Educators are surrogate parents

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 20, 2006

To the editor:

High student achievement and great school success are expected in America today.

However, it is baffling to some educators the lack of parental support from some homes. Many educators have simply taken the position that they and their colleagues must teach and attempt to change the mind set (attitude) of students alone.

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Children who lack parental support and discipline have an impact at school.

Usually, it is a negative impact.

Research shows that when families are not involved, their children:

Get lower grades and test scores and dropout from high school at higher rates.

Are less likely to go on to higher education.

Are less behaved and have more negative attitudes.

Lack of parental support extends beyond the perimeters of education. It may mean poor health later in life.

According to findings reported in Psychology and Aging magazine, a new study of 2,905 adults found that people who reported inadequate parental support while growing up are likely to have poorer health as adults. Also, people who reported that they had abundant parental support during childhood were more likely to have relatively good health throughout adulthood.

Today’s teachers and school administrators are increasingly exercising local parentis – in place of parents. Eligible schools can legally purchase supplies and in some cases clothes for many of their pupils. Many public schools offer breakfast, lunch, extended day with snacks, and Saturday school. Things that were once done by the family have become the school’s responsibility. The school is an institution that fills family roles.

An institution is a social unit (family, school, or church) that serves a special purpose to humans.

The family is mankind’s oldest social unit. Nevertheless, many feel that today’s changing social attitudes make one wonder whether the family is falling apart. Sociologists have long been concerned with the question of whether or not the traditional family as we know it will disappear.

Many school administrators often make reference to the “school family” when referring to the school’s climate (environment).

They realize that the school must provide certain basic needs before children are ready to learn.

Students are spending more hours with educators. A case in point is Alabama extending the school year by five days beginning with the 2006 – 2007 academic year. It is debated that the school is becoming society’s most valued institution. Educators have become surrogate (substitute) parents to some pupils.

Gerald Shirley


School of Discovery