Parents and Community: The Overlooked Piece of the Education Puzzle
"Using innovation and effective approaches to turn-around struggling schools, by asking states to prioritize and transform persistently low-performing schools."This is a listed objective in the Race to the Top Education reform. It is indeed a valid and worthy goal but must be analyzed from a practical perspective.
Before you can “transform” persistently low-performing schools, you must be willing to look at the real reasons they are, in fact, low- performing. Many schools that fit this category consist of families that function in a culture in which education is simply not a priority. Often these schools and all the personnel associated with it are viewed as a full-time daycare centers as opposed to a place of education. Children come to school hungry, tired, and unprepared. Homework is incomplete, notes in agendas unsigned and important paperwork remains unseen. Oftentimes, it is the parents of these children that blame the educator when their child fails the CRCT or still cannot read in the fifth grade. God bless those parents that do not let their circumstances dictate their involvement.
It is not only lack of parental involvement that contributes to low performance in these schools but also the lack of community support. Children are no longer celebrated for their achievements within the community. Playgrounds stand dilapidated, schools lack resources for basic instruction, families struggle to put coats on their children and feed them properly, homes are without books, and all the while community members and business look the other way. However, it is these same community members that point the fingers at public education and educators when schools continue to perform poorly.
Society is so quick to blame the teachers and the principals. The idea that academic success is all up to the school personnel has permeated communities across the nation. You cannot teach a child that is hungry, cold, or facing abuse. At what point are parents going to be held accountable in a real way for their children’s success? If education is not a priority in the home then it will not be a priority anywhere else. Lack of education is as detrimental to their quality of life as not feeding or clothing them properly.Continued on the next page