There’s no substitute for parents’ involvement in a child’s education. From Walter Williams at lewrockwell.com:
In reference to efforts to teach black children, the president of the St. Petersburg, Florida, chapter of the NAACP, Maria Scruggs, said: “The (school) district has shown they just can’t do it. … Now it’s time for the community to step in.” That’s a recognition that politicians and the education establishment, after decades of promises, cannot do much to narrow the huge educational achievement gap between Asians and whites on the one hand and blacks on the other.
The most crucial input for a child’s education cannot be provided by schools or politicians. Continued calls for higher education budgets will produce disappointing results, as they have in the past. There are certain minimum requirements that must be met for any child, regardless of race, to do well in school. Someone must make the youngster do his homework — and possibly help him with it. Someone must ensure that he gets eight hours of sleep. Someone must feed him wholesome meals, including breakfast. Finally, someone must ensure that he gets to school on time, behaves in school and respects the teachers. If these minimum requirements are not met — and they can be met even if a family is poor — all else is for naught.
Scruggs says that it’s time for the black community to accept part of the blame. Part of the problem is the lack of parents’ involvement in their children’s education — for example, their not attending parent-teacher nights. Having children’s books around the house and reading to preschoolers is vitally important. According to Mariah Evans, who headed a 20-year worldwide study that found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of whether a child will attain a high level of education, “one of the things that is most striking … about it is that the book’s effect appears to be even larger and more important for children from very disadvantaged homes.” By the way, one doesn’t have to be rich to have books around the house. Plus, there are libraries.