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Parents: it's tough to teach without them.

You've heard it before. William Raspberry restated it recently: ". . . so much of the learning that matters takes place outside the school setting." He was talking about ". . . the attitudes and habits that make school learning possible: patience, persistence, self-esteem, reading for fun, the love of learning . . . trying hard . . . honesty, respect for the other person and |his/her~ property, fundamental decency." And then there is knowing that "they |children~ matter and that they are counted on."

Who teaches the important basics? PARENTS. Parents are children's first, and continue to be their most important, teachers. Therefore, they play a crucial role in their children's school performance.

Parents need to be involved in their children's education, not only during early childhood, but throughout the school years. Did you know that the most important variable in an 8th-grader's scholastic performance is parental involvement? Involved parents exhibit interest in homework assignments, discuss their child's current school experiences and make future education plans with them. When parents don't display such interest, children are more likely to drop out--first emotionally and then, as soon as permitted, physically.

Too many parents are removed from their children's education. And, unfortunately, the number is growing. When teachers contemplate leaving the teaching profession within the first five years, the primary reason they offer is lack of parental support and cooperation. Furthermore, parental involvement was the education issue identified most frequently by this year's National Teacher of the Year candidates.

ACEI members agree. Parental involvement in children's education is one of the Current Issues and Concerns Requiring Attention listed in the 1992-1993 Strategic Plan. Membership believes that "teacher-parent partnerships must be formed to involve parents as decision-makers in their children's education. |Further~ support systems must . . . be provided to help parents help their children succeed."

But how can teachers involve parents, many of them single parents, whose time is heavily committed to meeting their family's financial needs? ACEI has responded to its members' requests for suggestions on this issue in various ways. The Association offers conference sessions at the branch, state and international levels on such topics as how to foster parent-teacher partnerships or how to help parents understand an education innovation. Also, ACEI's various publications contain periodic articles on the subject. A regular column in Childhood Education, "For Parents Particularly," addresses topics of interest to parents.

Thinking I would discover an idea or two to weave into this piece, I reread the "For Parents Particularly" columns dating back to 1989. I rediscovered a storehouse of suggestions on a range of relevant topics. Selecting one or two suggestions to highlight was impossible. I did, however, decide to photocopy several columns (permission to reproduce the column intact is not required) for distribution at a conference I am organizing.

Yes, ACEI recognizes the need for parental involvement in children's learning and teachers' teaching. Without parental support and cooperation, it's tough for the children and their teachers.
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:President's Message
Author:Vukelich, Carol
Publication:Childhood Education
Date:Jun 22, 1993
Words:480
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