Too many ignorant parents (including me)

February 23, 2011

Education

By Wally Northway

The other night, the Wife was trying to help the Nine-Year-Old with his math homework. After attempting to figure out exactly what the assignment was, the Wife finally had enough.

“I’m going to have to have a talk with your teacher and find out why you’re doing it this way. I just don’t understand,” she said in frustration.

For the record, she’s better at third-grade homework than I am.

We both have college degrees, and try to stay involved in the child’s school. Yet, we struggle with understanding exactly what he is doing, especially when it comes to his standardized tests.

It seems we’re not the only ones. A large percentage of Mississippi’s high school senior class is in jeopardy of not passing. And the Mississippi Department of Education is putting on a blitz to try and ensure parents know where their children are academically and what they need to do to pass.

According to a piece that ran this week in The Clarion-Ledger, more than 11 percent of the state’s high school seniors could be in danger of not graduating because they have not passed one or more standardized tests necessary to do so.

Of almost 28,000 12th-graders in Mississippi, 3,295 still need to pass one or more subject-area tests to graduate. Of those, 446 are second-year seniors. The rest are first-time 12th-graders on track to graduate but who must pass one or more of the state tests first, and about a third of them are in special education.

The state Department of Education said it is stepping up efforts to help high school students pass the tests.

Superintendent Tom Burnham said, “We are requesting that each superintendent… make sure that their high school personnel meet with each parent of each student and make sure that parents understand the status of their children.”

The meetings should be documented so parents can’t say they didn’t know, he said.

One of the ongoing challenges this state faces is ignorant parents. I didn’t say stupid. I said ignorant. They just don’t understand what is required of their children to hit their academic marks.

I’m one of them.

The new standards recently adopted by the state to help ensure our kids get an education that is on par with the rest of the nation has received high marks from education officials and advocates.

Now, if they could just get us clueless parents on board.

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