It begs the question….
Recently, a well known radio Disc Jockey called and asked this question of me; “Do you think children are being socially promoted by schools even when it is clear they are not ready to move forward and just how prevalent did I think this behaviour was in School Districts across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania?’ What ensued was a discussion rich with data and comparisons from one State to next, which then led to the public school system, what was being expected of the children within it and these new mandates every few “seconds.” The family that understands how to navigate their way through, will have successful children no matter what the income level and Education of the parent/guardians. It boils down to simply this; if you are visible, it makes a huge difference for your child.
Our discussion then led to the often perceived “low expectations” of children of color, especially if they enter a new school from an urban setting. Time and again, we see children who were tested as gifted, being questioned about the authenticity of said title and made to go through that process all over again which is not only demoralizing, it is often wrong. We discussed how parents get discouraged an opt to leave their bright child in a regular setting instead of forcing the issue.
And then we went there.
The subject of well educated parents of color who moved into the suburban settings, bought the big home, had their children in a great school district but are never visible. Unless of course, it was football, basketball or any sporting event where they are found in large numbers, cheering on their athletes. If one tries to locate those same parents for many other activities, they are often difficult to find.
Whomp.Whomp. We both acknowledged that not all parents are this way obviously but is incredibly noticeable.
I could not disagree. I tried to, but history says otherwise. Which begged the question; why is that? Are we still in the ” I paid good money to live here and the schools better educate my child?” Or is it ” I am really not feeling comfortable with asking certain things or knowing where to go, so let me not show up at all?” It could even be just total apathy on many levels. One thing is for certain; Many parents are not as visible for PTA or many school held meetings on any topic that may benefit the children but the numbers are worse for parents of color.
My youngest son has a role in the school play and when parents were asked to volunteer a few hours on a Saturday for set building etcetera, I bounced in only to see I was one of one. It stayed that way for the entire time I was there too. Oh by the way? He is in the 12th grade. Parent involvement should not cease at Elementary school.
For well over a decade now, we have been beating the consistent drum on parental engagement and have been known to hold schools accountable when history have shown them to discourage family participation, and families where there has been apathy that leads to, in my humble opinion, unnecessary suffering of their children. If research has clearly shown that all you need to do as a parent is be visible 30 minutes a month in word or deed, what stops us from doing so? Can we then totally blame the schools for what is ailing our children who we clearly know, follow more of what we do and less of what we say?
Can we then totally blame an institution for our children and their lack of progress? The old adage ” The squeaky wheel gets oiled” is still very true; we need more of you to be visible through emails, phone calls, volunteering from home or in school and just any simple task that leads to the educators knowing who you are.
So while we are in the middle of holding schools accountable, take a little time to hold our own feet to the fire as well.
Posted on February 18, 2014, in children, Culture, Education, history, Parent, Sports and tagged commumities, culture, Education, empowerment, Family, hot topic, huffington post, parenting, society. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.