So, I was in strong agreement with Derrick Z Jackson's OpEd in today's Boston Globe, "Bring in the Parents".
Last year, researchers at the Harvard School of Education said, “efforts to include family involvement in children’s learning and development at home have always been, at best, on the distant margins of educational policy.’’And, I suspect we may be in a bit of a downward spiral in that young men and, especially, young women who leave school before getting that high school diploma may have not had good parental coaching and perpetuate that with their own children.
This is true despite years of data — not to mention common sense — indicating that when parents reinforce high expectations, bug their kids about homework, take an interest in their school life and use family time for learning experiences, their children end up more engaged and more successful. “It’s no one big thing,’’ Heather Weiss, the director of the Harvard Family Research Project, told me. “It’s years of those little things from the parent that reinforce to the child that if you want to have a good life, this is what you must do.’’
On the other hand, we don't need a nanny state sticking its nose into every household across the fruited plain. We need to be creative about this, but we do need to take action to engage parents.
This is probably a long range program, and as Heather Weiss of the Harvard Family Research Project says, it is the little things. The other day my wife was in the Post Office and noted two immigrant mothers talking to their child. One was using English and the other what one would assume was the native tongue. The first mother was giving her child a small leg up in the competition to finish high school, go to college and move into the Middle Class.
Maybe local communities should be catching the ones who drop out of high school and placing them in alternate programs that include part time work and a focus on the basics of reading, writing and math, along with parenting skills.
We need to be doing research and experimentation. For sure, we have taken the current education paradigm about as far as it will go and now we need a new paradigm.
Regards — Cliff