This year, when the first day of school roles around, there’s going to be a few extra folks in homeroom.
Thanks to an idea that has been catching fire over the last few years, 2012 just might be the year that The Million Father March really solidifies itself as the super-cool movement that refuses to go away.
According to an article in the current Education Week, “More than a million fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and father figures are expected to accompany their children to the first day of school in the U.S. this year, inspired by the vision of 10 men who met in a Chicago church basement eight years ago.”
And, anyway you cut it, that is a beautiful thing.
These days, education seems to wallow away in the underground of what American people are concerned about. In a more perfect world, it would seem to me that the schools our kids go to and the lessons they are being taught, that the overall education they are receiving would all be topics of debate, right up there with all the discussion of other important things like jobs and taxes and deficits.
But it rarely is.
So, as we zero in on another important Presidential election, it’s inspiring to see that a whole lot of dads are banding together in a peaceful nonpartisan way to show both their children AND their country that they really do care an awful lot about eduction in America.
Best of all though, is the fact that the fathers who have committed to walking their kids to school, and even staying all day with them that first day back, seem to understand and emphasize that a critical part of their own child’s schooling is the attitudes and efforts brought forth by the kids themselves. And more often than not, that all starts with parents who are both supportive and inspiring when it comes to school.
Born from an idea hatched by a few members of the Black Star Project, a group “committed to improving the quality of life in Black and Latino communities of Chicago and nationwide by eliminating the racial academic achievement gap,” according to their website, the Million Father March has now become so popular that fathers of all races and ethnic backgrounds are actively participating.
Philip Jackson, one of the March’s founders, tells Education Week, “We used to get people from all over the country who would ask, ‘Can we participate in the Million Father March, but we’re white?’ Or, ‘We’re Latino.’ Or, ‘We’re Pakistani.’ Now they don’t even ask. They just do it.”
And if that isn’t inspiring to all of us dads out there, I sure don’t know what is.
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