When Low-Income Parents Go Back to School
While parents have a hard time actually getting to class, the benefits can be huge for their kids, as poor children whose parents have at least a GED or high-school diploma are more likely to complete high school. Johnson said she notices that a lot of parents start enrolling at Academy of Hope when their kids reach fourth grade, after recognizing that they need to pursue their education to help their children with homework. Parents start attending school functions, too, as their positive adult education experience starts replacing frequently negative childhood ones.
At Academy of Hope, about a quarter of students set a goal to become more involved in their children’s schooling; about 70 percent achieve it. “[They] look at the child’s homework and they can help them out, rather than just looking at the homework and having no idea what’s going on,” Onokpite says.
Gillis said that her eldest son has provided a lot of encouragement. She says if she doesn’t earn her high-school credentials, her children won’t feel they have to, either. “My son said, ‘Mom, if you want a high-school diploma from me, you have to get your GED. If you don’t get your GED, I can’t promise you a high-school diploma.’ So that made me want to go to school more to get my GED because I owe it to my kids.”