Wow. We have had an interesting, extended conversation in the comments of a recent blog post titled, The FY 2013 salary schedule has been posted.
Several blog participants got into a detailed sidebar discussion that we thought deserved its own post and thread of comments.
Here’s the big question:
“Should our schools be used as agents for social change in the families’ morals or cultures or is their function strictly to educate children as they are?”
This topic came about due to the millions of dollars of Title 1 funds our local school system has been spending on what they call “Parent Centers“. These Parent Centers are staffed by people who earn a much higher average salary than our veteran teachers and its causing a morale problem. Teachers would be thrilled to trade their responsibility for the educational outcomes of the students they are each responsible for to instead facilitate a Parent Center from 8:30-5:00 Monday-Friday.
Here’s a quote from the DCSS Parent Centers web page:
DeKalb County Schools has established eleven parent resource centers throughout DeKalb County. The centers are designed to empower parents to assist their children in maximizing their full potential. The centers’ resources are focused on instruction, economics, health, and cultural awareness for students in grades prekindergarten through twelfth grade. There are computers available for use by parents as well as a lending library giving parents the opportunity to take resources home with them, on loan. Parents will benefit from workshops on topics from test prep information for their children to finance for themselves. Resources are developed with the input of all disciplines from the departments within the DeKalb County School District and with the support of the community.
Resources are available for all levels of student learning: high achievers, regular education, and special education. Each of the eleven centers is managed by two facilitators, and two of the centers have full-time interpreters.
It has been stated that that these centers will serve as a wonderful resource and allow parents to more effectively assist in their children’s academic and social growth. Parent centers are one avenue for promoting equal opportunities across the district. Parents are encouraged to take full advantage of the resources and allow the facilitators at the centers to empower them to be a more successful parent.
Bloggers in support of the centers and the salaries say that this is federal money, so we should take our complaint about the inflated salaries and lack of accountability to the federal Department of Education. Perhaps so. Title 1 federal money is always viewed somehow as ‘free’ money by our administrators and they accept and spend it freely. All we would like to see is some level of accountability – are these centers making a difference in outcomes for children? We have no data on the numbers of parents using the centers or the numbers and kinds of programs offered, as well as the schedules. The most recent newsletter posted on the webpage is from November, 2011.
At any rate, are we, as schools, now socially responsible to retrain parents and fix the ills of poverty, illiteracy, under-education and ignorance? A question was asked, “could our local libraries handle some of these parent programs? They have more hours of operation, offering flexibility for working parents.” In fact, should this be a larger, more highly-managed, multi-agency program charged with addressing issues of poverty across the nation? What we’re doing now seems like a patchwork quilt approach with no pattern to follow and no one checking the strength of the stitches – or even checking to see if the stitches were made at all.
Click here to the view school system’s webpage on the Parent Centers, and let us know if you think the schools should be held responsible for fixing the family and parenting ills of today’s society. If you have had an experience with a Parent Center, please share your story in the comments.