A MANUAL FOR ALASKA NATIVE PARENTS TO PROMOTE
Presented to the Faculty
of the University of Alaska Fairbanks
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of
MASTERS OF ARTS
Edith Joan Hildebrand, B.B.A.
The pdf verion of this document is:
I wrote this manual to provide Alaska Native parents with ideas on ways
to get involved with their children in school. There is urgency to the
need for Alaska Native parents to work with their children throughout
their children’s educational years so the children can do well in
school. Being a parent is a full-time job and time seems consumed with
work, activities, family, and subsistence activities. Times are different
from decades ago when the typical working parent was the man of the house
and the wife stayed home helping their children with homework. Today,
a majority of parents work to support the families and lack the time to
become more involved with youth education. Sometimes parents will not
make the time to work with their children, leaving education up to the
administrators and teachers in the school system. Many times, children
seem to fend for themselves. Without proper guidance, the consequences
can be detrimental for the children themselves, for their families, for
future employers, and for the community in which they live. People are
quick to criticize the current school system but will very rarely participate
in youth education to make it better.
There is a direct link between the level of parental involvement and a child’s
success in school. When parents show an interest in their children’s education
then their children are more apt to excel in school. When parents are involved
from the start then as their children progress through the educational system,
it is easier to communicate with teachers and school administrators, increasing
their children’s success in school.
The lack of participation by Alaska Native parents can deprive their children
of achieving their full potential. Communities lose out because as young adults
with minimal education or experience move into adulthood, they are less likely
to contribute to the economy in a productive manner. Employers may then face
problems with absenteeism, higher turnovers, poor work ethics, and stagnant employees.
Major changes in the current educational system are unlikely but Alaska Native
parents have the choice to make it work for their children.
Parents who are actively
involved in their children’s education won’t
find themselves running around to get materials at the last minute when projects
are due or panic when they get called and are told that one of their children
is in the principal’s office. There are many ways for parents to involve
themselves, from working on homework to making presentations to a class. Parents
do not have to be in the school, on the school board or be sports parents to
get involved. If parents show an interest in their children’s education,
the children likewise become more interested.
Teachers are not the only parties
responsible for the education of Alaska Native children. As active partners,
Alaska Native parents must take the time to work
with their children at home, making sure their children are safe, healthy,
and making good choices. What children learn and see at home will affect how
behave in school.
- are their children’s first teachers.
- must provide their children with the tools to succeed in life.
- have an obligation through coaching and teaching to help their children
be proud, educated, contributing adults.
- Are responsible for teaching their children to live healthy lives
and must be positive role models.
- should stand up for their children when it comes to education. No
one else will stand up for them.
- must make their children accountable for their individual actions.
- make their children’s education worth their time.
- must be proactive and not reactive.
- raise the academic achievement level of their children at the schools.
- have a right to participate in the education of their children.
Some ways that
parents can be responsible for their children’s education
- meet and talk with the teachers, one-on-one.
- share expectations with the teachers.
- keep in regular contact with the teacher.
- provide the teacher with useful information about the children so
the teacher knows the children’s strengths and weaknesses.
parents need to get involved in the education of their children right
from the start. If every Alaska Native parent
in his or her child’s education, imagine the positive
impact on the Alaska Native students. Success would be apparent
standardized testing, more
Alaska Native students would be graduating from high school,
and more Alaska Natives will be in the active workforce.
To get to this level
Native parents to communicate with schools and be active
partners in the education of their children.