Kevin G. Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center says so far courts have not weighed in on the issue of parental choice when it comes to public education. “What happens overwhelmingly is that when parents choose to opt their kids into a public education, those kids arrive at school with very different backgrounds and very different family goals for the public schools. If each individual parent were able to make demands on the public school that are unique to that family or those parents then the educators in that school are going to be doing all sorts of contortions to make sure that every child’s unique demands and every child’s parents unique demands are met, courts haven’t required that. Schools can try to accommodate as much as they can and oftentimes do, but parents demands on courts to tell the school districts that they must respond to a parental objection about what takes place in the school have overwhelmingly been rejected by the courts, precisely because of the craziness that would result if a school had to respond to each individual parent request.”
Welner is one of the panelists participating in a discussion “Choosing, Refusing, and Opting Out: Parents’ Rights in Public Education” on Wednesday January 27th from 6–7.30pm in the Canyon Theater at the Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Ave.
The panel of scholars from the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and the Center for Values and Social Policy will tackle the legal and philosophical issues parents face as they make decisions related to state testing, vaccinations and school choice.
Panelists and topics include:
Kristen Davidson, postdoctoral researcher for the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice, on how parents in the Boulder area choose schools and the consequences of choice processes and outcomes for public education in a democratic society.
Adam Hosein, CU-Boulder assistant professor of philosophy, on parents’ rights related to opting out of vaccinations and the impact of those choices on public schools.
Kevin G. Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, on the legal precedents and issues involved in claims about parents’ rights in public education.
Terri Wilson, CU-Boulder assistant professor of educational foundations, on policy and practice regarding philosophical issues and tensions that are emerging in the movement to opt out of tests.