August 3, 2016

Last week we learned that, “Early education across the United States is a mishmash of day care, Head Start and preschool programs with a wide range of quality and effectiveness. But a federally sponsored program in 20 states has been effective at giving those states a way to assess and quantify early-childhood education options and make that information available to parents, educators and legislators, according to a study the U.S. Education Department plans to release Monday.

The report looks at data from the 20 states that received more than $1 billion in federal aid to make quality education accessible to high-needs preschool children — those from low-income families or those in need of special assistance, including children with disabilities or developmental delays. The funding, the study says, has rapidly improved the quality of learning for the students while simultaneously enrolling a significant number of new students in top-tier programs.”  (WASHINGTON POST, “Early childhood education gets push from $1 billion federal investment” by Joe Heim)

All well and good — worthy of applause.  But, we also must never forget that more than a half century of research clearly shows that greater family involvement in children’s learning is a critical link to achieving a high-quality education:

  • What PARENTS do to help their children learn matters more to their children’s achievement than family income or education.
  • What SCHOOLS do to encourage parents to participate in their children’s education matters more to parental participation than parent income or education.

The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory concluded, “When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.”  Those children are more likely to:

“Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs; be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits; attend school regularly; have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school; and graduate and go on to post-secondary education.”

The Michigan Department of Education in their report, “What Research Says About Parent Involvement In Children’s Education” reported (among other items):

“Lack of parental involvement is the biggest problem facing public schools.

 Decades of research show that when parents are involved students have:

* Higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates

* Better school attendance

* Increased motivation, better self-esteem

* Lower rates of suspension

* Decreased use of drugs and alcohol

* Fewer instances of violent behavior

 Family participation in education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status.”

Fortunately, a growing number of public school systems are recognizing that — because of the many advantages of multi-sensory learning — they can do more to support children and families.  By establishing “family technology learning centers,” within targeted schools, a more active parental involvement can be encouraged by:

  1. Offering state-of-the-art technology instruction, including multi-sensory programs and digital video technology in academic (Reading, Writing, and Math), vocational and technical areas.
  • Expanding school building access to include evenings and weekends in order to accommodate family educational needs.
  • Providing technology-based instruction for preschool through adult needs.
  • Offering free child care services by a licensed child care provider.
  • Utilizing the existing hardware already in the schools.
  • Preparing parents for more rewarding employment in the world of work.
  • Increasing student achievement by providing parents with an opportunity to improve academic, vocational, and/or technical skills while encouraging parent-child learning, and increasing time-on-task for all students.

Advances in our public education system usually trail those made by corporate training — but, with new visionary programs our children, their parents, and the schools themselves can all profit through increased learning, retention, and quality of life.

More on Monday –  –  –

               — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

      www.itclearning.com/blog/  (Mondays & Wednesdays)

(This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner, jhbillwalton@gmail.com, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)