BY JESSICA LEWIS
Parents play the most powerful and influential role in children’s lives.
As their children’s first and best teacher, parents set the stage for success in the early years and early grades. Without parents, it is unlikely that we can make progress on our community-wide outcomes.
Therefore, a focus on parent-engagement is integral to academic development. Learning occurs long before children enter kindergarten. And research shows that more than 1 in 3 children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning.
Even more alarming is that by the age of 3, high-income children have double the vocabulary of low-income children.
Reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. Yet, each year more than 80 percent of low-income children miss this crucial milestone.
In Rochester, only 8.2% of children from the Rochester City School District passed the NYS English assessment in 2016. This means that 92% of Rochester’s 3rd graders are reading below grade level.
This has significant and long-term consequences—not only for each of those children, but for our communities and for our nation.
If left unresolved, this problem will deter progress to end poverty, close the achievement gap, and reduce high school dropout rates. In addition to addressing inequities in the school system and in our classrooms, parents must be equipped with the tools needed to best help children succeed.