I asked around for some background on the references to schools using Title I parent involvement funds to take folks on junkets, and got this provocative and informative response from PURE's Julie Woestehoff:
"There's a long, unfortunate history of schools and districts throwing away parent involvement funds on national conferences...At the local school level, it's all about who gets to go...The Rochester conference is for five days, not including special pre-and post-conference events....The parents are by definition (supposed to be) poor and often have no other opportunity to travel in style like this, so naturally it's considered a huge perk...In Chicago, people have hung on as "Title 1 parents" just to go on the trips long after their last child graduated...Chicago Citywide ESEA “President-for-Life" Bobby Green is the prime example."
Assuming Woestehoff is accurate (see below for complete text), this sounds like a pretty amazing scam. Take a look, and tell us what you're experience has been. Going to Rochester? Ever heard of Bobby Green?