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My initial thought would be to create incentives for parents to participate in their child's education. Monetary incentives (rebates, discounts, waiver of school fees) for those parents to attend school events like parent-teacher nights. You could even get the state involved by granting tax incentives to parents that increase their partipation. Maybe give tax credits to parents based on the improvement of their children?

I don't see how that would work at all.

Many of my underperforming students were in families that likely didn't pay a whole lot of income taxes, so what kind of tax incentive could there be?

Waiver of school fees? For public school? What school fees? I mean, we had to pay for sports and other extra-curricular stuff, and for an i.d. (~$30) but not really for anything else.

The Harlem school that PuddinHead is always going on about has parental responsibility as part of the core, but by the nature of the school, the parents are involved in the kids' education to begin with and accept the responsibility willingly.

We're talking about parents who either don't know how to be supportive, can't be responsible for one reason or another or flat out don't want to.

For the "don't know" group, a lot of elementary schools do things like make it a "homework" assignment to read with your child for 30 mins a day, and other such stuff. They talk about it at back to school night and parent-teacher meetings. They send notes home talking about it and other such stuff.

But for the can't or won't group? What do you do?


One family had a single dad who worked nights and two teen girls. The older teen girl was constantly in trouble, such as being arrested. The dad was drowning and lost and couldn't control either girl. He tried - they didn't have tv or a computer or phones. Only the dad had access to listen to voicemail on the home phone. But when I called and left a message of concern about how the younger girl was not doing any work in class and was far behind her peers, she was threatened with violence.

How do you get that dad involved in her education? Beating her isn't the answer.

Giving him a tax break isn't going to help a whole lot, either.

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