Debbie Squires, education official at the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA), has sparked some controversy after telling the House Education Committee in a hearing for a new school choice package, that teachers know better than parents what's best for their children, MLive.com reports.
Squires elicited a shocked response from Education Committee Chair Thomas McMillin after testifying on the parent's role in school operations.
"[Educators] are the people who know best about how to serve children, that's not necessarily true of an individual resident," Squires said. "I'm not saying they don't want the best for their children, but they may not know what actually is best from an education standpoint."
McMillin responds, "Wow, parents don't know what's best for their child..."
Afterward, MLive's Dave Murray approached McMillin and got this comment:
"I'm surprised I didn't lose it when she said that," McMillin told Murray. "They think they know what's better for children than their own parents, and that's what I find upsetting."
According to the report, however, several readers disagreed with McMillin, including one under the username Johnny0000.
"Yes, people who are trained professionals at something tend to know more about it than those that don't. When my child has an issue that involves education I don't ask MYSELF, I get input from her TEACHERS."
The charter-school bill discussed would effectively lift the state's cap on charter schools, including virtual ones, without creating quality safety guards. Michigan currently has 225 charter schools, and their performance is currently "mixed" both in the state and nationally.
An extensive report on cyber education by the New York Times notes many educators believe that virtual schools to be important in situations like teenage mothers, but that it may not be optimal for elementary schoolers. In the report, deputy superintendent of Memphis city schools Irving Hamer Jr. told the paper that children have a lot to be gained by attending a traditional school.
"The early development of children requires lots of interaction with other children for purposes of socialization, developing collaboration and teamwork, and self-definition,” Irving Hamer Jr., deputy superintendent of Memphis city schools, told the Times.
The votes on the Michigan cyber charter school issue is expected to come in the committee's next meeting, but some educators have asked lawmakers to prevent the opening of more of such school until data is available to determine if the schools are effective.