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Letter: Boost parents’ participation

Mr. Jensen and Gov. Parnell identify an important factor in public education, citing the involvement of parents in creating demand for charter schools. However, both have widely missed the mark.

Improving the effectiveness of our public school system lies not in creation of more charter schools but rather in generating that same degree of interest in education among the rest of the parents. The most obvious evidence of this failure is the fact that less than 50 percent of parents attend parent-teacher conferences.

This telling lack of interest from the majority of parents in their children’s school achievement shows up in poor attendance and poor or non-execution of homework, due to lack of parental monitoring, and classroom inattention/misbehavior and lack of respect for teachers based on emulation of their parents’ attitudes. Every public school teacher I’ve talked with reports these situations as commonplace.

Bean-counting “reforms” will not solve parent responsibility problems. If we don’t figure out how to get parents involved in the process, their children will not be engaged. 

— Robert A. Mitchell

Anchorage