Are parents an untapped resource in improving and reimagining K -- 12 education in Kansas City? What do they think would enhance student learning and what are they willing to do to help their children get the education they deserve? These are among the questions explored in an in-depth survey of 1,566 parents with children now in public school in the Kansas City metropolitan area. This study finds the majority of parents in the Kansas City area ready, willing and able to be more engaged in their children's education at some level. For communities to reap the most benefit from additional parental involvement, it is important to understand that different parents can be involved and seek to be involved in different ways.
The results of this research, detailed in the following pages, show that nearly a third of the region's parents may be ready to take on a greater role in shaping how local schools operate and advocating for reform in K -- 12 education. These parents say they would be very comfortable serving on committees focused on teacher selection and the use of school resources. Their sense of "parental engagement" extends beyond such traditional activities as attending PTA meetings, coaching sports, volunteering for bake sales, chaperoning school trips and seeing that their children are prepared for school each day. Yet, despite their broad interest in a deeper, more substantive involvement in shaping the region's school systems, relatively few of these "potential transformers" have actually participated in policy-oriented activities in the past year.
Moreover, this survey finds that even though the majority of parents seem less inclined to jump into school policy debates, many say they could do more to support local schools in the more traditional school parent roles.