Partner Spotlight: Parent Institute for Quality Education

PIQE (Parent Institute for Quality Education) provides nine week family seminars and teacher professional development to California GEAR UP schools throughout the state and continues to be one of the most successful and popular services provided by GEAR UP. PIQE services are specifically developed for the needs of GEAR UP schools and communities and are are provided in a multitude of languages.

PIQE began in 1987 as a result of discussions with parents of a predominantly Latino elementary school in the San Diego area. Parents were interested in addressing the conditions that prevented their children from succeeding in school.

Armed with information from those meetings, PIQE founders, Rev. Vahac Mardirosianand Dr. Alberto Ochoa, launched the organization’s first program, which included workshops targeted for parents of K-12 children. The seminar has since evolved into PIQE’s signature program, the Parent Engagement Education Program, a nine-week curriculum delivered to parents in their primary language, aimed at helping them become educational advocates for their students. After much success, the program was launched at other schools in San Diego and later, throughout California.

After more than 20 years, PIQE continues to receive rave reviews from families and teachers. Here are some recent quotes:

I just wanted to let you know how successful and empowering the PIQE program has been. Two of my parents were graduates of your program, and came prepared to parent conferences with the most insightful, relevant and comprehensive questions I have ever been presented with.  I really felt as if I was on the ‘hot seat’, and was thrilled.  We all win; teachers, students, parents, and society.

-Bay Area Teacher

English Translation:

I was in your PIQE class at St Helena Elementary, and I am sending you this email to thank you for the information you gave us in the nine classes. I also take pleasure in telling you that most of the parents used the information during their recent Parent/Teacher Conferences including me. The truth is that we needed a class like this and I hope that next year we can have this same opportunity for the parents that did not have a chance to experience it.  I also want to let you know that during our ELAC meeting we had 15 parents instead of 4 and half of those were PIQE parent graduates. Thank you very much for everything and I am going to take your word that we can ask you if we have any questions.

-PIQE Parent

In addtion to the nine week family seminars are GEAR UP schools, PIQE provides Early Childhood Development programs, Family Financial Literacy Education, Teachers Workshop on Family Engagement, and a Four Month Follow UP Parent Coaches Program. Programs are of course not just limited to GEAR UP schools and are available across the state. Check out their programs here.

The California GEAR UP-PIQE partnership is a testament to successful collaboration in providing family engagement services and community education programs. PIQE provides its program in 18 languages and serves ALL communities.  PIQE is now working in 6 states and its most recent office opened in Houston, Texas. For more information on PIQE, please visit their website to learn more.

If you are interested in collaborating or funding PIQE, please contact the President of PIQE, David Valladolid. You can read the Presidents message here. You can also find PIQE on Facebook.

Share with us your PIQE success story!

Small Steps May Lead to School Finance Reform

PPIC released a new report this week indicating California’s schools inequitable finance system is  inadequately funded but can significantly improve the way it funds public schools by making small investments over time. Every year the state attempts to distribute more than 50 billion dollars worth of funding.

The report outlines a strategy to reform California’s school finance system—widely considered to be inadequately funded, inequitable, and overly complex. There is unlikely to be additional money available soon to address the first of these concerns—the level of funding. But the system can be made more equitable and transparent, and doing so would prepare the state to make the most of any additional resources in the future.

Instead of spending money focused on student needs, they are forced to adhere to a flawed funding system that includes a 1973 tax base, as well as hundreds of pieces of legislation doling out money based on the political whims of decades past.

“Given California’s budget problems, school finance reform isn’t likely to happen overnight,” says Margaret Weston, PPIC research associate and author of the report. “But small investments over time can add up to a big change. This approach wouldn’t require a major investment in a single year and would ensure that no district would see a decrease in funding per pupil.”

The report offers concrete ideas addressing systemic inequities and illogical policies that too often reward inefficiency, such as  districts that are adept at helping English learners become fluent in the language lose funding, while those who fail to do so continue to get extra resources to support those students’ needs.

Additional recommendations include:

  • State legislators don’t need to wait for a legal mandate to start fixing the system. The PPIC report offers policymakers some road maps for equalizing funding over the next several years, while still addressing the diverse needs of districts.
  • Increasing funding based more on the number of low-income students in a district rather than on English learners or the number of students who post low standardized test scores
  • A funding system that recognizes the expensive transportation needs of rural districts or those where high regional wages drive up the price of teachers

You can read the full report HERE or check out the press release HERE.

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