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Should Parent Volunteering be Mandatory at Schools?

mandatory_volunteeringI think we can all agree that public schools are underfunded, and that volunteer parents are an invaluable part of what helps out kids’ education system. But what if volunteering were made mandatory? In San Jose, CA, the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District is working on a proposal to require the families of its 13,000 to commit to at least 30 hours of volunteering each school year.

Proponents of the required volunteering say that parents helping out the school system creates a strong “culture of parent-guardian-family participation.” The effect is greater than the work itself; it encourages student achievement, and gets parents actively involved in their kids’ lives.

But on the other hand, do we want to force help from parents who have no interest in being there? Would it even be feasible to ask 30 hours from parents? Also, I guess we wouldn’t necessarily call it “volunteering” anymore.

What do you think — is mandatory parental involvement at schools a good idea?

From the New York Times. Photo by Writing Program PTW.