Trust Parents

Why don’t we trust parents? Why are we so scary?

You know you need us. We’re ready to do the work. But for some reason, we trust everyone BUT parents when it comes to advocating for children and families.

Take for instance — this week where we learned where former Boston Mayoral candidate Tito Jackson will end up:

He has landed in social justice advocacy, according to Parenting Journey, a Somerville nonprofit whose mission is to end the systemic cycle of parenting in poverty.

The nonprofit announced Jackson will be its inaugural social and family justice fellow. In naming Jackson to the three-month post, Imari Paris Jeffries, the organization’s executive director, highlighted the former councilor’s expertise in public policy, advocacy, and public service, adding that those skills “will help shape a vibrant future for families.”

You know I am side-eyeing the CRAP out of this.

Parenting Journey. Parenting Journey. Tito Jackson, a childless, confirmed bachelor is now the first ever Social and Family Justice Fellow for Parenting Journey.

What does Tito Jackson know about being a parent? And fighting for social and family justice as a parent?

About as much as Jeremiah Kittredge. And we know how well that went.

(Fun fact: Kittredge once told me starting this blog would be a terrible idea. No one would be interested in what I had to say.)

Now, I don’t know much about Parenting Journey. And not for lack of trying. I’ve tried to meet with their leadership a number of times, made calls, emails, etc. Hell — I even stopped by — they are literally located just a few doors down from Massachusetts Parents United in Union Square in Somerville.

But I do know this — from first hand experience: You don’t need to tell us what to think. You don’t even need to tell us how to get organized. When Mamas are mad, we organize by nature. We have good ideas. We’re willing to hear other ideas and work with you to make them better. We want what’s best for our kids. Period.

How serious am I about this? Consider the fact that I left a failed organization, took $4,000 out of my savings and started building Massachusetts Parents United because I was so convinced that this kind of stuff just doesn’t work. That as a parent, I could do it better with my fellow Mamas. And we do.

Not for nothing, but in a tenth of the time with a tenth of the funding, we’re on track to have 10 times as much impact.

And we’re just one organization. There are organizations across the country that given the resources could be just as — or even more — successful.

So what are we so afraid of exactly?

Let us lead: Because frankly, we are leading anyway.

Let us provide you the context: Half the reason our best education ideas fall flat is because folks don’t understand what’s happening in families and communities that will become fatal flaws in your amazing edu-strategy.

Let us give you the inspiration and the heart you need: There’s a reason why folks on all sides of the education conversation have been trying for years to capture the power of parents, co-opt our voices and speak for us — you know you need us because we’re powerful. And we move elected officials because we’re their actual constituents. They get their power from US.

Let’s stop faking it. Embrace us as partners. Empower our voices. Support our work. The real work of parents.

What do you think?

  2 comments for “Trust Parents

  1. Dr. Ed
    February 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    1: I suspect his name recognition and fundraising ability is why he was hired. That’s common with all nonprofits.

    2: Notwithstanding that, do not fall into the micro/macro trap — believing that one person’s personal experience is reflective of everyone’s experiences. I’ve seen a lot of teachers do this, using their own childhood experiences to define their students — it’s a real problem with female teachers and boys.
    In some ways, a non-parent is more objective, if willing to listen, because there isn’t the bias of personal experience.

    3:, IMHO, THE biggest problem in K-12 is the fallacy that only teachers are qualified to speak about teaching, that the rest of us should shut up. You fall into the same trap here — yes, people doing something know quite a bit about it — but also can be too close to see what is clear to the independent bystander.

    4: I think the bigger question is whom he may be affiliated with, i.e. MTA/NEA.
    I don’t know the man, but he is a Boston politician, and the MTA is a big player.

  2. Dr. Ed
    February 11, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    “Now, I don’t know much about Parenting Journey. And not for lack of trying. I’ve tried to meet with their leadership a number of times, made calls, emails, etc”

    This is the more significant point — I’d go to the Sec of State’s office and see who their board members are. THAT might prove interesting…

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