Although a national poll suggests parents feel left out of the drive to improve public education, local parents have ample opportunity to learn about and help develop education goals, some Lawrence school officials say.
A recent PTA-Chrysler Survey showed that three out of four parents are unaware of the national education goals of America 2000, which were developed by President Bush and the nation's 50 governors in 1989.
Although the Lawrence school board adopted the national goals last month, board member Harriet Shaffer said it's more important that parents know about locally developed goals because "they're more specific."
About 40 local educators, businessmen and government officials began meeting in September to develop some tentative district goals. Once wording of those proposed goals is agreed upon, the group will seek community input on the goals before they're taken before the board for formal adoption.
"The idea is to take those goals to as many groups as possible," Shaffer said.
Shaffer said several community members sit on district committees involved with goal-setting, such as the recently formed Technology Committee, which will propose long- and short-range goals for technology education.
"So many people who are involved in education are themselves parents," Shaffer said.
Lawrence High School Principal Brad Tate said parents of LHS students also have had opportunities to help develop the school's goals.
As part of the school's present accreditation process, the school last year created seven goals. Tate said that before those goals were developed, one-third of LHS parents were asked in a survey what they believed was needed to make schools effective.
Board member Jerry Hannah said he thinks the district could create more forums for informing parents about national and local goals. Then again, he said, some avenues are being under-utilized.
"Here's where our PTAs and PTOs need to be more involved," Hannah said. "I see PTOs and PTAs as being part of this process of informing parents."
Hannah said the Lawrence Education Round Table, which he helped to create after his election to the board in April, is another place where people can learn about education goals. America 2000 goals will be the focus of the next round table meeting, scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday at the library of Hillcrest School, 1045 Hilltop.
Jeanette Wisdom, who last year helped create a group called Parents Involved, said she was pleased district officials are available to parents and other people who want to know more about district goals.
"If anybody wants to know, all they have to do is ask the right people," Wisdom said.
She said Sandra Holloway, the district's director for student outcomes, will speak about the America 2000 goals at the next Parents Involved meeting. That meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 in Room 54 of South Junior High School, 2734 La.
Holloway also will talk about locally proposed goals if their wording has been finalized by that time.