Category: Archive

Two magic words: parental involvement

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Test scores between rich and poor, minorities and whites, and officers and enlisted personnel have been whittled down to nothing in the 200 schools on U.S. military bases. And some of those scores are among the nation’s best.
“You can’t tell the colonel’s kid from the private’s kid,” said one superintendent, Ray McMullen.
In short, there are no vouchers in the armed forces. Instead there are smaller classes, and higher spending per student (15 percent) than the national average. The parents have a job, of course, even if many are not much above the poverty line, and have at least a high school diploma.
The children learn in a disciplined but not regimented environment (baggy jeans and earrings are allowed). And “60 Minutes” saw parents everywhere it went.
When reporter Lesley Stahl asked McMullen how did parental involvement rank in the schools’ success, he said: “Absolutely at the top.”
Bronx schoolteacher J.R. McCarthy told the Irish Echo: “Nothing can better support the teacher that the parent taking an active interest, and encouraging the kid and motivating the kid to do well.”
Westchester teacher Matt Curran said: “It’s seems like a simple thing, but keep in contact with the classroom teacher, whether it’s by email or in person.”
Brooklyn high school teacher Katrina Vogel said her greatest difficulty is parents believing that a well-behaved student in his or her teens doesn’t need close supervision. “They’re not college students. A 14-year-old is still a kid,” she said.
“They need that discipline, and if they don’t get it, they’ll spent two hours with their friends rather than doing homework.”

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