Department of Public Instruction creates Parent Advisory Commission
Throughout the pandemic, parents have had a lot to consider when it comes to the education of their children — safety from illness, mask mandates, virtual learning, limited extra-curricular activities. Now, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is creating a new Parent Advisory Commission to elevate the voices of parents in the education of their children.
“This Commission is focused on giving parents a seat at the table and strengthening parent and family involvement in education,” State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said. “Parents play an integral role in encouraging their child to achieve excellence in the classroom.”
The commission will be made up of 48 parents or guardians from across the state, six from each of the state’s eight education regions. This makeup is intended to ensure participation from a diverse geographical range. Applications have been open since Feb. 23 and will remain open through March 31.
Members will share their aspirations for public education in the state and discuss challenges it faces, helping to put together recommendations for elected officials and policy makers in North Carolina, while providing direct feedback to Truitt. Parents will be tasked with advising, informing and engaging leaders and public policy officials on various aspects of education and student well-being
Members selected for the commission will include parents with students enrolled in traditional public schools and charter schools. However, the Parent Advisory Commission will also include parents of students enrolled in private schools. According to the department, this is to ensure broad representation of all school choice options across the state and include diverse feedback.
The six parents from each of the state’s eight education regions will have to include two parents of students in traditional public schools, one parent of students in charter schools, one parent of homeschooled students, one parent of private school students and one at-large public school member from the largest county in each region. For the western region, this is Buncombe County.
Members will serve two-year terms, with the full commission aiming to convene quarterly beginning this summer. Each regional sub-group will hold monthly meetings conducted both in-person and virtually to accommodate parents’ schedules.
“Data shows us that students with parents who are involved in their education are more likely to achieve academic success and have a more positive attitude towards learning,” Truitt said. “This commission is an important way we can create better outcomes for students, as we are hearing from parents about what’s working and what we can do better. We need to engage families in district and policy-level decisions, and this commission helps that work get underway.”
According to Jackson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Dana Ayers, as of March 16 almost 1,000 applications had been received, however far fewer applications had been received from parents in the far western region than the other seven regions in the state. Ayers urged parents of Jackson County Schools to apply for the commission in order to ensure geographic diversity.
Parents can apply for the commission until March 31, at ncdpi.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/sv_0jthhyit5aaduqi .
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"Members selected for the commission will include parents with students enrolled in traditional public schools and charter schools. However, the Parent Advisory Commission will also include parents of students enrolled in private schools. According to the department, this is to ensure broad representation of all school choice options across the state and include diverse feedback."
DPI may not have any authority to establish any kind of advisory panel that includes parents of charter school, private/religious school, or home school parents, with the intent to intervene in public school operations.