WLRN Town Hall: How Can We Increase Parent Participation In Schools?

Apr 17, 2013

The WLRN-Miami Herald Town Hall meeting in February yielded hundreds of questions from listeners on a range of topics, including education.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

Education was a hot topic at the WLRN-Miami Herald Town Hall meeting in February.

Only a small portion of the questions that came in were asked during the panel discussion. But we're working to get as many answered as possible.

Deborah Nix from Delray Beach wanted to know:

  • “How can government work with local school boards to increase parent participation and encourage local businesses to allow parents the freedom to attend school functions without fear of losing their jobs or reducing their pay?”

You ask - we answer.

We posed the question to Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Sunrise.

"I find that very disturbing that an employer would say to an employee, 'no, you cannot attend your child's pageant or awards assembly,'" Edwards said.

“When I was an employer in Miami-Dade County, I frequently had employees that would ask for some time, but I think it was incumbent upon me because I valued my employees,” Edwards said. “It was fine. It was never a problem.”

Panhandle Sen. Bill Montford, D-Apalachicola, is a former teacher and superintendent who wants to see more parents involved in their kids' education.

“This would be a wonderful opportunity for local leaders, Chamber of Commerce and others, to sit down with school officials and see if there's something they can work out,” Montford said. “Clearly we need the parents' involvement in our schools.”

Montford says the government could consider giving flex time to employees for school related events and encourage private businesses to do the same.

But there is currently no legislation to make that happen.