Adult Figure Involvement: Mentality is key
Unsurprisingly, a big factor in student attitude/attainment to education is parental figure involvement (1). Parents tend to be very active in lower years (Kindergarten through grade 5), but not involved as actively as the child progresses (2). Factors that affect parental involvement include parent educational attainment, ethnicity, and perception of school climate (3). Generally, people who value education have higher degree attainment amongst their children (3). Parents who don’t value education will not participate as actively as those who do value education (3).
And, hey, I get it. When it seems like teachers “teach to the test” and consider your child just another number, why put in effort in supporting that environment? But that’s exactly when you should increase your involvement. Make sure the teacher remembers you and your child (preferably favorably). Ask how to help your child at home or what skills they should be working on. Interest beats apathy every time.
But parents aren’t in this alone. As public schools are funded by the community, society opinions on education have a direct effect on a student’s education. Many schools struggle to pass levies due to the perception of education in general or the quality of the specific school. Funding for classroom supplies, printer paper, student activities often falls to teachers and students themselves– two populations who cannot afford to fund these expenses.
Children often start the year with new supplies, but they lose them. The burden for replacement falls on the teacher as students need the item right now in class to learn. I make $46,000 (this is including the five-years grandfathered from my previous institution). Teachers can make 750 copies (individual pieces of paper; double-sided counts as two) per month. I have 180 students. Things that I have to supply for my classroom: pens ($14), pencils ($12), lined writing paper ($10), folders ($14), notebooks ($10), tissues ($25), hand sanitizer ($12), expo markers ($24), colored pencils or markers ($20), and highlighters ($9). These items are often one use items as the students take them to other classes and then lose them. This is not including other common costs like: classroom decorations, sanitary napkins, and snacks. I’m willing to pay these costs– I just don’t know for how long I’ll be able to do so and fear what it means for my students when I can’t any longer.
Read Part I here.
- Thomas, Sue, Keogh, Jayne, and Hay, Steve. “Discourses of the good parent in attributing school success.” Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 36, no. 4 (2015): 452-463
- Spera, Christopher, Wentzel, Kathryn, and Matto, Holly. “Parental Aspirations for Their Children’s Educational Attainment: Relations to Ethnicity, Parental Education, Children’s Academic Performance, and Parental Perceptions of School Climate.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 38 (2009): 1140-1152