What value do you place on education?

A recent interaction in an online community with which I’m involved made me realize just how difficult it is to change the way we think. This is a group of folks who grew up in the ’60s intent on changing the world and doing everything we could to not turn into our parents.

When someone shared a PTA program from 1955 with the roster of room mothers and PTA committees, it sparked a heated banter about today’s parents.

“I think it’s pretty impressive how many parents were active in the school’s
activities back then,”
I commented, noting that research from James Heckman and John Medina link parental involvement directly to school success.

An elementary school teacher in Illinois added, “It is so different now—our PTO, with a school of 650+ preK-2nd grade, often only has a handful of parents at the meetings.”

“You’re kidding, right?” came a response. “You don’t think that having workplace responsibilities, working 50-60 hours a week, being dead tired and having no free time has anything to do with parental involvement?”

But a voice of reason summed it all up: “The freedom to devote time must matter, I’m sure, but my impression is that parents’ esteem for education, not their daily schedules, is what drives kids and schools to excel.”

You are so right, Jon.


5 thoughts on “What value do you place on education?

  1. therese heitman

    The way to gain more time is to live simply. Couples should not buy a house that requires two incomes to pay the mortgage because it forces a new mom to go back to work at a time when she desperately wants to stay at home with her child.

  2. Kerry

    We need to keep in mind that parent involvement is not the same as parent engagement. Just because a parent isn’t in the seat at the PTO meeting doesn’t mean they aren’t engaged or don’t value their child’s education. They may be involved in other ways and engaged through reading with their child, asking about their day, serving on other school committees, or a whole host of other things (as Jon said, showing “their esteem for education”. Yes, parent involvement is critical to how a child will turn out….. I’m just saying, attendance at a PTO meeting isn’t the only measure 🙂

  3. Lorna Costantini

    I agree with Kerry. We too often define parent commitment to their child’s education by the number of hours they spend in the school building. Parents who get their children to school ready to learn are involved parents. As for changing things in MHO one parent, one child, one teacher at a time make the best change agents. With the advances in technology parents can be better connected and yet not be in the school building. My hope is that more parents will use technology to understand and support their child’s learning. Our parents did not have the same tools so the new generation has a responsibility to embrace technology and support students in a collaborative and connected learning environment.

  4. Adam

    How you choose to prioritize your time is up to you. The only way you will spend more time at your work than with your family is if you put more priority on your work.

    I agree you don’t need to be at a PTO to be involved, but I would say it is highly likely (in most cases not all) that if they don’t they aren’t involved at home.

  5. Christi Dixon

    I’m a working mom, and all PTO meetings are in the middle of the week, in the morning. How does that enable me to get engaged? There are other ways we get involved… and I’d take offense to anyone who says I’m not an engaged parent because of missing PTO meetings focused on fundraising.

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