Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part III. - The United States Department of Education: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part III. - The United States Department of Education: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

The United States Department of Education is a federal agency that has the oversight, inclusive of regulatory enforcement of the programs and education systems which it funds. The purpose and objectives of this agency as well as additional information can be found at the US Department of Education’s Website; the URL link has been included below.

My purpose is not to assess blame, nor do I wish to discourage those who are trying to turn the Education System around for the better; my purpose here is to 1) share what I find to be three major problems that have and will continue to prevent the US Department of Education from accomplishing its mission or stake in providing a quality education for society’s most precious resource- our Children and 2) show how these problems unresolved, adversely affect local schools, Parents, students and their education, and other involved sectors.

Those three major problems are as following:
1.      Credibility Issues- The masses are already aware that our education system is in crisis and education for a large majority of our youth have failed, yet, for the US Department of Education to gloss over and/or ignore what is not working in education and instead continue highlighting the few positive accomplishments in education pose serious threats and problems. It also makes it difficult to put confidence in that which does not appear credible. Education Reform has often and continues to result in the running around in circles and repeating that which did not previously work or were not effective. Problems of credibility with this agency occur from its failure to be responsive and accountable for problems and concerns in Education.
2.      Systemic and entrenched oppression, suppression, division and discrimination within the Education System, and the many state and local programs which it funds. Such continues to occur although some no longer believe these systemic problems exists, while others believe such are so deeply entrenched and ingrained that the systemic problems cannot be corrected. Such have been documented, will not be repeated here, but have and continues to prevent students from obtaining equality and equal opportunities in Education.
3.      Lack of regulatory enforcement of the law and policies and failure to uphold and support the mandates of the Constitution of the United States. Without proper oversight and regulatory enforcement and adherence to The Constitution by The US, continual waste, abuse, fraud and other violations will cause this agency to cease to have an effective and productive stake in the education of society’s children. Regulatory enforcement can neither be turned over or left to the States to enforce.

Sadly, the above major problems result in a host of problems:

v  We have one of the wealthiest education systems, yet many schools cannot meet their budgets and lack crucial educational supplies/materials; some schools are structurally unsound and unsafe, all of which impede and/or prevent learning. Such are inexcusable in this day and age; if such results in fraud or mismanagement, the US Department of Education should exercise its regulatory enforcement powers to hold those accountable, accountable.
v  Failure to listen to those who work closely with students (or students, themselves) and have knowledge of academic and other needs of students in an effort for them to be successful in education and/or failure to incorporate and fund initiatives that actually work in education for young people foster discouragement and frustration for Educators, students, parents and other involved sectors. Schools and systems continue to fail students and students continue to fail. Sadly, “failure in Education has become a profitable business.”
v  Failure to ensure that education programs and grant proposals receive Parental involvement and input or failure to uphold the rights of parents and their children.

America, the choice is ours; we can continue to lose standing or rank in important areas or fields throughout the world; we can continue to disregard the major problems in Education which plague us and we can even continue to fudge/falsify education scores, deceiving and bamboozling only ourselves, but rest assured, the rest of the world will continue to march on with or without us. Educated (does not have to consist strictly or solely of a formal education), confident and well-rounded individuals who can think critically and/or for themselves are those who will be able to respond to and resolve many challenges of the future.

Note: The URL for the US Department of Education: 

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author

Friday, December 24, 2010

Part II. Philanthropist and Businesses: Your Stake in Society's Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Part II. - Philanthropists and Businesses: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

As we continue our topic, Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children, we will begin with the first sector’s role, which we have combined and consist of both Philanthropist and Businesses. Since Parents Taking Charge in Education Blog is geared to parents and their children’s education and schooling, those who serve parents and their children and parenting, we will examine each sector’s role predominantly from this standpoint.

Philanthropists and Businesses, your stake in children are utmost important, because both you and the future success of your business depend upon children; I did not say young adults, but “children.” Much of your future workforce’s habits, patterns and ethics under a number of disciplines and in a number of areas are formed in children at an early age with the controversy being, how early?

Before I continue with this discourse, I want to refer you to a two-part article written about Philanthropists’ Contributions with major emphasis on whether those contributions make a difference v. effective change? The articles with citations can be found at Slinging Stones Blog… by Mrs. Dorothy Barron under the Category, “Philanthropy” or by clicking on the following links here:
Part 1: How Much of It will Benefit those who Most Need It? Mrs. Dorothy Barron
Part II. Ways to Tell When You are Really Making a Difference by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

If you desire to acquire future success for you and/or your businesses, you will need to incorporate and bring about not only a difference, but effective change in the lives of children. Thus, my challenge to you in the form of a question becomes, what are you doing different to accomplish such? As a society, we all are very much aware that our schools and education system from an academic standpoint are not producing for the most part students qualified to meet today or tomorrow’s challenges.

After having spent at least sixteen years as an avid and often full-time volunteer in our schools and having Co-founded and served as former Director of the Organization, Parent Focused on Education, I have found that one of the major problems with our society is that it has through its actions decided that parents do not matter. It has taken it upon itself to usurp the role of parents and then questions, why parents are not involved in their children’s lives and education?

Parents have and will always influence a child more than you will ever know for there are certain bonds, genes and characteristics that will forever live within a child connecting the child to the parent(s). A thought for consideration- Children, as babies or infants could have been born or provided to parents in various forms and fashions- under a cabbage patch, from huge external incubators, a stork, etc., instead, the human fetus connected by an umbilical cord grows as a little human fetus, rests and bonds for nine months within its mama or mother’s womb.

Philanthropists and businessmen/women, money has been thrown at all kinds of projects and programs for children, why not invest in the needs of Parents, too? As I close and in addition to the aforementioned posts, may I leave for your consideration, the following:
Create jobs for Parents (form joint ventures, partnerships, be they temp or permanent)- Very often and in spite of what you hear, jobs, which parents need in order to care for them and their children are sparse, non-existent  or traditional ones often without flexibility. Let us get creative and yes, risks will occur and some may see failure, but I see the creation of opportunity. You have the opportunity to assist Parents with learning to fish (becoming financially independent). Through such ventures, partnerships, or teaching others to fish, you may also find some rare jewels (talents) or treasure troves (unique skills) in which you both may benefit.
 Parents need time to parent and raise their own children. Working 12 to 16 hour days are neither good for parents, children or society. There are those who insist that one needs quality of time as opposed to quantity of time with children. While I do not disagree that quality of time is needed, I do contend that one must have a quantity of time in order to provide quality time.
It is time to take the labels off- All parents, rich and poor alike require assistance with their children. Remove the labels- poor, impoverish, minority, etc. Do not give yourselves, the child or anyone else an excuse not to succeed.

Between late January - February 2011, I will be presenting and explaining to you how you and/or your business can promote, encourage and support parents and positive parenting.

Philanthropists and businesses, thank you for all you do in your endeavors to make a difference in the lives of others. Finally, I want to briefly acknowledge and publicly thank a foundation and two businesses that continued to make a difference through their contributions to both society and community during the span of my volunteer years in Education; they were 1) The Kellogg Foundation- provided community grants that reached small and struggling worthwhile community endeavors and ventures(which other grantors turned down because a track record did not exist); 2&3) Kroger and Winn Dixie Grocery Stores-made sure all community schools that requested fundraising contributions received a small contribution (in order to assist all); to my knowledge, no school went away empty-handed.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author
Parents Taking Charge in Education at

Friday, December 17, 2010

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Your Stake in Society's Most Precious Resource- Ou...

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Your Stake in Society's Most Precious Resource- Ou...: "Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron Anything we deem precious receives special care and atte..."

Your Stake in Society's Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Anything we deem precious receives special care and attention; we treasure and protect it and if there is a need for special conditions, those conditions are met in order to protect, sustain and maintain that we deem precious.

Our society’s most precious resource is its children, yet, there are those who claim they have no responsibility to or for children. A couple of reasons provided have been, since some chose not to have children, they should not be responsible for the care of those who do. Another reason provided, they have raised/reared their children and have no obligation to care for or be responsible for someone else’s child or children.

While I understand the logic, my response would be in the form of a question, “do you plan to continue occupying this earth?” If you answer yes, let me provide three reasons why you should not only be responsible, but involved with society’s children. 1) When you are aged(especially those who deemed not to have children) and no longer able to care for self, who do you think will be caring for you? 2) The children will one day become adults and leaders of this nation; you can make a difference as to whether they become ill-prepared or prepared leaders. 3) Our children will be tomorrow’s workers or workforce, all reasons why society in conjunction must insure that each child gets all that is needed for a high-quality and well-rounded education.

If still unable to see the big picture; simply view your assistance and nurturing society’s children as an investment in both your and their future. It is crucial that the right kind and amounts of investments occur. After all, we reap what we sow; investing in our most precious resource on today, will yield a return of a healthy, wealthy, educated, morally/spiritual and productive nation, both collectively and independently.

Next week, we will begin looking at various sectors within society and each’s stake in society’s most precious resource- our children.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author
Parents Taking Charge in Education Blog:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Should Parents and Students have Choice in Educati...

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Should Parents and Students have Choice in Educati...: "Should Parents and Students have Choice in Education? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron My answer to the redundant question would be the same as when a..."

Should Parents and Students have Choice in Education? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Should Parents and Students have Choice in Education? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

My answer to the redundant question would be the same as when asked fifteen(15) years, ago.

Ÿ  Q: Should parents have choice in Education?
Mrs. B.: Absolutely, the funding should follow the child whether the parent selects public, private, home schooling, or an alternative combined method. Education entails major decisions and if we expect parents to be responsible and accountable, they should decide(have the final decision as to) what is best for their children. The real issue- will we allow all children an equal opportunity to be educated?
Ÿ  Q: What if there should be a mad exodus from public school?
Mrs. B.: 1) It will force our public schools to get serious about meeting the needs of students and working cooperatively with parents. Presently, if parents encounter major problems with their children’s education, there is not much the parent can do. There are no clearly defined rights for parents, nor is true legal assistance available. 2) There’s a mass exodus from public school anyway. The students are simply dropping out, which in the long run will cost society even more.
In addition- Even in many cases wherein parents and students rights exist, enforcement of those rights is/are lacking.
Ÿ  Q: What is missing in Education?
Mrs. B.: Some key ingredients: Caring, Quality, Time and Commitment from both educators and parents, along with curriculum that meets the needs of the vast majority of students.
Ÿ  Q: What is needed in Education?
Mrs. B.: Those missing key ingredients mentioned above, the choice of education that allows the child- to reach his /her highest educational capabilities and quality legal representative for parents and students. The law mandates that children go to school, but those responsible for enforcing the law have failed to understand the fact that :you can make a student go to school, but you cannot make the student learn. Students have different needs and that is foremost, why parents and students need choice(in Education).
Ÿ  Q: What would be a solution to this “Choice in Education” dilemma?
Mrs. B.: One thing is certain and that is we cannot continue losing students who have the potential to achieve, but cannot due to public school being the only option for those who cannot afford choice. 1) Begin granting vouchers to parents with children who are experiencing difficulties that cannot be resolved in a timely manner or when adverse educational situations affect the child(emotionally) or his/her education. It is no longer feasible to wait until such toil has been placed on a child/ren; Choice in Education with funding to follow the child should have occurred long ago in Education. If reasons are needed to support “choice” in Education, establish an office that logs and monitor complaints regarding educational concerns, issue, problems, abuses and violations of parents and students rights, as well as how such affects students emotionally and academically. 3) Find innovative way and means that will allow a parent who strongly feel the need to remain in the home rearing and overseeing the well-being and education of their children and others to do so. The lack of leadership and discipline in the home are costly and has taken its toll on America. One of the chief reasons education has failed is simply because parents have been removed from the picture. They cannot effectively be in two places at once.
In addition: 1.) every home needs a computer and for those impoverished, an inexpensive internet service; we are in the digital age and telling a person to go to the library is not a feasible solution. 2.) Offer contract work to allow those who desire to operate a business to do so from home. 3.) Parents who homeschool should be entitled to receive a tax credit or funding allotment for school supplies should they desire (many have been and/or are taxpayers).

Between funding from the US Department of Education and those who desire quality education, I believe there is enough funding for choice in Education for each and every student. What is hypocritical and unacceptable- for some to deny choice in Education, especially in the form of vouchers to those who cannot afford choice and hold the position that public choice is the only choice in education, while many of these same individuals have had or have their own children sequestered away at private school or some alternative form other than public school. Besides and even if choice in Education becomes available to each and every student, all would not choose to attend private school, but each should certainly have choice in Education; such would also alleviate laying all blame at the door of our public schools.
Ÿ  Q: You have been a champion for students and education for many years. Has it made a difference?
Mrs. B.: Yes and No; Yes, I have made a difference in the lives of many students and parents whom I have interacted with. No, as it relates to significant changes in the process and procedures that govern education(the changes have been too little and too late for most students), but I believe whatever you are committed to, you should give your best each day and leave the rest to GOD.
Ÿ  Q: Why have you not chosen to become a professional(certified) teacher?
Mrs. B.: In a nutshell, the Education System consists of too many guidelines and rules that are not in the best interest of the children. I would not have the flexibility and funding necessary to do a quality job.
Ÿ  Q: Any last thoughts or comments?
Mrs. B.: Yes, the parting thought and verbal comment I leave with parents whenever I converse with them: “others may assist and encourage, but no one is going to do for you, what you should be doing for your own child/ren” (Mrs. D. Barron). We are embarking upon 2011and in light of some of my responses in 1995, how far have we come in Education as a nation? Whether the picture as it pertains to Education has become crystal clear or not, we are talking survival and the future success of a nation, ours.

Note: Both the questions and responses in black are excerpts from an interview conducted in September of 1995 with Mrs. Dorothy Barron, who was Co-founder and Director of the organization, Parents Focused on Education. The statements in red are present and additional ones by Mrs. Barron.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author


Friday, December 3, 2010

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Jailing of Parents- School Involvement by Mrs. Dor...

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Jailing of Parents- School Involvement by Mrs. Dor...: "Jailing of Parents- School Involvement Issue by Mrs. Dorothy Barron Over the last two weeks, the subject of Parental - School Involvement ha..."

Jailing of Parents- School Involvement by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Jailing of Parents- School Involvement Issue by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Over the last two weeks, the subject of Parental - School Involvement has been the topic at Parents Taking Charge in Education Blog. We have looked at Ten(10) reasons why Parents are not involved in their children’s schools and/or education and Four(4) types of Parental - School Involvement. Perhaps, the aforementioned posts and questions below will provide thoughts for consideration when dealing with today’s topic, Jailing of Parents – School Involvement Issue.

The issue of possibly jailing Parents for not attending school conferences sped its way over and throughout the internet from various sources eliciting a range of emotions and comments. It appears that a Detroit prosecutor desires to initiate legislation to possibly jail a Parent who does not attend or hold a school conference with his/her child’s school(s) at some point throughout the child’s school year. *The link to the National Public Radio interview with the prosecutor and others has been listed, below.

We should also point out that having experience or expertise in one area or field does not automatically transcend into another field. 

Suggestions with extreme solutions or remedies for Parental involvement are not new; most are the result of attempts to garner attention and/or as the result of a high level of frustration. During the 1990s, in order to curb student school truancy, the law sought to fine Parents in such cases. If stats are correct, the present drop-out rate is higher and a national crisis. Now let us examine this jailing of Parents issue by asking a series of questions, which are:

Question #1- Why seek jail as the solution for parents who do not or choose not to attend or hold school conferences?
Question #2- On what legal ground (s) would you charge the parent(s)? With an already over-populated jail/prison system, where would you house parents; who then would be responsible for caring for the children, getting them to school, etc?

What would jailing Parents accomplish?
Ÿ  Chaos
Ÿ  An increased workload of present and often overburdened, ineffective legal and judicial systems
Ÿ  Antagonism and further alienation between parents and schools
Ÿ  Loss of work, wages and possibly the parent’s job
Ÿ  Possibly child endangerment charges or worse
Ÿ  Outraged parents and taxpayers

Question #3- How well do you understand the issues that involve parental - school involvement and/or lack of, our education system and schools?
Once, there was a teacher who continually bemoaned lack of parental involvement to me; one day, I simply asked her, how often she visited her child’s school? She was stunned; somehow, she did not think it applicable to her- a teacher. She never posed the question again, to me.
Question #4- What is the criteria for school involvement; what does such entail? Is school involvement a requirement for all parents; if so, how much?
Question #5 - what role do you play in supporting parents, education, schools, and ultimately, students?
Food for thought- Parents should be and many are responsible for their children, but, if we are busy mandating, legislating and eradicating Parents’ authority, how then can they become or continue being responsible Parents?

Special thanks to National Public Radio for permission to use the following link.
*National Public Radio. Schools Working to Increase Parental Involvement. . 11/01/2010

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author