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Fathers in the Classroom - Just Stop By!

 

Background and Need

Children suffer when their fathers are not active in their children's schools.  The traditional school environment is a child's most significant social setting and springboard for future achievement, yet the father's role in that environment has been diminished to the point of having little to no effect on school children[1]Many fathers feel there is no place for them in the classroom, and as a direct result, grades and behavior of their children become worse.  Fathers do not expect to be included in the academic lives of their children, and schools reinforce this expectation by not including fathers in meetings and activities.

It was once thought the high number of single-family homes led to lower involvement among fathers.  Research shows, however, that even in two-parent families, mothers are involved twice as much as fathers. [2]  The prevalence of mothers in schools compared to fathers is reinforced by the fact that school faculties and staff are accustomed to calling upon mothers to attend school functions and address children's academic needs.  The mission of Fathers in the Classroom - Just Stop By! is to change this behavior by making fathers a critical resource in their children's academic careers.

Fathers are even excluded from school-related research.  A 2002 study discovered fathers were included in only 10 out of 1000 school psychology articles. [3]  Mothers are the members of the family that are invited to participate and who are consulted regarding decisions related to the child.[4]  The absence of fathers in schools has contributed to children's behavioral issues and poorer grades.[5]  Therefore, the empowerment of fathers to gain a place in the children's schools becomes a critical component of their children's academic success.  When fathers are involved in the children's schools, half of students achieve in the high level "A" range and enjoy the school process, compared to students who have fathers not active in schools.

When fathers participate in school, students are also half as likely to have ever repeated a grade (7% vs. 15%) and are significantly less likely to have ever been suspended or expelled (10% vs. 18%). After taking into account such factors as mothers' involvement, fathers' and mothers' education, household income, and children's race/ethnicity, it was found that children are still more likely to get "A's", participate in extracurricular activities, enjoy school, and are less likely to have ever repeated a grade if their fathers are involved in their schools compared to if they are not (Nord, Brimhall, & West, 1997).  The research is clear - to improve children's grades and behavior, fathers need to be involved!

 

 

Project Description

Fathers in the Classroom - Just Stop By! takes the anxiety out of fathers participating in their children's schools by making program enrollment and participation easy.   This program views fathers as an untapped resource for improving their children's academic future.  Fathers in the Classroom - Just Stop By! is rooted in the principle that the presence of fathers in their children's schools makes a significant positive impact on a child's grades and behavior, leading to long-term academic and vocational success.  This program is beginning in Los Angeles and has been designed with sufficient flexibility to adapt linguistically and culturally diverse populations on a national level.  In addition to getting fathers into their children's classrooms, Fathers in the Classroom - Just Stop By! offers fathers access to resources such as financial literacy and referrals to a network of services.  These resources are a critical component of the program as there may address underlying issues that are keeping fathers out of the classroom.

 

There are practical barriers that keep fathers from participating in their children's schools such as work, social, and other family obligations.   Many fathers find themselves feeling so remote from the academic lives of their children that the task of becoming involved appears insurmountable.   This program makes participation simple for fathers who want to make a difference in the children's futures.   Fathers in the Classroom - Just Stop By! uses a three-prong approach to help fathers get back into schools: 

 

·         Make it Easy for Fathers

·         Get Employer Support

·         Get Schools to Recognize Fathers



[1] Frey, Feweell & Vadasy, 1989, 1993.

[2] Clinton, W. J. (1995, June 16). SUPPORTING THE ROLE OF FATHERS IN FAMILIES. Memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies. Washington, DC. 

[3] Fouri, Buchanon, & Bream, 2002.

[4] Topics in Early Childhood Special Education; Winter 2001, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p. 233, 9p

[5] Frey, Fewell & Vadasy, 1989, 1993

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