Some Metro Atlanta teacher saw more fathers at school than usual Tuesday morning. The increased “daddy presence” was part of the National Fathers Take Your Children to School Day/The Million Father March held on Sept. 10.
Men parting with words like, “pay attention”, “be good”, and, “I’ll see you later” gave both the unique sense of comfort and discipline that only a father’s voice can do.
The annual day, founded in a church basement on Chicago’s South Side in early 2000, has gowned into a more than 600 national city event involving more than a million men including fathers in Gwinnett County.
Phillip Jackson, executive director for the Black Star Project, says the goal is to encourage fathers, grandfathers, uncles, big brothers or any male guardian to take the time to be involved in a child’s life at the beginning of the school year and throughout.
According to the Chicago based, Black Star Project, data supports the fact that a father who actively participates in the educational and social development of a child becomes invaluable and irreplaceable.
The findings include a 2004 summary study by The Parent Institute showing that at schools where teachers reported high levels of outreach by parents, reading scores grew at a rate of 50% higher, and math tests scores by 40% higher, than in schools where teachers reported low levels of parent participation.
Statistics from the National Fatherhood Initiative support these findings and show that when fathers and men are regularly and substantially involved in the education and social development of children, children have higher standardized test scores, higher grade point averages, higher attendance rates and higher graduation rates from high school.
Additionally, they have lower rates of suspension, expulsion, arrest, fewer incidents of violent behavior, and they are less likely to use drugs, alcohol or engage in premature sex.
Of course there are no magic tricks or short cuts to finding the solutions to the education problems facing many communities today, but getting fathers more involved goes a long way toward finding real answers. Surely, that's worth a father walking his child to school.