Success – Parent’s Advocacy Makes a Difference in Denver, North Carolina

About a month ago, Deidra Hewitt, who lives in Denver, North Carolina, where she has two children in a public elementary school, wrote about how the school required her to sign off on her children’s homework more than 400 times a year. Today, she writes about what happened after she wrote to the school Superintendent to tell him about the policy. Read the background here.

Advocacy Can Make a Difference
by Deidra Hewitt

I emailed a letter to the school Superintendent and the Board of Education, regarding the “sign or your child will be punished” policies, that I find so offensive. The Superintendent contacted me for a meeting. I was really pleased with the outcome of this encounter. The Superintendent of Schools completely agreed with me, about parent signatures being voluntary. He was against children being held accountable for parent behavior. He indicated that changes were in the works. Starting at the county level, he advised me that the “accountability agreements” were being phased out, and that they will be gone next year. He stated that he is actively searching for ways to engage parents of disadvantaged students. He agrees that countless signatures do not accomplish this goal. He is prepared to investigate the objectives of requests for parent signatures, and certify that signatures are voluntary.

In an interesting side note, the Superintendent informed me of a parent committee, that meets with him, once a month, regarding parent issues. There is, apparently, a parent representative, from every school. I am a parent who does my research, and I was shocked that such a committee existed! It seems that the parent rep. is chosen, by the Principal. The Superintendent printed me a schedule, and advised me that the meetings are open, and I am welcome to attend. I will, most assuredly, be there!

My advice to everyone is to never give up! If you cannot get satisfaction, from teachers or principals, utilize the resources of Superintendents and School Boards. They are not just there for educators, they are there for parents, too!

9 Comments on “Success – Parent’s Advocacy Makes a Difference in Denver, North Carolina”

  1. FedUpMom says:

    Deidra — excellent! It’s great to hear of a success story.

    I hope you’ll post again and let us know what the meetings are like. It’s so typical of our crazy system that the rep is chosen by the principal. Parents need a union!

    October 27th, 2009 at 8:07 am
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  2. PsychMom says:

    Deidra, that’s great….And if you hadn’t written, you would have never known any of that information, because it sounds like the principal at your kids’ school doesn’t share or play well with others.

    Congratulations!

    October 27th, 2009 at 8:21 am
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  3. April says:

    What encouraging news! Congrats!

    October 27th, 2009 at 11:36 am
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  4. Disillusioned says:

    Deidra- I applaud you for gathering up the courage to speak with the Superindentent. Please keep us posted on the outcome and good luck!

    October 27th, 2009 at 12:50 pm
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  5. DeidraHewitt says:

    Thanks to all of you for your interest, support, and kind comments. I will definitely post and share what the meetings are like. The first one is Oct. 29th! I have another mom who’s interested in going with me. I’m really looking forward to it. 🙂

    October 27th, 2009 at 10:17 pm
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  6. DeidraHewitt says:

    On a side note…Psychmom…you hit the nail on the head. This is part of the reason why I’d really like to encourage people to keep trekking up the ladder, if the principal doesn’t engage in dialogue for change. If there are never any surveys, or meetings with parents asking for feedback, it’s likely that there’s a status quo administration. Eliciting change will be like pulling teeth from a shark in the water.

    October 27th, 2009 at 10:22 pm
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  7. Jacqui says:

    My mom was never around to give me signatures on schoolwork, and I always felt so dejected that once again, I had failed to do an assignment and would be held accountable for it. In the third grade or so I just started forging my mom’s signature. It worked. Great lesson to teach a kid! Thank goodness there are parents who are willing to advocate against these odd, ineffective, and even damaging systems!

    October 28th, 2009 at 3:29 pm
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  8. HomeworkBlues says:

    I forged my mother’s signature too. I’m amazed they didn’t catch me because we are immigrants and my mother could not speak English. She could write her name but with such a beautiful Hungarian slant I could not imitate, I am surprised they never called me on it.

    I forged it because mother was overwhelmed and I just didn’t want to bug her with more responsibility. It seemed like a silly requirement, best dispensed with quickly. I never forged her signature on a report card, though. That I felt was dishonest and I was not a dishonest child. I left that one up to my brother :).

    Clever children will find a way around this useless rule.

    October 28th, 2009 at 4:42 pm
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  9. DeidraHewitt says:

    Just wanted to update that the meeting last night went well. As it was the first one of the year, the agenda consisted of mainly non-controversial topics. The Superintendant invited us to email him topics, that we would like to see, on the next agenda. I suspect that there will be much discussion, about many concerns, throughout the course of the year. Hopefully, this will help to elicit change, for the benefit of the students.

    October 30th, 2009 at 12:29 pm
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