• Bridging Differences

    In Bridging Differences
    Deborah exchanges views with a different colleague, each for a month or two.  Her current correspondent is Harry Boyte, a Minnesotan (although his roots are southern). He has always been a friend and mentor, even though we come to stuff in different ways and even disagree on and off. He is a professor and an activist, a theorist and a practitioner, with a focus on democracy—beginning a long time ago when he worked with Martin Luther King. He has written or edited ten books on the topic and founded a Center on
    democracy which is now at St Augsberg College, but formerly at the University of Minnesota.  

  • Where I’ll Be

    Dec 1-3, 2016 Fall Forum Coalition of Essential Schools: Providence, Rhode Island

  • Network for Public Education

  • Good Morning Mission Hill

    For information on showings or purchasing the video Good Morning Mission Hill
  • Central Park East Elementary School

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All power to….

For some time parents have been the target of the new orporate “reformers” – promoting power to the parent as their rallying cry. The tool? They are called “Trigger Laws”–which enable schools to be take over by private charter companies if 51% of the parents vote to do so. They have hold of a legitimate idea–more on that later. But it’s worth noting that once they decide they decide “yes”, the parents lose all their new-found voting power, furthermore the law does not give them the right to vote to go back to being public. (Nor can other charter parents reverse the process with a 51% vote.) Along with vouchers–an outright proposal to pay parents a flat fee if they want to go to any private or religious school of their choice–Trigger Laws are the new “cutting edge” of reform.

What would real “parent power” look like? Many possibilities exist. e.g. Mission Hill (K-8 Boston public school) was organized from day one as a tri-partite community.. One third of its board is elected by the staff, one-third by families, and the final third by candidates selected by parents and teachers to represent the larger community. (Later we added students). Votes on critical matters require 3/5 of each constituent group. It provides an incentive to find common ground. Actually, I’m not sure tht in more than a dozen years now we have ever come to that point.

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