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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Parents? School? Or both?



Here's an interesting debate for you to contemplate.

Times columnist Bill Maxwell this week tackled a Pinellas civic group that wanted the school district to change its way of teaching black boys. He contended that it must be up to the parents, first and foremost, to ensure their children's success:

"FAST, although well intentioned and successful in some areas, needs to establish a take-no-excuses effort that focuses exclusively on involving black parents in their children's learning both at home and at school. Otherwise, everyone's time and resources are being squandered."

Former Times reporter Ron Matus, now writing for Step Up For Students, tackled Maxwell's position in separate blog post. Parents are important, he argued, but so, too, are schools.

Like many things in education, this isn’t a case of either-or. Instead of slamming parents, I think it would be more useful to talk more about key questions that don’t get asked enough:

• Why is it that some parents are not as involved as much as we’d like?

• What efforts are truly successful at getting them more involved?

• What should schools do while they’re waiting for parents to become more involved?

• And why is that some schools – most notably the “no excuses” charter schools, but also some traditional public and private schools – are able to get traction with struggling, low-income students despite a lack of parental involvement?

Parent involvement always comes up as key to school success. Yet it's a sticky issue, because of the way schools want parents involved, the interest (or lack thereof) of some parents, the things that educators can and can't control, and so on. Let's hear your thoughts on these complex interactions between school and parent.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 29, 2012 9:25am]


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