Since the start-up of the school year, I don’t think a day has passed that I didn’t see a resource or tip in my twitter stream about involving parents in education. I have seen excellent resources written by authors and researchers who obviously committed a lot of time in developing them and covering the different aspects of this area.
It’s hard not to get excited about all the great ideas and strategies that sound very promising for a great parent involvement and communication plan. And then, the questions creep in. Is there time to do this effectively and respectfully in our school and/or district? Are there barriers that are going to take considerable amount of time to overcome? Even if one is clear on how they want to proceed with plans and strategies, it may come down to simply a barrier of time.
When I suggest that time is a possible obstacle it isn’t always well received. I know that there are a lot of ways to make time for what matters. But when the blame starts to go around and back and forth regarding how and why parent involvement is not working or supported, I think we need to think more about time. I hope we can also consider the societal pressures that impact available time (of educators and parents), as well as systemic and organizational factors that affect how time has to be spent.
Now, the questions…..:)
Would it be helpful to engage in more dialogue to understand time constraints, and do so in a way that won’t offend? What needs to change in our education systems and organizational frameworks that could allow for the time that may be needed to encompass parent connections to schools and education? Are there things that educators already do that could be given more time? What are parents finding that works best for their available time? How can we better understand what the “outside” influences are that might be only leaving us with time to “deal” with each other as parents and educators instead of working with each other for the best interests of students?