Over the last few years I have written about why parents are the primary factor in student learning. Even the Emperor, Michael Bloomberg has lately realized how important parents are in their children's academic success and ripped them for not helping their children to achieve academic competence. Of course this is very different than the education reformers wanted to hear. These reformers, otherwise known as deformers, claim that a child's academic success depends on their teacher and not their upbringing. This very flawed vision is known as "no excuses" and deformers like ex-Chancellor Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee were strident supporters of this approach. Just read what these middle school students, who likely come from poverty and single parent households in East New York, acted at the World Trade Center Memorial. Is that the school's fault or do we place the blame squarely on the primary cause of their misbehavior, the lack of discipline in the family.
Study after study has shown that the social-economic influences in a child's family and community are approximately 80% of a student's academic success. How is a child going to learn when there are no books in a house, a parent to help with homework, and worse, allowing the child to roam the streets at all hours of the night! No wonder they are always sleeping in class. Where is the parent's responsibility to make sure that the child actually arrives at school on time , if at all? Are they fed properly? Why fault the school when the parents are the cause of truant and hungry students? That brings me to Michael Goodwin's article that identifies the root cause of poor student academic performance and that is the parents. While I do not agree with some of his conclusions such as Catholic Schools are better, I do agree with him that parents are the primarily cause of student success academically.
While a "quality teacher" small class sizes, and adequate school resources are all important factors in a student's academic success, the most important factor is the student's family and even the Emperor has reluctantly realized it. Instead of wasting money and resources on failed options like
Turnaround schools" the Mayor should spend the money on wraparound services that help support the family structure and their involvement in the schools.