Teachers tend to get blamed when students don’t perform well on achievement tests. But New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman noted what some new studies are showing: “Parents more focused on their children’s education can also make a huge difference in a student’s achievement.” For example, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which tests 15-year-olds in the world’s leading industrialized nations, found that teens whose parents often read books with them during their first year of elementary school scored markedly higher than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. “Just asking your child how was their school day and showing genuine interest in the learning that they are doing can have the same impact as hours of private tutoring,” said Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the exams for the OECD. Friedman noted that there is no substitute for a good teacher. “But let’s stop putting the whole burden on teachers,” he said. “We also need better parents. Better parents can make every teacher more effective.”
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