Newspaper article MinnPost.com

How a Self-Help Group of Parents Helped Kids Beat Academic Achievement Gap

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

How a Self-Help Group of Parents Helped Kids Beat Academic Achievement Gap

Article excerpt

That young graduate with a new high school diploma in hand this month tends to get all the credit for his or her success. Yet behind every successful student there is most often a supportive parent just as deserving of congratulations.

Take the fascinating story out of The Washington Post about Club 2012, a disciplined, supportive self-help group started by African- American parents for their 18 children to help them beat the racial academic achievement gap.

It's a story too good not to be shared with MinnPost readers. Even in the Twin Cities where many programs exist to set kids along a college-bound path, this is a success story begging to be told.

When their kids were in middle school these parents living in the greater Washington, D.C. area, were alarmed to see their children's interest in school waning and grades sliding. The students were being passed over for advanced math and honors classes and some were starting to believe stereotypes they couldn't make it academically, they say.

Parents rebelled. They banded together to set high academic expectations for their kids, organizing homework clubs, monitoring grades, partnering with school personnel. They involved their kids in community-service activities and took them on college visits.

When they graduated this June these students boasted: "100 percent graduation rate, 92 percent enrollment in Advanced Placement classes, a cumulative 3.7?grade-point average and a combined $1.3?million in college scholarships," according to The Post.

Their parents, meanwhile, logged in about "1,173,266 hours" of support time, half-joked parent John Johnson.

The story appears to substantiate the importance of parents in beating down the country's widespread racial academic achievement gap. From the story, on the importance of parents:

Hundreds of studies have documented how everything from the number of hours parents spend at their children's school to the way they monitor television can be associated with academic success. …

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