Our most recent publication, Walking Together, explores what’s possible when schools, families, and communities become true partners. Here we’re featuring A Parent’s Bill of Rights, outlining what parents are entitled to expect from schools and districts, as well as a downloadable list of questions to ask of your child’s educators.
As parents, we want what’s best for our children, both inside and outside of school. We want to help our children to reach their full potential while making sure they have everything they need to be happy, fulfilled, and financially stable adults.
And if we feel that our children don’t have access to the resources they need to succeed, we won’t rest until we fix the problem.
If your child’s school doesn’t yet realize the power of strong partnerships with families, you don’t have to stand by and wait for your school to come to you. You have the right to be treated as an active, valued partner in your child’s learning, and we encourage you to advocate for that right.
It’s up to us as parents to hold our schools and districts accountable for building strong relationships with families and community organizations. Let them know how your child learns best and what you expect for your child. Even if you don’t yet feel comfortable being highly visible or vocal, there are questions you can ask of your child’s teacher and principal that will give you a sense of what’s going on in the classroom—and will let your school know that you have high expectations for them.
Most importantly, as a parent, you have more rights than you might think when it comes to your child’s education. Here’s what you should expect from your child’s school and district:
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED AS A VALUED PARTNER IN MY CHILD’S LEARNING.
- I feel welcome in my child’s school and classroom. I have the contact information for my child’s teacher and I know how to connect with my principal.
- Before the year begins, my school reaches out through introductory phone calls, welcome back events, or home visits. During the year, my child’s teacher gets in touch with me on a monthly basis to share my child’s successes, as well as challenges.
- I receive information from my school on a monthly basis about academic priorities and programs. If needed, all materials are translated into my native language and trained interpreters are provided to help me communicate with staff.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW HOW I CAN SUPPORT MY CHILD IN SCHOOL.
- I know exactly what my child needs to master this year to be on track to meet his or her goal of being prepared for college, career, entrepreneurship, and service to the community. I am provided with information about how I can support my child in reaching those goals.
- I know how my child is progressing academically compared to his or her peers, and I know how my child’s school is performing compared to other schools in the area.
- At the first sign that my child is struggling, teachers reach out to me right away to let me know and work with me to create an action plan so that we can intervene before it’s too late.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO HAVE MY VOICE HEARD.
- When I reach out to someone at my child’s school, I receive a response within 24 hours.
- My school offers flexible scheduling for parent-teacher conferences and gives me alternative methods of communicating with teachers if I’m unable to come in person.
- My school and district create regular opportunities for me to share feedback. They welcome my perspective and give me opportunities to learn about potential policy and program changes early on, so I can weigh in before decisions are made.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO A SCHOOL AND DISTRICT THAT TREATS MY FAMILY AS A PRIORITY.
- I hear teachers, principals, and district leaders talk frequently about the role that families and communities play in student success—and I see them practice what they preach.
- I have regular opportunities to build my capacity as an advocate for my child and expand my content knowledge in subjects like math and English, so I can better support my child’s learning at home.
- When I need help accessing additional resources to support my child, I know where to look and who I can turn to for help.
This post originally appeared here on the TNTP blog
TNTP Editorial staff
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