Washington Post published a great article around Back To School time (late July2014) about improving learning opportunities for black students without assigning parental blame for lack of involvement.
This is a real kindling piece for me.
It’s so true that study after study agrees that parental involvement is key to student success. As schools we see this all the time, and we agree. Many of us are working hard to encourage parents and families to “get involved”. But it’s involvement on the school’s terms.
We blame families for not engaging, and in this article Dr. Andrew M. Perry explores why black families are particularly assigned blame lately. My take? –The issues surrounding families ability to cope with economic challenge are not always concurrent with a typical school expectation of “involvement”. If a school truly believes what the studies say about parental involvement being crucial to academic success, then the school will be willing to allow parents and families to be involved on their terms. The school must also be willing to go to the families.
At Paramount School of Excellence, we’re piloting a new program this school year that examines our school readiness to meet ALL of our school families exactly where they are at, and to offer support for academic success wherever the families need it. I believe this innovative new program holds a lot of potential.
Leaving this quote from the article below, as it held impact for me.
Privileged parents hold onto the false notion that their children’s progress comes from thrift, dedication and hard work — not from the money their parents made. Our assumption that “poverty doesn’t matter” and insistence on blaming black families’ perceived disinterest in education for their children’s underachievement simply reflects our negative attitudes towards poor, brown people and deflects our responsibility to address the real root problems of the achievement gap. Our negative attitudes about poor people keep us from providing the best services and schools to low-income families.