BBC report: Parents to be paid to attend parenting academy in England

16 Nov

Moi wrote in Parent involvement: Bronx’s Mercy College parent center:
Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:
One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters
Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools.
The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement.

Educators, parents, and politicians all over the globe are trying to foster parent involvement

Judith Burns of the BBC reported in the BBC article, Cash for parents to learn how to support schoolwork:

Parents in two urban areas in England are to be offered money to attend a parenting academy to learn how to support their children’s schoolwork.
Some parents will be paid around £600 to attend all 18 sessions in the trial.
The scheme, for disadvantaged families, will test whether cash can encourage parents to help their children learn.
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the heads’ union ASCL, said parental engagement was a good thing but feared the payments could be seen as a bribe.
“We need to look at different ways of helping parents engage in their children’s learning but I have reservations about simply paying them,” said Mr Lightman.
But he added that the cash could be a genuinely positive thing if it were used, for example, to enable parents to take time off work to attend the courses.
Numeracy, literacy and science
The trial, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), will run in 14 primary schools in Middlesbrough and Camden and will cost a total of almost £1m.
The idea is to equip parents with the skills to support their children’s learning in numeracy, literacy and science….
Some 1,500 parents and carers will be randomly divided into three groups.
One group will get free childcare and meals when they attend. A second group will not only get these benefits but will be paid for every session they attend. A third control group will not attend the sessions.
The attitudes and abilities of all the children with parents in the three groups will be assessed at the beginning and end of the project.
The idea is based on a US project, in which parents of pre-school children in an area of Chicago were paid up to $7,000 a year to attend two sessions a week aimed at boosting their basic maths and literacy as well as their knowledge of how to support teachers and help with homework….

Here is information about the Chicago Heights Miracle Project:

Chicago Heights Miracle Project
Rewarding Student Performance
Almost half of inner-city Americans fail to graduate from high school and most don’t make it to the 10th grade. In 2008, The Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation teamed up with University of Chicago economists John List and Steven Levitt (author of Freakonomics), and the Chicago Heights School District to test a unique incentive program, dubbed the Chicago Heights Miracle Project.
The aim of the project was to use cutting edge methods of investigation in behavioral economics to evaluate the impact of various incentives on student achievement.
Students were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups, or to a control group. Each month in which a student met academic, behavioral, and attendance standards that student became eligible for an incentive.
• Eligible students in the first group earned $50 each month.
• Parents of eligible students in the second group received $50 each month.
• Eligible students in the third group were entered into a lottery for a chance to win $500.
• Eligible students in the fourth group were also entered into a lottery, but their parents received the prize money.
The most significant impact was seen on students who were falling just short of their established goals. For these students, the incentive program had lasting effects: they not only began to meet standards but continued to outperform the control group into 10th grade. The researchers agreed that incentives can play an important role in getting children—especially borderline children—through school. Knowledge gained from the Chicago Heights Miracle Project led to the development of the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center.
Watch the movie trailer of Freakonomics which mentions Chicago Heights.
Read an article about Dr. List’s experiments in the Chicago Maroon, the University of Chicago newspaper.
View the researchers’ presentation about the project.

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.


Tips for parent and teacher conferences

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance

Parents can use tax deductions to pay for special education needs

Intervening in the lives of truant children by jailing parents

Making time for family dinner

Embracing parents as education leaders

Where information leads to Hope. Dr.

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One Response to “BBC report: Parents to be paid to attend parenting academy in England”


  1. Parent homework: School home visits | drwilda - January 3, 2014

    […] BBC report: Parents to be paid to attend parenting academy in England […]

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