PARENTAL and community support for education is the focus of Gov. Eddie Calvo’s address this week.
Calvo stressed that support is needed for the success of students in the classroom.
“Teachers and students already face an uphill battle toward success with the deficiencies in the curriculum,” he said in his address, “and the gaps in teaching and learning practices – these are things that make this even harder for them.”
But Calvo said support doesn’t always happen, especially when children are left with other responsibilities – from babysitting their younger siblings to not getting a warm meal to eat.
“Folks, I've heard all too often that these are reasons why these students can't learn. Yes, these conditions make it harder for students to learn. But we can't forsake these students for the unfortunate life circumstances they struggle through. And these certainly can't be excuses for ignorance or failure,” he said.
The governor also said teachers and principals should not take the place of abusive or neglectful parents. Rather, they should report abusive parents to the authorities and provide assistance to the affected students so they can get back on track.
To improve the situation, the governor suggested the revival of the Persons In Need of Services program, which would allow for a hearing to be brought forth to the court, enabling a judge to examine the needs of a child who is being neglected.
“This could result in court orders and penalties for parents who willfully neglect their children. In this process, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem, with an attorney focused on the child's best interests,” Calvo said.
He added there are parents who want to be more involved with their child’s education but have obstacles in their way, including work.
Calvo suggested the development of a team of volunteers at every school to talk to parents who have never been approached and get a glimpse at the home environment.
“We can better understand what the students go through and offer help that way. We can take the mayors with us. I'll tell public health and mental health that this is a priority so social workers can go too. We'll canvass the villages and get parents and the community involved. It's not a novel concept,” Calvo said.
The third suggestion is to get “un-involved students in extra-curricular activities. This will mean more parents will have the incentive to be involved.”
Lastly, the governor proposed having the Parent Information Resource Center up and running again and to open regional centers.
“This is particularly important for parents who try and want to know how to work with their out-of-control children. On top of this, we can't ignore the major language barriers we have. How can we communicate with people who don't speak English? This requires partnerships with the consulate general offices and with church groups who can help,” Calvo concluded.