No surprise to posters here: Parents have big influence on student success

Given the focus on parents by posters on the blog, it’s no surprise that many of you sent me the Thomas Friedman column from The New York Times on the importance of parents in a child’s educational trajectory.

In the piece, Friedman concludes, “But let’s stop putting the whole burden on teachers. We also need better parents.”

No one would disagree, although the challenge remains the students whose parents don’t read to them or monitor their homework or ask them about school.

Can we afford to write those students off?

Here is an excerpt from the Friedman column, but please try to read the entire piece  on why involved parents matter:

Every three years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or O.E.C.D., conducts exams as part of the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, which tests 15-year-olds in the world’s leading industrialized nations on their reading comprehension and ability to use what they’ve learned in math and science to solve real problems — the most important skills for succeeding in college and life. America’s 15-year-olds have not been distinguishing themselves in the PISA exams compared with students in Singapore, Finland and Shanghai.

To better understand why some students thrive taking the PISA tests and others do not, Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the exams for the O.E.C.D., was encouraged by the O.E.C.D. countries to look beyond the classrooms. So starting with four countries in 2006, and then adding 14 more in 2009, the PISA team went to the parents of 5,000 students and interviewed them “about how they raised their kids and then compared that with the test results” for each of those years, Schleicher explained to me. Two weeks ago, the PISA team published the three main findings of its study:

“Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family’s socioeconomic background. Parents’ engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance in PISA.”

Schleicher explained to me that “just asking your child how was their school day and showing genuine interest in the learning that they are doing can have the same impact as hours of private tutoring. It is something every parent can do, no matter what their education level or social background.”

Yes, students from more well-to-do households are more likely to have more involved parents. “However,” the PISA team found, “even when comparing students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds, those students whose parents regularly read books to them when they were in the first year of primary school score 14 points higher, on average, than students whose parents did not.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

104 comments Add your comment

Tony

November 21st, 2011
10:35 am

Now the question, “What will we do with this information?”

As politicians and business leaders continue to explore more teacher evaluation and performance pay options, there distractions will allow even more students to slide out of our classrooms without learning. It’s time to talk about ways to address all the factors that affect students’ leanring: poverty, health care, home environments, and schools. More fingerpointing at teachers and schools will not change the most basic needs these children have.

Tony

November 21st, 2011
10:35 am

oops – “there distractions” should be “their distractions”.

Joy In Teaching

November 21st, 2011
10:44 am

I went into teaching because I wanted to help kids be successful.

Now over 20 years later, I’ve decided that not all kids can be successful due to many factors that are far beyond my control.

When you have a middle school student sitting in your classroom who proclaims loudly to the entire class, “I don’t need this class. I am quitting school when I get 16 and when I’m 18, I’ll be in prison,” it is disheartening. At that point, my primary goal is to protect my other students from the mindset of this thug and get him the he** out of there.

There is a point to where schools, teachers, and the taxpayer need to fish or cut bait.

Muchado!!

November 21st, 2011
10:56 am

People “write those students off” all the time. Especially the psuedo-liberal do-gooders who vote with their feet every time they think a neigborhood or school is on tne verge of changing ethnically. Despite their liberal rhetoric, they are as bad as racial segregation. Are these middle and lower income white-flighters running from the teaching at these schools? HELL NO! They are fleeing what is in their perception the onslaught of a antieducational subculture the may compromise the vslue and quality of their children’s education. A subculture of single parent homes, teenage pregnancy, drugs, gangs, negligent or latch-ket parenting,etc.,etc.,etc. Teacher’s have litte control over the primary factor (study after study is proof)associated with acedemmic sucesses: socioeconomic status. Teachers are easy target for liberal do-gooder without the sincerity or the spine to tell some members of these communities to stop willy nilly having sex and consequently having childern at whim. They should be derided for not emphazing education in their homes. And yes, maybe they should told take note of the work ethic that many asian and other foreign student have regarding education. Anyway, stop laying every sociatel ill at the feet of teachers who struggle in these communities everyday.

muchado!!

November 21st, 2011
11:00 am

Sorry for the typos. Left out a few words, but you get my meaning.

William Casey

November 21st, 2011
11:03 am

America pays a high price for the freedom to reproduce.

carlosgvv

November 21st, 2011
11:08 am

It is true parents have a big influence of student’s success. It’s also true this will continue to be a major problem in the Atlanta area for the foreseeable future.

Nikole

November 21st, 2011
11:10 am

No, we can’t afford to write off the students with bad parents, but how about we stop BLAMING teachers when these students don’t succeed. Also, we need to require parental participation for parents receiving aid from the state and federal governments. These parents must keep working phone numbers (the feds give out free cell phones), attend a minimum of 2 conferences, ensure their student’s have good behavior in class and complete homework. I could go on, but you get my point. If the parent does not comply, the school social worker would send the state notice and the parent would be in jeopardy of losing their housing, food stamps and kids!

HS Public Teacher

November 21st, 2011
11:11 am

Can “we write off these students?” The real question here should be who is the “we”????

Is our society in charge of the children or are parents in charge of their own children? Are we taking the “village” approach or not?

The current problem is that now it is unclear and muddy. Some local areas have much better parenting than others. This means that those local schools can focus on the content and the students fair much better on the standardized tests.

The area with “poor” parenting have schools that spend large amounts of time on student behavior and therefore have less time on content. These schools lag in student performance on standardized tests.

Until we, as a State and Country, decide what our society will be, we’ll be stuck in the mud.

HS Public Teacher

November 21st, 2011
11:13 am

@Nikole – Really?

Even if you have slacker parents not doing those things that you mention, you want to take away the food and housing? Don’t you realize that this will only penalize that child even more???

playdates

November 21st, 2011
11:15 am

each time my pre-k kids have their buddies over for a playdate – i’m sure to read them all a story or two. it may be the only reading some of these kids get the entire week!

David Granger

November 21st, 2011
11:16 am

The tremendous influence parents have on a student’s success is proven by the facts that:
1. No matter how poor a school system may be…no matter how run down its facilities or how old its buildings or how barren its classrooms…there are always some students who do well, graduate, and then go and do well in college…becoming successful in their careers; and
2. No matter how wealthy a school system may be…no matter how modern its facilities or how new its buildings or how high-tech its classrooms…there are always some students who do NOT do well, despite how naturally brilliant they might be.

Former Teacher

November 21st, 2011
11:19 am

(Following Mr. Casey’s comment above) I encourage you to watch the first three minutes of “Idiocracy” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXRjmyJFzrU. It pretty much explains our current situation and points towards a scary future. Beware, the language is a bit rough, but the ideas are right on point. It is a comedy,but I find it frightenly accurate.

Nikole

November 21st, 2011
11:33 am

@ HS Public Teacher- Their kids will be taken as well. If the government has to give you $8 rent and $500 in food stamps, you can’t afford the kids you have.

Shar

November 21st, 2011
11:45 am

I sent a link to this article to John Barge’s office along with a plea that the DOE consider testing the idea of parental school choice based upon their willingness to deliver their children to school on time, healthy, rested, with homework completed and prepared to behave appropriately. Additionally, schools could provide parental training, or work with existing PTAs to find ways to get parents in schools and more interested in their own children’s performance. I didn’t mention this, but there are “sticks” to use as well – loss of at least a portion of their deduction or, alternatively, their subsidies for their children as making up for parenting lack is a direct cost to taxpayers.

It’s ridiculous to spend huge amounts of money on interventions (curricular, facility, training, social service and other) without consideration of the vast parental resource, whether active, apathetic or actually hostile to their child’s education. They are receiving a huge subsidy from the taxpayer and should be held accountable for it.

lgm1955

November 21st, 2011
11:47 am

Study after study has shown parental involvement and attitudes toward learning, evidenced by reading in the home, are critical to children’s school success. This is common sense. That many parents choose not to be involved is a sad truth, and these are the same parents who will blame the schools for their children’s lack of success. This has always been true and is not news. What is worrying is how many more parents have adopted this attitude over the past 20 or so years. One generation passes on its attitudes to the next and we have been seeing the results for a long time. The culture of non-learning is now being inculcated in the young by parents who grew up the same way. American students have been given “self-esteem” boosting in school as a substitute for a learning attitude, so American students may perform weakly on int’l tests yet score highest on feeling good about themselves as learners. There is a very real disconnect at play in this. Self-esteem is built on accomplishing something, mastering the material, achieving. We are going about it backwards so we have kids who are proud of weak performance, not knowing any better. And the public as a whole often knows no better as well. It is no miracle that many immigrant students perform the highest in our schools. They work hard and their parents work hard at making them successful in school. Common sense.

2nd career teacher

November 21st, 2011
11:47 am

What amazes me is that we even have to have this conversation. Yes, common sense is absent from the political discussion of education improvement. Yes, it is much easier to blame the teacher than to admit our society has significant moral decline over the last few decades. Or that so many parents really do not know their children or their capabilities and blame the teacher when the child doesn’t do his/her work or brings home a bad grade. Bill Gates how are you going to fix this inattention to our nation’s children? It’s not economic as much as it is lack of personal responsibility and poor attitude.

2nd career teacher

November 21st, 2011
12:03 pm

The interesting thing though is that parents truly love their children, but yet they cannot figure out that holding the child accountable for their own learning is really the best way for the child to take ownership and learn. Parents are either afraid for their child or personally insulted when their child pulls out a bad grade. They don’t see it as a learning experience and a motivator for the child. “Feel good grades” do not exist in the real world. Too many young people are kicked off their butts by the demands placed upon them by true academic colleges. Too many young people do not demonstrate the work ethic required for success in work because they have not had to apply themselves. Also so many students are not taught to respect adults. Just look at their TV shows. These are all problems of our society, not just practices of teachers. Sure, its like anywhere. Bad teachers there are, but most are good.

oneofeach4me

November 21st, 2011
12:12 pm

Here is the thing; I put so much in to my kids and have since they were conceived (read to them while I was pregnant). I volunteer in their classrooms, volunteer to be co-room parent, read to them, work with them on their homework and make myself available for their teachers should they need to contact me. I do things with them on the weekends, limit TV time, get them involved in household chores, ect. I do all the things that all the books and most posters on here say are the things that parents of successful students do. My daughter struggled her first 3 years in school just adjusting and my son, who is in kindergarten is going through the same thing. On the contrary, my sister, who does nothing with her son, doesn’t read to him, puts his homework in front of him and tells him to do it, plops him in front of the TV and hands him off to his grandma’s boyfriend every weekend has the most well behaved and bright student in the kindergarten teacher’s class. WTH is going on here? It makes me a little jealous…. maybe I should just stop giving a darn!

HS Public Teacher

November 21st, 2011
12:18 pm

@oneofeach4me -

You do have a point. I feel that sometimes (and it does depend on the people involved) a parent can do too much. A bright kid realizes that the less they do, the more the parent will do. So, the kid just does minimal.

In this case, it is wise for the parent to back off a bit. You still need to tell the child that they MUST do their best and that failure is not an option – however THEY must earn it (not you).

Shar

November 21st, 2011
12:19 pm

@2nd career teacher, while personal responsibility and poor attitude play a significant part, so do policy and economics. It is the new norm for there to be no adult at home during the day, whether with both parents working or a single parent at work. This translates to more custodial day care with little to no individual attention given to the child, to more unsupervised and unstructured time, to greater demands on the time spent in the home to accomplish basic chores and less parent-child time. This is an enormous societal change into which we have leaped wholesale, assuming the strides for working women outweigh the disruption to homes and children. Society’s contempt for “only a housewife” and the economy’s undermining of the middle class over the last 50 years has meant that we have shown less concern for these changes’ effect upon children than we do for fire retardancy of pyjama material.

Policy makers, meanwhile, are stuck in the 50’s paradigm of “somebody” being at home to care for children (with no political support for child care deductibility or minimum standards) and to automatically “help” with institutions like schools. Meanwhile, the needs of children keep bursting through the resources of schools as parents of last resort, and money keeps being thrown willy-nilly to plug the increasing number of holes.

We will never be able to spend enough to make up for ineffective parenting, but we can challenge policy makers to stop thinking of the constitutional guarantee of a free education as coming without strings. The state does indeed owe a free education to students, but that doesn’t mean that those same students don’t have to work for that education — or, in my opinion, that parents of those students don’t also have to work to optimize the enormous subsidy their children are receiving from taxpayers. Education administrators and legislators need to define the minimum part that parents must take in supporting their children’s education and then deliver means to assist parents in fulfilling those responsibilities – and what penalties non-compliant parents will face if they refuse to participate.

catlady

November 21st, 2011
12:28 pm

Mrs. Downey, I still don’t think you are saying it strongly enough. Parental influence may not be the SOLE determinant of student success, but it accounts for over 2/3 of the variance. Yes, SES is important. Yes, parental education (particularly maternal education level) is important. Yes, student “ability” as poorly as we measure it, is important. Farther down the line, yes, peers and schools (size, teachers, programs) have some influence. But above and beyond all, is PARENTAL investment, parental expectations and aspirations for their kids!

I am not saying teachers should not try to counteract the negatives in a kid’s life, but we have to realize that we cannot sacrifice the needs of the 75 for the needs of the 25, or whatever the ratio is in your school.

I have called for conferences with a half dozen parents over the last 4 weeks. These are conferences with parents whose children have failed the CRCT repeatedly (but never been retained). (BTW, None of the Hispanic parents stood me up, although that wasn’t true of the Anglo parents, even with the parent setting date and time.). Every one of the parents/grandparents I met with have lost control of their kids, if they ever established it. These are kids who are 8-10 years old. The kids simply don’t care about school. None of them are slow, but their parents/grandparents have not ever established THE IMPERATIVE of learning, working, showing responsibility, and the kids as a result are functioning as though they were mentally retarded (2-3 years below grade level). Think how much fun these kids will be when they are 14, or 17, or 20, probably with their own kids in tow.

One of the mamas, a lady of about 25 with 4 children by 2 different men, told me she had never given much effort to school. She quit going before she got pregnant at 14. She has no idea how to help her kids, no idea how to raise her kids, no way to make a living for her kids. She is a complete burden on society, and it is likely her kids will be, too, and their kids. What is the school’s role here? Exactly what, other than continuing to try to assist her son, can we do? Meanwhile, that is attention the other 25 don’t get. But he isn’t the only super-needy kid in the room.

I wish this were the only situation like this, but it is multiplied over and over by literally a couple of hundred times at my school.

What, exactly, are we to do?

oneofeach4me

November 21st, 2011
12:32 pm

@HS Public Teacher ~ I don’t do anything for them necessarily. I just try to support the teacher and school as much as I can to show the kids that their school and education come first. I don’t do their homework for them, ever. I really only have to help the kindergartner because all of this is new to him.

It just really is frustrating when you are doing all you can, short of actually doing it for them, and yet you still have people try to label you as an un-involved parent because your kids aren’t as well behaved or intelligent as other students in their class.

kitty

November 21st, 2011
12:33 pm

Folks. Neurons in the brain develop the most from birth to four years through stimulation — eye contact with parent/caregiver during feeding, language, touch, repetition. Sometimes it’s hard to wake up a child who grew up in a car seat in the backseat of the car, or in front of a television. (Television doesn’t cut it) It requires care, nurture, nutrition, & more! How is parenting legislated?

mountain man

November 21st, 2011
12:34 pm

Parents influence success at school – Really? I never would have thought! I thought school performance was solely the teacher’s area. Surely parents don’t have anything to do with education! Of course, we cannot blame parents (or the students) for the failure of students to show up at school, so it must be the teachers; fault. It is the teachers’ fault that students don’t do their homework, too. It is also the teachers’ fault that students come to school hungry. Fire all the teachers!

HS Public Teacher

November 21st, 2011
12:37 pm

@oneofeach4me – Couple of thoughts…

1. Sometimes a parent does everything “right” but the child will turn out the way they turn out. That’s just how it goes.

2. As long as you are setting boundaries, expectations, and then following through with consequences, then that is all you can do. You are right that your volunteering does not directly impact your student. In fact, they may view it as “hovering” around them and may not even like it. However, know that you are contributing out of the goodness of your heart and that you do have a sincere interest in helping. For that, your children are learning a valuable lesson from you!

oneofeach4me

November 21st, 2011
12:41 pm

@HS Public Teacher ~ thanks for those thoughts. They are appreciated!

Single Mom

November 21st, 2011
12:45 pm

I agree with the 2nd career teacher. I am a single mother of 4 with no family in the state. The only time I helped any of my kids with homework was when we moved here 12 years ago and my oldest had to catch up a bit. Since then their job is to go to school and do the best they can. Low grades are not acceptable, yet they have to figure out how to make it happen….not me. Success or die trying is the only choice. They all got jobs as soon as they could and some even played sports. My job was to keep a roof over thier head, buy cloz, food and cheer them on. They are extremely responsible kids who drive old cars and know NOTHING is given to you in this world. They have to earn it. Has my method worked…Heck yeah it has!

My oldest son is now getting his PhD paid for by NASA at GA Tech in engineering. My second son was Student Govt President and Budget Director at his University while working and training for a side career in comedy while in college. He now works for CNN. My third son just started college and wants at least a masters degree and my daughter in high school is in the top 5% of her class.

I’d like to say I’ve been blessed, but I just got out of the way of thier success. We parents hold back our kids either by doing too much or not encouraging them at all. If I can do it while barely scraping by any parent can.

Vouchers

November 21st, 2011
12:50 pm

@HS Public Teacher and @Nikole – Why is it that most types of Welfare in this country are given freely. The recipient only has to fill out some forms to the best of their ability, show up and make sure not to have IRS declared income. Does this make sense?
Why not require programs, schooling, accountability?

FUBU

November 21st, 2011
1:08 pm

You can’t win the “Educational Derby” riding a jackass!

IQ: “either you have a high one, or you don’t!”

Scott

November 21st, 2011
1:24 pm

“Self-esteem is built on accomplishing something, mastering the material, achieving. We are going about it backwards so we have kids who are proud of weak performance, not knowing any better.”

This is well said. Home is the biggest factor. If schools are going to help kids without positive factors (i.e. with bad parents), schools cannot afford to capitulate and coddle these parents. A rebuke is in order. Something concrete, like holding a kid back perhaps. I know that’s not the perfect solution, but the do nothing social promotion approach sure isn’t working.

dekalbed

November 21st, 2011
1:25 pm

Maureen,

No, we can’t afford to write these kids off. But that is exactly what the federal government and many public school systems have done. According to the most recent New York Times article about HeadStart programs, there is little to no improvement for students enrolled in these programs because-like most public school initiatives-there is little oversight or overhaul.

These disadvantaged students enter elementary school lagging behind their peers who come from the very households Friedman cites. What does the public school system do this time? Collect more money, often Title 1 funds, to employ more administrators and out-of-school personnel while ignoring fundamental reading instruction. Group work and projects are easier to implement in large classes and they make students look “engaged” and “learning.” Ignore CRCT scores and pretend there are other ways to assess students (those without learning disabilities) reading below grade level.

By the time these kids get to middle or high school, they’re so far behind. So now they do more group work and projects.Can’t read the story? No problem. You can draw a picture of it. Can’t divide ? Ask your classmate. He can explain it to you, or rather give you the answer, and now you’re both learning. Don’t understand how to write a sentence? That’s ok. A standard English is prejudicial anyway.

At the same time there’s no meaningful discipline system or behavioral plan (wouldn’t want to inconvenience, offend, or challenge some of the very parents unwilling to or incapable of participating in their child’s cognitive or social development).

And teaching those parents interested in learning how to help their children succeed academically and allowing students to cultivate respect and responsibility for learning would require more work for many of the “educators” who earned their way out of a classroom.

prospero

November 21st, 2011
1:35 pm

If we could somehow recreate a society in which Mom
Stays Home, it would greatly help our education
problem. But when mom started to work, prices
were inflated for the two-parents-working
situation. Conservatives, the free market
economy is sometimes not so wonderful.

Ashley

November 21st, 2011
2:26 pm

@prospero ….why does mom have to stay at home? Here’s another taught prospero why don’t women stop having babies ? Maybe that will cure all these educational woes ……of course I’m being facetious, just like your post.

Ashley

November 21st, 2011
2:27 pm

Oh!…I misspelled thought.

long time educator

November 21st, 2011
2:35 pm

@catlady,
What a great post! Because of working in public education, I have met many mamas like the one you describe and often because she is not working and hangs around with other adults who do not work, they dabble in drugs and petty theft. We should NOT be handing them money for housing and food. We already feed her school age children two meals a day. We need supervised childcare provided in an orphanage style setting where mom is allowed to sleep and eat if she helps take care of her children and follows the rules of no drugs, etc. If she chooses to reject the house rules, her children will still be fed, clothed, bathed and given a clean place to live. We should provide actual food and housing, no money at all. For adults, if you don’t work, you don’t eat. They either need to be working, training for a job, or doing some job every day that is public service. Everybody needs to get up every morning and provide some useful service, but especially those who expect the rest of us to feed and house them. The way we are doing it now is creating generations of people unwilling or unable to care for themselves. We have got to change this!

Good Mother

November 21st, 2011
2:42 pm

This topic was a topic a couple of weeks ago and more weeks ago and more….this dead and decaying horse (parent involvement) has been beat to death so often it is now rotten hamburger meat.

Surely we can have a topic that may help educators and parents?

Since parent involvement is so important (we all agree don’t we) — how about a topic from a teacher who has been successful getting parents who were not previously involved, more involved?

How about a topic from a teacher who had a student with no support — and the teacher found a method or some inspiration to teach that child?

I am a child from a neglectful home. My parents were never involved in my education. I was somehow motivated to make good grades and graduate from college — with a merit scholarship and some mentions on the Dean’s List too. I also grew up poor. I am not the only one.

So please, Maureen, focus on a topic that can be helpful for anyone, even if it is a few. This constant bashing of parents by teachers only serves to alienate the very people teachers claim they need support from — the parents. Surely, any parent reading this would shudder at all the caustic comments from teachers. Those caustic comments are no way to build a partnership — only further alienate parents.

Describe the problem, Propose a solution. Try it. Keep trying. Do something, anything, except whine.

Observer

November 21st, 2011
3:56 pm

@ Good Mother. But the parents who are the subjects of these teachers’ despairing observations are not likely to be reading an Education blog online, are they. I see these teachers’ comments as addressed to one another, trying to figure out how to deal with this very difficult factor in education. I should think that they also enlighten “good” parents so that they show a little more tolerance toward teachers.

For do you really think that catlady’s comments above at 12:28 are “whining”?

HS Public Teacher

November 21st, 2011
4:35 pm

@Vouchers -

I do feel that we should hold students accountable…. but, not through food or shelter. I am an advocate of having students pass “graduation tests” from elementary to middle to high school. This is similar to many Countries in Asia and Europe.

If the student cannot pass this required test, then the student may opt to go to a vocational school to learn a trade. This way, the student will learn a skill for a career.

Our public education dollars will be better used if they are used to have students ready for the work force rather than creating a high percentage of students not ready for college and also not ready for the world!!!

Lastly, there are already laws on the books to hold parents accountable for many things. The problem is that no school system and no local law officers want to enforce them.

www.honeyfern.org

November 21st, 2011
4:45 pm

d

November 21st, 2011
5:07 pm

Does anyone know if PISA is administered to Finnish, German, Singaporean, etc. students in a vocational track? If we are comparing American students to these, it should be an apples-to-apples comparison.

That being said, we had parent conference night at my school last week. I had a grand total of two parents come visit. One had a student who goofs off a lot in class, but still has a solid C, the other was a member of the parent council and the student has an A. The one I called and asked to please come in did not, the two who’s children are constant behavior problems did not come in. Any wonder why?

to d from Good Mother

November 21st, 2011
5:51 pm

I assume you are a teacher.

You wrote : “The one I called and asked to please come in did not, the two who’s children are constant behavior problems did not come in.”

It is WHOSE, not who’s….

Your poor writing is the same poor writing I have noticed about my child’s teacher. She has very poor grammar and writing skills. “Whose” and “Who” is and Who’s is elementary level grammar. It is such as shame you don’t know the difference.

…and I do wonder why….

to observer from Good Mother

November 21st, 2011
5:57 pm

The teachers comments that say the same thing over and again help no one. Complaining is just complaining. There are no solutions being offered here…

…and parents are listening. We parents listen to the whining and it is discouraging. We aren’t teachers trying to solve problems and issues instead of simply complaining about them on this blog?

My guess is that the forum administrator (Maureen) encourages it by spotlighting tired old topics with no solutions and tired old whines with no solutions. We need a better topic, one that encourages problem-solving and creative thinking because this tired old topic only furthers the chasm between teachers and parents.

If teachers need to vent, they need to do it in the company of other teachers — perhaps with a glass of wine or beer or to just sit in a spot for a while and comfort one another — but to get on a public blog that is supposed to be about SCHOOL and whine is very inappropriate.

GET SCHOOLED should be about parents, teachers, students, administrators — ALL who are involved and care about education, instead, the topics focus on negativity and that promotes the whining.

We need something different. We deserve something better from an institution (journalism) that usually has higher standards.

Observer

November 21st, 2011
6:11 pm

@ Good Mother, 2:42 pm. You wrote:”Describe the problem, Propose a solution.” This is a comma splice. You also wrote, “(we all agree don’t we)” and there should be a comma before “don’t we” since it is a tag-question.

In your comment at 5:51 pm, you wrote: “It is such as shame,” when obviously “as” is a comparative word, not an article. You also wrote, “the same poor writing I have noticed about my teacher.” Surely you mean, “the same type of poor writing that I have noticed from my teacher.” “From” is the wrong preposition to use here, and I doubt that blogger “d” is your teacher, as your syntax suggests.

For someone who is constantly correcting everyone’s grammar, you are often ungrammatical yourself.

Observer

November 21st, 2011
6:24 pm

@ Good Mother, 5:57. You write: “We aren’t teachers trying to solve problems and issues instead of simply complaining about them on this blog?” This question makes no sense as written, nor is it a question.

“….ALL who are involved and care about education, instead, the topics focus on negativity and that promotes the whining. ” This is a comma splice.

Finally, journalism is not an “institution,” but a profession.

Ignorant, ignorant, ignorant.

Batgirl

November 21st, 2011
7:02 pm

@Good Mother, you are upset by teachers “whining” about parents on this blog. Imagine how we teachers who are bashed every day by the media, government, business and parents feel!

Charlie The Tuna

November 21st, 2011
7:30 pm

Is it just me, or does it seem like the new editorial management has insisted on more blogs per columnist per day? If this observation is correct, is the inevitable result more but less-substantial blogs?

dekalbed

November 21st, 2011
8:11 pm

@ Good Mother,

Although posts from individual teachers with successful methods may be encouraging, individual teachers’ making a difference does not and will not answer to the tremendous gap between those students with parents who exhibit the type of interest and effort Friedman describes and those students with no supportive parents.

Also, the article does offer some suggestions. Reading to children every day and asking them about their school days.

d

November 21st, 2011
8:14 pm

Good mother, I apologize, I didn’t catch the autocorrect. Oops.

Jack

November 21st, 2011
8:14 pm

I’m going to agree with Muchado.