Our View: The missing piece in education reform? Dads
The writers warn that dads shouldn't think of their kids' schools as "mom's territory." Their presence helps.
February 11th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

Our View: The missing piece in education reform? Dads

By Christopher Brown and Vincent DiCaro, Special to CNN

Courtesy National Fatherhood InitiativeEditor’s note: Christopher Brown is executive vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative. Vincent DiCaro is vice president of development and communication of the National Fatherhood Initiative.

(CNN) - There is no shortage of answers about how to improve our nation’s schools, including more charter schools, school vouchers, standardized testing, lower teacher-student ratios and performance-based hiring, pay and promotion of teachers.

Courtesy National Fatherhood InitiativeHowever, what we find lacking in almost every debate about education reform is the role of families - especially fathers - and the support they can and should provide to ensure children’s educational success.

If parents, educators and reformers are to make a difference in improving children’s educational success, we must expand our definition of education reform. We must move beyond the myopic focus on education systems and implement tactics that include a more prominent place for parent involvement in schools.

The omission of “the father factor” is especially troubling in light of research released last month that examined family trends in 45 countries and how children’s educational success is affected by their parents. The “World Family Map” report by Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, found that even when controlling for income, children in middle- and high-income countries who live with two parents have better educational outcomes than children living with one or no parents.

Specifically, children in two-parent homes were more likely to stay on track in school and have higher literacy, both of which are critical to overall educational success.


Filed under: Education reform • Home Front • Parents • Voices
5 things teachers want parents to know
October 10th, 2012
04:18 AM ET

5 things teachers want parents to know

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) - During the average school day, teachers are with children as many waking hours as parents are. But many educators believe there’s a short in the communication lines between themselves and parents. When asked what they’d want parents to know about education, not all of the teachers we spoke to wished to be named - but they did share many common concerns from the classroom.

1. We're on the same team

First and foremost, teachers want students to thrive in the classroom, and they could use your help.

Jennifer Bell, a 7th grade social studies teacher in Tennessee, suggests that parents do all they can to ensure that students are doing their homework, exercising, eating well and sleeping. Whether students come to class tired or ready to learn can hinge on parents’ involvement. “We need their support,” she says. “We can’t do this on our own.”

In the words of an elementary school teacher from Georgia, “We are professionals. Teaching children is our area of expertise. Your child benefits more when you support me.”

And while educators expect students to make mistakes, Mississippi teacher Beth Wilbanks Smith asks parents to help them learn from those mistakes. “They will grow to be productive citizens if we all work as a unified force,” she writes.

Parents help kids lie to get on Facebook, study finds
November 2nd, 2011
01:29 PM ET

Parents help kids lie to get on Facebook, study finds

(CNN) - It probably won't surprise you that millions of underage kids - some as young as age 8 - are on Facebook, despite rules that prohibit children under 13 from joining the social-networking site.

What may be more startling, however, is this: Their parents are helping to sign them up.

These are among the findings of a new study appearing this week in First Monday, a peer-reviewed online journal. The four co-authors of the study argue that such age restrictions, inspired by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, are mostly ignored by kids and parents and only encourage dishonesty.

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Filed under: Home Front • Technology