SF school leaders, advocates wary of Silicon Valley group aiming to tackle achievement gap – SF Examiner
A Silicon Valley-based education reform nonprofit promising to tackle the achievement gap in San Francisco’s public schools by empowering parents has drawn the ire of district leaders and advocates, who criticize the group for its track record of advocating for charter schools.
Laura Waxmann / December 19, 2017
Alison Collins talks about real parent empowerment in our schools in the SF Examiner
“Parents want to be heard — even affluent families are frustrated,” said Alison Collins, a parent advocate and member of the African American Parent Advisory Council.
Collins is also co-founder of SF Familles Union, an organization of public school families working toward racial equity and integration in the SFUSD.
Schools with more organized Parent Teacher Associations and parents who are economically stable often have the ability to raise more funds for their students, Collins said.
By hosting parent forums organized by the SF Families Union, Collins said the group helped parents in the Bayview rally the school district to install doors at George Washington Carver Elementary School, where students previously learned in a less desirable pod-like setting.
“Real parent empowerment is what we did at Carver,” she said.
When Innovate “showed up in San Francisco” sometime last year, Collins was skeptical. “I heard that they were cold-calling kindergarten parents,” she said.
She questioned Innovate’s practice of sending its community organizers to churches in low-income communities to present their data and gain parent buy-in.
“In some ways, I think they are taking advantage of people,” she said. “They are positioning themselves as doing parent empowerment when their real purpose is to create more charters.””