Barely half of Metro teachers believe parents involved in schools

Monday, May 6, 2013 at 1:06am

Less than three out of four Davidson County educators believe parents and guardians carry weight at their school, according to a new survey.

This year, 58.4 percent of licensed school-based educators here reported that parents are “influential decision makers” at their school, according to the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Tennessee Survey released Tuesday.

Educators across the state felt much the same way. According to the statewide survey of more than 61,000 educators, fewer than seven out of 10 agreed that parents and guardians are influential decisions makers.

“The challenge is how do we react to that to make certain that all parents understand how critical it is that they know that education is so much different and so much more important than it was 20 years ago,” said Gov. Bill Haslam after announcing the release of the survey, adding that new Common Core standards will help set benchmarks for parents to understand.

State lawmakers have unsuccessfully flirted with the idea of mandating parental involvement in student’s education. One proposal two years ago would have allowed teachers to send parents home with their own report cards grading their participation in their students’ education career. Another proposal from this year would have taken away welfare benefits from parents who did not intervene when their students failed a grade level.

More than 85 percent of educators both in Davidson County and across the state indicated their school does a good job of encouraging parent involvement. But in Davidson County, a third of educators disagreed that parents support teachers and are contributing to their student’s success. Statewide, 29 percent felt the same way.


15 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 5/6/13 at 7:14

Bussing stopped most of parent involvement. Most parents work & with their children's school being on the other side of town, where is the time .

By: global_citizen on 5/6/13 at 7:21

There are so many delusional teachers in MNPS. They all believe their school is great and they should be teacher of the year. They think the only problem they have is unruly kids and bad parents.

By: TITAN1 on 5/6/13 at 9:13

global, my daughter has been a teacher for eight years and is very dedicated to her work and loves her students. As far as what bfra said about bussing, I agree that hurt a lot. But, there are many students who now attend their neighborhood school and have for years and the parent involvement is no where what it should be.

By: hvillenutcase on 5/6/13 at 9:42

global, My father taught for 40 years most of that with MNPS. During that forty years, the two biggest complaints my family heard were about parents not getting involved, and administrators getting to involved. Parent teacher conferences were a joke as the students would not change and the lack of parenting was readily visible. Honestly I would love to see you in the class room especially at a school like Margret Allen, Maplewood, Hunter's Lane, Strafford, etc. and see what a lot of teachers have to deal with. I have seen the most dedicated teacher leave the profession because of the issues mentioned in this article or administrators causing even more issues in the schools. Walk in their shoes for a week, if you last that long.

By: hummingbirdhill on 5/6/13 at 10:07

I won't denigrate the general public by name calling my fellow citizens as "delusional" such as 'global_citizen' has done, but I find it grossly fallacious to reason that ALL MNPS teachers are delusional and ALL think their school is great.
How would you know this to be true? Quantify unruly? What makes a bad parent? The article is derelict is defining "involved parents"; The TELL survey, absolutely does not define for the participant what an involvend parent is. How does one meausre this?

Can a economic statical model of economic income, desired outcome, and created product be measured? Our country can't even conceptually understand that when we assess students and compare our assessments to other countries that we are not assessing comparing the same models of statistics - not even close to apales to apples.
The US assessing every student who breathes and moves, while Finland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Canada and Japan all assess only the top third of students who are on the University path, and this path is usually determined by one test taken somewhere in the years we here in America would call the 7th or 8th grade.
For example in the Netherlands and in Finland there is a three tiered system test that determines the fate of the child's secondary school education. The highest tier - the university path, is the tier being used in the statistical models that measured against the US. In the US, we are comparing our entire set of scores, no matter what city, to their top highest third. It reminds me of the old Russia v US olympic games in the 70's. Hardly an even Steven match-up.
So, before anyone calls anyone delusional - I wonder if the Finnish teachers would be perceived as delusional if they indeed strike as they are threating to do over money and professional respect, they are indeed acknowledged as the best in the world. Are they delusional for wanting better pay, better disciplined children, more parent involvement - that is what they are asking for this year's contract.

Below is an overview of their system as described in the Economist magazine. 4/1/11
"IN CONSIDERING whether to raise my kids in America or the Netherlands, I've had to weigh the relative advantages and disadvantages of the two educational systems. Probably the hardest thing for me to get used to about the Dutch educational system is the much-feared Citotoets, a standardized test given at the end of eighth grade that plays a large role in determining what type of high school the student will attend. The test is scored between 500 and 550, a bizarre scheme supposedly chosen to lessen the anxiety-inducing impression that it constitutes an intelligence test. If the authorities wanted to lessen the anxiety, they might have done better not to give preteens (or barely-teens) a test that could determine the rest of their academic and professional careers. Score under 540, and you won't be admitted to atheneum or gymnasium, the elite high schools that prepare the top 20% of students to get a university education. It's possible to get into university via the less-prestigious "havo" ("higher general continued education") schools, that take the next tranche of 20%. But land with the rest of the bunch in a "vmbo" (vocational education) school, and your chances of making it to university are slim.

By: unclesam328 on 5/6/13 at 2:25

Why would a teacher say that? Could it be the obvious lack of discipline the children show day after day, year after year, and every attempt to alert the problem to the parents are unanswered. I guess after so many notes brought home from the teacher that are not acted upon, the child figures they can get away with anything. Note the seeming increase of violent crime being committed by juveniles.

By: ucan on 5/6/13 at 2:29

I find this survey hilarious. Has anyone ever thought of doing a survey that would ask the parents how responsive is the MNPS? I am a very active parent with my children and I have been shut out when it comes to MNPS. When I felt that one my children was struggling in school, I met with the teacher. The first thing the teacher felt is that he had a lack of attention and we should have him checked. She filled out the paperwork, we met with his physician, and then we met with the guidance counselor and school psychologist. He was deemed to not have ADHD. We have asked mulitple times to be kept informed about his studies so that we can work with him at home. It has become routine that we get very little communication from his teacher. My child kept reporting to me that he was not allowed to go to the library, however he was to complete a certain number of AR tests each nine weeks. I sent a note to school that he was to bring home AR books every night. After getting fed up with this, I met with the principal. Now, my child goes to the library at 07:30 in the morning to complete his AR tests and IReady work, since it is routine to not have the time during the school day. His math work for the week is not sent home till Thursday with a test on Friday. I am not sure how much a parent has to do to get support from the school system to help their child. Ironically, after I met with the principal, his scores that he brought home from class work improved drastically. According to his last report card, his primary teacher dropped him a full letter grade in each section that she taught. Is this retaliation for me questioning why she wasn't responsive? If so, shame on them.
I vote to get rid of tenure and job security if you are not achieving your job. There are not many professions that allow you to continue to get paid to do a job that you no longer care about or are willing to put forth an effort to perform well. There are some very good, well trained, and energetic teachers in the MNPS, but they are being over-shadowed by those who just don't care anymore. Promote the performers!

By: on 5/7/13 at 7:15

Are the schools family-friendly to the diverse backgrounds of parents?

Many parents have challenges to getting to school events, ranging from jobs they cannot miss to lack of transportation, to lack of awareness about how they can actually help support the academic studies of their child, etc.

Parents have a responsibility for their children, but some apparently do not understand that. Why have children they are not going to responsibly raise?

The schools could probably do better in academic instruction if parents were more responsible in meeting the other needs of the children. At least I hope so.

By: BigPapa on 5/7/13 at 7:23

I think a good counter argument is why would you want those people involved in the school? The only thing worse than most of those kids is their parents.

The farther away they are from the school, the better.

By: d4deli on 5/7/13 at 7:52

Actually, parent surveys are on their way home this week. They have literally given a survey to every student to access their teacher's performance (even Kindergarteners!). MNPS has been surveyed to death!
I think Metro Schools should be broken down into four districts so they can be more managable. Whoever though up big comprehensive schools must have been out of their mind!

By: Loner on 5/7/13 at 9:20

I left some comments on this City paper board:

I dragged them over here...

By: Loner on 5/7/13 at 12:38

Good morning, Nashville.

How involved would you say parents are in their child's school?
It anything else, most parents will do the best that they can; but there will be over-achievers and under-achievers.

What could be done to encourage better working relationships between parents and schools?
I don't know....maybe more social contact between teachers and parents? Might I suggest an evening of wine and the school cafeteria or gym....a little "partying" and chit-chat could be quite helpful.

Should the government pass measures to push parental involvement?
The Tennessee Tea-baggers trotted out a couple of goofy ideas a while back....too goofy, even by TN standards. One of the mean-spirited pieces of legislation called for withholding welfare benefits from the families of failing students.

I think that the government, if it wishes to encourage parental involvement in education, should try using the carrot, not the stick....threatening poor families with a loss of benefits and similar negative reinforcement schemes are counter-productive to the stated goal.


By: Loner on 5/7/13 at 9:27

Gov may be right, financial rewards for parents who get involved with their kids education - the positive reinforcement approach - may not work either....but has it ever been tried?

If poor families saw their benefits increase, in proportion to how well their kids performed in school, lots of stay at home parents might become more motivated to participate in the educational process..

A nice sweet carrot works better than a bloody stick...why not try a more humane approach, in a few pilot programs? If it works, expand the would be money wisely invested, IMO.


By: Loner on 5/7/13 at 9:59

Please, let me continue my "sermonette", as Rasputin would say.....I'm on a roll.

How about a program in which kids whose parents are receiving public assistance are rewarded for scholastic achievement, by way of monthly benefit level increases, indexed to the student's performance in school?

Here's my proposed deal:
For every "A", the family's monthly benefit goes up $20.....for every "B", the benefit increases to $15.....for every "C", the benefit increases by $10. No rewards for "D" or below.....Call it the Parental Involvement Program...PIP.

That acronym is especially fitting... the central character, Pip, was the young beneficiary in Dickens' novel, "Great Expectation".

With the PIP deal, the kids would be able to help the family out financially, by buckling down and working harder in school.

For kids whose parents are not on public assistance, the PIP program could still reducing the family's school tax bill, in direct proportion to student scholastic performance....same deal: A=20...B=15...C=10 (dollars) in tax rebates.

No, it won't work in every case; but why not try that approach in a pilot program?

There...sermonette concluded.....any feedback on that?

By: dargent7 on 5/7/13 at 2:57

As this is a Opinion of the Day....Iwouldn't want to be a teacher in 2013 (or since 2004 or so) with all the kids on iPhones, tables, Kindle, facebook, computers.....too much distraction and sensory overload for the kids.
What kid have you seen past 10 years old who isn't texting, reading e-mail, preoccupied?
And half the crap I learned in Jr. High and H.S. is irrelevant today.
Not to carbon date myself, but in 12th grade we weren't allowed to use a calculator for Math, Chemistry, Physics...just a slide rule!!!
What kid today would even know what a slide rule is or how to do long division?

By: govskeptic on 5/8/13 at 5:42

The only persons interested in the babbling of many disgruntled parents are
the TV cameras of this area. They will run to every instances they can to televise
the complaints of some mom whose" little darling" has perceived to be
wronged whether justified or not. Consequences for the students that don't
try and fail and/are drop out is great. For many the same was true for their
parents as well, but blame that on society versus their own sorry behavior.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 5/8/13 at 6:23

Did anyone else here watch TED Talks Education last night?

By: pswindle on 5/8/13 at 8:16

Some parents have no idea how to get involved, and some kids do not want their parents involved. I have seen Parent-Teacher Conferences in which a teacher will sit in the classroom waiting and maybe one or two parents will show up.

Ucan, I bet there is two sides to your story. I would like to hear the teacher's side ,too.