Martha Harvey thinks it's just a matter of setting a good example. Mrs. Harvey is president of the A. Phillip Randolph High School Parents Association, and it's a commitment she and her fellow board members take seriously. They meet through the summer and at least two times a month during the school year. Some even give up vacation time. And some stay on after their own kids graduate, to help the next group learn the ropes.
``We feel that by doing, we exemplify what we expect our kids to do,'' Harvey says.
This is not a group that runs bake sales. They press the school for real changes, such as mid-term reports, which teachers resisted.
They also run political interference at the Board of Education for Lottie Taylor, the principal, such as supporting her in cutting an administrator instead of a classroom teacher.
Mrs. Taylor encourages such involvement. To her, lack of parent participation is the big gap in a pet conservative school reform: vouchers, which let families shop for schools.
Taylor is all for parental choice. But she thinks the voucher lobby talks too much about choice and not enough about responsibility.
``There is a broader obligation on the part of the parent once he chooses. The parent has to be a real parent.''