Advocacy: Rebecca Levey’s Passion for Education Advocacy
Advocacy—What does the phrase "involvement in your child's education" mean to you? Is it a guilt-inducing utterance or a rallying cry? How passionate are you about your child's education? What does being passionate mean to you? Does it mean being a room mom, volunteering to read in your child's class, or serving on the PTA? Or does it mean homeschooling, being heavily involved in the homework process, or hashing over curriculum with your child's school principal? Whatever the phrase means to you, and whatever your level of involvement, Rebecca Levey can help you do it better.
She is passionate about "education advocacy," a phrase describing the ideal role of parental involvement, which she goes into on her Beccarama blog and speaks about at education conferences. She herself is the mother of twin daughters and is heavily involved in their education specifically and as an education advocate in general. She is the co-president of her daughters' PTA, was the 2011 New York State delegate to the Mom Congress on Education and Learning, and was featured as a Champion of Change by the Obama White House. She has a good amount of experience on the topic, and provides some good advice on how to be your child's best education advocate.
For instance, in a post entitled "Parents as Meaningful Partners in Education," originally written for the White House Champions of Change series and published by Parenting on the Mom Congress blog, she provides a list of four things all parents should be able to expect from teachers and administrators:
- Clear curriculum goals for the year.
- Celebration of the positive, or an invitation by teachers to parents to join them in a classroom "open house" so parents can review their child’s body of work, see the work of all the kids, connect with each other, and feel a part of the classroom.
- Curriculum mornings or evenings on a grade-wide basis to talk about literacy and math, where materials are presented in non-educator speak and acronyms are demystified.
- Monthly parent newsletter or email from the teacher. Clear, short and to the point. Teachers seem to think that kids tell their parents everything that is going on in the classroom – they don’t, not by a long shot.
Most importantly, she says that "engagement works both ways." If a truly synergistic support of one's child is to be achieved, parents should not take a default stance of defensiveness, anger (unless a child has been harmed), or entitlement, and educators should not be close-lipped or closed to change. Ultimately, our children's education is about the cultivation of their minds and their preparation for the future, as well. They are our children, the very continuance of us, in independent form. This is very serious stuff. It is something about which parents are generally either empassioned or overwhelmed. It is something about which we all can and should be as heavily involved and engaged as can be, and Rebecca Levey is a mother making a difference in that area.
How are you involved in your child's education? What does the phrase "involvement in your child's education" mean to you?