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Monday, November 21, 2011

Calling All Parents

It's difficult being a parent. The economic climate is anxiety producing. The threat of downsizing and layoffs has bred insecurity in the workplace. Costs are increasing, salary and benefits are stable at best, decreasing at worse. Time is also endangered by a fast paced, stressful daily routine. There doesn't seem to be enough time to do everything that a parent needs or wants to do regarding the tremendous responsibility of helping their children invent and build the future. There's no instructional manual accompanying the birth of a baby.

Monitoring and assisting a child along the path of their education is among the tasks that fall upon a parent. So much to do, so little time to do it. Efficiency can improve effectiveness. That is, if there are just a few things you can direct your attention and time toward in the role of guiding your child through school, then the key leverage points you need to exercise are featured in the article by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (linked below)

Friedman references a study conducted by the National School Board Association's Center for Public Education. A critical quote from the study - "Parent involvement can take many forms, but only a few of them relate to higher student achievement." The author of the study, Patte Barth, continues by identifying these positive parental actions - "Monitoring homework, making sure children get to school, rewarding their efforts and talking up the idea of going to college. These parent actions are linked to better attendance, grades, test scores, and preparation for college."

Here's the link to the column.

It's important to note Friedman's concluding paragraph:

"To be sure, there is no substitute for a good teacher. There is nothing more valuable than great classroom instruction. But let's stop putting the while burden on teachers. We also need better parents. Better parents can make every teacher more effective."

We held parent and teacher conferences at the elementary school level last week. Report cards will soon be distributed. How would you grade yourself as a parent? Please read and reflect on the column linked in this Blog entry.

I call on the parents of learners in Green Island to accept responsibility for partnering with the school staff to cooperatively construct a better future for our children. I also encourage parents to assist us in the effort by maintaining high standards of performance and accountability for staff and parents regarding achievement.

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