Monday, October 02, 2006

Parental Apathy

Children left behind. . . by their parents. This is the kind of stuff that makes me bang my head into walls:
[School officials] sent letters to parents in English and Spanish, notifying them that under the federal No Child Left Behind act of 2001, their children were eligible for free tutoring.

Parents, the letters said, could choose from a list of state-approved tutoring companies. The district, the letters said, would spend up to roughly $1,000 and tutoring would be provided by private companies such as Catapult Online or PLATO Learning.

More than 650 families were eligible. A few parents called with questions, but when the sign-up period concluded, "none of our families took us up on that," said Cynthia Davis, a district coordinator.
Wait, what? Students aren't doing well. Federal dollars (from the much-derided No Child Left Behind Act) are made available to parents of those students in the form of free tutoring. NONE of the parents took advantage of the program. I could understand (maybe) if the parents weren't made aware of the program, but they were. The article cites Colorado educators stating that the low response to the program has to do with things such as notification letters being "confusing or filled with technical jargon" and lack of transportation to extra-curricular programs. I understand the latter; parents have to work or take care of other children. What I can't understand is the former: if you can't understand something you get from your child's school, why can't you request clarification from the school? I can also understand if some parents don't take the offer of free tutoring when their children are already involved in another after-school program, but NO parents signed up for the program in the school district?

That's just (a)pathetic.

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