Monday, May 23, 2011

Parenting Articles - Are Parents to Blame for their Kids’ Academic Failures?

Do you beat yourself up if your child performs poorly in school? If you don’t, you should, according to some states. And if you don’t, they’ll do it for you.

Recent laws passed in Alaska and California allow schools to fine or bring parents up on charges if their kids miss school without a good reason frequently enough. Florida considered a bill that would issue reports cards on parents (not to, buton).

As Lisa Belkin writes in The New York Times:

Teachers are fed up with being blamed for the failures of American education, and legislators are starting to hear them . . . If you think you can legislate teaching, the notion goes, why not try legislating parenting? [T]he thinking goes like this: If you look at schools that “work,” as measured by test scores and graduation rates, they all have involved (overinvolved?) parents, who are on top of their children’s homework, in contact with their children’s teachers, and invested in their children’s futures. So just require the same of parents in schools that don’t work, and the problem is solved (or, at least, dented), right?

It used to be that how a child acted in class was thought to be a reflection of their parents, and at home, parents were supposed to reinforce to their children that in school, the teacher is boss. However, Belkin argues that these days, parents are more likely to point a finger at teachers, the tenure system and unions if their child isn’t succeeding in school.

Various legislation has been introduced in different states to try and crack down on slack parents, including a bill in Indiana requiring parents to spend three hours each semester volunteering either in the school building or at a school-related function to up the amount of parent-teacher interaction, giving teachers a chance to talk to parents and giving parents firsthand knowledge of the feel and requirements of the school.

Another in Florida would require teachers to grade parents on their involvement in their child’s education, and to post that grade on the child’s report card.

Not surprisingly, both bills have not been smiled upon by by parents. Some PTA groups have argued that what counts as “involvement” varies widely and means different things to different parents, and that defining a parents as “good” or “bad” is too subjective.

Neither measure made it to a vote.

But other states are not deterred. In Alaska, parents are fined for a child’s truancy. A misdemeanor charge can be brought against parents in California is their child’s truancy is seen as flagrant. And California also requires parents of gang members to attend parenting classes.

Some experts argue that focus on punishing the parents is misguided, and instead the system should help educate the parents sooner on how to help their kids, and that the core problem is poverty.

While I think there’s much truth to the last point, I think there are plenty of parents who like to blame everyone else for their kids’ problems, and that many parents would do better if the spotlight shone on them when it came to their kids’ performance. If you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of and you know you’re giving it you’re all, then what have you got to lose by being graded?

How much, if any, responsibility do you think parents should accept if their kids perform poorly in school?

Source: Babble (blog) -

For more parenting articles, visit ChildUp - Online Parenting Class


  1. i think parents definitely have a big and important role in their children's lives.

    <3, Mimi

  2. they have a huge role in their children's lives so i think they are a reason for their childrens failure

    thanks for the comment on my blog :)

  3. I agree with mimi, great blog

  4. Great post! Coming from a teachers stand point, I definitely feel parents should assume so responsibility for the actions of their children. Everything is not always the teachers fault.

  5. I'm very conflicted about this. I have found in over 30 years of raising Children so far, that you can't take all of the credit for the successes of a Child nor all of the blame for the failures. I do believe the Parent's outlook on the importance of education is crucial for appropriate guidance & I certainly believe a lack of involvement reflects upon potential performance or knowing problems a Child is experiencing & helping to find potential solutions... the Teachers of our G-Kid's School always commends us on our involvement as if it's more a rarity now??? We raised some Special Needs Children and now are raising a Special Needs Grandchild, he tests at what they say is close to Genius level but fails almost all his classes... Staff and trained Medical Professionals are attempting to assist us in finding ways to Teach him and get him to engage in the Classroom to reflect his Giftedness... but I must say it is an EXHAUSTING process and we get so very discouraged & frustrated at times. Sometimes Custodial G-Parents feel too old to even be doing this as effectively as we could have years ago, we've both been out of School so long now that everything has changed and helping this current Generation Academically can leave us rather lost when they know more than we do about some things and we've forgotten more than we still know! *LOL*

    Dawn... The Bohemian