Can Parents Afford to Stay Out of the Classroom?

According to,[1] for at least three decades, a Michigan teachers’ union has violated the Federal Civil Rights Act by declaring that “special consideration” would be given to applicants that were “minority” and “those of the non-Christian faith.” In a statement sent to the news outlet, Ferndale school officials said, “We don’t know why and how it was first placed into the contract” and, “It has never, to our knowledge been enacted or cost an applicant a job.” This quote comes from a school district whose policy is to review contract policy every three years.  The discriminatory language has since been taken out of the contract, but the mystery is why it was there in the first place. Why would a school district want to make sure to hire non-Christians? Is there some agenda of which we are unaware?

The Atlantic writer Dana Goldstein posted Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework [2] four days ago detailing the “ground-breaking study” that suggests parental involvement in schools does not positively affect academic achievement.  Two associate professors of Sociology, Keith Robinson of the University of Texas and Angel Harris of Princeton University, have released a book about the topic, entitled The Broken Compass: Parental Involvement with Children’s Education, 2014, Harvard University Press. The new ‘wisdom’ indicates that parental involvement yields few positive academic benefits for kids.  In fact, according to Robinson and Harris, some involvement is consistently negative: like helping with homework.  The article notes that “Other essentially useless parenting interventions [are]: observing a kid’s class; helping a teenager choose high-school courses; and especially, disciplinary measures such as punishing kids for getting bad grades or instituting strict rules about when and how homework gets done.”  Goldstein calls it “meddling.”

What can you do according to this study?  Read aloud to your young kids and talk with your teenagers about their college plans. The authors go on to say that the most effective way to improve performance is requesting teachers with a good reputation because having the best teachers has been shown to raise students’ lifetime earnings and decrease the likelihood of teen pregnancy.  But, as Goldstein notes, these involvements take place at home, not at school or with teachers where “policy makers exert the most influence.”

These policy makers exert that influence in loco parentis; in the place of a parent. I remember this clearly from my two minutes as a first year law student.  One of the first court cases in the U.S. to cite in loco parentis was State v. Pendergrass, 19 N.C. (2 Dev. & Bat.) 365, 365–66 (1837). The Indiana Law Review [3] has a wonderful breakdown of this topic. The issue was about corporal punishment in schools.  The ruling was that schools have the authority to discipline students to uphold moral discipline since they stand in loco parentis during the time that children are given over to them. The irony is that now, schools want to indoctrinate students independent of parents’ morals and values, and it’s more convenient to do so if pesky parents are out of the way.  To that end, the federal government wants schools to adopt Common Core even as more evidence mounts that social justice (social-ism) is a core value in the curriculum. Breitbart  [4] reported on this in January.  Thanks to the new core math methods, one can see the diminishment of parents’ ability to help with homework in the new way children are being taught to add.  Let’s bring in loco parentis to a local Tucson, Arizona level.  Think of the sí se puede indoctrination rally held in a Tucson elementary school in support of adopting a Cesar Chavez day.  Think of the La Raza—I’m sorry—Mexican-American and African-American studies classes taking place in schools, without reform, even after they have been declared in violation of state law.

While I do hold the Michigan school district suspect for not wanting Christians, I don’t mean to imply that the latest study was done with nefarious intent to undermine society. It is quite interesting, although I find fault with some presumptions made therein.  In fact, the authors do conclude that parents are needed—just not in the classroom.  My concern is that this data will be manipulated to encourage parents to disengage from content and let the government schools indoctrinate their children.  The fight is for the next generation’s future and we can’t afford the luxury of letting big government, the enemy in my estimation, have unfettered access to our children’s impressionable minds.  Parents being involved in the classroom may not impact students’ grades, but knowing what is being taught while your child is at school it will definitely enable us to impact character—theirs and ours.

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