Our old plan’s tactics were not moving us forward fast enough. That was due, in large part, to the fact that our original mission, “to transform socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Los Angeles into communities of hope and opportunity” was too ambitious in scope. So, we decided to devise our new plan.
What does a change in mission statement do to our plan?
It makes the plan better, as long as the new mission serves as a stepping stone towards the broader original. Our new plan is guided by a mission statement that is far narrower in scope. It states the following. “Our mission is to compel, train and enable K-12 parents to transform their public schools into 21st century civic centers and learning communities.”
A healthy local public school system is a necessary prerequisite for any neighborhood aspiring to be a community of hope and opportunity. That means the work we do to fulfill the new narrower mission, is work that would have been necessary to fulfill the original mission. Alignment preserved!
Narrower Mission Narrower Focus Has Made It Easier To Network
Our new plan and mission are progressing quickly. We are connecting with new parent leaders also very involved in public school governance, fundraising, or volunteering. There’s few parents who can give more time to do this work than the average parent can, but there are more of us out there than you would imagine. Many who we know are part of the Parent Organization Network (PON).
Some of these parents have created organized and branded parent groups and nonprofit organizations. Various groups have heard of some, but not all other groups. That’s a healthy sign of growth and expansion of a growing ecosystem of parent groups, all figuring out how to come together as a stakeholder group, while developing special projects and programs in partnership with a few of these groups at a time.
The common thread is a desire for big change in public education, the acknowledgement that without big changes to how we presently do school, those who run our schools will be handicapping children instead of mentoring and developing them. And so I am hearing a greater call to action from parents than I have heard at anytime since I entered parent society, 17 years ago.
All of this made possible by a slight change, and without having to sacrifice or alter our work’s purpose.
What is in (or out of) our new plan?
|Feature or Component||Name or description|
|Context / Battleground||LA County/LAUSD K-12 Public Schools|
|Symptoms of the Problem||Insignificant improvement or worsening performance levels in key LCAP performance indicators (e.g., Attendance, Academic Proficiency, Graduation Rates, College/Career Preparedness) for all students county-wide, and far worse for students classified as disadvantaged|
|Root Causes||Structural/Historical: Counter-productive and harmful adult behaviors, dungeon-like facility design, biased/one-sided/incomplete curriculum offerings, prison-like bell schedules and PA systems, unnoticed and perpetuated by all of us because they were conceived in18th century, and are still in practice.|
Public School Culture: Low-expectations/complacency/lack of urgency/acceptance of absurdity/thoughtless & wasteful expenditures/cowardice/hypocrisy/self-righteousness (Source: Any SPSA)
Rampant Psychological Barriers: The profound inability for influential education leaders to accept responsibility for the failures of those they are responsible for
Weak Instructional Leadership: Lack of instructional expertise/lack of understanding what the job entails/misappropriation or misuse of time