Have seen a good amount of web chatter about this recent New York Times piece on a California district proposing mandatory parent volunteering for all 13,000 of its school families.

Thankfully, most of the reaction has seen this for the completely off-target proposal that it is. Here’s Larry Ferlazzo’s reaction, as an example.

You can guess my take. This simply isn’t the way to engage parents. Whether it’s a district, a school or a local PTO or PTA, growing involvement always, always, always starts with serving parents. This proposal is just the opposite, and is destined to fail. Folks don’t become real partners (raving fans, highly engaged... you name it) because you force them to do so. They become highly engaged because it becomes clear that your district or school or PTO or PTA is a great place to get engaged. They understand the value; they’re valued; they’re served.

I love the fact that this district gets just how important involvement is. And I even love pledge programs and the like (like our 2 Hour Power involvement pledge) to try and get as many parents as possible connected. But it has to be welcoming. It has to be positive. And it definitely has to be voluntary. This is just a flawed approach.

Interested in your thoughts...