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Wanted: Active Parents in Education


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photo credit: www.kidactivities.net
photo credit: http://www.kidactivities.net

 

Earlier today I was reading a synopsis of a study on segregation in today’s schools. The study was conducted by UCLA and then commented on by Harvard University in a paper called “On Equality of Educational Opportunity.” A major finding in the report was stated as “When the performance of a child in school is adjusted for the educational and cultural level of his parents, there is nothing left for the school to effect.”

 

Now, at first glance my red flag ears as a parent perked up and I got a little offended… I said, “Well, then WHY did are you (those who work in schools) in education?  Isn’t your job supposed to be “effect the change needed, in spite of the kid’s “cultural and educational level of his parents” ain’t that what you supposed to be doing?     But then I remembered….

 

Then I thought back to a day I personally experienced as a computer lab teacher in an urban school setting in DC and remembered a girl, let’s just call her “Amy” who was bright and full of academic promise, but had a horrible attitude when it came to learning and diligence work in a classroom. Amy’s mission during 7th period computer class was to make it as hard as possible for me to teach her, (and her classmates mind you) for some reason… I couldn’t figure it out because when I did get work out of her, it was amazingly good! But her attitude!!  I really tried to break it down to her and said, “Look sis – loose the TUDE!!!” But nothing seemed to get through.

After constant threats I requested a conference with her mother to discuss my concerns, and met with her briefly the next day after school. She came on time to our previously planned meeting, but didn’t seem really attentive when I started the meeting. I first let her know that I was very impressed with her talents and abilities; and suggested that she look into summer time computer training activities for her during the summer break.  Again, she “seemed” to not be really paying attention. I then began addressing my concerns about her attitude about school work and general demeanor in the classroom, mentioning that her behavior gets disruptive to others at times.  Amy’s mother “went off” She said stuff like, “if Amy is actin’ up in class, you just let me know I’ll whoop her ASS…   and so on, “She knows better than that, she know I don’t play that….”  I mean, CLEARLY Mom was in my corner when it came to behavior, so all in all, the meeting left me more confused…

I ended the meeting by asking if she had a computer at home that Amy could use and she said, “Yes.”  I suggested that Amy be allowed to complete her past due assignments at home and change her attitude in class, I would consider raising her grade before report cards came out.  She agreed….

A few weeks later, I had to reconcile my grade book to turn in my grades electronically for report cards, I realized that Amy had not turned in ANY of the back assignments…. I was forced to give her a D!  I asked Amy what happened and she just gave me a myriad of excuses all in some way seeming to blame her Mom for not wanting to get off the computer herself so she (Amy) could do her work.  I immediately saw that my student did not have any academic guidance at home.

I, as a teacher was crushed… what am I supposed to do, when the support I need at home, just is not there…

My thoughts and feelings at that moment supported this notion, if I can’t get Amy’s parent to value what I am trying to do her then HOW do I get through to Amy? How do I touch her spirit, her passion, her drive… how do I effect that change???

My thoughts and feelings at that moment supported this notion, if I can’t get Amy’s parent to value what I am trying to do her then HOW do I get through to Amy? How do I touch her spirit, her passion, her drive… how do I effect that change???

My thoughts and feelings at that moment supported this notion, if I can’t get Amy’s parent to value what I am trying to do her then HOW do I get through to Amy? How do I touch her spirit, her passion, her drive… how do I effect that change???

My thoughts and feelings at that moment supported this notion, if I can’t get Amy’s parent to value what I am trying to do her then HOW do I get through to Amy? How do I touch her spirit, her passion, her drive… how do I effect that change???

My thoughts and feelings at that moment supported this notion, if I can’t get Amy’s parent to value what I am trying to do her then HOW do I get through to Amy? How do I touch her spirit, her passion, her drive… how do I effect that change???

My thoughts and feelings at that moment supported this notion, if I can’t get Amy’s parent to value what I am trying to do her then HOW do I get through to Amy? How do I touch her spirit, her passion, her drive… how do I effect that change???

Look family, I’m not saying we should give teachers a pass. Teacher accountability is crucial and I think all good teachers know that and aren’t scared of that.   I want everyone to remember that it is not only the job of teachers to educate our children, it really does take a village family… and PARENTS should be at the forefront of that village, at the welcoming door…. So I in defense of teachers want to reiterate the importance of parental and family guidance of your child at the beginning, middle and end of his or her academic career.  Of course this begins as soon as they are born, remember you are your child’s first and most influential teacher, and continue at least through high school and in many families that I know, well into the graduate/professional schooling years.

PARENTS: (just in case you don’t know)

  • YOU are supposed to study with your child; you are supposed to volunteer at your child’s school, helping promote the school’s success, (don’t worry about you have to work, you can donate supplies needed for the classroom that many teachers have to buy with their own money.
  • YOU are supposed to be your child strongest advocate in the community; lending your political voice to local community matters that advance the academic success of your child
  • YOU are supposed to seek out extra=curricular activities and events that enrich and gives more shape to your child’s academic success; yeah, sign them up for Saturday drama or music classes;  encourage them to take up a sport and then help them be successful at that activity
  • FINALLY, don’t get in your child’s way…..  At least, give them a chance…

I mean all this stuff is not really considered extra…. It’s what you chose to do when you decided to become a parent….Didn’t mean to rant much… I am just tired of seeing the same old thing… no matter where I go…and it REALLY has got to change…..Peace and blessings family, I’ll talk to you later…

 

TDanyel

Suggested readings if you want to learn more…

 

http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/2-us-schools-are-more-segregated-today-than-in-the-1950s-source/http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/2-us-schools-are-more-segregated-today-than-in-the-1950s-source/

 

http://ucaccord.gseis.ucla.edu/publications/pubs/pb-013-0905.pdf

 

http://www.ecs.org/html/offsite.asp?document=http%3A%2F%2Fwebapp%2Eicpsr%2Eumich%2Eedu%2Fcocoon%2FICPSR%2DSTU

 

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