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Parenting and education

One thing the Chicago teachers strike has brought to the forefront of the nation is the issue of public education in general. In my own professional life I’ve seen some of the best public educational settings and some of the most challenging also. Some of the demands on teachers are the same and some are different, but there are demands in any environment nonetheless. This is why I’ll support teachers and their quest for better working conditions in pretty much all cases.

So what does any of this have to do with fatherhood? As fathers and parents we are ultimately responsible for our child(ren)’s education. We have a choice – we can support the teachers and the educational environment or we can blindly put all of the the responsibility and pressure for it on them. Teachers generally mean well, but they aren’t meant to be in it all by themselves. Too many that I talk to cite lack of parental involvement/cooperation as one of their main challenges. It’s pretty obvious fact that kids pick up on what we as parents place importance on, so it’s important for us to show interest be involved. A lot of times it’s the mothers who do the “heavy lifting” of school involvement but as dads we need to be involved too.

This may sound like me on a soapbox, but I’m writing it to focus on my own accountability with this. I still need to remember this and do better myself. My son goes to a small preschool where community and parent involvement are emphasized. My wife has gotten very involved, and at times I’ve either balked or figured that if she was there it would be enough. Most recently there was a PTA meeting that started at 5, the same time I get off work. I couldn’t leave early to get there right at 5 but it was possible for me to get there for the second half. Part of me thought it was okay to just skip it entirely, but I ended up coming when I could and am glad I did so. If for no other reason, my son saw that both of us were there when the meeting was over and it was time to pick him up from his classroom. There were plenty of other dads there too, something that was encouraging to me.

  1. courtacute
    September 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

    It’s been a while since I graduated from college but I recall a study showing the involvement of fathers in early education (pre-k to 8 grade) was correlated with college academic success even in instances where the mother was not engaged in the schooling process. It is important to recognize as fathers we play an important role in demonstrating the value if education to our children.

  2. September 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    As a teacher I get mixed feelings about the strike situation. We know that we signed up for a job with limited benefits and limited growth in pay… we all start in it for the kids and then somewhere along the way our lifestyles require that we get more in return. I feel for those kids in that situation because when its all said and done, they are the real losers.

    • September 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Yeah see I don’t think that’s a bad thing though, or too much to ask, for teachers to want to feel secure and supported in their jobs and personal life. It’s like they say on airplanes, put the mask on yourself before you help the next person.

      • September 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm

        I can dig it.. And believe me I do.. It’s just with guilt sometimes

  3. October 3, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Great points, this is where we should start and continue all throughout school showing our participation to the child so that children can see a united front both parents involved, this will be remembered as the child grows into adulthood and the process gets repeated with there children. Please keep up the good work give us a great citizen.

    • October 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

      thanks for the comments and for reading, and keep up the good work on your end as well…

  4. October 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    This is such an important topic. I come from a middle-class family that sacrificed so that I could attend private school. I don’t know that my wife and I will be able to afford the same opportunity for our children. That means my wife and I will have to be teachers at home. Everyday.

    • October 9, 2012 at 5:58 am

      Yeah I know what you’re saying…educational opportunities that were options in past generations are becoming more and more expensive/exclusive. But I think no matter the setting if parents aren’t into it, it’s a risk for failure. My bet is that you’d be just as involved regardless of public or private.

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