MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Columns

February 23, 2011

A Senate review: 02.22.11

(Continued)

As a former educator, I’d like to encourage those of you who may be skeptical our public schools to think about the obstacles our public schools face.  Pundits point to low test scores and try to blame teachers and school administration, but I know, in most cases, they’re not the problem. 

The problem starts at home.  Unfortunately, we have so many children that come from bad homes where the parents simply don’t care about their child’s success in school.  They have no role models, no guidance as to what is right and wrong, and no encouragement to better themselves.  These parents may suffer from addictions that impair them and some are just plain selfish and are more worried about having a good time in life than to be bothered with their kids.

We also have many children that come from very poor homes and while the parents want to be more involved in their kids lives, it just isn’t possible because of working multiple jobs.  Twenty percent of Oklahoma’s children live in poverty.  These kids come home to an empty house.  There are no adults to make sure they do their homework or to help answer any questions they might have. 

Sadly, we also have parents who are illiterate and aren’t able to help their children.  More than 20% of American adults read at or below the 5th grade level-far below the level needed to earn a living wage.  Children's literacy levels are strongly linked to the educational level of their parents, especially their mothers. Parental income and marital status are both important predictors of success in school, but neither is as significant as having a mother (or primary caregiver) who completed high school.  Also children of parents who are unemployed and have not completed high school are five times more likely to drop out than children of employed parents.

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