3 Ways You Can Exercise Your Power To Impact Your Child’s Education

The definition of Power is the ability to act. Many times the word power can be intimidating. I want you to stop and think of all the things that come to mind when you hear or read the word power. You may be thinking authority, money, police officers, even your abuelos… the list is endless! But did you ever picture yourself on the list I just provided?

What if I told you that you hold the biggest power over your child’s education or public education generally? There are three important ways you as a parent, guardian or just a concerned community member can exercise that power.

1. Getting involved in the School Site Council at your child’s school: A School Site Council is a legislative requirement per Education Code 52852 in California. It is established on every campus and is composed of the principle, representatives of teachers, other school personnel and parents. Being voted on to the governing board will give you the ability to not only contribute to the school’s Student Achievement plan but it will give you the power to vote for important changes and implementations of the school’s Improvement Program. This is one way you can ensure that your voice is being heard when making important decisions to improve education at your child’s school. If you are interested in getting involved, ask your child’s school about their School Site Council on campus!

2.  Voting or encouraging others to go out and vote during School Board Elections: This here is one of the most important ways you can exercise your voice and your power!  Board members are leaders of public education in our communities and are elected to represent your students’ needs. They are elected and appointed every four years by YOU; If you are not eligible to vote, you still hold so much power! You have the power of voice, a recorrer la voz! Encouraging family and friends who are eligible to get registered, get to know the candidates and their priorities and learn how you can help during elections and campaigns. Candidate priorities can include school choice, federal funding, hiring and training high quality teachers, increasing graduation rates, etc. Find your local election information and look out for school board elections! 2018 is a big year for many school boards across the Bay Area and other cities in California.

3.  Keeping School Board Members Accountable: Did you know that you can contact your local school board member? Or that you can attend school board meetings and give a public testimony to make sure your voice is heard? School Board members are champions and leaders of public education in your community. They are able to sit in office because community members like yourself voted or encouraged others to vote to keep them there. You are trusting that they will do everything they can to make sure they adopt policies and budgets that will provide our children with high quality education. How will they know what is working or needed at our schools? You meet with them or you provide a public testimony during public meetings! The biggest power you have is to keep the people you voted into office accountable and ensure that they are keeping their promises and doing everything in their power to serve all students. Holding public officials accountable in improving public education in your local community is extremely powerful. Remember, your voice matters and board members don’t get to hear the community voice as often as they should!

These are just three of the many ways you can exercise your parent or community power. Public education isn’t an easy task to take on, but having power means you have the ability to act. Act by getting involved on campus, being civically engaged and keeping elected officials accountable can be the beginning of creating positive change in our public school system. Don’t be afraid of power, acknowledge it, embrace it and use it!

I got this from their facebook, Description: “Board of Education Director Shanthi Gonzales and Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell visited East Oakland Pride School to meet the community.

Dr. Johnson-Trammell became Superintendent less than three weeks ago and has been busy getting to know the District from her new position.”

What do you think?

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Melissa Salgado

Melissa Salgado

Melissa Salgado was raised in East Los Angeles by her single mother and three older siblings. She graduated from James A. Garfield High School and received her Bachelor's degree in Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013. She currently works at KIPP Public Schools in Northern California as the Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement. Through personal and professional experiences, Melissa knows the importance of engaging families in schools and more importantly engaging them in their children's education. Her passion has always been in educational equity and her hope is that she can ignite fires in others to embrace the power of personal stories that creates changes in current systems of oppression specifically in our public education system.

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