When it comes to the education of our children, no one should ever be “taken off the hook”; not the parents, not the educators nor the administrators. Education is the responsibility of all three, and all three collectively determine if the process of education will succeed or fail. If in the process of analyzing a low-performing school it is discovered that the parental component is the one that must be strengthened, that does not negate the responsibility of the teachers or the school boards. The relationship amongst all three is symbiotic. Each is mutually dependent upon the other.
Parents are, or should be, the primary educators. They must be actively involved. In fact, this involvement is critical to the educator’s success in the classroom. A teacher can be the most phenomenal educator on the face of the earth, but if this teacher is not receiving the support of the parents in terms of assuring homework assignments are complete, making sure the children are in compliance with classroom rules and regulations, and maintaining open lines of communication, that phenomenal educator will achieve minimal success in performing his or her duties.
We should note that over-activity on the part of the parent can be as detrimental as the lack of. A balance must be maintained where the level of parental involvement is supportive of the educator and his or her role without being overbearing or disruptive. This is where administration comes in, to ensure that that balance is achieved by establishing and maintaining an environment conducive to mutual cooperation for the sake of education.
If we were to examine the engine of a car that is not performing at its optimal level, we would probably discover that one or more of the spark plugs is not functioning correctly. Each spark plug must be gapped to specification and maintained on a regular basis in order for the engine to run smoothly and effectively. Having to perform maintenance on one faulty spark plug does not negate the role or responsibility the other spark plugs play in keeping that engine running. So it is with education.
In order for a low performing school to rise up and function at optimal efficiency, parents, educators and administrators must understand their roles and responsibilities and operate accordingly. Encouraging parents to play a more active role does not release educators and school boards from their responsibilities, but hopefully it will serve to relieve the burden that the absence of parental support ultimately brings.