Photo Credit: Jim Higley
We’re all concerned about education -- are our kids learning enough, can our schools survive steep budget cuts, are we giving children the tools they need to get jobs in a 21st century economy? The questions go on and on. So when we heard MSNBC was hosting a two-hour special on education called Making the Grade, live from Detroit on Sunday, August 14 at 12:00 p.m. E.T., with a particular focus on early childhood education, we jumped at the chance to participate.
Jim Higley, one of our iVoices on iVillage, represented iVillage, iVoices and moms and dads across the country. Jim’s a single father of three (pictured) and two of his children graduated from the public school system. He says over the years, he tried to be an involved parent -- as involved as he could be since he had a demanding career at the same time. He knows his involvement -- even if it sometimes came in the form of working at fundraisers or chaperoning at events -- benefitted his kids. But too many kids don’t have involved dads. According to a new report, one in four fathers with kids 18 years or younger lives apart from their kids. "This is not a moms' issue alone and we’ve got to somehow get dads involved," Jim said during the live town hall event. Yay Jim!
Watch Jim’s recent iVoices report here on how he traded conference room meetings for the carpool lane and became a stay at home dad.
Leading up to the special town hall meeting, iVillage and MSNBC focused on issues such as should parents be to blame if kids fail school. California and Alaska currently have laws on the books where parents could be charged (California) or fined (Alaska) if their kids are truant. Indiana is considering a proposal requiring parents to volunteer three hours per semester at their children’s school, and Florida is considering giving parents report cards based on how involved they are in their kids’ lives. We also focused on whether bilingualism might be superfood for a kid’s brain and benefit early childhood education, and whether schools should be teaching cursive writing anymore.
What are the top education issues on your mind? Send a tweet to @StrongerAmerica and use the hashtag #makingthegrade or chime in below.
Kelly Wallace is Chief Correspondent for iVillage. Follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellywallacetv