Letters to the Editor

Pro parental involvement I Letter

Many thanks to school leaders. Schools are doing somewhat-academically OK — for some of our students. You are to be commended for your pay-as-you go sports fees programs along with your educational efforts!

All of you stated you can’t and/or won’t require parental involvement; that has been legally required by Title 1, compensatory schools programs for decades! Are you aware that there are 16+ states that have charter schools programs of KIPP and YES requiring parent’s involvement? Case in point, Missouri state has 20 charter schools with innovate methods of requiring parent involvement. Could that be the reason they are academically more superior than Washington state schools? Plus, Missouri state schools have five schools that made the U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon Schools List.

Also, why are local school districts quick to blame students’ color for their poor academic performance; especially when there are only 48,900 black students, 4.7 percent and 196,245 Hispanic students, 18.9 percent; out of a statewide student population of 1,040,986? There simply are not enough students of color to effectively alter the 295 school districts and 2,084 schools. That game is as old as the hills. It’s called “blaming the victim.” And in this case, the students are being blamed for the lack of superior educational programs, charter schools and teacher’s high academic expectations of all their students.

Research challenges us to defy the stereotype that poverty precludes high academic performance and that lower-income and low academic achievement are inextricably linked. It demonstrates that economically disadvantaged children can learn at the highest levels and provide hope to other lower-income students seeking to follow the same path. Sadly, from the time

they enter grade school through their postsecondary education, these students lose more educational ground and excel less frequently than their higher-income peers.

Despite this tremendous loss in achievement, these remarkable young people are hidden from public view and absent from public policy debates. Instead of being recognized for their excellence and encouraged to

strengthen their achievement, high-achieving lower-income students enter what we call the “achievement trap.”

Educators, policymakers, and the public assume they can fend for themselves when the facts show otherwise.

There are millions of high-achieving lower-income students in urban, suburban, and rural communities all across America. They reflect the racial, ethnic, and gender make up of our Nation.

Frederick Douglas once said, “A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people.”


Willis Papillion, MSW


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