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Parents: Hold Up Your End of the Bargain!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at parent-teacher conferences over the years and heard parents of children who are not working up to their potential in my class say, “I don’t understand…I ask him if he has homework and he tells me no or that he did it already.” Really, mom? Really, dad? You mean to tell me that I’ve only known your child since September and I know him better than you do? Do I have to tell you that you can’t stop at ASKING him if he completed his work but that you have to actually CHECK to see if his work is done? Is that what you’re expecting me to believe?

C’mon parents!! Ya’ll are going to have to do better than that! Parents: Hold up your end of the bargain! Be accountable for your student’s education! Check their homework! Talk to your kids! Follow-up! Nowadays, most schools have some sort of electronic communications system that they use to keep parents abreast of their child’s assignments, grades, behavioral logs, upcoming school events, etc. Staying on top of your child’s academic life is literally as easy as receiving and responding to a text message. Yet I get parents every year without fail who, five months into the new school year, still haven’t signed up for this FREE service. Why not? Where’s your accountability as a parent for your child’s educational success?

Please don’t tell me that you’re a single parent. You and more than half of the parents with children in the NYC public school system fall into the category — including myself. I’m not writing this blog post as some naive new teacher who doesn’t have kids and can’t relate to the struggles of raising children as a single parent. On the contrary, for six years straight — no breaks — I completed undergraduate and graduate school, worked as a substitute teacher, tutor, and waitress, and raised my two children as a single-mother living well below the poverty line. Yet, with the help of their teachers (I told ya’ll already how my kids’ teachers and my professors literally helped me raise my babies) I made time to stay on top of my kids schoolwork, projects, tests, and field trips. I get it, parents. I know it can be done. My thing is, why aren’t some of you doing it?

Do you understand that the work you put into your child now will have a huge impact on their future? It’s true! I recently read an article entitled “The Effect of Parental Involvement on Student Achievement which clearly states that,

“The influence of parental involvement on a student’s academic success should not be underestimated. While brain power, work ethic, and even genetics all play important roles in student achievement, the determining factor comes down to what kind of support system she has at home

That involvement has to go beyond lip service! As one of my students wrote recently, parents can’t just tell their kids to “go read a book” with no follow-up like a trip to the local library or bookstore, especially when the child doesn’t see their parents pick up a book — ever! Children tend to do what they see, not what they hear. They learn what they live. I’m going to need more parents to show their kids that they value education and stop leaving the brunt of that responsibility exclusively on their teachers. Thanks.

What do you think?

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