The following comes from School Committee candidate Jackie Doherty.
As the old saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” and so it is with our schools. Involved parents can provide valuable pressure to move a school district forward—especially when that involvement is organized, inclusive, taken seriously, and communicated up the chain of command. Without it, the balance of influence is skewed and not necessarily focused on the children as the first priority.
In addition to insight from the child’s perspective, parent involvement means the day’s lesson is more likely to extend to the home because involved parents know the impact that investment has on their student’s success. More importantly, by joining together to amplify their concerns, involved parents become strong agents for positive change.
Although not the only reason I decided to run for school committee again, the recent death of the Citywide Parent Council is a factor. It’s difficult to know why the CPC, an organization with a track record of 20-plus years, no longer exists. Parental involvement in an urban district is always challenging—whether because of increasing demands on parents’ time, language barriers, limited opportunities, cultural differences, or simply not feeling welcome. Urban parents, more than anyone, must be encouraged and empowered to get involved because our school district needs them.
Providing Lowell’s diverse youngsters with the best schools possible requires a shared effort from all stakeholders. The new school board and superintendent must work to ensure parents have a seat at the table and their input is valued. The future of our schools and city depend on it.