In the article, School Tells Special Needs 7-Year-Old His Parents Can't Walk Him To Class from Change.org's Education Blog , Megan Cottrell tells the story about a 7 year old boy with Asperger's syndrome. At first the school let the parents walk him to class and he stopped suffering from the severe separation anxiety that he felt. Later the principal stopped allowing this because other parents complained. There was no mention of any kind of disruption or problems with the parents.
Now this brings up one of my favorite pet peeves and I hope this won’t turn into a rant. But I feel we need more parent involvement in schools to help turn the education system around. I’m not talking about allowing parents to disrupt schools or disregard the safeguards we have to keeping schools safe. But let’s not hide behind these two reasons to keep reasonable caring parents out of the schools.
Let’s go back in time to when I was in school. (Yes, they had school way back then!) I remember lots of parent involvement in the classroom. We had classroom parents who helped out and did special things for us when I was in elementary school. In junior high and high school I remember seeing parent volunteers as hall monitors, school nurse aides, library aides, and even bathroom monitors to make sure no one smoked in the bathroom (yes, we even had that problem in the dark ages!) There was no telling where a parent would turn up. And boy, did we watch our behavior and language while we were in school because you were never sure if your own parent might be around the corner.
I have worked in schools where parent involvement was encouraged and I loved it. I had parents coming in to help my students read. I also had parents offer to run papers off for me and organize my non-confidential papers. I also loved having parents as chaperones for field trips.
I have worked in schools where parent involvement was discouraged. What a disservice we have done for our students! I was told that an administrator would have to approve any parent involved in my classroom and no parents were allowed to go on field trips with us.
I am always concerned when a school does not want a parent to see what goes on during the school day. As a taxpayer, I think they have a right to observe. I understand for safety and security that they must check in with an administrator and even possibly make an appointment. Of course, all of my parents knew that they were welcome in my classroom at any time but they did need to call an administrator to get approval. In fact, they never needed to notify me ahead of time if the administrator approved it because I never acted or taught in any way that I should worry who saw what was going on.
My husband mentioned that Hitler did the same thing with the youth. He discouraged the parents from being a part of the education system. He wanted the government to control and raise the children. I hope our government is not encouraging this train of thought and if it is, we need to rise up and stand against it. I think parents should insist that they be a part of their child’s schooling.
Here are some reasons why I think it would be beneficial for parents to be involved in the school:
1. Parents need to see how students behave in the school setting.
2. Parents would go home and warn their child not to act like some of the students they had seen.
3. Some students would behave better because they may know the parent present.
4. Parents would better see what the school needs and actually become an advocate for the school.
5. Parents would better understand the needs of the teacher and be able to offer support.
6. Parents might have some suggestions that may actually help the classroom or the school.
7. Parents would be able to share the positive things they see going on in the school and not just hear about the negative things in the news.
8. Parents make great volunteers and who couldn’t use an extra pair of hands, eyes, or tutors!
How do you feel about parent involvement in the schools? Do you allow it at your school? Tell why or why not. Please share!
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original image: '42-15650295'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/70403129@N00/2492474509 by: Elk City Oklahoma