Friday, January 21, 2011

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

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