Thursday, September 6, 2007

Daily Rant: The Parent No-Show

Pet peeve alert: I'm about to complain, but just a little. Bear with me.

I attended the first PTO meeting of the year at my son's school Tuesday night. Including the board, there was a total of 10 people there. Where, pray tell, were the representatives for the other couple hundred families? That's a good question.

I've lived in three different states, in three very different communities, and the common denominator is this: pulling parents in to the schools is harder than, well . . . I'm not feeling very creative, so let's just say it's hard.

I've been on a PTO board in northern Michigan. Our number one problem? Getting parents into the school.

I've been an elementary school teacher in Florida. Our number one problem? Getting parents into the school.

Now, I'm a parent in a mid-size town in southern Illinois. I'm new, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out one of their biggest problems. You get the picture.

So my question is this: How can parents continue to piss and moan (I'm being as G-rated as possible here) about what's going on in the schools, when they refuse to get off their duffs and show up? Is this just my bad luck, to land in these areas, or is it this way all over?

Public education actually involves the public, in more ways than just tax dollars. It's a lesson that many parents just don't appear to be learning.


simplicity said...

I completely understand and agree. I am a parent volunteer coordinator for our school district and sometimes it's like pulling teeth!

SusieJ said...

Wow. That's pretty bad. Maybe, I hope, the parents are busy in the classrooms when the kids are there?

AmandaD said...

Seems to me we are a society mired in I-want-it-now-but-not-if-it-means-getting-off-my-designer-jean-clad-butt. Apathy, mouthy, opinionated apathy.

It blows.

Laundry & Children said...

I am the mom of a first grader and I will admit that I do not go to the PTA meetings nor am I much of a volunteer at the school, but I do what I can. I have three younger children (4, 2 and 2 months) so volunteering at the school is not very realistic for my situation. I would suggest that if you want parents involved you need to let them know about specific needs and break keep in mind that not every parent is going to have the same capabilities or time flexiblity of other parents. I do the things that I can do at home and that can be done on my schedule. Sorry, but that is the most that I am capable of giving at this time. When my other children are older, I will be able to give more, but that is it for now. I don't think that makes me a bad parent or lazy. If you are looking for suggestions for how to get people involved, don't just let people know what you need at the PTA meeting some people just can't make it out. My husband works two jobs and it would cost me $30 to get a babysitter. It just isn't going to happen. So send home notes with specific requests. Break jobs down in to "Do at School" and "Do at Home" jobs. I'll make classroom decorations, if I can do it at home during nap time, but if you insist that I come in to the classroom to do it during school or in the eveniing after school, I am just not going to be able to get involved. Sure there are some lazy parents, but there are also parents that are really just doing all that they can.

I hope this doesn't sound pissy, because I don't mean it to. It is just another opinion from another point of view.