How Can Just One Person Make a Difference?
problems with K-12 education are so enormous, it's daunting to even think of getting
involved and getting anywhere. How have individuals been able to make a
Enroll your children in
private school or homeschool them. Developing and strengthening alternatives to
the public-school monopoly creates competition. That appears to be the best way
to bring about change in the public schools. And it appears that children from
private schools and homeschools have better outcomes than children from public
schools, so the odds are with you.
Don't just gripe about
problems - be part of the solution! Start a private school, homeschooling
co-op, or specialty afterschool.
If you keep your child
in public school, then equip yourself by reading books on education, attending
conferences of parent advocates, and networking to become an effective
volunteer advocate for your child and all others.
Befriend the principal,
the school secretary, and the school janitor, not necessarily in that order. They're
all well-informed and quite powerful.
If you disagree with
your child's teacher on an issue, or with the school's direction in any given
area, don't make it into a fight. Instead, make it into a research project for
everybody's mutual benefit. Present solid, convincing background evidence for
your position in writing. Bring in an expert consultant if necessary to back
you up and meet with the teacher, school officials and a school-board member.
Be a leader in your PTA
/ PTO and change the focus to academics, not fluff.
Volunteer in the
classroom for an indispensable bird's-eye view.
Serve on district
superintendent and other key officials, sending them brief articles and other
data from the parent and taxpayer point of view.
Plan a year in advance
to run for the school board, get elected, and focus on informing voters about
Write letters to
members of your state board of education and your state legislature on
education bills, and follow up on their voting.
Write letters to the
editor on education topics, citing an outside source for your views to increase
If networking and
working within the system don't solve an important problem, occasionally you
have to sue. Parents have stopped outrageous sex ed, unauthorized genital
examinations of young girls, violations of First Amendment rights, and many
other atrocities, by devoting their time and money to win justice for us all.
Homework: One of the most inspiring stories of one person making a
difference is www.marvacollins.com