One Teacher’s Plea for Parental Accountability in Their Child’s Education

Accountability is the big buzz word in the realm of education. From the federal government’s level of responsibility for supplying education funding, to each state’s plan for complying with the new law called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to students being held responsible  for completing their homework each night, accountability is an integral component of one’s educational experience.

With this in mind, I’d like to ask parents to renew their commitment to the accountability role they play in their child’s educational success as we embark upon a new school year.

In less than a week, your daughter or son is going to start school and come back home with multiple syllabi and school supply lists. Please take the time to read each syllabus over with your child, sign it, and give it to your child to return to their teachers. That may mean that you physically watch them place the signed document in their bag, not simply take their word that they did or will do it. You know your child and where she/he is in their educational ownership and responsibility journey. Support their growth and independence where you know they struggle. For many kids, organization and procrastination are two areas where they need the adults in their lives to gently prod them into action a few times a day.

I usually give students a week to have all of their supplies in class. If possible, parents, please send your child to school with their needed supplies in a timely manner and if you’re unable to do so, a note saying when you will or that you can’t is really appreciated. We get it and are more than willing to help where we can. Teachers usually have some extra materials in the classroom for this purpose. We just don’t have enough for every student throughout the entire school year and we can not readily help  if we don’t know what’s going on.

Communicating your needs and expectations to your child and your child’s teachers, listening to your child’s view about those expectations, and listening to the teacher’s needs and expectations of your child and of you is your role in the accountability process..

I understand if you work multiple jobs or work schedules that don’t allow you to attend every PTA meeting or parent-teacher conference. Use technology to stay connected to what’s going on with your child at school, not just engaging when you receive a correspondence from the school. That’s reactionary. I’ve found a proactive approach to be more beneficial. Connect via your child’s school’s online parent portal. Send an email before you go to bed or make  a phone call during your fifteen minute break. I give parents my personal cell phone number and make myself accessible to parents’ varied schedules, within reason. I believe strongly that we — student and home and school — are a team. When the synergy between those three entities is harmonious, there’s no goal too lofty for us to work towards believing and achieving. Research supports this notion.

According to Lily Eskelson Garcia, president of the National Education Association, “Ongoing research shows that family engagement in schools improves student achievement, reduces absenteeism, and restores parents’ confidence in their children’s education. Students with involved parents or other caregivers earn higher grades and test scores, have better social skills, and show improved behavior.”

I’m eager to have a really productive school year. Every one of my colleagues that I’ve spoken to feels the same way. We are prepping and planning to provide our students with an education that allows us to comply with state accountability standards. Teachers bear a huge brunt of the accountability piece in education. In order to maximize our impact on our students, we need adequate, meaningful, and sustainable support from the parents in our students’ lives.

There’s just no way around it. Your child needs you the most but us teachers need you too.

What do you think?

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