Parents Visiting the Department of Education
I consider myself to be lucky to be included in the learning experience provided by The Parenting Group, Parenting Magazine and their program known as Mom Congress. My latest adventure took me into Washington DC to the Department of Education where I was able to meet with Massie Ritsch and Carrie Jasper from the DOE’s external outreach team. I joined several other Mom Congress delegates both past and present and we were able to sit down for well over an hour with Ritsch and Jasper to discuss both policy and outreach.During the meeting, we were given ample opportunity to speak and considering there were eight of us, I find it impressive that we were all given as much time as we wanted to put our concerns on the table while Ritsch and Jasper listened intensely. You can hear the audio from this particular meeting at Department of Education Audio with Mom Congress.
A quick overview of the dialogue can also be found Helping Parents Get Engaged – A Mom Congress Meeting with the Department of Education and I’ll let you read that there as I have a huge issue that I would like to address that relates to both this visit as well as the current political debates at hand.
After we had all been given ample opportunity to voice our concerns, Massie Ritsch discussed the DOE’s role as well as what they simply can and cannot do. His basic thoughts included having parents meet with their education leaders locally all the way up to the highest level to ensure that their voices are being heard. Connie Jasper helped close out the meeting by asking the delegates on hand as well as the ones joining via phone to go back to our respective school districts and run our own survey’s and studies to find out more about the concerns but to also get ideas on how the DOE can better serve the students and parents. She asked if we could make this happen and then return in January for another meeting to discuss these very subjects once again. Now, with that meeting in mind, that channel of communication open and waiting for more input, I turn my attention to Rick Perry, a candidate for President of the United States, who said, rather boastfully I might add, that if he is elected President, he will do away with the DOE. Let’s be real here, we could spend time ridiculing the man because he couldn’t remember all three agencies that he said he planned to cut, but the fact is, one of the two he did recall was the very agency that is making an attempt to reach out to the people and work for us.Hopefully everyone understands that I am about as politically inclined as my children, however, when I hear a man who potentially has the power to run our country speak about our DOE in such a negative way, I’m immediately sent packing to find another candidate that better suits my idea of a leader that I can support. It’s not enough that he simply forgot what the third agency was; the agency he remembered is the one that just made a huge leap to reach out to parents. Do we really want to go down that road now that we’ve managed to hike up hill for decades to get to a place where our opinions are valued?