Friday, July 18, 2014

Assets or Liabilities? | Taking Note

Assets or Liabilities? | Taking Note:

Assets or Liabilities?

If you ask professional educators in a public forum whether they view parents as assets or liabilities, the answers will vary only in decibel level: “Assets,” “Our greatest asset,” “invaluable partners,” and so forth.  But what if you caught them off guard, late at night after a few drinks, say?
Or, better yet, what if you simply examined how most schools treat parents?
In my experience, most administrators and many teachers hold parents in low regard, and their behavior and policies reflect that.
Perhaps that’s an inevitable consequence of attempting to elevate education to a high-status profession.  “After all, you wouldn’t expect a heart surgeon to consult with a child’s parents before replacing a ruptured valve and saving the child’s life,” the thinking goes, as if the work of educating a child were the equivalent of complex surgery.
It seems to me that most schools push parents away in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.  There’s the once-a-year “Back to School Night” and perhaps a “Parent Involvement Committee’ or a “Parent Advisory Board” that meets occasionally with the Principal.  Many schools expect parents to hold bake sales, auctions and fundraising drives (which can be a large chunk of a school’s budget these days) but that doesn’t treat parents as partners in their children’s education.
Unfortunately, it’s the rare educator who says “We cannot do a good job of educating your child without Assets or Liabilities? | Taking Note: