At the second annual meeting of Parenting Magazine’s Mom Congress earlier today, Secretary Duncan urged parents to demand better results from the country’s educational system. Citing falling Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings and a 25 percent dropout rate, Duncan told the audience of 73 delegates from every state in the nation that “incremental change won’t work. Going to a 23 percent dropout rate won’t work.” Even in states like Massachusetts that are improving student achievement, Duncan stressed that students need to learn more. “Massachusetts, if it were a country, would only be ranked 17th in the world,” he said.
To make the kind of change necessary, Duncan called on parents to demand more from schools. “Your voice, your passion, your fierce advocacy is what the country has been missing,” he said.
During a 30-minute discussion with the delegates, Duncan expanded on his remarks, urging parents to engage at every level, including where school, district, state and federal decisions are being made. He called upon parents to be part of the solution, and to offer suggestions on how we can work together to close achievement gaps and improve student learning.
More than anything, Duncan urged parents to advocate for and demand excellence from schools. He also asked parents to speak up when they see the curriculum narrowing or when teachers are not receiving the professional development they need. “You guys have got to be truth-tellers,” he urged. “You have to ask the really hard questions.”
Read our media advisory for more information on the second annual Mom Congress on Education and Learning conference, and visit Parenting’s Mom Congress page to learn about the 51 Mom Congress delegates representing each state and Washington, D.C.
Click here to see photos from the event.
Laurie Calvert is a Teaching Ambassador Fellow on loan from Buncombe County, North Carolina.