According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Don't Be Quick-Draw Parents

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't Be Quick-Draw Parents

If you are the parent of a school-aged child, hopefully you agree that parents need to become more interested and involved in their kids’ education; if you agree, maybe it’s time for you to pull the Parent Trigger. But use caution.

Parent Trigger is a nickname for legislation that enables parents who can gather a majority at any persistently failing school to either fire the principal, fire 50% of the teachers, close the school or turn it into a charter school.,8599,2077564,00.html. Although Parent Trigger seems like a pretty poor name for a piece of legislation, given all the random and tragic shootings that have occurred at schools, such legislation is being considered in several states with California more or less leading the way.

In an article titled Do Parents’ Rights End at the Schoolhouse Gate? Constitutional Attorney and Author, John W. Whitehead, points out that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, that "the child is not the mere creature of the state" and that the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody and control of their children is a fundamental liberty interest protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

However, Whitehead also points out that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Fields v. Palmdale School District PSD (2005), that "[s]chools cannot be expected to accommodate the personal, moral or religious concerns of every parent. That ruling went so far as to insist that parents’ rights do "not extend beyond the threshold of the school door."

Looks like we have a conundrum here, eh?

But Whitehead further quotes Elliott M. Davis’s Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy analysis of the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision regarding Fields v. Palmdale School District, in which Davis argues thus:

“The right of a parent to control the upbringing of his child is fundamental. Though public schools can and do usurp many parental choices, this right – which encompasses "the inculcation of moral standards" – vests first in parents. When a child passes through the public school doors, he does not become a "mere creature of the state."

"Although the public school exerts a high level of control over its students, its control is not absolute. American constitutional jurisprudence affirms that this society is not one where children are wholly disconnected from their parents and educated entirely by the state.”

Just be careful about pulling the Parent Trigger. You know what can happen if a gun is loaded and you don’t check to make sure the safety is on. Realistically, firing teachers and principals, and closing public schools probably won’t solve a heck of a lot in the long run. If you have no specialized training in education, maybe you just need to let educators do their jobs and volunteer to help them rather than pull the Parent Trigger. Spend some time in the classroom and walk in the teachers’ moccasins once in awhile.

If you really want to make a difference in your child’s education, ask your child daily about school, check his or her assignments, make sure the homework gets done and is done right. Be interested, don’t be apathetic. Too many people spend more time boozing, gambling, pot smoking and watching television than they do with their children. Pay attention to your kids and you might learn something.

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