The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

What Do Most Parents Really Want?

There was a recent Wall Street Journal article with the headline, "When High Schools Try Getting Tough, Parents Fight Back." The premise of the article is that across America it seems that parents are resisting the efforts to make high school more rigorous. The authors list numerous examples where parents fight the school districts attempts to raise standards and provide more application oriented assignments. It seems that many of those complaining simply want their children to get good grades and have a good GPA so they can get into good colleges. They weren't bashing parents, just explaining that most parents didn't want high school to be more difficult.

This article appeared before the recent national governor's conference was held. At this conference the governors decided that making high schools more rigorous throughout the country was a major initiative for each state.

This article preceded the recent Speakout Columns in the newspaper complaining about the extra pressure students are under to read books and take quizzes in the Accelerated Reader programs operating in many schools today.

My question to the staff and community is....."Do you think the majority of parents really want the rigorous standards and constant testing that the national and state leaders are pushing?"

To post your response to this question just click your mouse over the word "Comments" and you should be able to type a response.

One purpose of blogging is to create interaction and dialogue. Please join us.! Post your comment.


Anonymous said...

I think most parents who have a child that struggles with the academics are fearful when they see the academic bar continually raised.

The problem is that most testing and most school work measures verbal and quantitative skills. Many other strengths are never recognized.

For example, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills are very important to success in life but seldom show up in test scores.

Dr. Mark J. Stock said...

I think most parents are not opposed to higher standards in education.

But...when their OWN child is involved...the concern for higher standards always fades away when put up against any loving parents' concern about how their own children fare in the school experience.

No one wants their own child to feel like a failure or to fall short. They wouldn't be good parents if they did!

So... it seems likely to feel like a double standard. Support high standards on one hand - but not when your child is on the bubble and in danger of not getting a diploma due to rising standards and cut scores on testing.

Anonymous said...

I agree that most parents do have high expectations for their children. However, they become fearful of higher standards and expectations because they are not sure what that means for their child.
Also, as a school agency, do not give parents the tools necessary to assist us in the education process. Even highly educated parents, struggle with the high expectations and methods used in schools today. Perhaps if the schools fostered more of a collaborative approach with parents, we would have more of their support.

Anonymous said...

What do you think most parents would think of as a collaborative approach?

In other words, what should school people do differently to be more collaborative?

Anonymous said...

As stated before, we need to open our doors and arms wide to parents in order to foster collaboration between the two. Most of the time, the main communication between schools and parents is at parent/teacher conferences. While we all try to identify some positives, these conferences are usually predominantly negative in nature.

The elementary schools do a better job with welcoming and fostering positive relationships with their parents as they have carnivals, read-ins, etc. to encourage positive interaction and exchange with family members.

Here are some recommendations:
Schools host "just because" pot-luck dinners or open-gym nights, etc so that families can be together and see the school as a safe and enjoyable place for their children & family. Schools should host carnivals, bake sales or raffles just to bring the community and parents to the schools. Perhaps the profit could go to a needy family in the community or go towards a school-wide pizza party for kids and their families. The possiblities are endless!

We often seem so far removed from parents that we, school staff, are seen as invincible and superior. Instead of working with parents to encourage student success we work against them. We create an atmosphere of defensiveness and inadequacy. We have unintentionally built walls up between our parents and the schools. Many parents have expressed the "us vs. them" perception that our schools portray. Wawasee needs to make a committment to improve this relationship.

It is time to break down this wall and welcome ALL of our parents and children in. We need to awknowledge student improvement, see positives in struggling and successful students, offer parent homework support groups, free tutoring for students and encourage open communication and visitation.

There is much that could be done to encourage and empower the parents to work alongside our schools more productively. We just need to start the process.