I’ve been following this story in the Del Valle district in Texas with interest, largely because it is so unusual. The super there is taking a fairly strong stand against the formation of an independent parent group of any kind. Most of the articles on the topic have been referring to PTAs, but I understand that the policy is meant to apply to any independent (from the district) parent group. There was an editorial in the Del Valle paper last week about the PTA and PTO controversy.

The district and its schools do have school-organized and run parent committees.

In general, I think this is bad policy. It’s obviously bad from the public relations perspective – this super may not be against parent involvement, but it sure is playing that way in public perception. But I also think it’s wrong on the merits. Schools and districts should be supporting organized and empowered parent partnerships, not running scared from those. I certainly understand when districts want to place some collaborative limits on their parent groups (mandating, for example, an annual audit or asking that fundraisers be run a certain way), but this Del Valle approach takes those concerns way too far.

The one area where I agree with the super is in my opposition to dues for parent groups. We actually have an active topic on “dues or no dues” on our message boards right now. But if the parents in Del Valle want a parent group of their own – whether with dues or without – then they should be helped and encouraged. That’s clear. Here’s hoping this policy gets changed ASAP.