If it Takes a Village to Raise a Child…

If ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ then by my count most of the village appears to be asleep on the job!

In the city of Baltimore kids were given the CAT (Calfornia Achievement Test) not only in June at the end of the school year but also in September just after the summer vacation had ended. The results proved illuminating: sociologist Karl Alexander from the John Hopkins University found that low-income kids outperformed their wealthier peers in progress made from September to June year on year. In other words teachers were doing a spectacular job with these children. However when he looked at the difference between test results in June and the following September he found that over the course of the summer the low-income kids had a rate of attrition not found in the wealthier students whose tests scores actually improved over the summer vacation. By the end of the first 5 years of schooling this summer attrition had led to an ’achievement gap’ of over 25% between the rich and the poor. In other words poor kids learnt nothing when they weren’t actually in school.

So what if we could keep poor kids in school longer, would that solve the problem? Yes, and that is exactly what KIPP schools did and proved. However they also found that this system worked only up to a point that point being college level studies. Once KIPP students went to university, it appeared that working harder and longer no longer guaranteed success a 100% of the time: only 33% of all KIPP students entering tertiary education completed their 4 year course of studies. What Levin, one of the KIPP founders, discovered about the students that stayed the course was that although they had not necessarily been the most successful academically at KIPP they did possess certain character traits that made all the difference: persistence, optimism and social intelligence. In particular they were very skilled at getting professors to give them the extra help they needed when they needed it.

Annette Lareau, a sociologist, calls this particular skills set practical intelligence. It allows you to read social situations quickly and accurately and act in way that gives you what you want. It is a skill, she says, that is taught by the parents of the well-to-do children to their offspring. It is part of what she calls the ‘concerted cultivation’ middle class parents bestow on their children, one that encourages them to question, interact confidently with adults and speak up for themselves when necessary. According to Lareau, middle class parents “foster and assess a child’s talents, opinions and skills” and see it as their job to “manage their child’s education.” This promotes a sense of ‘entitlement’ in these children not often found in those of low-income families, whose parents see it as the job of the teacher to manage their child’s education, not theirs. And it is this attitude of “entitlement” that virtually guarantees these children success in today’s world.

Which brings us back full circle to the question of just who in the village is not pulling their weight when it comes to question of raising the children?

Nobody in their right mind becomes a teacher to make money and yes, we have our share of shirkers as do all professions, professions where annual salaries and bonuses can equal the entire life savings of a teacher; but for the most part teachers work tirelessly to provide their students with the best education they can…as well as cover for absent staff when a supply teacher can’t be found, perform playground duty, offer an array of extra-curricular activities,’volunteer’ to help with the school play, the school fair, the school ‘whatever’, meet with parents formally at parents evenings (if they bother to show up) and informally when necessary, write recommendations, reports, invigilate and mark exams, mark homework, respond to students’ emails, oh and yes prepare lessons that will engage the students and teach them to think to learn and ultimately learn to think. Teachers are run ragged – let’s not put this one on them too. No it’s not teachers that are failing the students it’s the rest of the village – the parents and the wider community. It’s time that the village elders wake up to this fact and act accordingly.


  1. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
    I am quite sure I will learn a lot of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  2. Howdy! This article could not be written any better!
    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this information to him.

    Fairly certain he’ll have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  3. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  4. I do accept as true with all the ideas you have offered in your post.

    They’re really convincing and will definitely work.

    Still, the posts are very brief for newbies. Could you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time?

    Thank you for the post.

  5. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However
    I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I don’t know why I
    can’t subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting similar
    RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution can you kindly respond?


  6. Heya this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors
    or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting
    a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get
    guidance from someone with experience. Any help would
    be greatly appreciated!

  7. Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to grasp a lot about this,
    like you wrote the e book in it or something. I believe that you can do with a few p.c.
    to power the message home a bit, however instead of that, that is wonderful blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

  8. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say
    excellent blog!

  9. I’m not sure where you are getting your information,
    but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for great information I was looking for this info
    for my mission.

  10. Hello would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this
    blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good
    hosting provider at a honest price? Thanks, I appreciate it!

  11. Heya are using WordPress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started
    and create my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make
    your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  12. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both
    equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the
    nail on the head. The issue is something which too few folks are speaking
    intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something
    relating to this.

  13. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post.
    Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  14. I’m very happy to discover this page. I want to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!!
    I definitely really liked every little bit of it and I have you book-marked to check out new information on your website.

  15. hey there and thank you for your information – I’ve definitely picked
    up anything new from right here. I did however expertise a
    few technical points using this site, since I experienced to reload
    the website a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly.
    I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that
    I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently
    affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if ads
    and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail
    and could look out for a lot more of your respective exciting content.

    Make sure you update this again very soon.

  16. Hello my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with approximately all significant infos.
    I would like to peer more posts like this .

  17. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she maintains the thought of a user in his/her mind that how a user
    can be aware of it. Thus that’s why this post is outstdanding.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here