Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all moms and families have a beautiful Sunday.
Isn’t it interesting that Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Week are close together? Perhaps it is because teaching and nurturing children (no matter how old a child is) are similar. When mothers (and dads) unite with teachers, there is no end to the positive influence they can have on students and schools. Yet, often such nurturing becomes fodder for school reformers to accuse parents of helicoptering.
This CNN article about the Opt Out movement is a good example. The report from a year ago describes how many New York parents kept their students from taking the high-stakes standardized tests. The article itself is quite good.
But CNN prefaces it with a video by the author, journalist Kelly Wallace, who talks about parents who overstep boundaries and don’t let their children experience failure. She indirectly accuses parents of keeping their children from something better by not permitting them to take the tests. She wants them to stop being helicopter parents.
But are parents, especially moms, helicoptering when they stand against harmful school reforms?
- Are moms who keep their children from high-stakes testing helicopter parents? Or, are they savvy enough to realize the high-stakes testing scam is not beneficial for their children and meant to destroy public schools and the teaching profession on which they depend?
- Are moms who speak out against Common Core State Standards, helicopter parents, or do they recognize that Common Core is unproven? Do they see through the hype?
- Are moms who fight against no recess breaks troublemakers, or do they recognize that children require time to be on their own and get physical activity? It make sense to them, and the research shows that children will come back to their classroom refreshed and ready to learn.
- Are moms who are concerned about “disruptive” technology–having their child placed on computers for much of their classwork–overstepping their boundaries by speaking out against such dramatic changes? Are they even given the opportunity to voice their concerns?
- Are moms who witness that their child’s teacher will be evaluated poorly if their child doesn’t do well on a test wrong to speak out against it?
- Are moms who want real career teachers for their children, and not a revolving door of novices, helicopter parents?
- Are moms who want clean safe facilities, and not rundown rat-infested schools, helicopter parents?
- Are moms who worry about their child’s school data and online privacy rights overbearing?
- Are moms with children who have severe cognitive disabilities wrong to speak out when their child is tested with tests meant to show teachers and public schools as failed?
- Are moms with students who have mild learning disabilities and/or dyslexia wrong to request special instruction for such learning difficulties?
We live in trying times when it comes to how our children are educated. Moms and dads know when they are being duped. They see what’s happening to public education—and they don’t like it.
This is different from getting upset if your student doesn’t win an award. Helicoptering involves parents who treat their children like Marionette puppets, pulling their strings and manipulating their child’s every move. That is not what the fight to save our children and their public schools is about.
Standing against terrible school reforms, instigated by wealthy corporate CEOs who don’t even live in the school district, is not helicoptering. It is fighting to keep democratic public education alive! These same individuals should not profit at the expense of America’s students.
I don’t have to tell moms there’s a difference between activism and helicoptering.
Today I salute the mothers and fathers for doing what is right when it comes to the educational needs of, not just their children, but all students. They work with their child’s teachers to make the best school environment possible.
Just know this! It was strategic that reform groups began contributing lots of money to the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).
They knew that the PTA is the heart and soul of public schools, with parents becoming engaged with their schools. If they could knock them out by pushing harmful school reform, they would get their way.
But many moms and dads at the local level realized this. They came up with their own organizational by-laws. They politely pushed back to do what was right at their local schools. Helicopter parents? Definitely not.
Moms and dads understand the real needs of their children. They know their teachers too. They get that public schooling and great teachers are what their children need.
And for this, all mothers out there, kick back and enjoy your day. It is well-deserved!