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Parent Involvement Matters for Student Success

May 18, 2023

Parent Involvement Matters for Student Success by Frederick M. Hess at Washington Examiner. For 20 years or more, too many parents felt like they were treated as adversaries or nuisances. Amid COVID-19, parents in learning pods reported this type of resistance from school systems, with researchers documenting a spate of “aggressive emails” and “vengeful” responses from school officials. And parental frustrations aren’t unreasonable, especially given that half of teachers report spending less than an hour a week engaging with parents, guardians, and the community. It shouldn’t need to be said, but it apparently does: Parent involvement matters a lot for student success…. As one influential survey of the research concluded, “No matter their income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, [and] have better social skills.” Read


Thoughts on Today's Upheaval and Its Implications. Interview of N.S. Lyons by Francis X. Maier at What We Need Now. I recently visited a lovely “Benedict option” style intentional Catholic community in Maryland, where more than a hundred families have sort of centered around the school (the St. Jerome Academy) there. I was very impressed, not just with what they’ve accomplished as a community, but by the general sense of goodness, humanity, and, well, sanity, that they’ve been able to build there, including for their children. I think these kinds of communities are likely to be a real bedrock of “resistance” moving forward; especially ones that can remain integrated yet distinct from broader society, without being totally isolated. By doing so they can serve as a “parallel polis,” providing not only community and solidarity for their members, but also serving as an example for others in society that a better life is possible. Read


Those Who Don't Know History are Doomed by Peter Laffin at Washington Examiner. Too many students have never heard of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and so they are entirely ignorant of the ways in which their preferred social movements mimic it every day. They couldn’t tell you what a gulag was, not even if they had the benefit of multiple choice. Of course, this isn’t their fault. They only know what they’ve been taught. And the truth is that they’ve been taught by teachers who were trained by an overwhelmingly leftist professoriate under the supervision of an overwhelmingly leftist university administration complex. With more and more time devoted to leftist moral instruction, otherwise known as social emotional learning, and more emphasis on ideological purity (framing history through an “equity lens,” for example), which suppresses critical engagement with ideas and promotes self-censorship, it is surprising that even 13% of students are proficient in history and civics. Read


Stop Funding Failed Public Schools by James Rogan at Washington Examiner. The federal government spends about $60 billion a year on public K-12 education. Much of that money is wasted. Such spending should be slashed, especially federal money spent on education in inner cities. The public school systems in New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C., as well as other public school systems, fail to educate children. About 50% of New York City children fail standard reading tests. Read


Ike’s Insight by George Weigel at First Things. If a culture denies what classic Western metaphysics (and biblical religion) taught for millennia—that there are immutable truths built into the world and into us—then false and even bizarre notions of what a human being is inevitably follow. So do equally false and bizarre ideas of what makes for human flourishing and social solidarity. Public life then becomes not an ongoing, rational conversation about how we should live together, but a power struggle in which those false and bizarre ideas of who we are and how we flourish try to impose themselves on society. And the pushback against such imposition gets ugly. Read


The Joys of Gender by Regis Martin at Crisis Magazine. We really are in an awful fix if the confusion reaches that deep down, if the extent of current social conditioning has become so pervasive that we lack the courage to define anything. All is fluidity and flux, leaving only one fixed and unalterable point, which is that everything must be permitted, including even the chemical castration of children. Read 


Defining Religion in the Court by Mark Movsesian at First Things. The Supreme Court has never settled on a definition of religion, and its decisions down the centuries point in different directions. Some of the Court’s rulings indicate that idiosyncratic personal convictions can qualify as religious; others suggest the opposite. Until recently, the question has been mostly academic…. A fast-growing percentage of Americans, the so-called “Nones,” now tell pollsters that they have no religious ­affiliation—roughly 30 percent of the population, up from only 6 percent a generation ago…. [M]ost Nones are what one might call unaffiliated believers, people who reject organized religion but believe in “something else out there” and follow their own spiritual paths. Read


The Best Mother’s Day Gift: Education Freedom by Heather Madden at Washington Examiner. 2023 has been a triumphant year for the expansion of K-12 education freedom in the states. Iowa, Utah, Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina passed laws creating or expanding education savings account programs in which parents can access funds for eligible education expenses, such as tuition, tutoring, textbooks, and educational therapies. Other states, such as Texas, are considering similar legislation. The benefits of choice programs are clear…. [S]tudies show that when families have greater control over their children’s education, public school performance improves, creating a more prosperous education system for all. Read


Abbott Vows to Veto 'Watered-Down' School Choice Bill and Call Special Session by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. "Empowering parents to choose the best educational path for their child remains an essential priority this session," Gov. Greg Abbott said. "A majority of Texans from across the state and from all backgrounds support expanding school choice. The Senate’s version of school choice makes about 5.5 million students eligible, while the House's version of that bill proposed last week would make about 4 million students eligible. The latest House version of school choice, which came out this weekend, only applies to about 800,000 students." Read


Throwback Thursday


Partnering with Parents to Nurture Family Faith - Insights from Research by John Roberto at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on September 8, 2020. At the heart of all the research is the finding that the most important influence shaping the religious and spiritual lives of children and youth is their parents. The overwhelming evidence from the research studies shows that the parents of American youth play the leading role in shaping the character of their religious and spiritual lives, even well after they leave home and often for the rest of their lives…. The crucial location where young people’s religious outcomes are largely decided is not the parish or Catholic school, but the home. The primary responsibility for passing on religious faith and practice to children rests with parents; religious congregations (and Catholic schools) are secondary and primarily serve to provide support. Read

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