All parents should be required to volunteer time to their children's schools.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.

Unlike past education, which exclusively concerned educators, current education involves anything or any person responsible for educating children. Naturally, the duty of teaching shifts from sole teachers to various subjects; parents, among these subjects, are of no doubt an indispensable one. Thus, it is both reasonable and necessary to call for a school-family partnership. Active parent engagement with school activities therefore gains unprecedented significance. However, I tend to argue that such an engagement, may include, but in no way equals time engagement; and when this engagement becomes a mandatory task, the healthy school-family partnership is jeopardized.

I welcome parents’ engagement at school. A dilemma constantly exists: children spend most of time receiving education at school, but it is limited in preparing them to face the outside world. Such a discrepancy leads to criticism upon educators. While even now we can do little to change the fact that students are restricted to classrooms when receiving education, we can establish a connection between children and the world by bringing in outside factors. Parents are reasonably among the first group of guests schools show hospitality to. By participating in triangular activities involving children, parents and teachers, parents can gain a better understanding of the methods teachers use and subsequently utilize these methods when teaching their children at home. In such sense, teaching extends beyond the classroom.

However, parents’ commitment to their children’s education cannot be merely measured or fulfilled by the amount of time they volunteer at their children’s school. Firstly, how well parents comprehend the nature of formal education hinges primarily on what aspects schools reveal to them and how perceptive they are. In addition, measure of parental involvement in their children’s education is determined by the total time they spend with their children, both at school and outside the classroom. For instance, we cannot claim a mother to be irresponsible regarding her child’s education if we have no idea how wholeheartedly she assists her son at home with his assignments; nor is it fair to praise a father who we observe picking up his daughter from school every day if we are unaware that he leaves her unsupervised all night while he is out with friends. Thirdly, a vivid communication between parents and school requires far more than time. The amount of information and knowledge children absorb depends on how often and well their parents informally teach them using their own life experiences and knowledge gained from their careers. From this perspective, parents who merely participate at their children’s school hardly bestow on their children information they cannot learn in the classroom. Parents should also study with their children, admittedly in a very different way, so that they can provide appropriate lessons when the opportunities arise.

Moreover, although we emphasize the importance of parents’ participation at their children’s schools, when this participation becomes mandatory, it may have a detrimental effect. If parents are required to be present on specific dates, their children will intuitively link their parents’ presence with how much they are loved, and will become depressed when their parents are absent. In addition, teachers may attempt to impress parents by behaving in ways they normally would not if parents were not present. For instance, it is not difficult to imagine a copiously weeping girl glaring at all the other parents and whining about her busy mother’s absence; we can also readily visualize a scene in which a normally severe teacher acting in an effusively flattering manner because parents are present. In both of these scenarios, the real being of schools is not concealed and the parents’ volunteer activity occurs merely for its own sake.

To summarize, while I deeply sympathize with the proposal that parents should actively participate in their children’s education, how parents participate is still subject to further deliberation.

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