Where are the parents who care?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I was unable to attend the Parent Academy on Saturday, July 10 because of other commitments. Being a teacher in the district, I am sure I would have enjoyed the message delivered by Earl Watkins, CEO of education consulting group, Leading2Leap, LLC.

At the last school board meeting on July 8, and in the newspaper last week, it appeared that the academy would be an informative and inspirational start to the new school year, and a time for parents to socialize with each other and the speaker over refreshments provided by the district.

It also appeared that I was not the only person in Natchez with other commitments on Saturday morning.

I read in Sunday’s edition of The Natchez Democrat that Mr. Watkins spoke to approximately 30 parents, teachers and district staff members.

With our district student enrollment close to 4,000, I wonder if the low parental attendance caused any concern to audience members.

The message delivered Saturday encouraged parents to be actively engaged in the education of their children. I am adding my own message to those who could not or did not want to attend. We have a school district that is arranging and paying for informative sessions on how to help your child succeed in school, so please take advantage of what your district is offering free of charge. Apathy is no longer an option in these tumultuous times.

After reading Ben Hillyer’s column last week about cutting athletic programs in the district as a way to save money, I wonder if the crowd size would have been different if the academy had been arguing the merits of abolishing some of those activities.

That would have been a polemic attracting a stadium-sized crowd full of citizens concerned for the athletic future of the district’s children.

Have parents become so inured to hearing that they can and should be partners in what happens in the classroom that the message no longer holds any gravitas? The next Parent Academy will be on July 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Natchez High School. I wonder if the same faces of the same parents that faithfully attend these workshops will have new faces added to their ranks. For the sake of NASD, I hope so.

Mary Ann Downs

math and science lab teacher

McLaurin Elementary