Are parents to blame when their children do not do well in school? - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: Are parents to blame when their children do not do well in school?
Yes, I believe it is ultimately the parent's responsibility to ensure their children do well in school. 12 29.27%
No, I believe it is the school's responsibility to educate children and make sure they do well. 5 12.20%
Well.... (please explain in your post) 24 58.54%
Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
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This is a question being debated around the US and some are pointing their fingers at parents. Florida is even considering a bill that would give parents a report card for their involvement and supervision of their children's. The argument goes that if you feel you can legislate teaching then why not legislate parenting?

 

What roll does a parent play in helping their child to succeed? Several things are suggested, including homework supervision and help, ensuring children are fed well and get good sleep, and making sure they get to school on time and with all their books and materials. Schools and students who are doing well - based on test scores and graduation rates - all have parents who are on top of their children’s homework, who communicate with their children's teachers, and who are invested in their children’s futures. So just require the same of parents in schools that don’t work, and children there should see similar success rates, right?

 

What do you think? Should parents be held accountable for how well or poorly their children do in school? Are there other factors that prevent or complicate parental involvement? Or is the education and academic success of a child squarely on the shoulders of the school and teachers? Answer our poll and tell us what you think.


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#2 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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I am a parent with three children in school, and I am also a teacher.

 

I believe that a parent does play a role in a child's success in school; however, that doesn't mean that every child with an involved parent will be a straight A perfect student. More so that just overseeing homework is the attitude the parent imparts to the child. If a parent makes sure their child does the homework, but complains the entire time about what a waste of time it is or makes disparaging remarks about the teacher, that will be passed on to the child.

 

My students who struggle the most in school do have the least involved parents. We are one week from the end of school and I am just hearing from some parents NOW about how their child can pass. These are parents I have called, e-mailed, etc throughout the year. Some of these parents don't even know when report cards were sent home (I teach high school and the grades are also available online) This is not counting those students who have learning disasbilities. I have several students with dyslexia, etc, and their parents are involved, the students puts forth effort and has a great attitude, even if the grades tend to be lower than average.

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#3 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 07:15 AM
 
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Edited because its on Fbook.

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#4 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 07:35 AM
 
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I feel that this question sets us up to accuse working-class and struggling families of not caring enough about their kids, which simply isn't true.

 

Family and community support for struggling students cannot be legislated. There are a vast number of reasons why one parent may not be as so-called "involved" as another, and it very often (not always) has a lot to do with privilege. Some parents have the privilege of time and energy. Parents who feel comfortable in many ways can focus on their kids' school learning. Often times, the parents who are less present in the school lives of their children are the parents who are working 14-hour shifts, battling with mental/emotional health, or simply dealing with other weighty things. No parent wants to see their child "fail". A middle-class married parent with a stable income is more able to have a concern for their kids than, for instance, a working-class single parent with two jobs who is worrying how to pay the rent and feed their family.

 

Inspiring stories of kids who "make it out" through academic achievement are rare enough to be put on a pedestal, and when it doesn't work that way for the majority of students from poor backgrounds, the parents are blamed for not working many times as hard as parents who have an easier time, and the kids are forgotten.

 

This is why we can't pretend that class and privilege don't have a role in our schools. This is why conventional, public education is not the "great equalizer" as we would like to idealize. Achievement culture inherently favors, by way of grades and testing, the child whose families are comfortable enough, survival-wise, to involve themselves.

 

Maybe we can take our focus away from academic achievement and focus on a more holistic view of education, the basis of which is supplementary community support and more learning resources that are open to the public, and which accommodate people of all social classes. We need more early childhood support for children and their families. We need more community support for mothers and their partners. We need to make sure that parents aren't too overwhelmed with life to be there for their kids, and when they are, we need to be ready to support them. We need community centers that have hours to accommodate working people, we need collaborative neighborhood childcare and people who are interested in our kids' welfare, not test scores and report cards. We need safe spaces for youth and teens to go during the day that aren't about competing with each other. We need networks of learning communities that focus on life-long, real-world experience. We need to look at freedom schools and community-focused education as models towards a brighter future for our children.

 

As long as we force our children to compete with each other, those kids who have the luxury of healthy, comfy parents will always win the race. Is that fair?

 

The reality is that many parents need to focus on just surviving. Can we blame them? How can coercive education foster and support these kids?

 

Communities need to reach out to the working-class in their neighborhoods and work hard to change a system that would force people to focus, in isolation, on the problems that are perpetuated by class.

 


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#5 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 07:58 AM
 
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I don't know what it means that this is on facebook but I'm taking my stories off just in case. I'll just that while there are "some" cases where parents are to blame, much of how a kid does in school is personality and it's ridiculous to play the blame game.


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#6 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 08:02 AM
 
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Edited because its on Fbook.
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#7 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 08:40 AM
 
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I will help my kids when needed,but overall I feel teaching should be done in the school. I don't pay thousands to then teach my kids at home as well. If that is the case I might as well keep them home and pocket the tuition money.

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#8 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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I think some great points have been made. I think it can and does go both ways. I am a stay at home mom active in helping and teaching my kids. We do educational vacations and lots of unschooling just because they love it and respond really well to it. They are however in public school since DH doesn't want me to homeschool. Since my daughter was in first grade I have noticed issues with watching me talk, hearing me and yet not being able to repeat most of what I am saying. I have tried everything short of meds to help her as I didn't want to go that route. Nothing worked. She is now in 5th grade and half way through this school year I got her on the lowest dose. She is a very bright girl and despite not being able to slow her mind down to listen and absorb information she is getting nothing lower than a c. I have had many meeting with the school and just because she is not the "perfect" student they make me feel like a failure. She and the math teacher clash on teaching/learning styles so badly (and that is the only math teacher for 5th and 6th grade) that I have done all of her math teaching at home. After we started the meds I had another meeting with her teachers and they were all raving about how great she was doing (yet her grades never changed) then I look online after report cards were issued and there are comments from a few of the teachers saying she isn't concentrating in class. My question is why didn't they tell me their optinions changed. I feel sometimes and only with a select few teachers that they do the bare minimum and then blame the parents for the rest. 

 

On that point we have had some amazing teachers over the yrs but when you get stuck with less than helpful and you are already dealing with ongoing issues it is very frustrating on the parents end as well. Between my dd, drs, and therapist I am at a loss and I hate that feeling. 


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#9 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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This was also a hotly discussed item over on one of the NY Times blogs.  I don't think this type of thing can be legislated because there are too many variables.  For me, this is largely a class issue, but not necessarily an economic one (although economics tend to play a big role).  I would argue that the children who do better in school overall are ones who have parents who are better educated, expect more, are more apt to be involved in their child's life because of their own expectations of themselves as parents.  I don't think that requiring parents to show up for PTA meetings or volunteering for a certain amount of hours is going to work.  There has to be a love of learning (or at least an expectation that learning is a good thing) on the part of the parents first.  If you lack curiosity yourself, then I think that attitude trickles down to the kids.  Doesn't matter if you're rich poor, SAH, WOH, urban, suburban, country.  How can you force people to value learning?  It has to come from within, in my opinion.  Parents who are involved are involved because they want to be and they see the value in it.  I'm not sure how I would tackle the problem.  It just feels like this is a societal issue that won't be solved through incentives/punishments.  I have to think about this one.


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#10 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 11:39 AM
 
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Education is a two-way street between home and school. Neither can abdicate their responsibility.

 

School is a culture. It has its own language, its own set of customs and its own way of viewing the world. If you come from a home that shares that culture, you're going to be set up to do better in school. That doesn't guarantee that you'll do well, but you'll have a greater chance of succeeding. If you come from a different culture where different skills are valued/appreciated, then you will have a harder time learning that culture. Some kids do, some don't, but most of the ones who do have figured it out on their own, not because of something the teachers did.

 

Do you know what one of the greatest predictors of failure among college freshman is? Being the first in your family to go to college. These are kids who did everything right, they graduated from high school, they got into college. Their parents are often excited to see them go. But they arrive on campus to an alien culture where everyone else seems to know what's going on. (And many students do because they have their parents to walk them through.) A major reason my brother made it through college was my parents helping him navigate the system. He did the intellectual work. But again, when he struggled, my parents helped him navigate the system to get the help he needed.

 

Because of this, I think that schools need to do a better of job of overtly teaching the culture and the expectations. Teachers need to recognize that they are making cultural assumptions, and that their students may not share those assumptions or behaviors.

 

At the same time, parents have a responsibility to do what they can to help their children learn. Obviously the resources that I can draw on as a university professor are a lot more than some of my kids' classmates' parents -- we have a fair number of parents who are low-literacy immigrants with English as their 2nd (or often 3rd) language. These people are working 2 + jobs trying to make ends meet. They aren't going to be able to do the kinds of enrichment (museums, libraries, etc) that I can do with our kids. But they can make sure that their kids get to school. They can check that they're doing their homework. They can come to school when they can (conferences, family nights) to learn about the school culture. They can encourage their children to do well and have high expectations. (And I would say that most of the parents at our school do, even though we are very low income.)

 

It's the parents who tell kids that school isn't that important, who ask whether they're doing their homework (you can't make a kid do it, but you can ask what they've got to do), who never read, who schedule events so that their kids are always tired for school, who don't make any attempts to make sure their kids have had breakfast and who blow off grades/meetings that do bear some responsibility.

 

But a bill to legislate any of this? Why not just outlaw poverty while you're at it. It'll have just as much effect!

 

 

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#11 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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I think that depends on the situation.  If a parent is refusing help for their child without finding other solutions to ensure the child is learning then I don't think the school holds the blame.  When kids come to school exhausted, late, or hungry and have a hard time learning that is also mostly on parents rather than the school.  There are many instances when the schools don't do what they should also though and there are many times when a lot of parent and school created issues combine to make a very big problem for the student.

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#12 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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My biggest concern would be what if the parents get a failing grade? What then? Would CPS get involved and parental rights be revoked? A little too much government for my taste. Why not do something crazy like reform the school systems and get rid of No Child Left Behind...I think we need to start where the problem lies.

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#13 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 

 

School is a culture. It has its own language, its own set of customs and its own way of viewing the world. If you come from a home that shares that culture, you're going to be set up to do better in school. That doesn't guarantee that you'll do well, but you'll have a greater chance of succeeding. If you come from a different culture where different skills are valued/appreciated, then you will have a harder time learning that culture. Some kids do, some don't, but most of the ones who do have figured it out on their own, not because of something the teachers did.

 

 

 


This.

 

I also need to say that when parents "abdicate responsibility" it is not always "abdicating responsibility".  Some parents refuse to let their kids exhaust themselves doing too much homework, some value family and extra-curriculur activities above schoolwork.  

 

For some families having their child do well at school is not a top priority and I am Ok with that.  Oh, I do not mean kids who lack life skills and are having self-esteem issues due to poor grades - but kids who are plugging along with "C"'s and their parents are Ok with it.    Maybe the cost of getting an A or B is too high for these children or families and that is OK.  

 

I need to add that I place a high value on learning, be informed and being empowered.....I places less on doing well in school.  I do want my kids to do well in high school (if they go) as I want them to leave their post secondary options open.  They know this and know how to achieve.  To a degree whether they choose to get good grades or not is up to them.  I will support as best I can - but I am not hand wringing at any grade over bad grades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#14 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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What's so important about blaming here? It would be a better use of resources to support kids who might be feeling a bit down about school feel good about what gifts they contribute. It would be a better use of resources to connect with the parents, develop relationships between teachers and parents, who can then be loyal to the children they support. I don't see how blaming supports anything or anyone in this situation...except maybe it feels like we're doing something to "fix" the situation. However, without understanding and relationship, any strategies to "fix" anything would be like a shot in the dark, not founded on what is valued about doing well in school, what's important to the students, the teachers, and the parents involved in this situation.

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#15 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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There are SO many factors to success.  Indeed, some great points brought up here.  It is SAD that we can get caught up in the 'blame game' because in the end, does focusing on the 'blame' help the kid?  Yes, parents should be involved, yes teachers should be doing a great job, but what is it saying about our system/culture as a whole if everyone has to be policed on this?  Are we invested in learning for the sake of learning, because it helps us grow as humans, helps us on our way to evermore autonomy, or is it all just a system of rewards and punishments for all involved?  Then some (kid, parent, or teacher) start to see through it all, become uninspired or maybe overwhelmed by whatever else in their life is going on and stop caring about the rewards and punishments of the system because there is no longer the inner inspiration, drive....  I was a pretty good student because I knew how to sit quietly, pull something off in time for tests, due dates, passed, did pretty well at being a 'good kid' in the system.  I have also been long overcoming that inner trait of wanting to please everyone, even if that means leaving myself behind.  (I work on this because I want my kids to be inner motivated, yes, it's very wonderful to be liked, and do nice towards everyone, but what happens when the praise stops coming, or you need to look over your shoulder to someone else for permission to make every choice?)  But looking back it was all about getting by, avoiding humiliation by peers or well intending teachers calling kids out, or keeping on the 'good' list in school, the subjects I enjoyed the most were those the teachers were passionate about, were creative in their teaching styles that seemed to appeal to more than the predominant one learning style we see in public schools.  In college, I enjoyed even more, because I got to hand pick my interests, passions, explore and had my parents supportive of my choices, without pushing or prodding to hurry up, or pick something that is going to lead to a stable job.  They always encouraged us to follow our passions.  Sure, having more support in navigating the 'system' would have been nice, but I have to give folks credit for empowering their kids, lets start when they are young, side by side on the journey, because does learning ever end?  There is so much focus on tests, scores, degrees, and I understand this is the world we are in, we all want the BEST for our kids, no matter our economic/cultural background.  I think if we can ALL focus more on that co-creative process more in learning, incorporate more learning styles in the way schools teach, but truly empowering our kids to discover what they love, or the ways that can get them going/excited about it all, they will become more SELF motivated, and begin taking more charge in their education earlier, rather than having shell shock when arriving to college and realizing it's up to them to find the resources, help....  There are many paths to success in this world, and it's changing all the time too, let's (parents, educators, mentors) help our kids discover in as creative ways as possible, the limitless possibilities.  Wonderful popular quote...

"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire."  - William Butler Yeats

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#16 of 30 Old 05-23-2011, 03:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Education is a two-way street between home and school. Neither can abdicate their responsibility.

 



That is how I feel about it.


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#17 of 30 Old 05-24-2011, 05:48 AM
 
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Focusing on weaknesses rarely results in helping anyone, parents included.  It's just plain discouraging and causes resentment.  It is much more effective to see what the whole educational team (child, parents and school are doing well and build upon that.  A family that might not have the educational background to assist with their children's homework, may have also raised them to be responsible with their household chores, helping with younger siblings, etc.  The problem is that recognizing strengths is not something that can be legislated.  Building on strengths requires strong communities where the learning partners care about and know each other and having lots of social support systems (good schools, childcare, family resource centers, early intervention, municipal recreation services, etc).

 

 Also, I'd like to tell you tell you about my three children and school.  We read together (and have done so from the age of 2 every night for over an hour) because we love it.  We do artwork together, allow for lots of experiential learning, are always available to help with homework, and have used every resource available to help.  I  have a background in early childhood education, parent education and educational support and my husband is a nurse.  Point being, we have a much easier situation than many of our neighbors who may have been less fortunate in their own educational backgrounds.  Now, the oldest child is both gifted and has special needs, which by school were not fully diagnosed as the symptoms were atypical of most of the disorders he was  screened for.  The middle child is gifted and working at about two grades above her actual grade, with adaptations in place for more challenging work  in language arts and math.  The youngest child is an average student in most subjects but started out primary extremely behind the others due to and expressive language delay (he had a great receptive vocabulary but extreme problems with word retrieval so that he was constantly having that word on the tip of the tongue phenomenon) and phonetic processing problems.  I used to get this feeling that some of the teachers at my children's old school thought my daughter (the middle child) simply lucked out on intelligence and did well despite her parents, when in fact even with her intelligence her exposure to literature and a god attitude toward learning was also a part.  I'd get simplistic comments like, "You know, the key to children reading well is simply reading with them more", in regards to my oldest child, even though we had made them aware how much we'd read.  I got "You'll have to teach him to stop throat clearing and skin picking.  He should know better with his father being a nurse" (even though I had explained that these behaviors were from a diagnosed case of Tourette's). I  had comments that my youngest child would speak better if only we spoke to him more.  Imagine how discouraging this was.  And, despite the efforts of some very good teachers who were not expressing these attitudes, the boys kept falling behind. 

 

Then, we moved to a rural location and a new school district.  The school administration and teachers introduced themselves immediately and got to know us.  Assumptions about our parenting and lifestyle were not made, and we were invited to discuss any insights we had on our child's learning.  Municipal recreation and the school and the hospital all coordinate services here and with our permission the school was able to get information about the boys from outside sources.  In one year my profoundly behind youngest (who could not find the words to say simple things without gesturing let alone say numbers or letters) caught up to grade level in all subjects and is now happily reading chapter books.  Because the school trusted our judgement, they helped expedite speech assessment and therapy, rather than wasting time telling us to do things we were doing already.  The oldest child also caught up to grade in reading, because once again, he was offered more in depth services and the teachers got a clear idea from us of what we were doing and seeing at home.  Being made part of a team instead of feeling penalized was far more helpful, and I can honestly show appreciation for my children's school as a willing participant.

 

I think some of these "bad parents" could just be misunderstood parents like us.  Even if some parents aren't showing enough involvement (maybe they work long hours or they don't understand their children's homework enough to help), wouldn't it be more helpful to see what help could be offered the family or find out what good things the parents are contributing?  At the least, it will help the parents be more likely to demonstrate a positive attitude about their children's school and the teachers.

 

 


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#18 of 30 Old 05-24-2011, 06:01 AM
 
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#19 of 30 Old 05-24-2011, 07:43 AM
 
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Thanks, Happy Mommy. Mothering moderators really should let us know this in advance, on the thread, before posting it to facebook.

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#20 of 30 Old 05-24-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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This should be in bold, in the first post by Mothering, IMO.

 

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#21 of 30 Old 05-24-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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This thread was started by "mothering," and I'm not really sure what that means about it.

 

Do you think they want us to debate more to be more interesting?


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#22 of 30 Old 05-24-2011, 04:08 PM
 
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In another thread, they said threads started by Mothering means all bets are off... those will be posted other places, like FB etc.

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#23 of 30 Old 05-24-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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 If a child is failing at homeschooling who would you blame? The parent correct? So why is it such a stretch to believe that the organization that many believe they are forced to use should not also be expected to preform? Forget that they system itself is often broken, trying to grade parents for grades is like expecting a mule to walk ass backwards. It might be entertaining for a moment for some, but there is no logic in it.

 

 Could it be that schools with parents who are very active do better because those school districts have parents with a higher income range, meaning the schools are in a higher income range, and have less things to over come on the whole such as gang violence? On average how much time do parents get to actually parent their children? Let me break down the time line for a neighbor we know. The 12 year old daughter is up in the morning and does not see her parents, one is in the military and leaves at 5am, the other leaves at 6am and works an hour away in a big city. The child comes home at 4:30, has extended afterschool fun. Comes home to am empty house. On a good day Dad is home at 5:30 and Mom is home at 6pm. They say hello, check homework while trying to make dinner. Dinner is at 7pm. They eat together as a family a few times a week but often in front of homework, computers, work papers, and TV. Mandatory reading for the 12 year old at around 7:30 and then bed around 8pm. The parents try and get some alone time together but they have to make lunches for the next day, clean up, laundry, check e-mail and facebook, pays bills. Quality time could come on weekends but they are often stuck with normal life catch up, cleaning and shopping for food and repairing cars. Neither parent can take time out to meet with teachers during normal hours. Neither can re-learn geometry fast enough to quickly help the child who's math class has gone on without her and whos teacher expects the parents to catch her up. With how much we work, with how much time our children are in school and doing hours of home work, when can parents pick of the slack of the failing school systems? The answer is not to force our parents to be Tiger moms, we don't need to catch up to China with testing. We need to put the love of learning back into our children, and take the zombie children out of the testing halls.

 

 I personally see this as another excuse to pass the buck, and to attack family rights. The schools are failing, fix the system.

 

 


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#24 of 30 Old 05-24-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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I love the part about internal motivation...coming from a place of joy and ever-learning. When we, as parents, can model that, our children notice and may be inspired to follow.

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#25 of 30 Old 05-24-2011, 11:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I also need to say that when parents "abdicate responsibility" it is not always "abdicating responsibility".  Some parents refuse to let their kids exhaust themselves doing too much homework, some value family and extra-curricular activities above schoolwork. 

 

 


But see, I don't see that as abdicating responsibility -- I see that as taking responsibility for what works for your child and your family. Not making your child exhaust themselves is different never checking up on them or telling the teachers that it's the school's problem if the child doesn't do their homework.

 

When ds was in 1st grade, he was totally overwhelmed by the required that he read (aloud) to us for 20 minutes a night. We made a unilateral decision to have him read aloud to us for ~5 minutes (some days it was 2-3) and then we'd read aloud to him for the rest of the time. (This was in addition to the bedtime stories.) We informed his teacher and she was fine with it. It would have been craziness to insist on the letter of the law. But it would have been equally detrimental to tell ds his teacher was crazy and he should ignore her.


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#26 of 30 Old 05-25-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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I think at very young ages, parents and schools should work together to meet the learning needs of the children and foster inquiry and a love of learning.  At older ages (like I'd say 12-18) it is partly the school and partly the children who are responsible for their own learning.  I do not think at that age the parents can do much more for kids for the most part unless they are teachers themselves or have specialized knowledge.  Obviously, homeschooling parents fall into the category of being teachers themselves.  If I suspect a student sof mine needs additional help beyon d the classroom and I cannot provide it myself I reccommend a private tutor with specialized subject knowledge.


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#27 of 30 Old 05-28-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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Parents do have an effect on how well their kids do academically, but I think if we're talking about the really big differences, e.g. kids of welfare moms vs. kids of professionals,
even if both families care deeply about their kids' education, the advantages and disadvantages start so young and are so persistent on future learning.

Kids of parents on welfare hear about 616 words/hr while kids of professionals hear 2153 words/hr. By age 3, the welfare kids have 500 word vocabularies, while the professional's kids have 1100 word vocabularies. Kids can only comprehend books if about 5% of the words are new to them. If around 10% of the words are new to them, it's overwhelmingly hard. So guess who starts out behind in school and stays behind in school?

http://reading.uoregon.edu/big_ideas/voc/voc_what.php#research

http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Instruction/From-beginning-to-stellar-Five-tips-on-developing-skillful-readers/Handout-Vocabulary.html

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#28 of 30 Old 05-28-2011, 10:20 PM
 
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I work in a very diverse school setting (economically, and in other ways too) and I see two different situations.

 

One is families where parents are missing the skills or resources to help their children.  Perhaps parents aren't literate or aren't literate in English.  Perhaps parents are working long hours and kids are in the care of siblings and homework doesn't get done.   Perhaps parents do a good job of meeting kids basic needs but don't have the skills to encourage higher level thinking.  Familes are stressed by the challenges of caring for multiple generations, or by parental disabilities, or by poverty, and have less time to devote to stimulating their kids.  In these cases poverty is almost always a factor and kids do enter school behind, but it is 100% the school's responsibility to catch them up.  I think we need to distribute resources unequally so that we get equal results, with the kids who need the most getting the most.  I think it's the school's responsibility to figure out solutions, whether it's extended days, or homework clubs, or highly effective instructional techniques.  I say this recognizing that, as a nation, we're still figuring out exactly what this looks like, but I think it's our responsibility as educators to be relentless about figuring out solutions, and not to shift the blame to parents who are often putting forth superhuman efforts to keep their kids safe and healthy and to get them to school.

 

On the other hand there are situations where parents do things that interfere with their children's success at school.  I've had parents that I work with who bring their children to school routinely at 10 or 11, so that they child misses the entire reading class.  They keep their kids home for days on end and do not use that time for anything remotely educational (I did a home visit once on a chronically truant child and found the first grader playing Grand Theft Auto with no adults at home) They routinely keep their kids up 1/2 the night so they're asleep at school.  They refuse to enforce school values at home (I'm not talking about parents who sometimes disagree about things like how much homework to do,  I once had a parent whose custody agreement specified that dad pay for private school.  Dad didn't want to so he actively encouraged the kid to act up in hopes that he got expelled.  Once the child threw a brick at my head, and Dad told him "good job" and took him skiing on his "day off").  They never send anything back, books sent home for reading never reappear, permission slips are never signed so the child misses educational field trips etc . . . This kind of horrible parenting happens at all income levels, and can have a devastating effect on children's learning, because kids aren't available to be engaged at school, and because kids learn to disrespect school.  In those cases, yes I blame parents.  It's still our responsibilty to try and help, and I know that at our school we try really hard, but our level of responsibility is limited when kids aren't there for us to help. 

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#29 of 30 Old 05-29-2011, 08:55 AM
 
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On the other hand there are situations where parents do things that interfere with their children's success at school.  I've had parents that I work with who bring their children to school routinely at 10 or 11, so that they child misses the entire reading class.  They keep their kids home for days on end and do not use that time for anything remotely educational (I did a home visit once on a chronically truant child and found the first grader playing Grand Theft Auto with no adults at home) They routinely keep their kids up 1/2 the night so they're asleep at school.  They refuse to enforce school values at home (I'm not talking about parents who sometimes disagree about things like how much homework to do,  I once had a parent whose custody agreement specified that dad pay for private school.  Dad didn't want to so he actively encouraged the kid to act up in hopes that he got expelled.  Once the child threw a brick at my head, and Dad told him "good job" and took him skiing on his "day off").  They never send anything back, books sent home for reading never reappear, permission slips are never signed so the child misses educational field trips etc . . . This kind of horrible parenting happens at all income levels, and can have a devastating effect on children's learning, because kids aren't available to be engaged at school, and because kids learn to disrespect school.  In those cases, yes I blame parents.  It's still our responsibilty to try and help, and I know that at our school we try really hard, but our level of responsibility is limited when kids aren't there for us to help. 


Parents that do this are somewhat to blame if their kids do not do well at school.  There is nothing you can do about it, though.  You cannot legislate proper parent behaviour as it is  a) subjective   b) usurps parental authority and c) is a really slippery slope and in all probabilty a bunch of people who are not guilty of this sort of educational neglect will be unfairly penalized.

 

TBH I have issue with respecting school (this is not a point I wish to debate).  Some of it may be earned, some may be my own baggage, and some just come down to a different belief system.  Overall (not just on individual issues) if you do not respect/support schools you should not send your children there.  It is not fair to anyone.  Find a school you can support or homeschool.

 

 

 

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#30 of 30 Old 05-29-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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Parents have a lot of responsibility to support whatever educational setting they have their children in.  And certain destructive behaviors from parents can cause failure.  Yet even though these examples exist, many children are doing poorly in school without a parents actually sabotaging the school.  Sometimes parents support their children's education poorly for reasons outside of their control.  There are also many influences beyond parents on the child's success.

 

The reward-centered learning approaches in schools are partially counter-productive.  It seem the best system these institutions can offer, and it has positive effects.  However, while rewards do help children make the effort, they also tend to train both our most competent and our least competent children that reading, for instance, is an activity only worth doing if externally motivated/rewarded.  Reading minutes are logged because they need proof they have "put in out time" "done their chores" etc. and clearly not for its own sake.  I have witnessed the secondary impacts on attitudes of this approach many times.  We make sure everyone is literate enough to pass, but few people seem to grow up wanting to read.  So many people have taste for reading only junk entertainment that reads like TV and nothing requiring any intellectual involvement.  Where does the often-elusive appetite for learning come from?  Ideally, everywhere.

 

There are quite a few aspects of our culture that are very anti-educational.  Television-centered and video game-centered culture are for instance heavily inclined that direction.  Not that your nourishing home life can't include these, but they can take over and kids not care about much else no matter what their parents say.  Are the parents alone sparking the appetite for all things electronic?  Did the parent's create the weakness in their children for lazy-minded activities?  No.  (Although marketers do everything they can to get in our kids' faces, and inflate that weakness so it leads to consuming their products and entertainments.)  Are parents fueling the "irresponsibility is our birthright" attitude among teens or is it a combination of influences?  This indulgent attitude also seems to be marketed heavily at our kids by large businesses who make money off the teen culture's spending power.  Parents can address this.  But success is mixed.  Each child responds differently to these intense distractions.

 

The consumer culture is somewhat anti-nurturing and sends a lot of messages to families that everyone should do their own thing, our society suggests that both parents should work full-time to fuel survival/the good life in a material world, and everyone ends up too busy to think, talk, and read together.  Can you tough it out and make good things happen anyway?  Yes.  But is there an awful lot working against it for most of us?  Also yes. 

 

There are many enemies of a "learning culture" and that is not the fault of individual parents.  How well they counteract those forces is something only partly in parents' control.  AND parents who grew up themselves without an appetite for learning, thinking, and exploring ideas for pleasure are hardly able to pass that on.  They are at a loss. Is that their fault?  They may try by encouraging reading and such, but their kids can feel that the parents themselves hardly enjoy it. 

 

I find it ridiculous to be blame-oriented in our thinking anyway.  Blaming doesn't work and it oversimplifies and creates negative relationships that are always counterproductive.  There are so many complex forces at work in our children's intellectual lives.  Parents have plenty of responsibility but not all.  A PP also made a very good point about the school culture and how important it is how compatible that culture is with each particular family.  I know that some of the things that lead to school success do not fit well with our family's lifestyle and beliefs.  We do not believe that the things that equal school success are the things that lead to being a competently well-rounded, healthy, and balanced adult.  Too narrow a definition of learning and success for us.  (But we homeschool.)  Anyhow, very good points in that post, too. 

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