Teaching Parents the Right ‘Questions to Ask’ in Schools

Education Week | Catherine Gewertz |

It’s been a long work day, but two dozen parents have come straight from their jobs in the orchards and packing plants to this classroom in their children’s high school. They want their questions answered.

In Spanish, they’re firing off queries at the associate principal. Three months ago, these parents understood little about their school. Nearly all are from Mexico, many with little formal education. They come from countries where the schools work differently. But after a nine-week training program, they’re brimming with information and new power. And their questions keep coming.

“Have you given any thought to improving student parking?” asks Ricardo Salas, reading his question aloud from a scrap of lined notebook paper. “Some students park across the bridge, and walk over to school, and it’s dangerous.”

“How often are students tested, and why do you make them take a test in December, when many families travel?” asks Reynalda Muñoz.

These and many other questions volleyed toward Phuc Pham-Goulart, the associate principal of Peter Johansen High School, on a recent fall evening. Blanca Alvarado, a facilitator for PIQE, or Parent Institute for Quality Education, the organization that is conducting the training, served as Spanish-English translator. Read more by clicking here >>

Gewertz, C. (2017, Nov. 14). Program turns parents into children’s advocates. Education Week.