The opening statement in Christie Ritter’s Nov. 20 story (“Why the Teachers Union Beef with UPforEd”) rings true: “Students whose parents are involved in their children’s education do better in school. There’s no dispute about that.”

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But some of the people quoted in her article seemed to define “involved” differently.

For parents, “involved” means the same sort of oversight any government entity receives from the public, and then some. After all, children’s futures and the community they will live in are wrapped up in those young minds.

In order to become more involved, as is often a common request by educators, Executive Director Lisa Berlanga proactively reached out to the teacher’s union representative, Bill Freeman. So far, Freeman has not responded to more than eight separate meeting requests.

But Freeman will likely respond to these requests eventually. Both the superintendent and board of trustees have said parents are a necessary partner in public education, and a district priority.

Forging a productive parent-teacher relationship benefits students. This is why parents wanted to recognize teachers’ classroom achievements.

Soliciting teacher nominations positively engages parents in local education and recognizes excellent teachers. Communication and parent involvement are critical to the success of our Parent Choice Awards.

With or without UPforEd’s work, San Diego parents may choose to relocate their students away from under-performing neighborhood schools, and many do.

That’s unfortunate — for parents, teachers and the community at large. But so many families don’t have that option. It’s up to the community to foster those struggling schools.

That said, a big part of UPforEd’s mission is to work hard to help create a quality school in every neighborhood with excellent teachers.

Despite some steep odds, notable progress has been made in getting parents involved and shining a light on areas needing improvement. Thousands of parents and taxpayers district-wide expect UPforEd to invest parents’ time and energy into neighborhood schools for the betterment of all.

The San Diego Unified School District Board’s decision to recognize parents’ efforts helps forge stronger relations with the district, community and hopefully, with the teacher’s union. From here, we can better engage, educate and provide resources to parents throughout the district.

Stephen D. Rosen is chairman of UPforEd. Rosen’s note has been edited for clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here. Want to respond? Submit a commentary.

Catherine Green

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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