The solution to turning around persistently failing public schools continues to perplex reformers (“How Parents Helped Transform a Los Angeles School,” The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 14). Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa maintains that engaged parents is the answer by citing the example of Twentieth Street Elementary, one of the lowest-performing schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
There’s no doubt that when parents band together to form partnerships with the schools their children attend the outcomes can be heartening. But unfortunately not all schools have parents who are willing to get involved. When I was teaching in the LAUSD, schools were required to have Open House night. Despite widespread publicity, turnout was abysmally low. That was especially the case for those students who were in danger of failing. Follow-up phone calls and registered letters did nothing to change the situation.
My point is that what worked at one elementary school will not necessarily work at another. There still is no magic formula.
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