Making the Time to Make a Difference
In a day and time where we all are for the most part simply trying to survive, as parents many of us have neglected the most valuable asset we have to contribute to the future. Our children.
Juggling our jobs and our family lives seems like an impossible task at times. More often than not our participation in events and issues that directly affect our children are the events and issues that we give the lowest priority. We sit back and look at the system, we complain and we talk about how ridiculous it all is, yet we can't seem to find the time to get involved. PTA and School Board Meetings go unattended. Parent Teacher Conferences are attended if there's a problem, and our children's pleas for help and support are viewed with skepticism rather than intervention. Our children desperately need us to take a stand.
Is Parental Apathy the Root of the Problem?
Probably to a large extent the answer to that question is yes. As a society we should be appalled when parents aren't active participants in their child's education. The possibilities of an improved educational system through active and vocal parental involvement are limitless. Consider these thoughts. Would bullies be quite so troublesome if their parents were aware and involved? Would standardized test scores be so low for our public schools if parent's were more tuned in to their children's academic performances? Would federal funding be in jeopardy for any schools in any district if as parents we raised our levels of expectation in terms of our children's academic achievement? Could checking your child's homework each night make that much of a difference? Absolutely!
To say that meeting all our responsibilities as parents is difficult would be the understatement of the millennium. At times it feels like the perfect mix and balance is an impossible dream and it may well be. What we have to remember however is that we really don't have a choice. Without change, ...the world we're creating by our lack of involvement is a frightening prospect.
What Parents Can Do to Make a Difference
Get involved. Let's exercise our own peer pressure as adults on other parents. If your job interferes with the level of your participation, get involved where you can. Lend your expertise to your PTA's and School Administrators. Organize neighborhood groups to help your schools clean up their campuses. Donate and volunteer whatever you can, whenever you can. Pay attention to what your child tells you about their experiences at school. Report questionable circumstances to your principals. Intervene often and early when you're made aware of situations that may have negative outcomes. As parents we have to become proactive rather than reactive. Every effort makes a difference and together we can make a change.
A Checklist For An Effective Parent-School Partnership
(excerpt) One way to start improving your school's parent-school partnerships is by assessing present practices, says Joyce Epstein at Johns Hopkins University. The following questions can help you evaluate how well your school is reaching out to parents.