I wrote this in a discussion with my classmates who were discussing the need for parental involvement; where it happens, and where it is hard to get it. This was my response, which referred to an earlier post.
There is a reason I got into education, and there is a reason I want to get into education administration; the system is flawed. Now, every system is flawed, cracked and can be taken advantage of. However, I think that as society has shifted, education has not shifted fast enough to keep up, and that is normal of government-run institutions. As teachers, we, more than anyone, know what it takes to get student achievement. However, I have heard things that teachers need from outside sources, and I think we need to figure out what it will take for US to create a better system. I want to point you guys to a blog posting I made: http://lifeonsped.blogspot.com/2010/03/shifting-expectations-of-school.html
This illustrates an idea that I was kicking around with my CT the other week. If parents in trying areas have so much trouble helping their children, why not put the help where it is needed... with the students. following the atwork.wa.gov twitter account @janekuechle. She saw my blog posting and was hung up on my comment of "ineffective social programs". I'm not a politician who want to push an agenda of what level of government involvement is needed. My focus is solely on the children, and if we can redirect resources to create more effective programs that are run through the schools and follow the children, then that will help the overall state of our nations education. I know many paras (myself included) who worked two jobs, because they couldn't live off of just working in the schools. If you create social programs, dinner programs, tutoring programs that follow the student, and flow through the school, then people can make a better wage for themselves and families. Teachers can pick up extra hours without having to be a coach or leave their classes if they don't want to. Kids can be off the streets where it is safe, and be surrounded by positive influences for mor than 6 hours of the day. Parents do not have to use tech babysitters like TV and video games, and kids do not need to turn to gangs in order to find a sense of community or brotherhood or family.
I don't think parental involvement is likely to make a drastic change. Parents either care, or they don't about their child's education. If was can keep the kids fed, appropriately socialized, active, and tutored from kindergarten until graduation, then we will have changed the face of education in our country for the better.