Empowering and Connecting Parents as First Teachers

The conference aimed to empower, support and connect parents and guardians in their vital role as first teachers of children by bringing the wider community together to secure an educational system that promotes the academic success of all our children. 

Our sense from participant feedback and evaluations is that the mix of parents, guardians, along with persons from K-12, higher education, and community and educational support institutions provided a generative learning setting.  It was one in which we could listen to, learn from, and be seriously and strongly challenged by ranging experiences, ideas, and yearnings about the educational circumstances facing our children and the possibilities for positive transformation. Seventy-five individuals attended the conference and 17 children participated in the Youth Camp. This conference marked a significant innovation and expansion in the work of Race & Pedagogy which began in 2002 with a commitment to encourage students and teachers at all levels to think critically about the role of race in education and to act to eliminate racism.

The Conference successfully engaged parents and guardians as a specific constituency in the dialogue and work of Race & Pedagogy Institute. A few summative comments from conference participants:

"The opportunities given to parents and guardians to gain information and express personal concerns through round table discussions was very impressive."

"I found the idea of connecting with the right help in the right time and sequence is very valuable."

"We need more students' input when parents are not around."

"I enjoyed knowing that meeting with my child's teacher and counselor can be very beneficial to his learning and education. I realize that I am my child's first advocate and that it is important for me to develop a positive relationship with the teachers."