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Parents, You Have to Advocate

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Photo by Daniel Harden

I'm working on a book that will absolutely transform education. It will contain valuable perspectives of my journey as an educator, reading coach, and assistant principal. There will be practical action steps that will help transform the mindsets of individuals, families, communities, and schools.

Here is another excerpt from the book, The Educational Formula.

When parents don’t speak up and get involved in their child’s education, they leave the scholar exposed and unprotected. The fact that education starts at home, guardians are the front line of defense for children. Prior to students starting school, parents are the best advocates because they’ve spent the most amount of time with them and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Leveraging that information is crucial for keeping scholars honest about the expectations you have for them.

Partnering with your child’s school, specifically the classroom teachers will create a level of accountability for all stakeholders. The scholar’s behavior and effort tend to be more focused if they know the connection exists and happens often. The educator will be challenged to do right by the child on every level knowing that there’s a check and balance system with guardians. As parents, the partnership will give you the peace of mind of knowing you’re making informed decisions about your child’s educational future. Again I’d like to reiterate that as the primary educator, your kid’s teachers are your strongest allies.

In reality, For the parents who don’t get involved in their children’s education because they don’t feel comfortable navigating the school systems, please understand that being silent and idle is the worst solution you can come up with. Being uncomfortable is a signal to inform you about an opportunity for growth. Besides, as a parent I can’t imagine too many things, if any, that are more important to me than to support my child to thrive in school and beyond.

In addition to accountability at home, nowadays guardians have a variety of ways to communicate with educators and the school staff. They can ask questions via phone, text, email, virtual conference or other means of communication. If language is a barrier, schools are required to provide you with equitable access in your native language. School districts should also have Parent Advocates designated to help you understand your rights and how to maximize the free services you’re entitled to. At the end of the day, you have to ask! If you remain silent and don't advocate for your children, your silence will become a shovel that buries their future.

Berwick Augustin is the founder of Evoke180, a leading publishing company that also specializes in Haitian-Creole translations. He is an educational consultant and keynote speaker who embodies two decades of experience as a writer, teacher, and assistant principal. Berwick is the author, most recently, of bilingual books, Days, Months, and Seasons in Haitian-Creole, The Haitian-Creole Alphabet-and 1803 The Haitian Flag.

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