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The Importance of Advocating for Children & Families

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  • 0:04 Bureaucracy in Education
  • 0:43 Representation
  • 1:26 How You Can Help
  • 2:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

In the bureaucratized education system we work in today, it is often possible for students' needs to be ignored. In this lesson, we discuss the importance of advocating for students and their families.

Bureaucracy in Education

Today's educational system has become overburdened with the important task of educating all students with a dwindling budget and resources, including support personnel. This has led to the increasing bureaucratization of the system, in which paperwork and procedures sometimes become more important than students and families.

Often, schools must follow proper due process procedures for too many students than they can adequately handle, and the process becomes more like an assembly line than a system of support. The current situation is not all doom and gloom, though. There are many ways in which we can ensure that all students are being treated fairly and adequately.

Representation

In today's schools, the most direct way students receive an assurance of proper support is for the family to act as strong advocates. This often takes the form of parents/guardians attending meetings, maintaining frequent communication with teachers and staff, and conducting research to stay informed of current policies and laws.

However, many families (especially those in lower socioeconomic levels) do not have the time and/or capabilities to achieve such high levels of advocacy. This unsurprisingly (and sadly) leads to students being swept under the rug and becoming victims to the bureaucracy. As educational professionals, it is up to us to give students and families the tools they need to ensure their educational rights are secured.

How You Can Help

It is important to adopt a mindset in our work in which students and families are supported at all times. The first important step in advocating for students and families is making sure they have all the necessary paperwork and guides for anything pertinent. Sometimes, families do not receive all required documents. This can lead to confusion and lack of appropriate action. You should always double check to make sure families have everything they need to stay informed about their student and their rights.

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