Parent Power: Grass-roots Activism and K-12 Education Reform

Andrew P. Kelly, Patrick J. McGuinn
August 3, 2012

Can parent groups realistically serve as a counterweight to well-established interest groups?

When parents are empowered and funded to choose the best school option for their children, whether that is a traditional public school, a public charter school or a private school, education in the United States could improve. Parent choice creates a competitive dynamic that inspires all schools to improve.
This approach to choice-based reform in education is gaining traction in many areas of our country, thanks largely to parents themselves. Advocacy groups today are helping parents to demand high-quality school options for their children.

This report looks at how many Walton Family Foundation grantees, including the 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now (50CAN), Democrats for Education Reform, Stand for Children and StudentsFirst, help parents advocate for high-quality school options. In addition, the authors also spoke with advocacy leaders like the Black Alliance for Educational Options and Florida’s Step Up For Students; both are groups that have been working to mobilize parents for years.