July 17th, 2009
10:40 AM ET

What parents can do for their kids

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/03/25/group.of.eight.education/art.school.bus.gi.jpg caption="Ferguson writes that there are still large achievement gaps across races in American schools."]
Ronald F. Ferguson
Special to CNN

Raising the quality of teaching and learning in American schools is a priority. It receives a great deal of attention in our national discourse and should receive more.

Test scores and graduation rates are improving faster in other nations than in the United States and this threatens our quality of life in a competitive world.

In addition, achievement gaps between racial groups in the United States remain large. The social and political vitality of the nation may depend on closing these racial gaps. Blacks and Hispanics are doing better than in the past compared to whites, but still not nearly good enough.

Making schools better should be only one part of our national strategy. Life at home has been a relatively neglected topic and needs to come out of the shadows.

Especially in churches, neighborhood organizations, families and informal social networks, helping parents do their best needs to be as big a priority as achieving excellent schools.

This goes beyond public policies.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Education
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Teresa, OH

    Great article with lots of advice and help in there if the parents with children who dont read that much would read it.

    re:" white parents were much more likely to be both responsive and demanding than black and Hispanic parents; whereas black parents, in particular, were often highly demanding, but tended not to be as responsive in the ways the study measured." Why do suppose that is? Why will they talk the talk but not walk the walk? Are they stressed out? busy with jobs they hate? Why no follow through?

    Knowledge may be power, but education is freedom.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  2. meenas17

    Your children come first. .A child under the constant care of mother blossoms into a young responsible citizen. A neglected child , craves for love, yearns for care,and when not entitled ,turns into a perverted individual. Mother plays a major rolein bringing up children.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  3. JGB

    It is the parents responsibility to make sure their kids are doing well in school and quit blaming the schools for their kids failures. The parents are the ones failing their own kids.

    July 17, 2009 at 10:59 am |