Policy Documents

Parent Power: Grassroots Activism and K-12 Education Reform

Andrew Kelly, Patrick McGuinn –
July 31, 2012

A wave of education reform advocacy organizations are working to pull parents into larger policy debates over school reform by mobilizing them to lobby policymakers, testify in front of school boards, and vote for certain policies. Reformers’ high hopes and good intentions often lead to naïve expectations of what parent power can accomplish, especially since some recent activism has not drawn on past lessons about community organizing and voter mobilization and because these new reformers face well-financed and practiced special interests—teachers unions. This paper, with contributions from Patrick McGuinn and Andrew Kelly, discuss strategy and outlook for parent power activists, offering recommendations to help lead them to sustained, successful reform.