Growing Parent Voice in San Diego

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December 16, 2011 Many of you may have attended the events in San Diego over the last few weeks that highlight parent and community participation in education. We also have several parent groups that have formed recently to ensure that parents are informed and have a seat at the table. A couple weeks ago, Voice of San Diego hosted a panel where SDUSD's potential insolvency was discussed. Board President Barrera and Board Member Scott Barnett were on the panel in addition to a teacher and several parents. One parent, Teresa Drew, co-director of Up for Ed, a parent group recently formed in San Diego, spoke eloquently about the need for reform. There was good discussion with community input through questions at the end. This week San Diego hosted a Students First event, another advocacy group for parent voice and reform in education. This group is headed by Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, who now heads up this non-profit group. Hundreds of people attended the conversation at USD to hear about changes that need to be made in public education. Locally, we also have a group, Voice for our Kids, founded by Debbie O'Toole, that keeps parents informed about SDUSD Board meetings and lets parents know when and how to make their voices heard.

San Diego has been the location for lots of discussion around reform, and it will be interesting to see how this will affect public education in San Diego. It seems we are becoming a tighter educational community of which charter schools are involved and invited to the conversation. Hopefully, charters can serve as a model for community participation in education and we can all work together to share best educational practices.

Lisa Berlanga
Regional Director