A recent Indianapolis Star “Our Children, Our City” article headline infuriated me.
The headline – “THE PROBLEM IS PARENTS” – reportedly is a direct quote from a teacher.
It is understandable why this teacher would want to redirect the blame. As legislative bills that include merit pay for teachers are debated, hard working, dedicated teachers feel they are unfairly blamed for unsuccessful students. But to put blanket blame on parents is as wrong as placing the blanket blame on educators.
Yes, some, maybe many, parents are struggling. They struggle with challenges of day-to-day living, which affects parenting. I am executive director of the Indiana Partnerships Center. The IPC and several other local not-for-profits have been working hard to help and teach parents how to become partners with schools in the education of their children. We also work with schools to help schools effectively partner with parents. Sometimes the biggest challenge is understanding one another’s perspectives and not judging each other. We all want our children to be successful, healthy and ready for meaningful work and careers.
Two weeks ago, IPC, the Marion County Commission on Youth and the Indiana Youth Institute sponsored what we believe was a fresh, fun, informative and educational workshop for parents.
A panel of experts along with nearly 100 parents addressed the following questions in small groups. The only rule was that participants could not talk about their personal problems. They had to come at the questions from a more global perspective or at least a school-wide perspective.
Here are the questions. We’d love to read your answers to them. The information we collect will be used to inform our work and improve our programming.
- How can schools more effectively communicate to families the ways to help students graduate on time and continue with post-secondary education?
- What can principals do to create a welcoming environment for families?
- What can parents do to partner with schools that would result in better attendance and overall achievement and attainment for our children?
- What are policies and practices at your school that help students’ overall success? I.e.: discipline, attendance, homework, parent/teacher conferences?
Parents, we know raising children is the hardest yet most worthwhile journey you will ever take. Please let us know how to help as you navigate through your children’s education journey.
The Indiana Partnerships Center encourages and enables parents to engage with their child’s school, to the mutual benefit of the child and the school. The center, which serves all of Indiana, is one of 62 Parental Information Resource Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement.