By Anna Chaney, Stand Indiana Parent Volunteer
Two years ago, you would not have been able to convince me that the school board actually listens to parents and their concerns. Today, I have a different perspective on that.
It turns out, the school board actually does care and are appreciative of our opinions. I have had the opportunity to speak at multiple IPS school board meetings, and I have seen the response I have gotten from the board when I have voiced my opinion on various issues facing our schools. When I introduce myself as a proud IPS parents, I can see the emotions on their face change from being on the defensive to a more relaxed and comfortable expression. They don’t think we’re the enemy. In fact, they want to hear from us more.
I also recently had the opportunity to speak at a state board of education meeting as well as provide comment to its graduation pathways panel, along with one other parent. She and I voiced our concerns about better ways to create opportunities for students on their road to graduation.
We felt there needed to be more exposure to real-life job, career and educational opportunities for children at a younger age—not just when they get to high school. That hit the board like a thunderbolt. Not one policy maker, educator, academic or state board member had considered that. It was important because two moms brought it up. When a draft of the panel’s recommendations came out a week later, our idea to include grades 3-8 in career pathway curriculum was included.
So, next time you think the school board or legislators or policy makers don’t want to hear your opinions, think again. Your voice does matter and it could make a difference in the education of your child or thousands of other kids. When you have a chance to be heard you should step up and make your voice matter.
This piece was originally posted on Stand for Children Indiana's blog.