Parental involvement is mentioned more than one hundred times in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In this article, John Rogers argues that President Bush and former U.S. secretary of education Rod Paige have promoted policy narratives of test accountability, choice, and parental involvement that describe how poor parents can spur educators to have higher expectations and to work harder. What is missing from these policy narratives, Rogers argues, is a fundamental understanding of the problems facing poor communities: a lack of both resources and tools for collective action. Through the case study of a grassroots nonprofit organization, Parent-U-Turn, Rogers demonstrates how parents can create what he calls public power by responding to structural and systemic educational problems through shared inquiry and collective action. Rogers holds up this case as an example of how parents might become true forces for accountability in public education and outlines ways in which the lessons of this example might be incorporated into the reauthorization of NCLB.
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