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Education's Unicorn: Parents Who Don't Care

Students, this post is for you...
If you are Hispanic, this is especially for you....

Students, did you know that if you are Hispanic, you are more likely to be in basic remedial classes?
Fewer of you will be in AP and advanced classes.
More of you will drop out of school.
Many of you will not go to four-year colleges.

I know that you know this, because I hear you say....
I'm not going to college. I'm Mexican.
No, I don't know how to do that. I'm Mexican.
All the Mexican kids are in the stupid class.

But, did you know that WE also know this? We know that you don't have the same odds for success as your Black, White, Asian, and other counterparts. We talk about this with our friends. We discuss it at our teacher meetings. We read about it. We write about it. And when we go to grad school, we study it in nearly every class.

But we are lost. We want to help. We want you to have bright futures. We want to fix this, but we don't know how. We search for strategies that might be effective. We label you "diverse learners," in hopes this will help us understand you better. We try things that work and we try things that fail. When we have success, we brag and we share.

Keep an eye on these two girls, because they are going places!

But let me tell you one more thing that you probably don't know. For all of us, and there are many, who are working hard to fix this, there is always someone who passes the blame. No matter the time, place, group, or circumstance, there is always one person who blames the unicorn.

There are people out there who blame your parents. Your parents don't value education, they say. Not just your parents, but an entire population's parents. Hispanics don't care about education, they express woefully, with a pitiful expression on their face. They don't make their kids do homework. They don't come to parent-teacher conferences. They don't return my phone calls. They have enough money to go to Mexico, but they send their kids to school without supplies. We need to understand, you see, that some people aren't meant for college. 

I wonder, where are these unicorns? These enigmatic beings that birth and raise children, wanting them to fail? These parents who don't value education? These folks who don't care about their child's future? I really want to know, because I have yet to meet one.

I have never seen a unicorn, but here is what I have seen:

  • Parents sobbing when their child is failing.
  • Dads sitting in class with their disruptive sons.
  • A mom leaving her children for rehab, so she can make things better.
  • Parents whose experience in school was so traumatic that they are still bitter.
  • Parents who are afraid of being deported.
  • Single moms who work three jobs.
  • Children raising siblings.
  • Moms who are embarrassed by their limited English.
  • Parents sitting with their children in juvenile detention, struggling to understand what went wrong.
  • Grandparents struggling to do better as they unexpectedly raise children again.
  • Parents who attend every meeting, even though they don't understand the language.
  • Moms on welfare, without jobs, because they barely have a middle school education.
  • A dad calling from prison, wanting to know how he can prevent his child from making the same mistake.

Where's the unicorn?

It's time to stop blaming the parents. It isn't true and it isn't helpful. 

Education reform is no place for fairy tales and mythical creatures.


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  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    This is a really interesting post. I would love to get in touch with you about having you writing a guest post on this same topic for my website. I can't find a way to contact you directly here -- could you come to my site and e-mail me through the contact page:

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