Friday, May 22, 2009

Take a Father To School Day is ON -- but not all of it is being delivered it seems

Updated with link to a draft of the survey.

Hi Fellow Parents and Fans of Public Education:

Have a GREAT DAY for the Take a Father To School celebration.

The presentation yesterday in the chambers of Pittsburgh City Council and outside on the patio was wonderful.

However, there is a sad note and hence the reason for this email.

The SURVEY has been nixed, it seems. This is the survey that we all worked on in the steering committee. It seems to have been printed and sent along to all the schools in anticipation for today. I even spoke about it in public comment yesterday to Pgh City Council / cable TV audence. But, someone at some level killed it. What's up with that?

What happened with the survey at the schools you visited? Any signs of them?

If this above is true, what can the district and those responsible do to fix it?

I think the survey, as is, as printed, should be delivered via postal mail to every household in the district with a return postage envelope. I'd have no problem if the costs of the postage was absorbed by the person or people that are accountable for the lost opportunity.

Hope you are having or had a good day with the students.


PURE Reform said...

Can you post the survey questions?

Mark Rauterkus said...


Stay tuned.

Mark Rauterkus said...

9) If you are not involved in your child’s education at school, what prevents you from being involved?

__I was never asked
__I don’t have the time
__I’m not interested
__concerned about my current lifestyle
__embarrassed about my lack of education
__teachers talk down to me

Mark Rauterkus said...

Survey (draft) is here:

parent one said...

Sorry, Mark, I will review the survey questions again, but I think it borders on lame. It does not address the faction of parents who just want the system to do better for their kids. Do we want increased parent involvement obvious by the number of parents volunteering in the buildings where the kids attend? Not always. Leave "yuins""ain't got no" and "din you get past no further than this" at the door. The areas of involvement need to be very defined.

parent too said...

Parent involvement can become parent intrusiveness. Sometimes parent volunteers favor their own kids over others. How can you welcome SOME parents and not others? This is a serious issue when you talk about bringing folks in to a school. Not everyone is a good influence or role model.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Parent intrusiveness is another problem that we'd be fortune to have more often than not.

You can welcome some parents and not others by being a decent manager.

If there are really nasty influences, then they can be monitored or made unwelcome. Duhh...

Parent volunteers that favor their own kids over others need to be given roles where that behavior is harmless.

That is called management.

parent too said...

Duuuuh....and WHO are these managers of parent involvement? Often they are other parent volunteers. Or are you suggesting paying for parent involvement managers?

Mark Rauterkus said...

PPS has parent involvement people already on staff.

parent too said...

And are these people in every school to run the volunteers clearances or make a schedule of volunteers or to do training? I admit, I have been out of the school volunteer loop for quite some time.

Mark Rauterkus said...

When you go to a high school football game -- or let's take a baseball game, such as WED at PNC Park. Allderdice plays Brashear. You can be in the stands as a spectator and NOT need your ACT 34 CLEARANCES.

Same with the classroom in a big school event. Go to a class play. Go to a concert. Go to a few period of classes in the big group.

That is the same as being a spectator at the high school baseball game.

You are NOT going to teach a class. You are not going to be alone with students. You are not going to cross state lines.

To witness a class, to share a bagle and coffee with other dads, to have lunch in the lunch room -- is okay for people without FBI background checks.

parent too said...

Well then you are not talking about parent involvement, but parent SUPPORT. Seems as if your definition covers miles of territory. When I think of parent volunteers, I think of actual help in the classroom setting with the direction of teachers. That activity requires clearances. Hanging out to cheer a team is support...important, but a totally different thing. All parent participation is important, but perhaps we should focus on the involvement that produces academic success first.

Mark Rauterkus said...

You can't get parents to help in ACADEMIC efforts until AFTER you get them into the building, generally.

This is a baby step. This is outreach.

Take a Father to School Day is not for putting 5,000 volunteers into the school. It is rather to gather the men to witness. That's one of the very first steps.

parent too said...

well then I wish you much luck with that first step. Take a father to school day was never something I thought to be effective because men in general want to DO something. They had the opportunity at our school to eat donuts, watch a music performance and play kickball. Those attending were not likely to return for any other follow up efforts. Welcome Dads..once a year.

Meanwhile, moms and grandmoms (and a very few dads) were planning and executing all of the PTO activities, volunteering on the playground and in the classroom, and on field trips. Why separate the sexes? Celebrate school involvement all year by the whole community.

The essential problem is too many folks SEND their kids to school and expect the school system to do it all.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Thanks for the wishes of luck. It is needed.

And, in general, your take on take a father to school day with kickball is spot on.

Hence, the hope was this year (and it had been tried in the past too) was to engage a bit more with a survey -- and the have FOLLOW-UP.

But, the survey got nixed by some principal(s) it seems.

So, we go back to square one with nothing productive to show for the day in terms of going down the pathway of meaningful, productive engagement -- except the bagels of course.

A few years ago, I also helped to push a survey down the pathway. And, once they all come to the front office -- I got to hold them for about 1 hour. Then they were snatched back by the mothership. There was a stack of them. We had hoped to get email and interest areas and do follow-up. But, the PPS leaders (different guard at the time) would have none of that.

That was Donna V / John T era.

This time we didn't even get the survey into the hands of the guys.