Friday, January 28, 2011

Parents Taking Charge in Education: A Formal Welcome and Introduction to Parents Takin...

Parents Taking Charge in Education: A Formal Welcome and Introduction to Parents Takin...: "A Formal Welcome and Introduction to Parents Taking Charge in Education Blog by Founder and Author, Mrs. Dorothy Barron Greetings and Welcom..."

A Formal Welcome and Introduction to Parents Taking Charge in Education Blog by Founder and Author, Mrs. Dorothy Barron

A Formal Welcome and Introduction to Parents Taking Charge in Education Blog by Founder and Author, Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Greetings and Welcome, I am Mrs. Dorothy Barron; Founder of Parents Taking Charge in Education Blog. I look forward to meeting and becoming acquainted through and as a result of this blog with many parents as well as those who serve parents, students and our Education System.

Parents, this present era in which we live can present a great opportunity and change for both you and your child/ren in the area of Education; each child can learn and become educated in the optimum and most productive setting for him/her. Each child’s innate talent/ability; his/her imaginations and dreams with the assistance of the unlimited capabilities of the Internet are boundless.

Education is both political and big business, therefore as parents, you must become well-informed decisions makers, confident, educated about the education process and advocates for your child/ren to insure that each child receives the best and most positive learning experience. 

I have spent 16 years as a volunteer in the education arena- both private and public schools (7-9 fulltime); I have interacted and/or worked with all sectors involved and observed both positive and negative aspects of each sector. For my volunteer services in Education, our schools, Parents and community are found at this blog. Please do not become overwhelmed, my volunteer services list what I have done, not who I am.

Previous posts at this Blog, Parents Taking Charge in Education have provided tips to Parents and tips on parenting issues; parental school involvement and reasons why some Parents may choose non-involvement, as well as various levels of involvement and the stake of various sectors within our society as it relates to Education and our most precious resource- our children were discussed in a 6 Pt. Series.

Parent Taking Charge in Education has five mission objectives, which are to offer tips and tools to help Parents:# 1.and those who serve Parents and children with becoming more knowledgeable about the Education System; 2. make informed and more confident decisions about your child’s education; 3. become proactive advocates& resolve conflicts with Educators;
4. become a major part of the decision making process in Education as you work with your children and their schools and 5. become more effective at parenting.

You are encouraged to get involved in your child/ren’s education and/or school(s), but may not have been shown the most simple and effective ways to do so. Some parents hesitate to get involved for lack of not knowing where to start. You may be a grandparent raising a grandchild or non-custodial adult who have not interacted with a school since you or your children were school age. In order to be most effective, becoming involved in and with your child’s education and/or school is an acquired process. 

For those interested, please join me on next week as we begin assisting you with becoming informed, knowledgeable and more confident as you become or continue being a major part of the decision making process in your child/ren’s education and/or school(s). Next week, we will discuss “School Conferences. “ The following week, some tips and actual tools will be introduced.

Feel free to leave a comment or contact me via my e-mail address.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author
Parents Taking Charge in Education Blog at http://mrsdbarron.blogspot.com

Friday, January 21, 2011

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part VI.– Pare...

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part VI.– Pare...: "Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part VI.– Parents and Community: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Do..."

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part VI.– Parents and Community: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part VI.– Parents and Community: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

As we continue with the discourse on Parents stake and/or role as it pertains to society’s most precious resource- our children, I will offer a couple of more thoughts and one additional example and conclude with the community’s stake.

5.   Deliberate measures incorporated to prevent parents from being involved- Educators and others often desire to involve parents when advantageous to their agenda and shut parents out when the opposite exists.

I will share another quick example which dispels the myth that impoverished parents do not care about their children’s education. I volunteered at a school which sat within a government housing complex and most parents were below poverty level. The school was a large brick three story building; during the winter, the temperature inside was below freezing; in the spring and upon return summer/fall, the temperatures often ranged from 100-110 degrees. The food within the cafeteria soured between it having been cooked and students’ consumption of it. Students unable to work were often slumped over desks from heat exhaustion; often, in winter hands were too cold and numb to hold a pencil. Books in the library were so old; they simply crumbled in one’s hands when handled. Once again to curtail a long story, the school board ignored the parents, students’ plight and school community when requested to hold school board meeting within the impoverished communities. The library books and a show and tell were publicly taken to an upscale school where the school board did hold school board meetings.

When the impoverished parents took to the streets outside the impoverished school to protest conditions, 1) the invited media in one instance after having noticed the goodly number of parents present chose not to cover the impoverished parents’ plight; they instead drove in the opposite direction; 2) parents names were taken down and they were threatened with eviction should they persist by the housing authority and 3) those who persisted in protest, some of whom did not live in government housing were offered well paying jobs to get them out of the school and preoccupied with a job.

6.   Parents, consider preparing yourself for a role in politics, whether on the school board or at one of three government levels. Individuals who usually have the greatest interest in children are those who actually have children at school age level.

The Community’s Stake
The community’s role can actually be described in two words: “Assist” and/or “Supplement” as needed. We know that parents cannot do it all alone when it comes to parenting and raising children, it takes the entire community’s involvement. We are also aware of the necessity at times for others to assume responsibility and authority as guardian or caregiver of others’ children, but if at all possible, attempt to keep the parent(s) actively involved. The community consists of family, extended family members, neighbors, and individuals and entities from the above mentioned sectors. We all can make a positive contribution regardless of how small.

When it comes to community’s involvement from schools, some schools should become more community orientated. I recalled one year when mostly homebound as a result of my bus accident and after having moved to Tennessee, I assisted a couple of students with their schoolwork. In an effort to adequately prepare to assist the students at that time, I needed to borrow a textbook; the students of course needed theirs. I called the local school and explained what I was doing and requested to borrow a textbook. First, I was given the run-around, told someone would check the school policy and get back with me. Not hearing from the school, I recalled a week or so later and was informed the school did not have any extra textbooks to lend out. Yet, we insist we desire parent and community involvement within our schools.
     
Parents, when all has been said and done, you remain ultimately responsible for your child/ren? While I may not always agree with some parents’ decision(s), I have come to respect the fact that the final decision of how a parent chooses to raise his/her child/ren and that parent’s selected educational setting (inclusive of the child’s needs and well-being) should ultimately be the decision of the parent. Society should be careful of removing parents’ authority while expecting those same parents to effectively parent their children.

Parents Taking Charge in Education’s goal with many of the posts leading up to today’s has been to get us to view some of the obstacles and challenges in an effort to get us (Parents and all those who have a stake in education and our children) to address these serious obstacles and challenges and move forward. Until we do, I am afraid we will continue floundering, spinning our wheels and going around in circles. Sometimes, the solutions are so simple we tend to overlook them. Thank you for your time and attention; this concludes our 6 Pt. Series- Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author
Parents Focused on Education at http://mrsdbarron.blogspot.com
E-mail: barron.Dorothy@yahoo.com

Friday, January 14, 2011

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part V. - Parents: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part V. - Parents: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

“No one is going to do for you what you should be doing for your own child/ren” (Mrs. Dorothy Barron).

First and foremost, I want to thank the many parents who engage in positive parenting in addition to the many challenges you face both in and outside the home. Whenever I am able to interact with parents, I am enthusiastic of the positive experiences parents are providing for their children, many of which you hear and view via the Internet.

Parents, I need not waste a lot of time telling you what many of your already know; you have the greatest stake, because the most precious resource- our children, belong to you. Foremost, it is up to you, the parent to provide good, positive examples and the best you can offer from a financial standpoint to enable you to care for your child/ren’s needs; you also serve as their protector. To assist children with growing and developing, sometimes, you must allow the child a “prodigal moment;” such entails the child learning the hard way or encountering the school of” hard knocks.”

The goal of most parents is to nurture and assist their children with becoming well-rounded, happy, well-adjusted, self-sufficient productive young adults. Parents do not accomplish such alone; such involves many people from various sectors or walks of life. As you assist your children in the area of Education, there are a number of things of which you should be cognizant:

1.      Education is Big Business, as well as Political. It is big business because contracted providers supply to schools everything from toilet tissue, lunches, textbooks to services, jobs and more; it is political because politicians, policymakers via policy decides everything from the curriculum down to the number of students per classroom.
2.      Parental expectations for their children differ in Education; what suffices for one parent does not for others.
3.      The family composition has drastically changed, yet society for the most part has failed to incorporate solutions to meet those changing needs of parents.

There is much controversy about a parent’s responsibility and involvement in his/her child’s education and school. Personally, my position on parental involvement within the schools and for that matter, anywhere is that parents should find the time to be wherever their children are and engage with those who interact with their children. When it comes to parental school involvement, if a parent lacks involvement, it is important to know the reason(s). In a past post, I share a number of reasons why Parents are not involved or have ceased to be involved in their Children’s Schools and/or Education. Parents, I would like to now leave a number of thoughts and encountered situations for your review and consideration:

1.      With the entire Education panorama shifting, Parents, it is pertinent that you become knowledgeable, educated and informed about the Education process, how such affects and the effects upon your child.
2.      You should be a part of the decision making process. Of what most parents are not aware are that you should be an integral part prior to curriculum programs being implemented into your child’s school. In fact, education laws and policies mandate that parents be involved, but most parents are not aware of this fact. One thing I found very interesting and cryptic while reading the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) was that most of the programs listed within NCLBA were programs that were already part of or should have already been implemented in the schools.
3.      Parents, most of you are busy and have inordinate responsibilities; most do not want their time wasted, nor can you be expected to be in two places at once. However, should you desire, you can be fully engaged and involved in your child’s school without spending a lot of time in the school; such entails an organized process.  
4.      Conflict- most parents are no longer wasting time arguing with schools about their children’s needs or lack of and certainly are not going to assist schools in introducing programs or activities which they perceive to be disadvantageous, non-productive and even injurious to their children and their children’s Education. Let me provide a quick example- I sat a special school committee in which the goal was to write a proposal for a school curriculum program. To curtail the story, at the end of the grant writing process, I could not endorse the proposal or sign my name to it. The school took the liberty and added my name to the proposal prior to having sent in to Washington, DC, in spite of my request that it not be added. I simply located the grantor’s contact information and wrote a letter which explained my position of why I could not endorse the proposal and the fact that my name had been added without my permission; the grantors did not approve the school’s proposal that year.

Please join me on next week as we continue with Part V. Parents: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children and conclude with the Community’s stake.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author
Parents Taking Charge in Education at http://mrsdbarron.blogspot.com
E-mail: barron.dorothy@yahoo.com

Friday, January 7, 2011

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part IV. - School Educators: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part IV. - School Educators: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

“Be careful that your role as a leader does not have you following, instead“(Mrs. Dorothy Barron).

During my sixteen year career as a school advocate and volunteer, I have had the privilege of having served beside some of the best educators- school administrators and teachers in the field. I observed administrators who spent twelve to fourteen hours a day at their schools, took on responsibilities over and beyond their job requirements. Some of these individuals and some volunteers spent their personal funds to insure that many children had what was needed, as well as exposure to unique experiences outside the classroom. Unfortunately, I have served for a short period of time beside some educators whom I would not have allowed to have walked my dog around the block had I had one.

In my opinion and from observation, the one thing that has been most damaging to those in the field of Education is the depth or extremes to which many went in an effort to cover up the problems in education; some of which were tied to job performance and some due to job protection and security. 

Even though many educators are to blame for certain actions, other sectors must accept some blame for failure to take responsibility and/or proper action(s) as well. I will now briefly list six (6) problems in Education applicable to Educators.
1.      Here we go round in circles- a short while ago, the media had a field day with a school system whose teachers were responsible for having tampered with students’ tests; sadly, this is nothing new. If the media’s information is correct, this is the same school system during the latter 1980’s or early 1990’s who had a retired military official take the helm as its School Superintendent. In an effort to accurately determine student performance, the superintendent had students’ tests placed under lock and key and monitors inside and outside the classrooms each day during the testing period. When the results came back, let me just say, it was one school board meeting I will not forget; the superintendent rebuked the school system and teachers publicly. The results- The School Superintendent lost his job. Sadly, such is pretty much how we operate; society punishes the person who does the right thing. The media, school system and city quietly buried the incident and now, over twenty years later you expect people to get excited over a situation that should have been handled differently over twenty years, ago.
2.      The loss of some of the best teachers- I watched one of the best Science Teachers in the field of Education quit; she was not allowed to do her job and was not interested in the game of politics inside the school.
3.      The various ways we learn are ever-changing, yet, too many Educators- teachers are not open to changes, which impede students’ academic growth and ability to be competitive. Let me give you an example: In the early 1990s, computers arrived in the schools for the general student population and produced much excitement. However, computers sat for months because most teachers refused to use them; they did not have the necessary skills and according to many, it was not in their job description to learn. The school’s budget did not allot for a computer specialist. To curtail a long story, by the time students were allowed to turn on the computers and/or fumble with them, they had lost interest. Let me be clear; this is not an endorsement to hop on every educational bandwagon that emerges or comes along; such can be just as damaging as doing nothing when change is imminent. 
4.      What our schools are actually filled with are too many immature, petty-minded, and vindictive educators. What we fail to see or choose to ignore is the harm to student(s), as well as these individuals’ negative influence upon the remaining faculty and school environment.
5.      The chief administrator of the local school, usually the Principal, sets the tone for the school. Job promotions for principals can and often include an increase in pay and oversight of students at a higher educational level. Some administrators function very well at one level, but when promoted and transferred to a higher level simply do not function well.
6.      Concerned about the academic performance level of students in general, I visited the State Department of Education and met with one of its chief officials. His parting advice was and according to him, a need to return to the basics in education. It was disheartening to hear, but years later, his advice and logic attest to the fact. Many students have and continue to pass through our schools, but cannot read or write, have graduated, but not prepared for the future. It does indeed appear that we need to return to the basics or rudiments of Education.

In the 1980s, Educators informed the public at large that they could not along with teaching students handle the additional and undue responsibility of raising students; they allowed themselves to be silenced and ignored. Instead of standing firm, many caved in and sold out, not only losing their credibility, but the public’s respect for the field of Education in general. Now that the fa├žade is continually being ripped away and some educators’ and/or their authority continually being removed or replaced, they have no bargaining chips. Your stake or role in Education, the most clearly defined of all sectors involved was and continues to be - educate and prepare students academically for the future. You should have stood your ground and remained steadfast; you were the experts in your field- “Educators, not babysitters.”

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author
Parents Taking Charge in Education at http://mrsdbarron.blogspot.com
E-mail: barron.Dorothy@yahoo.com