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Volunteer at Your Kid's School ... Or Else!

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When was the last time you were sent to the principal's office? Well, if you don't show up to your kid's school, you might get busted next year!
If you're a parent in San Jose's Alum Rock Union School District, you might have to head back to school next year -- not for yourself, but for your child. A San Jose committee is currently working on a proposal that would require parents to volunteer a minimum of 30 hours a year. The idea springs from the fact that the San Jose school district -- which consists mostly of poor families -- doesn't have a PTA, and therefore has minimal parental involvement. "We're trying to create a culture of strong parent-guardian-family participation in schools," said Alum Rock trustee Gustavo Gonzalez.

That may be so, but for parents already trying to balance work and family life, carving out 30 hours a year might be nearly impossible. But one alternative school in San Jose that is already employing the forced-volunteer model doesn't care how difficult the time crunch is for parents. Parents at Adelante Dual Language Academy are graded on the quality of their participation -- and are even sent to the principal's office if they fail to show up for their scheduled shifts.

We all know that participation in our kid's education is a positive, but is making it mandatory going too far?

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11 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous May 12, 2010, 5:24 AM

Why don’t they just start a PTA?

Anon May 12, 2010, 8:43 AM

30 hours a week is BS!

Anonymous May 12, 2010, 10:37 AM

it says 30 hours a YEAR not week… but its still ridiculous for making it mandatory.

Anonymous-tired of SELF-CENTERED generation May 12, 2010, 2:24 PM

Thirty hours per year is NOT to much, esp. if that is all you have to do for the entire school district (?) if you have kids in different schools within that district in different grades. I worked fulltime and was on the PTA board durin my children’s entire school years. It was AMAZING the parents who would drop their kids off at functions and then go out drinking and dinner with friends instead of helping with the event (NEVER, not like they would take turns with events). Let alone picking their kids up after drinking!! it wasn’t the ones who were running from one school to another because of other children being in events at same time, it was because they wanted (no - they would save “deserved”) “ME” time. That is what is wrong with the 40 and under generation today - not all of them and the ones who do not like this attitude are sick of their peers self-centeredness also.

Not so sure "self centered generation" is the best way to put it.. May 12, 2010, 4:11 PM

All I’m gonna say is 30 hrs a year is not bad, no, but making it mandatory? That’s a bit much. And as far as the “self centered generation,” did you personally follow every single one of them to every single destination every single time they dropped their kids off? Didn’t think so. Maybe you’re jealous that some people understand that it’s healthy and important(!!) to spend a little time alone. Not all the time, true, but sometimes.

“Ever heard of you spot it, you got it” syndrome? Or in playground terms, “everytime you point the finger you’ve got one pointing back at you..”

I wasn’t trying to be annoyed by this, but honestly, now I am, and I wanna point out one more thing. I and my husband are both military and their are -many- -many- -many- things that we have to miss out on, but we do, so that the fight for YOUR FREE SPEECH can carry on. So the next time you want to carry on about how you’re such a great parent and more should be like you, maybe you should stop to think about that.

Alum Rock Parent  May 12, 2010, 6:53 PM

I am one of the Alum Rock Parents from one of the small schools that requires a mandatory 30 hours of volunteer time.

I chose my son’s school because his school provides him with better educational opportunities that the rest of the Alum Rock schools do.

These opportunties are due to the invested parents, community members, and businesses that share our vision and beliefs. We are not traditional Alum Rock schools - but our misguided school board thinks that if they force every other school to adopt ONLY the parent volunteer commitment they will achieve the same results.

I work at one of those other Alum Rock schools - unfortunately most of our families just think school is a place to send their children for a few hours. Homework never gets done, parents don’t show up for parent teacher conferences, family nights are dismally attended….

Yes this is not every family - but sadly it is the majority.

I would love to see more family involvement, but you can’t force this - they have to choose it. They have to choose better educational opportunities for their children - and so far they aren’t.

Forcing them will not work….and besides I see enough gang activity outside my classroom windows, I don’t want it inside the classroom with me - in adult form.

Frustrated Teacher May 14, 2010, 8:57 AM

As and educator, I see so many parents who just refuse to be involved in their child’s education, regardless of the reasons (re: excuses) behind it, and it is unbelievably frustrating! I think making participation mandatory is a great idea. The parent’s who take an interest and are already involved in their child’s education should have no problem fitting in 30 hours a year. For those who are not so involved, I’m sure the policy infuriates them, but it is a small price to pay for improving a child’s future. The children benefit immensely from having involved parents. It is amazing when you see what a big difference it can make on a daily basis. I really wish more parents willingly got involved with the schools! The school is a part of the community, therefore the community needs to be involved with the school. I think this should be mandatory for all schools across the nation!

loving momma May 16, 2010, 12:26 PM

Mandatory vollunteerism? Did I read that right? Oxymoron anyone? Requiring every parent to help at school is not the answer. Some will be able to offer their time, others money, others still can send supplies or snacks. There can be a place for everyone. I’ve even heard of kindergarten teachers sending materials to be cut/glued organized into lessons. The parent offers to help and the teacher puts it in the child’s backpack. Other parents may help on weekends by allowing kids to come over and play/eat snacks. Some parents are not willing or able. I don’t beleive forcing the issue would be a good thing.

forex robot May 19, 2010, 8:56 PM

What a great resource!

icymore May 29, 2010, 8:22 PM

I think it’s a great idea. 30 hours is a little too much, maybe.

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