Parents as Customers
A parent writes to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he’s upset the schools’ CEO isn’t attending the Parent Assembly:
As a parent of two children in the district, I have received dozens of automated phone calls and mailings over the past months informing me that parental involvement is the key to successful schools. The governor’s machinations with Mr. Sullivan’s appointment and Mr. Sullivan’s repeated failure to meet with district parents make a mockery of the idea.
The St. Louis Public Schools are right that parents need to be involved in education. But parents are most involved when they choose their kids’ schools themselves. If they have no option but a failing public school district, all the automated phone calls in the world aren’t going to make them more enthusiastic. This is especially the case when the district’s CEO doesn’t even appear at meetings he promised to attend.
If parents were customers with choices, schools would be more responsive to them. Back in June, Sullivan declined his salary to make a statement: The St. Louis Public Schools aren’t a for-profit business. Maybe he should reconsider that position. After all, what CEO earning a salary would skip shareholder meetings?