Empowering Parents and Families to Partner in Their Child’s Education

By Guest Author | November 16th, 2017 | No Comments

Bibb Hubbard has dedicated her career to helping ensure all students are prepared for life after high school. She founded Learning Heroes to help parents play an active role in their children’s educational success. Bibb brings extensive experience in communications, policy, and advocacy from the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to her role as Founder & President of Learning Heroes.

As teachers issue the first report cards of the year, parents across the country are reacting to how their children performed during these initial months of school. As a mother of two teenage sons, I know the range of emotions well. And as founder and president of Learning Heroes, I am committed to helping parents partner in their child’s education.

In our efforts to help parents support their children’s learning, we want to know what parents think — what keeps them up at night, where they are confident, and where they could use some more help. In our most recent national poll of K-8 parents, Parents 2017, we learned a lot.

If you’re a parent, you probably won’t be surprised that most parents say they own the responsibility for their child’s success in school and have high aspirations for their child — with more than seven in 10 expecting their child will earn a college degree. We want our kids to be happy, healthy, and successful. We want them to be able to fulfill their dreams.

When asked how confident parents are that their children will be prepared for success in college, 60% of parents believe their kids are on track to be ready for college, 66% rate their children as above average academically, and nine in 10 parents believe their kids are at or above grade level in both reading and math.

Heartbreakingly, these numbers simply don’t square up with student performance data: barely a third of students are performing at grade level nationally; only 37% are prepared for college; 60% have to take remedial courses once they get to college; and only 54% get a degree in up to six years.

Yet, we’ve also seen data that shows the incredible difference parents can and do make in their children’s success in school. Parents can make a profound difference in their children’s education, but they first must have an accurate picture of where their children excel and where they may need more support.

We learned from our poll that to keep tabs on their children’s progress, most parents rely on report cards and parent-teacher conferences. In fact, 86 percent of parents rely on report cards to know how their child is progressing. Yet many report cards use “edu-jargon” — words used by policymakers and practitioners that make little to no sense to parents, including, “climate & culture,” “student growth,” or other language that creates a fuzzy picture of their child’s progress. Despite good faith efforts to provide more data to parents, many, including myself, are left in the dark. End-of-year state assessment results are typically worse, displaying terminology parents don’t use which can be almost impossible to interpret.

There is an urgent need to bridge this gulf — and technology tools can help by supporting the partnership between parents and teachers. Despite parents placing the responsibility of their child’s academic success on themselves, most parents aren’t as involved in their child’s education as they want to be, and more than half of parents who think their child has struggled in school don’t feel very confident in supporting their child’s learning. To fulfill the role parents want to play, let’s make sure they have a more accurate understanding of their children’s performance and progress.

We hope you — as a parent, educator, community member — will join us and Edmodo Ambassador Christi Collins @christibcollins) on Sunday, November 19th, 2017 via #EdmodoChat on Twitter in having an honest conversation focusing on how we can use technology to connect parents and teachers to address the widespread disparities between parents’ high expectations, the lack of understandable and actionable information, and the pressures of raising happy and healthy children.

The first step is listening to what parents think, want, and need to know to support their kids — and then commit to building partnerships between parents, teachers, and schools. Technology tools can connect families with important information and actions. With an accurate picture of their child’s grade level progress, regular communication with the teacher, and an understanding of how to support learning at home, parents, and families can be the stewards they aspire to be — true partners in their child’s education.

About the Author: Guest Author