“We believe that parents are critical for how well children perform in school, just not in the conventional ways that our society has been promoting. The essential ingredient is for parents to communicate the value of schooling, a message that parents should be sending early in their children’s lives and that needs to be reinforced over time. But this message does not need to be communicated through conventional behavior, like attending PTA meetings or checking in with teachers.
…Conventional wisdom holds that since there is no harm in having an involved parent, why shouldn’t we suggest as many ways as possible for parents to participate in school? This conventional wisdom is flawed. Schools should move away from giving the blanket message to parents that they need to be more involved and begin to focus instead on helping parents find specific, creative ways to communicate the value of schooling, tailored to a child’s age.”
Reading this article, by Keith Robinson and Angel L. Harris, I strongly agreed with what their research, and motivation for their research found, and, yet something feels weird about saying “STOP being involved!!” Why? Because there are so many parents who really aren’t there. There are parents from different all socioeconomic backgrounds who don’t take the time from their lives to see what’s up with their kids. So this article, that I agree very strongly with, also feels slightly dangerous for the parents who will simply skim through and feel justified that they are doing the right thing by stepping away, because when it comes to the President’s initiative for programs like “Race to the Top” what I think he, and other programs like it are trying to do is simply point out that parents involvement does matter. They are trying to reach out to a group with generations of subpar, or just simply lacking of any parental role-models, and say “you actually do have an effect on your child’s future.”
So, for the parents who are already doing things like attending every PTA meeting, or doing their child’s homework for them, or simply sitting idly by while they do homework, you can stop, not just for them but for you. But for the wider range of parents who aren’t talking, and who never sit by their kids, being encouraged to do a little of that isn’t a bad thing. The “overachieving” parents should take a tip from the underachievers, and vice versa.