As a public school parent — and taxpayer — remember two important principles every step of the way. First: you’re the “customer”! Public school officials, school board members and school administrators work for you. And second: retaliation is illegal.
You have a right to speak up, and your family and your child cannot be punished if you exercise your right to express your concern with school policies, So, before we get to the details of style and technique, garner your moral courage and be unapologetic in your right to be an advocate.
There are several venues where it is important to speak up and raise questions.
It’s important to speak up at Parent Teacher Association meetings, where you can educate the community about issues that concern you and you can address questions to your school principal.
It’s critical that you speak up at school board meetings. School board websites are often clunky but you can find the schedule for school board meetings on their websites. There are many types of meetings where you can — and must — speak up. They include work sessions, advisory committee meetings and, most publicly, the (usually) monthly board meetings.
Every school board has a system for registering members of the public for comments. Find out when you register and how. It can often be days before the meeting at the crack of dawn, with limited slots sometimes grabbed within minutes. Find out! And sign up!
Find out how much time you have. Write down a first draft of your speech, even if you speak from the cuff on game day. The rule of thumb is about 200 words for a one-minute speech. You don’t want to get cut off before you’re finished, so less is more.
Always tell your story in a sentence or two — I’m the parent of a second grader who moved to the area 10 years ago for the schools — and then identify the problem, provide your solution and express your specific ask.
Contact us at [email protected] if we can help you in any way!
Action sheet for confronting school indoctrination, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
10 Principles for Opposing Thought Reform in K-12, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education