There has been a lot of concern expressed in the Ed blogosphere about the lack of parent involvement with their kid's education, and how difficult it is to teach kids who lack parental supervision. There seems to be increasing attempts to address these issues within school districts, though how effective these efforts will be is yet to be determined. Hopefully, we can find some good paradigms from the attempts.
Here's an article from the Houston Chronicle on parenting classes offered through Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. It was also commented on by the Chronicle's bloggers at School Zone, with some interesting discussion developing.
Here's a quote from the article that should bring a smile to all of the teachers in the trenches who struggle with kids of ineffective parents:
"That class is not to change the kid's behavior. It reshapes the parent behavior, which reshapes the child's behavior," said Lanell Kelley, a counselor at Cypress-Springs High School who has taught parenting classes for the district for 14 years.
Cy-Fair is a respected district in the Houston area, mostly suburban, mostly middle class, with increasing diversity issues. According to Lanell, parenting classes have been ongoing for 14 years, so why is this article "news"? Is it a new program, or a new awareness of the need for outreach from our schools? Is this a sign of renewed commitment to this need, or another ineffective charade?
What do schools need to be teaching parents? How do these needs vary from urban to suburban to rural areas?
How do we get parents to participate? Can we get the parents we really need into classes, or will we only further polarize the problem? How systemic should these efforts become?
These are the questions we need to be asking to avoid having these renewed efforts at educating parents fall into the wasted effort category. Isolated experiments, here and there, are good starting points, but we need to bring this discussion onto a larger stage, and we need to demand more accountability of our legislatures who don't want to face these difficult political quagmires.