Several Parents Across America (PAA) members developed this position paper based on a workshop titled “What is a quality education?” presented at PAA’s leadership conference in Washington DC in the summer of 2014. Special thanks go to Deb Mayer of Oregon Save our Schools, Danielle Arnold-Schwartz of PAA-Suburban Philadelphia, Lisa Fluke of PAA-Ventura County, and Julie Woestehoff, PAA Board secretary for creating a paper based on the input of our membership.
No set of bullet points can fully capture the complexities of a quality education, but this position paper reflects a common vision of the kind of schooling we, as members of Parents Across America, want for our children.
PARENTS ACROSS AMERICA
Position Paper on Quality Education
Having listened to parents, students, and educators, and recognizing that educating our children is everyone’s responsibility, Parents Across America prepared the following definition of a quality education.
Quality education is child-centered.
- nurture the whole child,
- provide a safe, comfortable, happy environment with small class sizes,
- discover and celebrate each child’s intellectual, creative, and social abilities,
- develop every child’s passion for being a life-long learner,
- encourage children’s curiosity and self-expression,
- offer individualized, diversified, broad-based learning that meets the needs of all students,
- develop a love of reading in students,
- build self-esteem, honor differences, and respect the stages of child development by using high engagement, hands-on learning, and high-quality, appropriate assessments,
- employ positive discipline policies and practices, and
- use learning approaches that connect children to their community and the world.
Quality education requires skilled professionals.
- trust teachers as fully prepared professionals,
- provide all teachers with the academic freedom to deliver a curriculum using educational best practices,
- engage teachers, school staff, students, parents, families, and neighborhoods in collaborative relationships that foster respect, trust, appreciation and cooperation, and
- limit the use of adaptive technology and on-line learning, recognizing that the teacher/student relationship is essential to quality learning.
Quality education promotes justice, equity, and democracy.
- are fully accessible to all students,
- embrace diversity and engage the cultural assets of all children and their families,
- produce engaged, thoughtful, and adaptable local and world citizens,
- include parents in school policy decisions,
- are community-centered, providing services and activities that benefit students and their families,
- grow in response to the expertise, experiences and relationships of members of the school community, and
- are supported by full, robust and equitable funding from the appropriate government sources.
A downloadable pdf of this one-page position paper is here.