Resetting the relationship between parents and educators

With a new school year just around the corner, and given the tumultuous past couple of school years, it is important for parents and teachers to focus on cultivating a partnership committed to a child’s success.

It is a relationship that has been strained on the side of both parents and educators for a variety of reasons — from parents feeling like adversaries when the National School Boards Association wanted the FBI to classify angry parents as “domestic terrorists” to teachers feeling like they are being blamed for things that they have no control over, points out Frederick Hess, senior fellow and director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

“As students struggle with learning loss, emotional trauma, and social isolation, and as schools seek to find their bearings amidst heated cultural debates, parents and educators could both use some help,” continues Hess. “That makes this a propitious time to rethink the parent-school relationship.”

A partnership is a two-way street. Teachers must be competent and committed to educating every child. Schools must commit to keeping parents in the loop and respecting the views and values of the families they serve.

But parents and guardians have a job, too: to send children to school who are responsible, respectful, and ready to learn. This means getting their kid to school on time, making sure they do their homework, and expecting them to behave appropriately.

Educators, treat parents as equal partners — value their concerns, respect their right to see what’s being taught, keep them informed on what’s happening in school, concludes Hess. Parents, come alongside teachers, find ways to team up knowing you are the expert on your child and the teacher is tasked with being the expert on classroom learning.

Here is a great sample back-to-school letter/questions from the Minnesota Parents Alliance to help foster open, honest communication and help create a partnership revolved around a student’s academic success.