A group called the National Coalition for Accountable Parenting is focused on encouraging a national discussion about the roles that parents take when it comes to their children’s grades. It goes one step further to call for an action plan that would literally hold parents responsible for the grades of students that are not passing, or not completing work in a timely manner. They believe that parents should be taking responsibility for their child’s grades, and that no one teacher or school administration should be blamed for what is seen as a lack of discipline and educational morale at home.
With the introduction of the No Child Left behind laws that are now, being phased out by public schools, many educators and school administrators question why all parties in the educational process from administration to teachers and students are being held accountable for children passing school, EXCEPT for the parents. At the same time, teachers and school systems not only value the role of parents on the educational system, but also see many parents waving a white flag when it comes to their child’s school progress. Parents show up to teacher conferences concerned about less than desirable grades, with the readiness to wag a shameful finger at the school systems for not holding up their end of the bargain. But is it really a teachers fault? Who pray tell has the most direct influence over children? Wouldn’t that be the parents, and the environment in which they are raised?
The problem is that research from nearly every facet of education shows that one of the best indicators of a child progress and success in school comes from their home life. If a child lives in a home where education is valued and where parents are involved in the educational process, the students hands down, perform better. This seems to lead to the truth that if a child lives in a home where education is not valued, no matter how hard school systems and teachers work – the child is at risk for failing. In fact, research from the US Department of Education indicates that most kids who drop out of high school do not have healthy home lives with little to no value put on the educational process.
So who is to blame when a child doesn’t do well in school? Is the easy way out to simply blame the teacher for not teaching their child well enough? Is it the students fault for not doing what they are supposed to do? Or does much of the responsibility lie on the influences of the home?
One marker that indicates a lack of academic success is inherently linked to a child’s attendance. Attendance is directly linked to parents. The National Coalition of for Accountable Parenting, as reported in The Washington Post, feels that parents who do not get their kids to school on time, or at all – should be criminally punished and fined for their lack of being responsible. After all, when it comes to children that are not able to drive, the responsibility to make sure children go to school lies on the parents. And many parents quite frankly, do not care if there child goes to school or not. Each absence, each lesson lost for an unexcused absence, sends a struggling child even further behind. And the responsibility of the teachers should not lie with the needs of one child when they have a classroom full of students who do show up for class, and who complete the assigned work. Remember, teachers have large curriculums to which they must complete in the course of a year, and extensive absences make it impossible for them to waste precious class time to catch up one student.
In several US States such as California and Alaska, parents are fined up to $500 for 5 or more unexcused absences. And many school systems across North America are thinking about similar actions to try and put an end to lackadaisical parenting when it comes to education.
Other initiatives have been aimed at not punishing parents who are failing their children academically, but rewarding the parents of successful children with tax breaks. The hope is that the incentives for a child to perform well in school would be heightened from the parental standpoint, so that more and more parents would feel compelled to jump on board.
Unfortunately, the non-valuation of education is a learnt behavior. Statistics show that parents who did not graduate high school themselves are 9 times as likely to have a child that also doesn’t graduate high school. Reeducating these families through the department of family and children services, and including punishment or fines for families that do not conform to standards is one way that school systems are looking to redefine academic accountability.
Let’s face it. If you have children and they come home with homework, it is completely the responsibility of the parents in the home to make sure that it gets done. Teaching healthy study habits, and instilling a deep appreciation for learning, and teaching kids to be self sufficient and responsible students is something that is learnt in the home. Regardless of what a child is capable of in the classroom under the direction of teaching staff, these lessons need to be reinforced at home as well.