The Parental Divide

There is a growing divide between education and one of the major stakeholders…parents.  I put the blame on the shoulders of administrators and here is why…

Parents do not know their role in their own child’s education.  We are always stating “parents are the primary educators of their child” yet we, as professional educators, are not showing them how.  Parents need guidance in this just as much as a child needs guidance with how to critically think about a math problem.  My solution is a simple one that I hope to employ as an administrator.

Get parents in the school!!

Start with a mandatory (yes…mandatory) meeting a the beginning of the year in which they are walked through the ins and outs of supporting the learning that is going on in the classroom while their child is at home.  It goes beyond asking the child “How was your day?” to which the child gives a one word answer “Good.”  It goes beyond homework.  It will also cultivate a team spirit amongst educators at school and parents at home for the sole purpose of success of every child.

Parents need to volunteer in their child’s class at least once (and hopefully more) during the school year.  And not just to do some photocopying!  Parents should be actively involved in the learning of their child, and others, in the classroom so they can see the practices the teacher has in place and hopefully carry them forward to the home.

School council needs to be an attractive option for parents.  Far too often do I walk into a school council meeting (even with a highly active parent population) to see fewer than 10 parents at a school with over 700 students.  This needs to change!  Critical decisions are made at these meetings that effect the education of the students.  Administrators need to survey their parent population in regards to increased attendance at these meetings.

For those people who are at the end of this blog with the thought “parents don’t have time for this!!”, I say really?!  How can you not have time for your child’s academic success?  How can you prioritize ANYTHING else above this?  Even work should come second to raising your child and ensuring their success.  My answer to you is MAKE TIME.  If you can’t and your child is not succeeding…look in the mirror for the answers not at the teachers.

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One Response to The Parental Divide

  1. tangoedtech says:

    Great post Rob!
    Parent-student-teacher. It’s the trifecta in education. After reading your post I wonder why parental involvement drops off as students age. In my school (and probably every other school), if you walk down our elementary wing, there are parents in everyday. They are reading, the are attending field trips, they are painting with kids – the list goes on. Then you walk down our Jr. high wing and nary a parent in sight. We’ve almost had to cancel field trips because of a lack of supervisors.

    I love your statement of ‘make time’. Children are the most important thing in parents’ lives, and although we are qualified to have them in our care for several hours of the day, it seems like a blanket learned behavior to just pass them to us and hope for the best.

    I would love to see parents co-construct the learning for their child – especially when it comes to individual program plans.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    Jeff

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