COPTER- Coalition of Parents and Teachers for Education Revolution

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I’ve been pondering how parents and teachers, the primary people concerned with the improvement of education and social change for a better citizenry, can work together on large complex issues that face education. For example, thoughts about doing “what is right,” and how do we settle with what seems right now, but may not be in the near future? Looking at the purpose of education according to Dewey, “education is all one with growing; it has no end beyond itself,” so education should be considered the growth through experiences.  

Since we all are learning our entire lives, why the need to impose measurement of the learning, as if there is only one time to which we can learn?  How should this unending journey of learning, be looked at over one’s life time? Is forced learning even productive long term? These are all questions that I would like to purpose to a group of qualified scholars.

I propose that educators create and spearhead experiences, and what is drawn from it, is what the child/adolescent/adult chooses. The only measurement should be of the teacher creating the most authentic experiences possible, no test or assessment of the student.   These questions and contemplations led me to an idea.

The Coalition of Parent and Teachers for Education Revolution is my way of organizing parents and teachers to become a powerhouse. The most common parent and teacher groups are known as PTA or PTG at the individual schools. The PTA/PTG are typically ran by the principal, we’re all aware of the pressures that they are facing from the top down. In my experience, the leaders of the groups tend to resist change and work closely with the administration for agenda. I feel that we need group that will bring together teachers and parents to develop goals for our schools, families and the society. The function of this organization would be to maintain and bring accountability of policy decisions and implementation, to the citizens. 

Some of the mission for this organization would include:

  • family education
  • democratic education
  • inform parents of their rights
  • support teachers in pushing back on “higher ups”
  • be part of bringing accountability to public education decision makers
  • determining the areas we’d like to change in public education and taking action
  • standing against the testing outrage
  • build stronger parent/teacher connections
  • bring authentic teaching back into our schools
  • providing a platform for students to voice opinions

In all my years of working in education, I haven’t had an experience where the parents and teachers formally worked together to ensure the quality of education. Having supportive relationships, working through the challenges collectively could bring about great means for change. The organization will need to have strong like minded leaders, with the ability to understand policy, leadership, public school administration and passionate teachers and parents who also support the organizations mission. 

I feel that common issues such as high stakes testing, bilingual education, low-income and test based pay can be impacted by this organization. Other groups such as United Opt Out National and Save Our Schools that have very focused approaches to education improvement could be allies on the education front. 

I know there are many organizations that exist to improve education, but I wasn’t able to find one that closely connected parents and teachers for the purpose of improving society at large by directly improving the American public education. There are many opponents of education reform, I myself agree with some of these thinkers. There is a way to improve the education system that exists for those that use it and find it serves their needs. However, I feel there is change on the horizon in American education, and the above idea is one way that I’d like to be a part of it. 

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2 thoughts on “COPTER- Coalition of Parents and Teachers for Education Revolution

  1. I saw your comment on Quora. I think the PTA was once intended to play an active role in improving education. However it is unable to do so for good reasons.

    First of all, the money for public education does not come from students or their parents — it comes from Government. As a result, Government is the customer that must be pleased. This assures a top-down politically managed organization.

    You might think that parents pay for schools because they pay taxes. This is irrelevant. They must pay the taxes even if they homeschool or sent their children to private schools. It is not voluntary, and they cannot use their “taxpayer” status to demand anything. Many taxpayers, of course, have no children.

    While voters, in theory, can choose different representatives to run government, the education system is an ancient one and those participating have their own interests at heart. This means not only is it very difficult to change anything, it has several million people who fear they will be harmed by change.

    I worked for a corporation many years ago and one of my fellow executives explained what must be done when faced with such a problem. You must begin an entirely new organization and allow it to hire people from the old organization. In the case of the corporation, a union was seen as the problem to be avoided — so starting a new operation in a distant state with an aversion to unions was the solution, at least a temporary one.

    Let me add that there is a passage in “The Wealth of Nations” that explains why education doesn’t work well (this was the case in 1776 as much as today). It is because the individual student does not directly pay the individual teacher. If the student did, a poor teacher would have no students and a great teacher would have many. The teacher would work to do a great job — not work for an administration, be protected by a union of other teachers, and try to do as little work as possible (as human nature dictates).

    • danielle

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. You have some very good points and many times I feel discouraged by all the barriers to continue my studies in education. It’s truly a battle. It saddens me to think that our children are being used to satisfy government requirements of funding.

      “You must begin an entirely new organization and allow it to hire people from the old organization.” I agree with this. I’ll be checking out “The Wealth of Nations”. Cheers!

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