisions  and/or the neglect of  basic school safety protocols .

The solution? Parents and community stakeholders must take part in these discussions. Why? Currently, Secretary DeVos and the Federal Commission on School Safety are recommending that teachers take on the additional role of arming themselves to protect children from gun violence, etc. in schools. This means that t ransparency and accountability in public school governance  must now include, in the age of mass shootings and  gun lobbyists, discussions on gun violence in a culture that creates the conditions for the proliferation of guns. Current conservative leaders somehow want all Americans to pretend that  all  individuals who buy a gun (legally or illegally) will use them  responsibly . This is irresponsibility at an extreme level by conservative politicians that weakens school safety concerns.  As a result, this gap in reasoning on the part of elected officials widens the role of parents and community stakeholders in addressing this need. It means they must attend hearings and interact with these same politicians at a foundational level and challenge their positions on gun control laws or their lack of urgency on mass shootings in schools. Why? Republicans still dominate and limit the quality of these discussions based on their long-standing " craven subservience to the gun lobbists who have prevented meaningful action from taking place ."  

 Consider this statement made on February 15,  2001: 

             After countless other shooting tragedies, Congress cannot guarantee that it never happens again because                        one year later Congress has not worked seriously to reduce youth access to guns or to pass legislation that                       will make our nation's children safer.

Seventeen years later, and Congress is still moving at a snail's pace by failing to connect the dots leading back to political decisions. But, who is making demands on these conservative elected officials? Americans still have not witnessed any quality, research-based overall gun control legislation or federal standards to speak about --- except for the fact that elected officials have given themselves a snail's pass for their lack of action on this matter, leaving Americans to ask what do politicians do? Parents and community stakeholders must be the ones who ensure that  American children are safe at schools and demand that elected elected officials stop procrastinating when it comes to the real solutions that prevent  mass shootings.  For example, " Massachusetts is the only state that requires that all firearms must be stored with a locking device . . ."  

But, add on the fact that the U.S. does not even have any federal standards for locking devices. . ." means that any claim that conservative politicians (in particular) think that they can make about trying to prevent  firearm deaths is a lie. (Consider the six year old who had access to the gun that killed Kayla Rolland or that Nicholas Cruz had access to a AR 15 rifle that murdered 17 individuals even though the rifle was, purportedly, under lock and key.) Parents and community stakeholdres then must ensure that these discussions are not controlled and dominated by special interest groups, gun lobbyists or associations such as the NRA (an association that supports the proliferation of guns in America) --- or pro-gun groups who appear to dictate what Republican politicians  say and do when it comes to the safety of children. The question remains or is a long standing one that centers on whether or not politicians who take millions of dollars from the NRA will ever disagree with them for the sake of children and, finally, support research-based safety solutions  --- something that should have been done decades ago.  Presently, the answer is still no.  Given these facts, parent and school official debates must demand   procedural justice and/or fair, actionable goals in schools that underscore the importance of bonafide, research-based (proven) solutions on a wide range of subjects.  

Overall, the topics that parents are concerned about will vary but they should be tied to  best practices and lessons learned. These topics should underscore educational fairness and equity as well as school safety --- otherwise these issues will continue to be overlooked. To this end, COPACS helps to create the platforms, research syntheses and opportunity spaces for these conversations to take place. These topics include but are not limited to:

Unsafe Schools
Title One
School Choice
Parents & Community Stakeholders
Transparency & Accountability in Public School Governance
Traditional Schools
Charter Schools
The Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Aligned Curriculum (Research Based)
The Common Core State Standards Aligned Tests
Early Childhood Development
Teacher Effectiveness
Instructional Leadership
Student Voice & Engagement
Special Education.
When, Where & How Dreams Are Realized
Underserved Children & Lessons Learned
School Finance
Questions for Politicians & School Officials


By Joining COPACS. . .

  • You will learn about ESEA 1965 and its many reauthorizations, including ESSA --- supported by optional supplemental guides (fee-based starting November 23rd) that are only available to members. 
  • You will explore and learn about a wide range of educational topics that impact positive student outcomes --- supported by optional supplemental guides (fee-based starting November 23rd) for discussion groups that are only available to members.
  • You will understand why attending legislative hearings and/or following what your federal, state, and local leaders do and say are all tied to positive student outcomes ---outcomes backed by research or high, quality proven data.
  • You will gain access to up-to-date information focusing on the latest educational issues and political concerns --- including if --- or how states, districts and schools across the nation are addressing these critical concerns from safety to school funding concerns. 
  • You will gain access to research-based syntheses, PowerPoint presentations, webinars ---and conference call options focusing on critical issues, etc.
  • You will learn about the individuals as well as educational and research organizations that have supported school effectiveness or best practices and lessons learned tied to student achievement, including why this goal is important. 
  • You will gain access to studies that support stakeholder engagement in public and private school systems, etc. based on gold and/or evidence-based research.
  • You will learn how to support and promote transparency and accountability in school governance, discourse and decision-making tied to student achievement and most importantly, school safety. 
  • You will gain access to an up-to-date calendar of workshops and conferences that focus on parent and community stakeholder events, etc.

Membership Information
Parents, community stakeholders, parent advocates, parent educators, parent practitioners who would like to learn more about
strong parent engagement tied to real solutions 
should email us at info@copacs.org.