Mile High Parent Campaign Should Reward Time on School Choice Site

Lousy parenting is a typical scapegoat of those who resist public school accountability or who make excuses for poor performance. Not all parents fulfill their responsibilities, and certainly none are perfect. But the overwhelming number of parents want to see their kids reach their fullest education potential.

In that light, an idea like this one seems to make sense:

The Mile High Parent Campaign, set to begin on the first day of school this fall, is designed to track the time DPS parents spend furthering their kids’ education. The goal is 5,280 minutes a year, or 30 minutes a school day.

“I’m just hoping to bring a little more awareness of the importance of parent engagement and to celebrate things that we, as parents, do on a daily basis,” said Marlene DeLa Rosa, chairwoman of the Parent Empowerment Council.

Parents who enroll in the program will log their time online or complete a form that details how they assisted their children.

Suggested activities range from reading with a child, attending back-to-school night, helping with homework or taking a child to the museum.

It sure sounds nice on paper, and I wish it the best. The use of prizes and other positive incentives is the best way to promote participation – though it’s safe to assume the first ones who sign up will primarily be the parents who are already most engaged, and that many parents still won’t find any motivation to get involved. But if done right, this proposal has the potential to help many families work toward rearranging their priorities.

And of course, the best form of parent empowerment is school choice. The more a mom and dad is directly involved in their children’s education, the more they can see firsthand whether their child is being well-served at their current school, or whether another option is needed that better suits his or her needs.

It’s only logical then that Denver Public Schools should count the time a parent and child spend together on the School Choice for Kids website toward the 5,280 minutes a year.