Govt seeks greater input from parents on running of schools
Government wants parents to play a greater role in the running of public schools in order to improve student performance.
And under draft proposals, Parent Teacher Associations could hold schools to account over performance levels and academic targets, giving parents more input in how schools are run.
At a public meeting on Wednesday night, Education Minister Nalton Brangman said Government had devised a number of “pathways” to enable parents to have more responsibility in school operations — and was now seeking input from parents before deciding on how PTAs can be most effective.
The move comes following a landmark Supreme Court decision last year which ruled that Government had to consult with PTAs on teacher transfers.
Sen Brangman said the ruling effectively gave PTAs the same authority as school Boards of Governors — and as a result, the relationship between parents, school administrators and Government, needed to be reappraised.
“While we have developed different options for your consideration, we want your insights into the best way forward for governance and parental and community involvement,” Sen Brangman told an audience at CedarBridge Academy's Ruth Seaton James Theatre.
“I would ask that we do so within the framework of improved student achievement, which should be our highest priority — so that all students have the opportunity to achieve to their greatest potential. Student achievement refers to the attainment and demonstration of growth in student learning and knowledge.
“It includes the ability of students to make progress and improve, and to demonstrate in school and in life, literacy, critical thinking, communication, social, health, citizenship and life skills. Student achievement gives students a strong foundation for postsecondary education, employment and/or community life.”
Ministry of Education policy analyst Kimberly McKeown outlined three possible routes Government was considering to “ensure legislation is geared to student improvement”.
She said a full implementation of the Supreme Court ruling would grant all the powers of boards to the PTAs. This would give parents the authority to consider the hiring and firing of staff — but would also make them responsible for the full-time management of schools, including the administration of financial affairs and building maintenance.
A second option would be to appoint Boards of Governors to every school,
But Government's preferred option is to eliminate boards and instead “developing a new relationship with PTAs” through extensive consultation.
Ms McKeown added that, under the third option, parents would have input on setting school targets, while schools will have to explain what they are doing to reach those targets and involve parents in the monitoring of school improvement plans.
Two further public meetings will be held next week, while Sen Brangman said he expected to make a final decision on which option to take by next month.