Last revised 19 May 2009

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The true owners of the Detroit Public Schools are the parents of its students.  Parents and other voters not only elect the school board, who appoints the superintendent, who controls all employees, but parents have a tremendous impact on teachers, principals and the schools itself.  Here are our suggestions on what parents should do so their children get the best education possible.  


1. Attend your child’s parent teacher conferences.

This is the most important thing you can do for your child’s education.  If you cannot attend, get a friend or family member to attend in your place.  When you attend these conferences, it tells your children that you care about their education, particularly if you have a busy schedule and attending is difficult for you.  It also tells the teachers and the principal of the school that you care about your childrens' education, which makes them do a better job.  Attending these conferences can also help solve any problems between your child and teacher.  


2. Participate in your Parent Teacher Association, or start one.

Every parent cannot participate in the PTA or PTSA, but some of them should. These organizations help the schools and teachers by having fundraisers to pay for things that the schools cannot provide.  They also let the school know about concerns of the parents.  Please try to get involved if you can.  


3. Tell you children that you want them to go to college, and give them confidence that they will succeed.


It is important to speak positively to your children about their future.  Even if you did not go to college, encourage them to do so.  As Governor Granholm and others have repeatedly indicated, having a college degree is particularly important for today’s children:


Today, all children in Michigan -- not many, not most -- but all our children must grow up knowing that their education will not end in high school.

Whether it is a four-year college degree, or a two-year associate degree, or other forms of technical training after high school, continued learning will be a requirement for all who seek a good-paying job in this new century.

Why do college degrees matter so much? One word: paycheck.

If you have any doubt, consider this: our newest auto factory -- a partnership among Daimler Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai in Dundee -- is not hiring a single soul who hasn´t gone to college.

And those who graduate from college don´t just get jobs, they earn more.

If Alex Trebek said to you, "The answer is, just under a million dollars," your question would be: "What is the difference in lifetime earnings between a high school and a college grad?" That´s right, almost a million dollars.


State of the State address, 2005