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ERIC Number: EJ974520
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar-7
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
"Parent Unions" Join Policy Debates
Cavanagh, Sean
Education Week, v31 n23 p1, 21 Mar 2012
Whether they're organizing events, buttonholing legislators, or simply trading ideas and information, a growing number of "parent unions" are attempting to stake out a place in policy debates over education in states and districts, amid a crowded field of actors and advocates. As the term implies, some of these organizations see themselves as countering the political might of teachers' unions, though others see the labor groups as allies. Still other parents' unions are less concerned with teacher and labor-management issues than with advancing their own tightly focused--or very broad--agendas. Those agendas include improving school gifted-and-talented programs, for instance, and closing achievement gaps between minority and white students. Many parents' unions are still in their infancy, and can count few outright successes or failures in trying to shape policy. Whether such groups emerge as powerful voices, or fade into obscurity, remains to be seen. In Connecticut, a parents' union currently is attempting to play an active part in shaping state legislation on school choice, teacher tenure, and other issues. In Ohio and Texas, efforts to establish such unions are just getting started, and are being led by parents working out of their homes and sharing information with counterparts in other states. In Washington state, a former Microsoft executive, frustrated by what he sees as poor state and national school performance, has begun raising money and is preparing to launch a union this year. As they take a more forceful role in education debates, some parents' unions have drawn more scrutiny, and criticism, for their work and their alliances with education advocacy organizations representing various interests and ideologies. If there is a common thread linking the parents' organizations, though, it's the belief that parents' voices have been shut out of policy debates for too long.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut; Ohio; Texas; Washington