Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Arrest the parents or work with them?

I thought this article by Timothy Aqukkasuk Argetsinger in Alaska Dispatch was great - "Uqaġupta naalaġniuruksraurusi: When we talk, you listen." It's about the recent issue regarding legal action taken against parents for truant students.

While I think there is risk to then excuse some of the parental action (or inaction) regarding ensuring kids are at school, where they might actually be just negligent, he has great points that are almost never addressed. Specifically, he cites examples in which indigenous culture is worked with Western education for success, rather than a power struggle.

In any case, I can only imagine what he proposes is radical and maybe a little scary to some, but what he's really talking about is getting back to how things were done for millenia. I encourage you to read the WHOLE article before judging!

1 comment:

alaskapi said...

I've been watching this writer's work on his own blog. He has a powerful voice and is developing truly rich arguments for a measured shift in education here.
I was more dismayed by the cavalier attitude about sending parents off to jail in the original article .
Parents who truly fail their children will not "get it" from a jail sentence and their children will not gain . My mother worked for years as a public defender for juveniles. Kids with broken parents all too often try to take care of those parents and do not learn to take care of themselves or mature as full selves.
The state and education system are not making distinctions about real failure to parent and troubles parents encounter with this truancy routine. Nor are the state and education system looking to truly solve any problems. All appearances are that it is merely to force children into seats in school and pray some knowledge of some sort filters through.
Parents who have real problems with parenting need help as do their children. Whether this comes from the larger community, family, and/or the education system, it is to the benefit of all to help.
Parents who cannot or do not parent are another deal altogether and it would serve us well to make the distinction.
There is also the issue that Alaska occupies a singular place as regards Native self determination rights in education post ANSCA. I'm hoping Mr Argetsinger and others will help us discuss this with a view to sorting out what we want to do about it.