Education: Some Affluent Schools Seem to Want a Particular Kind of Parent.




( As parents many of us want our children to attend the best possible schools. Despite any financial hardships, and mind bogging work schedules there are parents that sacrifice to make sure their children are academically excelling in all subjects. This is work yet rewarding because you know when your child walks into a classroom, they are prepared. This preparation can help avoid various kinds of anxiety that can take place in a classroom. Parents are urged to get involved in their child’s academic journey. Beyond staying in communication with teachers, creating expectations for behavior that starts at home, and seeing to homework and projects parents are needed to volunteer time and money. The money aspect tends to show itself a bit more when the child is set to attend some private, charter and magnet schools. Schools that are deemed academically affluent, and have a majority white student population, tend to consciously or subconsciously want a particular kid of parent. Even if one’s child is highly intelligent, and can test in if necessary, the parent is also a part of the package in determining if a family will be a good fit for the school. The parent may not like their kid having to wear a uniform and conform wit the rest of the students.

It is important to acknowledge that when you want your child to attend the best school sometimes it’s the school closest to you, it is funded by affluent parents and supporters, and it won’t always be a mixed student population. This is not to say one’s child won’t gain entrance, but the student and family can begin to feel out of place quickly outside of the academic spectrum. The culture of the school can, if not careful, alienate parents that are low income and parents that have to work different kind of jobs to support their family. If the parents are working hard for their children to succeed in the classroom this invisible pressure from the school should not exist.

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Parent Teacher Organizations are very important and offer parents and avenue to be actively involved in their child’s school. However, they can help build the idea of wanting a particular kind of parent. Parents that work will not be able to attend PTO meeting that happen at 11a, or in the middle of the day…that would only cater to the stay at home parent or one that works overnight. However, the overnight working parent may very well be asleep. Just because they can’t attend doesn’t mean they don’t care about their child; this can also be said for the parent that works during the day. This can create a false narrative about parental involvement. When school is just starting many parents are scrambling to get uniforms, fees, lunch money, and school supplies all sorted out. It is seen as negligent of the parents not caring if these items are not provided. Often times assumptions are made if the students don’t have all of their supply’s day one. However, some school PTOs would have major fundraisers within the first two weeks of school. There are fun dress days, pizza and ice cream socials, and t shirt sales that are happening just as school is starting which can totally stress out the parent with not enough and leave the child whose parents can’t afford all the extra singled out.

One might be thinking if your child can’t afford that school maybe they should consider going elsewhere. The problem with that logic is these aren’t private school, and if one’s child got in on an academic basis, they shouldn’t feel the need to go elsewhere. Raising money to benefit the school is a great idea, but timing is everything. Give the parents a chance to bounce back as every household is not affluent and can’t afford to support even if they would like to do so. This pressure is felt when the child sitting in class has to watch everyone else participate in one of the socials, or a dress day. Let’s not try to convince ourselves that being left out as a child builds character if we are concerned about the mental health of the child in every other area. Parents can easily be left feeling ashamed. As a observing parent of a child in grade school I am grateful we are able to provide in a manner by which our son participates in everything, but I that every child cannot. I feel its important to speak up for the parents that are working just as hard, and are doing all they can to give their child the best opportunities to succeed in life.

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