GREENSBORO, N.C. — Forty-eight parents were selected out of 3,000 applicants to help shape what education looks like in North Carolina. They're part of the state's Parent Advisory Commission. Six of the selected will represent the Triad.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction said the group will share aspirations for public education in our state. They will also provide feedback on a policy that impacts K-12 education as well as "share recommendations, insight, and perspectives with Superintendent Truitt and others."
WFMY was able to speak to three of the six members from the Piedmont-Triad Region. Some of the main topics parents say they want to discuss, are school safety and special education.
State Superintendent Catherine Truitt told WFMY, ”We’ve really seen a resurgence of parents' voices since the pandemic started. Most parents were right next to their children at the kitchen table during the pandemic. Parents played the role of the teacher during the day and parent at night. I think it was a big turning point for parent involvement and K-12 education.”
Six parents and/or guardians will represent each of the state’s eight educational regions.
- Treena Jackson - traditional public-at-large
- Dwayne Young - traditional public
- Lillian Adams - traditional public
- Jessica Hofstetter - public charter
- Neely Turlington - private
- Dan Stephens - homeschool
Those in the commission have students enrolled in traditional public schools, charter public schools, homeschool, and private schools. NCDPI said this is to ensure a broad representation of all school choice options across the state that will encourage a wide range of feedback.
Among that group are Davidson county mom Jessica Hofstetter and Forsyth County mom Neely Turlington.
Turlington has a middle school-aged child and said some of the main topics she wants to bring to the table are transparency and quality education.
“Hearing the teachers, seeing students on a daily basis, parents are just going to bring a totally different perspective," Turlington said.
She explains that she has two children with disabilities and believes students are not being adequately represented in schools.
"So it was my hope that we can all start playing on the same team and incorporate the best practices and really do what’s in the best interest of our students and not just school districts," Hofstetter said.
State superintendent Catherine Truitt says parents will be able to talk about anything.
“I think all parents have a story to tell, and if you recall, there will be parents on this commission that are not current parents of public school children. They might be a parent who homeschools or a parent whose child is in private school. Nearly 100% of parents on this commission have used traditional public education at some point in their children’s school career,” Truitt told WFMY.
The composition of the commission for each region includes:
- 2 traditional public schools
- 1 charter public school
- 1 homeschool
- 1 private school
- 1 at-large public-school member from the largest county in each region, including Buncombe, Catawba, Cumberland, Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Pitt, Wake
The members of the Parent Commission will serve a two-year term beginning in the fall of 2022. Members will meet for the first time in September.
An agenda for the meetings will be made available here, on the Parent Advisory Commission website, and the website said that the notes following the meeting will be posted on that website as well.