Writing my way through the school year!

I’ve noticed that whenever someone starts talking about  “the parents”, people want to shut them down. The immediate reaction is a harsh backlash, usually accusing the author of parent bashing.  “The parents” are off-limits. But, I’m going to go there.:)

I believe society started a trend from which there is no escape, and no turning back.  Parents were allowed to relinquish the reins of raising their children. They relinquished them,  handed them over to the schools, to the teachers. They stepped back, and said, “You take care of them!”  You make sure my child eats, you make sure my child can read, you make sure my child gets enough exercise, you make sure my child doesn’t bully anyone.”  The list is endless! How did this happen?

They are parents, and that is a job that should be taken seriously.  My mother raised 5 children, the key word being “raised”.  She took responsibility for us, she did not make excuses. She, (my Dad helped a little), made sure we were clean, completed our homework, ate dinner, played outside, she did this.  We were all reading before the first day of school. It seems to me that when you know that someone else is going to feed your child, clothe them, teach them, make sure their work is done, where is the incentive for you to do it?

I understand that parenting is difficult, but you can’t just stop once they enter school.  We need to hold parents responsible for providing the things their children need to be successful in school. If a child can come to school with the latest sneakers and/or latest video game console, why can’t they bring in a pencil, a notebook, the bare essentials for a classroom? If there is no Internet access at home, why can’t the parent take their child to the Public library, it’s free! Do you know how many parents look at me as if I have two heads when I suggest this?

We have to stop saying, “Oh, you know they’re not going to do it, so we (teachers) might as well.” That is not acceptable.

Do I mean let a child in your school go hungry, freeze, or not provide notebooks because their parent lost their job, or is on drugs, or any other catastrophe that can’t be controlled? No, I’m not talking about that parent.

I am talking about the ones who are perfectly capable of providing what their child needs, but refuse.  The parent who will not attend conferences because they are “tired”,  but will call you in a heartbeat to find out why their child didn’t go out for Recess today.  The parent who signs tests and notes, as they push their kid out of the car in the morning, and then call you to ask how their child is doing.  The parent who asks for extra work for their child, a day or two after the phone call informing them that their child is not doing any work in class or at home. The parent who won’t pick up a book to read to their child at home, yet complains to the teacher about the child’s inability to read. (A parent told a friend of mine, “That’s what you’re here for!”) The parent who takes their kid to Disney World while school is in session because it is cheaper, and then asks you to provide a week’s worth of work!

I have had many wonderful, supportive parents, who will do whatever they need to for their child, make the sacrifices that are required. But, I have also had the other ones. And I feel if they are going to hold us accountable, then our parents should be held accountable as well! Remember the triangle? Three legs,the child, the parents, and the school.  Unfortunately, every time a parent lets go, that triangle collapses! How can we get our parents to pick up that leg?

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Comments on: "Why Can’t We Hold Parents Accountable Any More?" (46)

  1. I recall mentioning that some of my students’ parents should not have had children since they did not take care of them. My coworker said “Yes…but they have already had them so…” The point is that the school district caves into squeeky wheel parents who make things worse for their kid by choosing grades and sloth over real learning. Schools need to do a better job of doing what is “right” rather than placating dysfunctional parents. Unfortunately, school has increasingly become a shopping mall where the customer is “always” right.

    • I have never thought about certain people not having children, I agree with your coworkers, they have already had them, so there is nothing we can do about that. I do however believe that more and more schools are giving in to some parents. Many parents do not contact the teacher, they go straight to the principal. If the principal won’t do what they want, they go to the district, and usually someone gives in.

  2. I love this and I completely agree. Parents need to be held more accountable!

  3. I truly believe we all need to be in partnership and we all need to be accountable, teacher, parent and student! In my years as a teacher and as a principal, I have witnessed many instances of absenting one’s self from responsiblity and accountability. When we look to developing school goals, ones we believe must be key to our success, we proceed as if the parent is not a supportive leg. When the parent “shows up” then all the better. My point is that we must create student successes, and not be held up hostage by a possible lack of parent involvement.

    • I decided a while ago that I would not hold my students accountable for their parent’s actions. (” They Did Not Choose Their Parents“). But my point is, why should we proceed as if the parent is not a supportive leg? I don’t think our initial reaction should be that they’re not going to do what they need to do.

  4. It’s about time someone said what educators have known for a long time. Thank you for being the one.

  5. This is all the more pertinent since all reforms focus on blaming and bashing teachers – yet you never hear any of the pols going after ineffective parents. Imagine how many votes would be lost if someone called out parents – there are many more of them than there are teachers. It is amazing that in this country, with all the money, there aren’t better programs for helping struggling parents do well. I don’t doubt every parent wants what’s best for their child, but they have to make it happen, too! Education is the responsibility of the parent much more than it is the teacher – the teacher isn’t in the picture until 4 or 5 years old, and each day is only 6 or 7 hours. Who picks up the slack everywhere else? Thank you for acknowledging the elephant in the room.

  6. I must say- I honestly feel -I simply cannot raise 20+ children a year, even if I wanted to! Parents must be accountable, every child deserves that one on one!

  7. Nudrat Rahman said:

    Thanks for raising this extremely important issue. Yes as a parent it is my responsibility without any doubt to support my children in their education by staying in touch with the school, attending parent teacher meetings, signing the notebooks, home work diaries and keeping a track of my child’s academic progress. I have always consciously made an effort to ensure that my kids are never late for school, missed a school function or their homework because i was engaged elsewhere. For me nothing is more important than my children and their education.

    As a teacher I have come across parents who would very conveniently miss a PTM, send their children in dirty unironed clothes, often without homework, or even notebooks and essential stationery items. And I use to wonder how can they put their own kids through such embarrassment and humiliation, when they love them so much?
    Well I have tried counseling such parents, reminding them of the triangle and their support to make things better but in vain. I think it all comes from within, its a matter of priority and realizing ones responsibilities rather than putting it on others.

  8. In many great works of literature (Hamlet, As I Lay Dying, To Kill a Mockingbird) a repeated motif is how the “sins of the father are visited on the child”. When I sit in on PPTs or have conversations with parents, I am reminded how this motif translates into a real world experience. Sometimes, when I am having difficulty with a particular student, communication with the parent(s) will reveal a lack of support attitude or an “over-supportive” attitude; these extreme attitudes account for the bulk of my student issues. These are the moments when I consider how the educational system may have failed the parent seated before me. I get the impression that I am a substitute for the struggles a parent may have had in school; that in some way, the parent struggled unsuccessfully in school and does not want the child to do the same. Other times, I realize that help will not be forthcoming from the parent, and that the child is left more or less on his/her own. Regardless, I am keenly aware that the only place a student may be successful is in my classroom, and as much as I wish for parental support, I have to teach the student who is placed in the class. Yes, parents need to be responsible, but their teachable moments have passed. Our best hope is to develop independence and responsibility in our students and stop the cycle.

    • And that’s my point, in the 27 years I have been teaching, the situation is not getting better, it is getting worse. Year after year, the lack of support or enabling has become the status quo. When does it end?

      • I am a parent of two and a teacher with close to two decades of experience. Our society encourages parents to behave like children; they marry, divorce, date, bring home a new boyfriend/girlfriend for a year or two than throw them away. head back to the gym, the mall,get a new house, go further into debt paying for split ups and support payments, bring home another “partner” fight with the old one…what does all this do the child? How much love, nurturing, and stability occurs with such “lifestyles” ? And no, I’m not anti-gay but I am pro-responsible family; get a job, a partner (whom you intend to keep) and create a constant, stable home life run by two mature adults. A child should not have to endure a revolving door of immature narcissists who place them by the wayside while they act out “The Dating Game.”

  9. Barbara Wilkins said:

    Thank you for saying what many educators are thinking concerning parental responsibility. For those of us who are also parents, we generally have tried to keep the triangle of student-teacher-parent in action We know that for a child to be continuously successful, all three individuals must do their part. I want this situation to get better, but it is not happening soon enough to help many of today’s students.

  10. I am confused with what your intentions are with this post… Are there parents, students, teachers, admin that need to be more responsible? Absolutely. Being critical of those we work with gets us nowhere without a trusting relationship. At our school, we work extremely hard to build relationships with our families and I get concerned when I read posts like this as these tend to oppose what we are trying to do. We need parents to work with us… how do we do this? The same way we support teachers and students – forming relationships, working together, listening, and understanding…. and challenging each of us to be better.

    We will get nowhere with teacher and parent bashing. I understand your frustrations… but I need to ask, is this post going to change how parents work with your students?

    It is important to challenge people but you cannot do this without trusting relationships.

    • I don’t understand why questioning the fact that more and more parents are not “raising” their children, and leaving it to the school to do so, is parent bashing. I think that this is part of the problem, when this question is raised, the person who raised it is “parent-bashing.” I do all of the things you mentioned, form relationships, work together, listen, and demonstrate understanding. I have wonderful relationships with many of my parents, as I mentioned in my post.I am not questioning the behavior of ALL parents, just the ones who are not stepping up and doing what they need to do, be the parent, work with the school to help their child. After all, it is their responsibility!

      • I was being a bit facetious with the “parent and teacher bashing” comment as you had said that the post was not that. I should have used quotes.

        My point is that I believe the tone of this will actually do the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. You are doing more than asking questions but stating it in a way that will demoralize.

        “We need to hold parents responsible for providing the things their children need to be successful in school.” I, too, believe parents should be responsible but who are “we”? Who are we to define what responsible is for each parent? We need to be careful not to judge as we do not live in their shoes.

        A teacher once told me “if parents could do better they would”… just like there are struggling people in ANY field (including education), there are struggling parents that do not yet have the skills that schools feel they need.

        I understand you are frustrated and not sure where to turn but I fear that publicly criticizing parents with specific examples may have the opposite of the desired effect.

        From reading your replies to Joe’s comments (as well as mine), it is clear that you are making efforts to work with parents. My advice is to keep doing that – listening, forming relationships through tech and face to face. Create the conditions in which you can have honest dialogue with parents. That is the only place the progress can be made.

  11. As a parent and a school board trustee, I just want to share my thinking with you all. My kids are grown; they are great people, “good citizens”: employed, well-educated self-sufficient, compassionate, responsible…etc. People will say “You have great kids. How is it you have such great kids?” My joking response is ” They’re fabulous in SPITE of their father and myself.” The thing is, I am only partly joking. We had so much help raising those boys. Family was far away and/or dysfunctional, so we were helped by the community, by the daycare, by the school… The kids come to us as they come to us; we have to do what is right. I know I will always appreciate the help I received. And now I am “paying it forward” in a number of ways.

    • I am so happy for you and the fact that you are paying it forward! 🙂 It’s obvious that you accepted that help, and you can see the positive result of it. If only our parents would accept our help, and allow us to help them with their children. All I’m asking is that they be part of the triangle, child, parent, school. And I realize there are circumstances where the parent(s) can not be part of it, but when they can, when they are able, they should not be excused by the blame being shifted to the teacher and the school.

  12. Our vocation in teaching is to do whatever it takes for kids. For some parents it’s connecting electronically, for others it is a face to face conference several times per year. Sometimes we must step outside of the box and engage in home visits to truly show those parents extra care and develop the kind of relationships necessary to gain the trust of our families.

    The children cannot afford for us to throw our hands up and simply draw up another policy that makes folks more accountable (See NCLB, 2001). Parents, like students, are at all different levels of ability and availability due to any number of challenges. It is our job as educators and leaders to go out, get to know them, and respond to the those challenges by “differentiating” or “meeting them where they are.” We need to build relationships, leadership capacity and efficacy until they firmly believe that we are (what your diagram suggests) partners in learning. These things take time and commitment.

    Next steps and ideas you might consider: The district, schools, leadership, teaching staff and parents should all be on the same page and show a true commitment to family engagement if the level is to increase. Looking at your district and school websites, I’d offer the following feedback- Try turning up the volume on nurturing, parent-friendly articles, videos and other content. Try some blogs, photos of parents and students in action. Keep the rules and guidelines on the site but don’t make it the first thing they see- suggests more of a reactive culture that may or may not be present. Ask your parents what they see, what they need and what the don’t believe parent involvement

    Overall, if we are unsuccessful, it means we have to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation and solicit further feedback from our stakeholders. It is never too late to do this. On Twitter, there are thousands of teachers who are here for you to commiserate and gain fresh ideas from. I look forward to you joining us on Wednesday night for #PTchat (Parent-Teacher Chat) to voice the struggles you’ve shared here as well as get support from a worldwide PLN invested in best practice FACE. Here is the link to #PTchat – http://efacetoday.blogspot.com/p/eface-chats.html

    Call me anytime.
    Joe

    • Hi Joe, thanks for your input. As you noted before, my post was written out of frustration. All of the suggestions you have made, have been done. I, and my school, go out of our way to accommodate parents and make them feel as part of a family. My district and school websites are in the process of being retuned as we speak. They will be teacher and parent friendly. I have already attended meetings showing us how to set it up. I have my own blog that contains videos, pictures, links,the works. Do most of my parents make use of it? No. Do I talk about it month after month? Yes. Send emails? Yes. Make phone calls? Yes.A survey is sent from the school and the district asking parents these same questions every year.
      My question is how many times can we make all the right moves, and not get the response we want, a parent who is willing to support their child and help them do their best? I think we are getting stuck on the word accountable. By no means would I want any form of NCLB pushed onto someone else! And of course, let me reiterate, I am NOT talking about ALL parents. There are many parents who are willing to do what they need to do to make sure their child succeeds, but what about the ones who aren’t? Do we just keep giving them a free pass, and saying it’s us? At what point do we say, this is what you need to do, without being made to feel as if we are horrible people for saying it? And at no point, do I punish a child for their parents’ behavior, or treat a child differently because of their parent,their children are my children, with or without their support.Thanks for the invite to #PTchat.

    • Ms. Fizzgig said:

      Never would I do a home visit. I work in such a dangerous neighborhood and value my personal safety too much. There has to be a limit. It’s not in my contract to buy a child with new Jordans school supplies or to risk my safety going into a building filled with prostitutes and drugs. I have my own children to come home to. Since when did teachers have to be so saintly? If I need to see my doctor, I have to go to his office and wait. He doesn’t come to me. Sheesh!

  13. mrscreitsma said:

    As a mom and an educator I found your perspective on parenting interesting. I am wondering if your tone will come across as judgmental and further alienate parents who send us the best they have? Others have offered some excellent suggestions on how to build relationships with parents. Consider looking through an appreciative lens; the same lens that you would like parents to view your intentions and practice. We (parents and teachers) have the same purpose, helping our kids reach their full potential – we are on the same team.

    • I am sorry that I am coming off as judgmental, that is not how I mean to sound. but I have a question. If we don’t have low expectations for our students, why should we have them for our parents? If we expect our students to rise to our expectations, why can’t we expect that from our parents? And I expect my parents to have high expectations for me as well. Would we say to our students, who we knew could do better, “That’s the best you have, I’ll just leave you alone?” I don’t think any of us would.

    • Mrs Creitsma, I find myself saying (much more often in the last 2-5 years than at the beginning of my career), “I thought we (teachers and parents) were on the same team. We used to be. When did that change?” I understand the rose-colored world of all the adults being on the same “team” to help children reach their potential, but we all know that SOME parents could do a much better job of helping THEIR child reach those potentials than others.

  14. nancyjean said:

    @ oldschool – wow, you have the parent-bash down cold. Geez. Way to shift the convo to something that is seemingly static – who the parents “are.”
    A teacher in our district – mid-30s, no kids – is relentless in his derision of parents, even mocking. He criticizes his own sister and nephew, sure he could “do it better” that she is with the boy.
    I somethings think – these parents are taxpayers who fund your salary and pension. Is this good problem-solving, to carry on like a mean middle-schooler? These are customers and they need the service we sell. With 270k teachers laid off in the recession, there are dozens who would jump at the chance to replace us. Just sayin’.
    I would rethink your mindset, even if you are sure you are not like the teacher I described. (Who carries on about parents in front of students. His motto is “CYA.”)
    I respect the hard job parents have. I can’t want respect and cooperation without offering this back. Can you?

    • I knew this would happen.:) Why can’t someone ask SOME parents to step up w/o being a parent basher? “A mean middle-schooler?”
      My parents are not my customers. They are my partners in the raising, and educating, of their child. And at no point do I act like that teacher you speak of.
      I’m a parent, I know how hard it is. And if I didn’t do what I needed to do for my child, then shame on me.
      If you are a parent who is not being challenged in some way from helping your child, and you do not meet the responsibilities of being a parent, then why do you get a free pass from meeting your responsibilities?

      • nancyjean said:

        “I knew this would happen?” Your dukes up defensiveness is off-putting. Wow.
        Noting that some parents “push” their kids out of the car is mean.
        Pushing someone out of a vehicle in a busy drop-off line would constitute abuse in my book: if you see this, report it. A student who hits the pavement after such a push would be in danger as cars, bikes and buses whiz by.
        But if you are exaggerating to make a point, then…yes. I think that is mean. As is the “refuses” in “perfectly capable (of providing for student) but refuses.”
        It is clear that you are positive you are right. Who knows, maybe some of the parents doing this pushing, calling, refusing and so on are just as sure that you are not the teacher they would prefer.
        I don’t know. I don’t care. That is out of your hands.
        A professional owes her best effort for everyone, and should not waste time handing out good-parent, bad-parent name-tags. Your tone speaks volumes, and could undermine hard work by you and the students.

      • Nancyjean,, did you notice the smiley face after I said that? 🙂 And no, none of my parents actually ever pushed their kids out of the car, LOL I wasn’t being literal.
        I respectfully agree to disagree.
        Have a great rest of the school year!:)

      • I agree 100% with oldschoolteach, I live in a school area where the percent of poverty or below in 10% and there a many kids that can’t even return a homework folder. It’s not that hard to do one worksheet and read for 20 min each night but some how there are at least 10 kids who can’t get this done. The reason Mom and dad don’t care! Then when you talk to them about the problem and that if they want their child to read better they need to read at home the parents come up with 10 reasons that this is not possible. You offer to help after school but that is no good because mom or dad needs to go to the gmy after work, or there is a concert or other pressing matter that is more important then school. Saldly there will always be this problem the parents choose not to be the major player in their childs learning process. We can only do our best in offering a good education the parents and students choose it they will use it.

  15. Terri Hollingsworth said:

    That’s because parents are the voters. So politicians do not want to insult them–they need their votes.

  16. Wendy Bailey said:

    I think many people are looking at this post in the wrong way. This is a forum used to express thoughts and concerns. When I read this blog, I didn’t pick up on any negativity… only frustration. Frustration from a teacher who cares enough to desire more communication and effort on the part of her parents, in an attempt to see her students become more successful.

    Many of the teachers at my school, including myself, are experiencing a lack of parent participation as well. I have been at my campus, which was my own elementary school as a child, for 13 years. When I first came back to my campus as a teacher, I had an abundance of parent support. I literally had parents fighting to be my room-mom, and there was never a shortage of communication. So much, that I wondered when I was ever going to get a chance to sit down and grade a few papers, without being interrupted during my conference or after school. As time goes on, neighborhoods get older and redistricting lines are moved. As a result, we now serve a large group of government subsidized apartments, and the pendulum has swung. We have become a Title I campus.

    The only thing that oldschoolteacher is trying to point out is the obvious. If you’re a teacher NOT experiencing these issues at your campus, count yourself lucky. If I had to guess, you’re probably serving the same middle class neighborhood, I was 5 years ago. Unfortunately, even with repeated attempts to meet with parents, get them to return a phone call or even acknowledge a note sent home, some parents are not doing their part to help educate their children, and that to say the least is frustrating.

    I thank you oldschoolteacher for expressing your concerns. Like you, I will continue to look for ways to better communicate with my parents, and hopefully get them more involved in the education of their own children.

  17. You people are idiots if you think this is parent bashing. If parents were held accountable to the same standards that teachers were held accountable, there would be “no child left behind.” Being soft on parents is you not wanting to confront the truth that parents are the number one reason that kids don’t do well in school. They need to suck it up and deal with the fact that they brought kids into this world and they need to raise them – not expect teacher who makes hardly anything to give them social welfare in this area. I’ve taught for 15 years and I’ve seen maybe 4 decent parents out of 100. If you think I’m harsh, then you haven’t looked at the real world of education today.

    • Thank you!

    • Karen Smith said:

      Really, Amy?
      You ready to “confront the truth” that 60% of all public school teachers come from the bottom third of their high school class?

      So when my cousin sends her extraordinarily bright and well-prepared kids to school, they are accused of not having done their own work because the kids are soooo much more academically oriented than the teachers, but the family doesn’t have any money, so their social affect isn’t middle class.

      Oh, and my cousin could easily be seen as one of those parents who isn’t “doing everything she is supposed to be doing” for her very bright children, because her fourth child has an unusual seizure disorder and that child takes her attention 24/7.

      Despite that, she also read all of her son’s assignments to him aloud for his high school honor classes, because public school systems have not yet bothered to figure out how to teach dyslexics to read (he finally taught himself, with his mother’s help – and no teacher ever bothered to tell my cousin’s family that textbooks on tape were even available).

      And don’t get me started on the propensity of some teachers (certainly not all) to lie under oath and alter documents in order to cover up their own incompetent, neglectful, and/or abusive performance in the classroom.

      So, you feel like listening to anything else I have to say about education reform now?

      You might want to take the thoughtful remarks about “parent bashing” a little more seriously. This selective focus on everything that’s wrong with “some” parents is not likely to be helpful in leading you in the direction of the improvement of education, either in general or in your own classroom. And it is definitely not going to help you build trust with parents.

      There’s also the plain simple fact that you’re never going to be able to control parental behavior. The kids come how they come. Yes, teaching them where and as they are is a difficult, complex, exhausting task, but that is what teaching is. If you don’t like it, don’t teach.

  18. Thank you for saying what many of us who teach often feel. Especially those of us who work in the low socioeconomic schools where there is no parental involvement and the only time you can get some in is to offer a free meal.

    • It’s not only low socioeconomic schools Chris. This takes place everywhere, it’s not how much money the parents make, its about the sense of entitlement their children have.And many times, the parents do not support the behavior, that’s just the way they are.

  19. B. Ragains said:

    I know this is an old post but I am reviving it… I have had this attitude thrown at me by several teachers regarding my youngest child. “If i would only read to her she would be a better reader” well i read to her exactly as much as i read to her siblings who were both reading at the college level before leaving elementery school, could it perhaps be that this particular child just does not enjoy reading? Gasp!! I have a serious issue regarding the level of involvement that is “required” of me, teachers seem to think that by threatening my child with disciplinary action if I do not sign every single scrap of work they do and sign their homework planner every single night that they are somehow insuring that I am involved with my child…. Let me insure you that while i may sign all that crap I almost never actually look at it, I am against this sort of helicoptering on principle, and I believe that it does absolutely NOTHING to teach children how to be responsible and accountable, it does nothing to teach them time management or organization if mommy and/or daddy have to stand over the top of them, I assure you that my children knew how to read and count before they ever got to school. As a matter of fact my oldest was doing multiplication and division in his head when he was three years old, they are all on the honor roll, and my oldest is attending one of the residential STEM high schools in this country, so please do not imply that bc I didn’t sign your papers that I am not doing my job as a parent, I do not come into your classroom and tell you how to teach so please do not tell me how to parent.

  20. what if the child has a learning disability, like my autistic son, who they threaten with ALC, “alternate learning center” for not being able to do his homework, guess what me and his mother cant help as we dont know how to do some of the stuff they send him home with and we both graduated HS. dont punish a child that has a disability, TEACH HIM insted, not enough teachers, i heard lack of funding from the school admin, i told them divert funds from somthing like athaletics and hire a few aids, oh wait cut basketball, oh god no, no amount of children is worth that, least not here in ky, only a RETARD would punish a child with special needs approved by the school board cause they cant do something well i got justice, my sons arent allowed to bring home any school property period, and they are not allowed to use the net at home for school use, they asked for it, i tryed and yet they wouldnt stop punishing my child for having AUTISM so now they are getting punished every time they try to fail him cause the school board is now looking into why they wont give my son the help they approved him to have, somones getting removed from there job at the next meeting sucks to be the history teacher she brought it on her self, oh did i mention my son has all B’S and hasnt done homework in 3 months now, guess when you get a teacher that cares for the kids and doesnt view teaching as a paycheck kids with disabilitys out shine “normal” kids, lol as for me “the lazy” parent i say fire all the arse holes that think every child learns the same way, and hire a few that knows if a kid cant read he sure as heck cant do the work, and if he cant write then he cant turn in completed assignments, oh wait they have scribes and such for that wow there is a way to educate disabled kids i guess, corse it would help if they gave them what there iep says they can have

  21. As a parent who purposely waited until I was “ready” to dedicate my money. effort and free time to raising a child, I completely agree with you. What job is more important? What job has more lasting impact? As my children become older (one if ten and one is fourteen, and I compare their peers, I can see, more often than not, a direct correlation to the children’s parental involvement or lack thereof and the children’s overall academic, societal, and emotional health. Raising children does require sacrifice. I think many adults in this “me, me, me,” society make excuses for their selfish actions rather than admit that their children are not priority number one. Perhaps I sound harsh, but coming from a HR background, I can’t help thinking how many parents nowadays would be fired from the buisness of parenting if they were being evaluated as if it were what it is: the most important job a man or woman will ever have.

  22. I totally agree with your post about parents being held accountable for their actions and their childrens’ actions! As a parent myself, if my child gets a bad grade in school, then it is his fault, not the teachers! I do everything that I can to help, encourage, and participate in my boys’ education, so they know I will always be there for them. But they also know that they have to have the want and drive to complete their work and do well, or else, here comes Momma! I have had some disagreements with school faculty before, but not because they were a teacher, it was because of the school counselor putting words into my youngest sons’ mouth and causing trouble. Both of my boys’ schools know who I am, and they know that if there is a problem, then all they have to do is call or shoot me an email and the problem will be taken care of at home.

    Again, thank you for your post! As a future full-time teacher, I appreciate knowing that I am not the only person who feels this way!

  23. I am not offended by you post, but some parents might take offense to it. My question is how do you hold teachers accountable? How can you hold parents who can’t read or write or maybe disabled accountable? How much research has been done to find out the reason parents are not involved in their child’s education? Are their resources for those parents? How do they access those resources? You would have to go deeper than your assumptions of why parent are not holding themselves accountable? The shoes, clothes, and games could have come from another source not necessarily the parent.

    I always tell my kids “You have to work hard for your grades” so “make your teacher work hard for their check” which simply mean never be embarrassed or afraid to stop the teacher during a lesson to ask questions. Kids will never get an easy A, so the teacher will never get an easy check. Some teachers get frustrated NOT my kids problem.
    I am a parent of four (15, 13, 9, and 7) and I am very active in my kids school and education. I have to schedule all parent-teacher conferences (every 3 weeks) for my oldest two bc their teachers don’t reach out. At my first conference with their teachers i expressed to them how important my kids education was to me. I told them that I need phone calls, emails, and letters of concern. I have yet to receive one. Every conference they just apologize and say that it will not happen again.

    I set high standards for my kids and they know it. I have the same routine every day my kids get out of school..do you have home work? show it to me now and when you are done..do you need help with any of your homework? If they bring home an 80 on their report card that is a red flag for me. The teachers don’t contact me when they are missing assignments that were suppose to be done at school or if their grade drop below a 70 which i feel is a requirement. I hold my children, their teachers, and myself accountable for their learning. If i have already told the teachers that communication is number 1, why can’t that be honored? How can I hold myself accountable if the teachers don’t tell me their issues.

    When my oldest two were in lower grades I sat in their classroom every Monday as a student and did the same work. Every teacher knew me by name even the teachers my kids didn’t have. As they got older I started holding them more accountable. They have always been great kids and have never got in trouble for behavior (blessing). They make good grades A’s and B’s, but my daughter struggle in math and my son language arts. College is in their future!

  24. williams_0108@q.com said:

    I need help. I am a parent of two children in a public high school in Colorado. My daughter doesn’t have any issues with learning, however my son does. He has horrible test anxiety and ADD. We have been reaching out to the district and the school for help since he was in the 5th grade. Everyone tells us to back off and give it time, or blames everything on him stating that he needs to slow down and take his time (which he has), advocate for himself (which he does) and tell us he needs extra tutoring. He passes all of his homework, but fails all of his math test and quizzes. He is devastated every time he looks at his grades and thinks hes a failure and stupid. His CSAPS scores are great and he doesn’t have anxiety taking them. We don’t know what to do anymore, I am afraid that if something isn’t done soon he will give up all together and he’s only a Freshman.

    • Barbara Wilkins said:

      Ask your son what would make him feel less anxious during a test, and then see if you can work something out with his teachers to make that happen. This problem can be solved. You two just have to keep trying.

  25. Elizabeth Z said:

    (Reviving an old post.) 🙂 This was a fabulous post. And the comments have been amazing. I am a parent (only one child…) that was proud of how smart I was and therefore I wanted my child to also be one of the smart kids. Conceited, I know. But…that is what was in my head. Anyway… In my case, it was a hard choice to decide to keep and raise my child. When I made that choice, I deliberately chose to give up the next 18 years of my life (okay, the rest of my life, in many ways…) and do the best I could to give him the best start possible in this world. It was my mistake that brought him into this world, but I’ll be damned if I was going to make him pay that price for my poor choices.

    I figure it is ultimately my responsibility what kind of man he will grow up to be. When he is 30, 40, or 50 years old…people aren’t going to blame anyone but his mother for what kind of man he turns out to be. It is my responsibility to raise him. Tax-payer funded schools are tax-payer funded daycare with a little brain exercise thrown in there. That’s it.

    I am ultimately responsible for the man he will become. No one else. No one else brought him into this world. No one else is going to be called if he gets arrested or rushed to an emergency room. No one else is going to be involved in his adult relationships. No one else is going to be asked what kind of kid he was growing up. I chose to accept the responsibility to bring him into this world. That comes with extra baggage.

    “Public” schools are a great way for him to learn his social skills, to interact with peers, to deal with the dramas of growing up, to learn how to interact with elders (eventually, bosses), to learn how to meet the deadlines our society places on everything. But his education is my responsibility. If I don’t like what the “schools are teaching him,” I have the choice to influence what he takes away from it. I choose to exercise that.

  26. I was a teacher for many years and now I substitute teach and believe me you should see what teachers put up with in the classroom, its nuts. The kids behaviors are out of control,not all but way too many. Now they call this behavioral problems /Special Ed. ,they are not. I taught Special Education and that is completely different. Some kids and there are way too many today : have no respect for adults, terrible lack of control and foul mouths. The school systems are today scared of the parents because we have to many kids like this and the parents do nothing because the public school system like in the old days DO NOT hold the parents accountable. If you put camera in all the classrooms and see it on video maybe something would be done. They spend millions today on SMARTboards in every classroom,which I am for why not video cameras hidden. Then parent will see what some of the kids behavior are like.

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