by Greg Hansen
Resident in LD12 and HUSD and Gilbert Taxpayer
The Higley Unified School District (HUSD) Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, January 16, 2014 addressed two topics:
#1 what information do parents currently receive from the district, school, and classroom?
#2 what information do parents want to receive from the district, school, and classroom?
There were about 20-25 parents who sat in small groups around tables. A proctor used a PowerPoint presentation to lead parents through discussion sessions regarding communication at the district, school, and classroom level. After each prompt, groups were allowed to discuss, write notes on a presentation-board, and give results to the overall group. This was not necessarily a time to ask the proctor questions; rather, this was a time to list what communication parents currently receive and what parents want to additionally receive.
The overarching consensus of the Town Hall Meeting was that parents wanted more—more flyers, more information, more updates, and more notices. At the same time, it was obvious that parents were not reading the majority of information already available to them. Many parents were candid that the large volume of information already available and a lack of interest in following school policy and politics contributed to their lack of zeal.
The irony of this meeting is that a plethora of materials is already made available to parents via email, postcards, and the internet, yet many parents are still clueless about what happens in the Gilbert government schools. Instead of spending more money, building more websites, mailing full-color school advertisements, enacting more rules, regulations, and legislation, parents need to be involved in their children’s lives inside and outside of the classroom. This means volunteering, communicating regularly with other parents, and working with the teacher and school administrators. School is not a place to ship off our children and “hope for the best.” No, parents need to be involved in their children’s lives, and if parents choose to support government schools—then these parents need to be involved with these schools and give the schools their support.
The real solution to the education dilemma is to empower parents with the freedom and liberty to choose what is best for their children. If a family prefers government schools, then that family has the right and duty to be involved with the government school. Similarly, if a family decides that a charter school or homeschooling is best for their children, this set of parents equally has the right and duty to be involved in the charter school or homeschooling. Bigger government and larger checks from taxpayers does not make education better; proficient educators, involved parents, and the freedom to teach are what make education successful.