Barge: Parental involvement is key to student success

School chief John Barge

School chief John Barge

In honor of National Parent Involvement Day today, state school Superintendent John Barge sent out this letter to Georgia parents:

November is Parent Engagement Month in Georgia and schools all across the state are working to bring awareness to the role parents play in their children’s education. It is a time for all parents to consider how they can get more involved in the education of their children regardless of the grade level. Today, though, is a special day within the month that I believe most educators are eager to recognize. It’s National Parent Involvement Day.

When it comes to parent engagement, the research is clear, when schools, families, and communities support each other, students of all backgrounds and ability levels achieve at higher levels.

As the father of a teenage daughter in high school, I know how challenging it can be to stay engaged in the lives of your children. Life is demanding and there is almost never enough time to get everything done, but being involved in your child’s education is arguably the most important role a parent plays.

On National Parent Involvement Day, it is important that parents play their part in this partnership by reflecting on whether they are doing all they can to support their child. Anyone can be an involved parent by just showing up, but I challenge each parent to become more engaged in the process by asking the right questions, getting the facts, and getting more connected with their child’s education. To assist parent’s in the process, the Georgia Department of Education provides resources for parents and schools to encourage and maintain parent engagement.

One of the resources developed this year is a new parent engagement month calendar that provides specific ways parents can Get the facts…get connected…GET INVOLVED! While it was designed to be used in the month of November, parents will also find useful ways to engage in meaningful conversations and positive interactions with their child throughout the year.

To access an electronic copy of the calendar or to learn of other parent engagement resources provided by the Georgia Department of Education, please contact our Parent Engagement office at 404-656-2633 or visit our website.

On behalf of our schools and school systems, I want to thank all of the parents and families who have taken on the full-time job of being engaged in their child’s education. Throughout this month, I hope you have taken time to become more engaged in your child’s education, but please do not stop there. When November is over, continue with those engaging activities. With actively engaged parents and families, my vision of Making Education Work for All Georgians will become a reality!

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

69 comments Add your comment

Former Teacher

November 17th, 2011
6:18 am

Really? We need to remind parents to do this?
The middle of November is kind of late to be telling us about a month-long calendar.
We have a department at the state level (although it is just two people) working on this year round?
Interesting.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 17th, 2011
6:20 am

Parents and other stakeholders,

Visit, volunteer in and mentor in your schools as if your kids’ future depended upon it. It does. And so does yours.

ScienceTeacher671

November 17th, 2011
6:22 am

Love the sentiment, but did anyone proofread it first?

*sigh*

ScienceTeacher671

November 17th, 2011
6:22 am

Not to mention, how will the uninvolved parents even see this?

Jezel

November 17th, 2011
6:28 am

Science Teacher….that is what Smiley Faces are for. It is a novel idea…just ask Maureen.

oraliarenda

November 17th, 2011
6:36 am

That’ what High Speed Universities is all about, to further the education of students. They need more than a high school degree today, they need at least 2 years of college, preferrably 4, and then we’re going to work with communities so they can grow economically and create more jobs for our young people

Jack

November 17th, 2011
6:59 am

I’d say that Barge has a good, firm grip on the obvious.

MiltonMan

November 17th, 2011
7:13 am

Good job preaching to the choir there John. Why do you not take your message to where it really needs to be heard – the streets, the inner-cities, etc?

I used to volunteer in inner-city schools but gave up after 2-3 years due to no parents being seen in the school, lack of interest by the students and teachers who were more concerned about making sure they were drawing a check.

Involved Parent

November 17th, 2011
7:21 am

How is this being sent to parents? My children attend two different public schools in Cobb County and haven’t seen it yet.

MiltonMan

November 17th, 2011
7:22 am

John has a background in English/Journalism and is in charge for leading the education effort in this state???

We keep hearing the need for more scientists & engineers (even though they are being laid-off here in the US, China is producing 10x more of them than the US, etc., etc.) and we keep running our education system with people who have “paid their dues” in the broken system and get promoted within the system???

How about a half-hearted effort from politicians to get new blood into the system???

philosopher

November 17th, 2011
7:23 am

I absolutely agree that parental involvement in a child’s education is crucial. But the notion of a “partnership” with public school teachers is laughable. Teachers keep parents at arms length and control any involvement parents may have…which is mostly just fund raising. Input is NEVER requested and is subtly discouraged.

@ MiltonMan

November 17th, 2011
7:33 am

Well Milton man you can always volunteer in south Georgia and/or the Georgia Mountains. They, too, need help. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of the same things.

Buzz144

November 17th, 2011
7:45 am

The best way parents can be involved is to vote for school vouchers. That way we can send our kids to good schools and the bad schools will wither and die. Right now we have no choice but to send our kids to bad schools or pay for our kids education twice.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

November 17th, 2011
7:46 am

Impressive! No doubt Mr Barge knows of what he speaks, deserves a pay increase and a nice bottle of scotch!

Keep up the good work Mr Barge! We all appreciate you insights.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

November 17th, 2011
7:47 am

“pay for our kids education twice.”

Kinda like the private school parents are already doing.

what's best for kids???

November 17th, 2011
7:50 am

First three pararaphs have a run on sentence and a comma splice. That, and another error will get you a bad grade in most high school English classes.
YIKES!

Truth in Moderation

November 17th, 2011
7:51 am

Where is the recognition for home schooling parents? We are the ultimate “engaged” parents! Home schooling parents are providing an excellent education for their children AT NO COST TO THE TAX PAYERS! Even if you don’t home school, your wallet benefits. Home schooling gives parents options when public schools just aren’t a good fit for their child, offering a free market education. Monopolies are never a good idea, even if it is a government funded school.
“Get the facts…get connected…GET INVOLVED!” Visit our website:
http://www.ghea.org/

Lee

November 17th, 2011
8:08 am

Let’s see, teachers come onto this blog and complain about non-involvement by parents. School chief writes letter promoting more parental involvement. Teachers come onto this blog and bash the school chief.

Anybody else see the problem here?

Nativebird

November 17th, 2011
8:13 am

More Lip-service from a bureaucratic tool. Example? Cherokee County high schools have a policy that does NOT allow a student to have a graded test taken home, or EVEN provided to a parent to take home so that both can LEARN what mistakes the student made on the test.
“Cheater’s” they say is the reason, because, get this….they don’t change the test questions from year to year. Soooo, Mr. Parent Involvement is the key to success…..Why does the school system put Managing to cheaters and Cost of reprinting Tests ABOVE the actual learning of motivated students and INVOLVED parents? Like so many backwards-logic entities that can’t see forests for trees, why are you making it more difficult for the very best customer’s that you have? Answer: Because in reality, it’s about Mr. Barge and his bureaucrats..uh…er…”teachers”; not about the student’s education.

dc

November 17th, 2011
8:17 am

No doubt parental involvement can be very important…..but there are some parents who can’t/won’t get involved. Is there anything the schools can do for the child who is naturally gifted (academically) but doesn’t have that parental/family support?

philosopher

November 17th, 2011
8:19 am

@Nativebird: i agree- it is infuriating that kids cannot get tests back. I always thought a test was not JUST to test what the child learned, but to help the child see what they still needed to work on. Scantron tests make life easy for teachers but are useless to students and parents! But…we will still be bashed…either because we complained about the tests…or because we didn’t help our child with the material he/she didn’t get.

HS Public Teacher

November 17th, 2011
8:36 am

Dr. NO,

Again, you are wrong. Parents that send their child(ren) to private school do not pay twice.

EVERYONE pays into public education. The private school parent CHOOSES to pay for the private school bill.

EVERYONE pays into public education. Even adults with no children at all.

So, if you want to believe that private school parents do pay twice, then what are the adults with no children paying for??????

Inman Park Boy

November 17th, 2011
8:37 am

If ver anyone spoke the obvious…. Parents are not only “important” to a child’s education success, they are the PRIMARY teachers of their chidlren and as such muist assert that role in dealing with schools, especially poor performing schools. Parents who say “tlet the school do it” are derelict in their duty to their children.

duh

November 17th, 2011
8:39 am

Pick up bat. Insert DEAD HORSE. BEAT.

grifter

November 17th, 2011
8:40 am

I’m sick of hearing the DOE say that parents are the problem. Why don’t you concentrate on something you ARE in control of rather than constantly pointing the finger at something you’re not in control of (oh wait, I guess that is the point). You and the DOE need to be responsible for raising test scores, attendance, and lowering dropouts WITHOUT worrying about what parents do or don’t do. Otherwise why do we need a Department??

carlosgvv

November 17th, 2011
8:41 am

We’ve know for many years now that parental involvement is one of the major keys to student success. We’ve also known, for many years now, that the majority of Atlanta parents will never get involved in their children’s education. So, you might as well stop dreaming and learn to face cold hard reality.

HS Public Teacher

November 17th, 2011
8:48 am

@grifter -

It is because the parents contribution is the #1 factor in student success. And, regardless of the improvement in other factors, if this one is not there, then the odds of students succeeding decrease significantly.

These other factors and being addressed. However, without proper parental involvment, they mean nothing.

Get it?

Responsibility

November 17th, 2011
9:08 am

@science teacher671 and @ grifter….he is correct, if you children don’t believe you as a parent are invested in their education, they likelihood of them decreasing their interest greatly increases. It should make parents that are not involved, irresponsible. Just a you may feel its important for you to go to work and put meals on the table, it is also important for you to be responsible and reinforce the learning happening at school and educate your own child. I don’t agree with very much that happens in the government school system or that comes from the legislators, however, this time one is correct.

Responsibility

November 17th, 2011
9:13 am

@HS Teacher…glad I don’t have you for a high school teacher. Simple, the parents with no children are paying once. Whether they use the service or not everyone pays once, then many of us elect to pay twice, because just as this topic illustrates, when understand the value of education and fully invest in our children and not “stuff.”

V for Vendetta

November 17th, 2011
9:14 am

Instead of complaining about parent involvement, just give teachers and schools the power to actually fail students who need to be failed–no more social promotion and no more compulsory attendence. If mommy and daddy have to deal with junior day in and day out, perhaps they’ll take his or her education more seriously.

Of course, I’m sure many people would argue that junior would end up and jail and we’ll pay more for him in jail than we do in school. Have you SEEN how much we spend per student per year? Others would argue that it might lead to more class warfare. Warfare between who? Educated people and morons? Those willing to work and those willing to do nothing? How will anyone ever learn personal responsibility when there’s always a safety net? Remove the net. Let people fail.

AlreadySheared

November 17th, 2011
9:25 am

It is important to have Parent Engagement Month and National Parent Involvement Day.

Otherwise, schools and teachers would miss out on another area in which they need to improve.

mystery poster

November 17th, 2011
9:40 am

Parent engagement month?
Does that mean they’re getting married??
:-)

teacher&mom

November 17th, 2011
9:49 am

Just having someone who insists on good grades, is willing to discipline for failing grades or misbehavior, reinforces respect for adults, and isn’t afraid to have their teenager “upset” with them for having high expectations is all that is needed.

Volunteering, school visits, etc. are appreciated. However, at the high school level, just give me a parent who is “involved” at home, willing to do the above, and stick with it through the rough spots.

philosopher

November 17th, 2011
9:53 am

yeah, God forbid a parent should be so involved as to request that his/her child not be be assigned 3 projects due at the same time, or to not have a major project over the school break. Or ask anything, at all, for that matter…just send in the money, show up for fund raisers and field trips, and send in supplies. A real partnership.

Truth in Moderation

November 17th, 2011
10:00 am

Here’s the story of the original home school pioneers of the 70’s.

“My Parents Were Home-Schooling Anarchists”

Tired of the constraints of the 40-hour workweek, my father, in 1972, quit his job in publishing. My parents were in their early 30s, and they had four children under 7. “But we still wanted to explore the world,” my father recalled recently. They bought six one-way tickets to Europe, leaving only a laughable $3,000 to subsist on. Young and idealistic, they thought they could easily educate us along the way. “Life itself would become a portable classroom.”For the next four years, my parents embarked on an uncharted “free-form existence.” We traipsed to Nerja, Spain; Dorset, England; a Midwestern farm; and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, before settling in St. Louis. My father worked on his novel. The task of teaching the children — Mary, James, John and me — fell to my mother.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/magazine/my-parents-were-home-schooling-anarchists.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all
A GREAT READ!

V for Vendetta

November 17th, 2011
10:00 am

philosopher,

Three projects at once? A project over the break? Heaven forbid they learn responsibility and multitasking! I would hate to think that they might have some work to do over the break! (I’ll be spending mine grading essays.) Is there anything else you’d like for them NOT to do?

Really amazed

November 17th, 2011
10:01 am

Where does Dr. Barge’s daughter attend high school?

philosopher

November 17th, 2011
10:17 am

Yes- homework from arrival home at 4:30 p.m. until dropping into bed at 11p.m. I’d bet a year’s salary that you get some down time in the evening. And you get time off. What child does not need an occasional day off. Please don’t tell me that YOU never get one- I have 3 sisters who are teachers, good ones (all have earned Teacher of the Year at some point in their careers) and I KNOW what they do. Besides, when thay dumped this unbalanced schedule on us, the promise was that the week breaks weren’t just for the teachers-we were promised that the kids would not have work during the break.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

November 17th, 2011
10:19 am

“EVERYONE pays into public education. The private school parent CHOOSES to pay for the private school bill.”

Splitting hairs again I see.
Glad you didnt teach my children.

another comment

November 17th, 2011
10:59 am

I don’t think this Edmoto or what ever it is called where the teachers put the grades in. And the parents are suppose to follow and know how there students are doing promotes involvement at all. It is a big pain to use. All it does is give teachers a big pass on picking up the phone and calling the phone and calling me the parent. Or sending me an e-mail. It is very parent unfriendly. I don’t even get to set my user name or password. How on earth am I suppose to remember it. In Fulton, they don’t even send out e-mails that update have been put in, so how do I know when to look. At least in Cobb’s version I got and e-mail that my childs grade was below what ever I set for notification, which I set at 99.

A lot of this Technology takes away from parents. Now I am in the 33% that does not get free lunch and in the 55% that speaks English. What about the 67% who get Free lunch do those parents have a computer to check Edmoto? I doubt it. How about the 45% that doen’t speak English they are really up the creek. At the ER last night, the triage couldn’t understand if the father was trying to say a 10 month old baby got hurt falling out of a crib or if the 10 month old was sick. I asked if my 6th grader could help with the tanslation while, they looked for a translator. She at least knew the words in Spanish for Accident, fall, and sick. No the Hispanics parents can not use EDModo are these EDucrates nuts. If the American parents with Master degrees not receiving free lunch find in user unfriendly then what really. What is the problem with sending and e-mail, sending a note, letter, a phone call.

catlady

November 17th, 2011
11:23 am

I’d be thrilled if more parents were involved with their children AT HOME, rather than letting them grow up feral.

I love having parents in my classroom–always have. I admit that some of my fellow teachers don’t feel the same way. I guess they have had less experience with, or more bad experience with, parents than I have in the almost 40 years.

Teacher Reader

November 17th, 2011
11:29 am

@ V for Vendetta, You’ve got it right. There have always been parents who have not been involved. However, schools held students to higher standards, held students back when they weren’t ready for the next grade, and didn’t inflate grades. These things happen constantly now in public education. A school can’t change what happens in a home or what parents will and will not do, but they can change what they do, stop inflating grades, and make students responsible for their grades and actions.

V for Vendetta

November 17th, 2011
11:43 am

philosopher,

A bit of hyperbole? If not, I’d question the teaching practices of the school, too. 4:30-11 is a ridiculous amount of time–regardless of the student’s level. However, I still think expecting a student to be free from work over a break is a bit silly. Do I have some down time? Sure. In between planning, grading, and coaching, I have some time to myself. But that’s true of any profession. You manage your time wisely in order to have free time when you want it.

HS Public Teacher

November 17th, 2011
11:44 am

@Responsibility – Then you must think that everything is as it should be, then, right?

And by the way, I am just as happy that I did not have YOU for a student!

HS Public Teacher

November 17th, 2011
11:59 am

@Dr. NO….

You call something that you cannot see “splitting hairs?” It is a major point that you seem to either ignore or gloss over.

Also, I am just as happy that I did NOT teach your children!

V for Vendetta

November 17th, 2011
12:15 pm

another comment,

Yeah, we wouldn’t want parents to keep up with their own kids via the computer–that nefarious and confounding instrument. They are SO hard to use!

Once Again

November 17th, 2011
1:09 pm

Of course parental involvement is the key to success. But why should a parent get involved? I mean it is not as though they are paying for the education of their kids in any serious or significant way. Face it, parents only pay about 10% of the cost or for many, even less. They have no say in curriculum, they have no say if the school is shut down or district lines are changed or if the teacher sucks. They cannot take the pathetically small amount they pay and go somewhere else. Face it. Government raises the kids that are dumped on the government system, not the parents, and most are very happy with that situation.

Now where do you consistently see a HIGH level of parental involvement in their kids education?? Private and homeschools of course. When parents pay, parents care. When parents pay, parents have control. When parents pay, schools are responsive to the needs of the parents and the children and provide good service. When government is in charge and politicians and bureaucrats run everything, everyone loses and parents don’t care.

The solution is simple. Government schools must go and the private sector must be allowed to do the great job that they will. Parents MUST have their responsibility restored. If communities wish to band together to make education a more community thing rather than completely private, that’s fine, but the participation must be voluntary or everyone loses. Charity schools, scholarships, parent partnerships, subdivision schools, etc. all need to play a role, but first and foremost, the parents MUST be responsible for the decisions and the ultimate outcome.

Anything else is just window dressing on the failure of government education.

Former APS Science Teacher

November 17th, 2011
1:43 pm

@Once Again, you ask: why should parents get involved? That answer is simple, because it’s your child. Regardless of what happens next door, down the street, or across town, I have a responsibility to take care of my household.

And believe or not parents have a lot of power. They can vote and must choose to do so in order to ensure that their needs are met. If you don’t like the way things are going, vote. Parents can vote for the board of education, they can voice their opinions at meetings, etc. If all else fails, vote with your feet!

I think it’s great when parents are active, however not all parents are and there are destined to be winners and losers. If

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 17th, 2011
2:17 pm

What are schools doing to reach out to parents? Letters home with Johnny don’t count.

And a corollary: What are schools doing to reach out to businesses for help? Business partnerships don’t make the grade here. Businesses’ real help lies in their expertise, time and energy- not their money.

Henry County seems light-years ahead of the rest of the state in securing business participation in its schools.

And, from a cynical perspective: Many schools and school systems don’t want parental involvement or business involvement. Such folks need an attitude adjustment. wouldn’t you think?

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

November 17th, 2011
2:58 pm

I not gonna argue the point.

“EVERYONE pays into public education. Even adults with no children at all.”

So there is the first payment. The second is paid by parents who send their children to private school. See 1 payment (automatic) + 1 payment (voluntary) = 2 payments.

Geesh. Your students are in big time trouble…