What we blacks need to do:

Parents’ Back to School Responsibilities

Problems: Some parents never meet their children’s teachers, attend PTA meetings, monitor homework assignments, discuss report cards or monitor what their children wear to school. They don’t know how many credits are needed to graduate or how many their children have. They also leave too many important future planning decisions up to the school system and their children.

Consider these 10 solutions:

Buy only the clothes you can afford for your children. Remind them that they will be briskly walking down the hall in a school not sashaying down a fashion runway. Save some money for college or trade school.

Take your children to open house and meet all their teachers.

Your children’s school day should be the main topic of conversation at the dinner table every school night. Go through their daily schedule and ask them two questions. What did you learn today and do you have any homework? If their answers are repeatedly “nothing” and “no homework,” it’s time for you to contact their teachers.

Put the dates of the interim reports and reports cards on your refrigerator calendar. Have a sit down, one-on-one detailed discussion with your children about both. It is very important that you let them talk and defend their position.

Plan to have two hours each school night where you and your household have a lockdown. Cut off all electrical or battery-operated TVs, gaming devices and phones. Use this enrichment time for homework, reading, writing and family discussions.

Never give up on your children. Keep encouraging them to respect themselves and others. Teach them how to take notes and study. After you have constructively criticized them, help them find a solution to that problem. Remember, if you watch your children for a long period of time, they will do something wrong and something right. Catch them doing something right each day and give them a big hug as you praise them for doing well. Age and size does not matter; they are still your “baby”!!!

Take the time and have your children teach you how to use the Internet. You must monitor what they are reading, watching, writing, sending and receiving on line. No secret password for children in your “home.”

Buy a one-year subscription to your local black newspaper. Some cost less than $40 a year (four large pizzas that will last about 15 minutes). This should be among the first reading materials you put in your home library.

In order for you to help your child in high school follow the right educational track, you must know the answers to the questions below. If you don’t know, have your child and the school counselor guide you.

A. How many credits does your child need in each of the following subjects to graduate:

B. How many does he or she have?

C. What is his or her grade point average?

D. What is his or her best subject?

E. What is his or her ranking in the class?

F. What is the grade point average required for the state University system? Community College? Trade School?

Bullying is a serious problem in every school and grade level. It can be face-to-face by text or on the Internet.

You need to have a discussion with your children on a plan of action telling them what to do and who to tell when it happens.

Being able to quickly tell the names of the starting five on the NBA champions Golden State Warriors or the main characters in the many dramas on the Oprah Winfrey Network is good for sports entertainment conversation only. Meeting, learning the names and communicating with the five or more teachers who will teach your children this first semester is “priceless.” These are the people you must know. This is the parent’s responsibility!

James J. Hankins is a graduate of the “all black” Williston Senior High School, three-year U.S. Army veteran stationed in Germany, A&T State University alumna, retired vocational education teacher, past president of the New Hanover County Branch NAACP, seven years as construction manager of Youth Build Wilmington, N.C. charter member Friends of Abraham Galloway and author of the book “What We Blacks Need To Do.” To comment on his commentary or buy his book, email: jhan606@gmail.com