Source: The Sacramento Bee
By: Kevin Yamamura and Loretta Kalb
Date: January 29, 2015
Related Staff: John T. Affeldt

“The California Department of Education issued a memo last week after civil rights group Public Advocates complained in November that public schools across the state, particularly charter schools, had imposed parent volunteer mandates. Last fall, a handful of campuses around the Sacramento region suggested on their websites that parents had to volunteer 30 or 40 hours a school year and could make up hours by contributing a particular dollar amount.

“Public Advocates found instances in California charter schools where students were told they could not participate in field trips or other activities because their parents had failed to meet volunteer standards. Some parents were told their children could join in if the parents bought classroom supplies or donated money in lieu of volunteering.

“The civil rights group said the practice contributes to inequality because children can lose public educational opportunities through no fault of their own and suggested that low-income families may be less able to get time off or contribute financially.

“‘This is a good outcome,’ said Public Advocates’ managing attorney John Affeldt said after the announcement. ‘The Department of Education agrees that it is not legal to require parents to volunteer.’”

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