The parental component in a child’s education is mandatory

The parental component  in a child’s education is mandatory
September 10
00:00 2015

James B. Ewers Jr. Guest Columnist

The educational pursuits of students seem to be on everyone’s radar screen. Currently, one of the debates is about Common Core and whether that should be mandated in every state. Some years ago, “No child left behind gathered a lot of steam and a lot of critics.

Statewide testing is also a buzz phrase now as each state has developed its own formula for competence and success. Some argue that if students make outstanding grades then why should they be bound to a test? Meanwhile teachers are teaching to the test trying to ensure their students pass these statewide tests. Some school districts are threatening teachers with job loss unless their students pass these tests. In other words, a teacher’s job security is in the hands of an elementary or middle school student. Oh my!

We are now firmly in a testing mode and the end is nowhere in sight. You couple increased teacher expectations with the statewide testing frenzy and that is a recipe for disaster.

Too many children are coming to school ill-prepared for instruction and the subsequent success that goes with it. School has started and summer is now but a memory. Yes, the children had a great time on vacation and yes they had a chance to sleep late but are they ready for school? I think that depends upon whom you talk to about this matter.

You’ll hear many people say it is the teachers who will get the students “ready” for the school year. Not so fast my friends as I believe there is another view which is gaining traction in a lot of homes.

Many parents are now engaging their children in learning activities during the summer. There is play time but there is also reading and math time. Depending upon the age of the child these exercises can last for a couple of hours. As a result of parents’ direct involvement, students are better equipped educationally and socially to return to school after summer break.

A parent does not have to be college-trained to value education. I grew up in a neighborhood where not every parent had a college degree. Yet this did not hinder them from placing a high value on education.

When we walked home from school in Winston-Salem NC, we were always asked by neighbors about homework and what did we learn. Obviously, we had to have some answers or be reported to our parents.   The times have changed but I believe the value of an education has not changed nor has the role of parents.

Schools are being maligned these days because some see it as a panacea that can cure all student ills. Teachers have become social workers, surrogate parents and counselors. Schools have become social service centers where goods and services are being given to students, many at no cost.

This paradigm shift has lifted much of the responsibility from parents. Many parents say, “Send them to school, the teachers can handle it.” No, the teachers can’t handle it and it is unfair to them.

For example, when a student gets in trouble and the parent is called, they begin a verbal assault against the teacher. As the young people would say, don’t get it twisted. I can’t imagine my parents siding with me in my wrongdoing. I never wanted to hear the words, “wait until you get home or better yet, wait until I tell your father.”

Parents can no longer hold schools accountable for the rearing of their children. We must do the childrearing and be their parents and not their friends. The parent ship will always have the wind at its back. But the friend ship will simply be in the wind, unsure of its course and direction.

Based upon my experiences as both a parent and a grandparent, I humbly submit these tips and advice for your review and consideration. If you fail a time or two, no worries as many of us failed as well before we figured it out. The important part to remember is that you are ultimately responsible for your child.


James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School and played college tennis at Johnson C Smith University where he was all-conference for four years.

He is the President Emeritus of The Teen Mentoring Committee of Ohio and a retired college administrator. He can be reached at


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