What do parents want? What can schools do?
In Pondering Parent 3.0, Mike Goldstein, the founder and former CEO of Match Education in Boston, and former Chief Academic Officer of Bridge International Academies, asks if schools can customize interaction with parents.
Parent 1.0 schools offer a Parent Night and a 20-minute parent-teacher conference once or twice a year, plus a web site with grades and curriculum and perhaps a parent council with “15 active participants out of 500+ families.”
Parent 2.0 schools add “proactive parent communication from each teacher to each parent—to discuss that individual child, not just an update on what the whole class is doing,” Goldstein writes. This is “more common in private schools, but a number of public schools do this as well.”
Parent 3.0 would let parents choose more interaction, if they want it.
A parent might have concrete ideas on how their son or daughter might be pushed, could be better supported, and what new projects or books they might try. In doing Parent 3.0, we might genuinely welcome parents to have a cup of coffee and just observe (or bring your laptop, do some work, and just “be there”). So long as there’s a mechanism by which the idea can be proffered, without the teacher necessarily needing to agree, there’s an upside.
There are risks, he concedes. “Parent 3.0 opens the door to even more helicopter parenting.” Schools would have to free up teachers’ time before adding a new responsibility.