It is a given that the academic achievement gap begins before children reach school. It’s been documented so often that only those who don’t believe in public education would argue that the home environment makes no difference in a child’s education. Only the profiteers like many Charter School operators would argue that schools can educate any child effectively regardless of the home or neighborhood environment they come from. Fortunately researchers like Lareau, Duncan, Steinberg, and of course Coleman demonstrate how foolish they are.
But the most powerful modern documentation that parenting matters comes from a Charter School. Look at the Harlem Children’s Zone. Their secret isn’t in the curriculum or the teaching; it’s in the neighborhood outreach. Geoffrey Canada’s schools are successful because of the parenting program he put in place. It’s run by parents from the neighborhood that he trained to educate others in the neighborhood on how to successfully raise children.
Parenting is the most important job in the world. Most parents learn how to do it from on the job training or from their own parents, who most likely learned on the job or from their parents etc. We know how important good parenting is. Isn’t it about time that high school children learned how to be good parents? Isn’t it about time that parenting 101 became part of the curriculum? Isn’t this the real test and meaning for No Child Left Behind?