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Column: Mainly Education: Third Rail of Education: Parents | Oklahoma

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I once saw a movie about people trapped in a New York City subway tunnel, and above all they knew they would avoid the Third Rail. Electric subways draw power through contact with high-voltage rails (very deadly) between tracks. This is where the term “third rail” is used in politics. Social security reform is a common example of politically electrical things that no one dares to touch or talk about. Education also has a third rail. This is a hidden but powerful high voltage source that ultimately powers our education system. Yes, I’m talking about parents, and high-voltage parents are a serious political issue for many so-called education reformers.

Educational trains operate on two very prominent rails, educators and students, and for more than 40 years have imposed more regulations and requirements on these two rails, ignoring parents and neglecting them. I did. High stakes tests, which determine who graduated, who performed well, and who continued to work, all circumvented parental power and influence and were ineffective. Instead of involving and uplifting parents, we have despised them for generations. As a result, educational trains are increasingly powered by parents and by distant power players.

Of course, both sides quietly blame unrelated parents for the issue, but it’s not fair. I have served thousands of parents for years. Most parents do their best with the tools and knowledge they have, but their power has been gradually diverted over the years by time-consuming social engineers (from both parties). rice field. However, the high voltage of its parents still remains, and I’m looking for an outlet recently.

Despite having all the power, local parents have less impact on their children’s education than distant professionals promoting the wild agenda. As a result, frustrated parents face two bad choices. It either blindly accepts the barbaric agenda or abandons the public school system altogether. Homeschooling is impractical for most people, and few want children in schools managed by epic profiters. Parents do not want to choose between Marxism and crony capitalism.

Parents simply look for a local neighborhood school that respects them as a parent. Schools that do not impose improper age-appropriate issues or hidden agendas. A school that welcomes people of faith. A school that values ​​strict and relevant scholars and firmly advocates equal rights and equal opportunity. Parents want a child-level solution, not national affairs. Unfortunately, after three years of a hyperpolitical pandemic, common-sense parents feel more helpless, frustrated, and marginalized than ever before. I think most educators feel this way too. Maybe you need to go back to power.

Parents are the only solution at this time, but you shouldn’t be afraid as an untouchable third rail. They should be promoted, encouraged, and recognized as the most important educators, but because our country alienates our parents, they have little power left. Most of our public schools still respect and respect their parents, despite less and less local control. But on a national scale, parents are frustrated. The teacher is depressed. And as we enter yet another grade where unnecessary closures are possible again, children’s needs are often forgotten.

To protect people, the subway system eventually covered and insulated the third rail, but instead of reducing or detouring power, it improved the system. Unfortunately, we not only isolated the school from parents, but also diverted the power of parents. Parents have recently tried to get their power back to school, but it’s not easy. Will all the power of this parent disappear? .. .. Or does it empower school choices? .. .. Or is it just an explosion? No matter what happens, our country can no longer ignore parental power, influence, or responsibility. They must not be feared or quarantined. Their high voltage must once again be directed to schools in our country. Parents don’t matter. They are the solution to all the good things we need in our school and country.

Tom Deighan is a career public educator A common ideal in public schools. Read past articles at And send him an email