Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why Being an Involved Parent Really Matters



This week, I'm excited to be celebrating Education Week, an annual Univision initiative to stress the importance of education to Hispanic families and provide resources for them.

Last Friday, as part of Univision's kick off of Education Week, I had the pleasure of watching the live-streamed program hosted by Jorge Ramos on the topic of Latino and higher education. There was some great information shared from professionals in the field of higher education, such as how 80% of Latino students attend community colleges and how there are tons of financial aid resources available for these students in the forms of scholarships, grants, student loans, and more.

One of the things that struck me the most was when one of the members of the panel mentioned that a good education begins in preschool and how our families need to be enrolling their kids in preschool to prepare them for school.

But again, there is one crucial question that comes to my mind every time I hear this statement made: How many Latino parents actually know how important preschool is for their child's academic success?

Chance are if you are reading this and are a regular reader of my blog, you could have raised your hand after thinking about that question. You know preschool matters and that if you can't for some reason enroll your child in a preschool - or choose not to on purpose - it is important to work with them at home, teaching your child to recognize letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and more so that they can start kindergarten ready to start learning how to read, spell, as well as add and subtract.

You also know that being an involved parent extends way past preschool and, in fact, all the way through college. It means that your responsibilities change from year to year (sometimes from day to day) as your child grows. It doesn't mean having all the answers. But it does mean knowing how to get them and passing that skill on to your kid.

Do you know why being an involved parent really matters, though?

Studies have shown that having an involved parent increases a child's chance of academic success regardless of income level, race, ethnicity, etc. Having an involved parent reduces behavioral problems, and improves math and science achievement, school preparedness, graduation, and more.

While attending the LATISM conference last month in New York, one of the panels I sat in on was a Town Hall Meeting on the State of Education. One study that was shared found that the Latino parents in the study group never received any college financial aid information throughout their child's entire K-12 education. In addition, 3/4 of the college-age Latino students surveyed said they would have gone to college if they'd had more information.

I'm not going to say that these parents weren't involved in their children's education. But I will say this: when you are involved, when you place a heavy emphasis on education and pass that value on to your child, you will find the resources your child needs to succeed.

You will learn about scholarships like the ones that Univision offers. You will learn about how poor grades don't necessarily mean no access to college, but instead may require your child to attend a community college to boost their grades in order to get into a university and eventual Master's program, if that is what they wish. You will find the help your child needs to master skills, concepts, or subjects with which they are currently struggling. It will happen. YOU will make it happen. The resources are there, we just have to actively look for them.

For tips on how to be an involved parent, read this article I shared a couple of years ago. Every single tip still applies today.

Wishing you and your child much success in your education goals!

Un abrazo...

Monica

You can follow the excellent conversation on Twitter using the #EsElMomento hashtag.

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