Parental Education

Leon Sykes has eight children at home, works two jobs, and drives for Uber and Lyft on the side.

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May 22, 2017 – Online MCAT CARS Practice

Question: What is your summary of the author’s main ideas. Post your own answer in the comments before reading those made by others.

Leon Sykes has eight children at home, works two jobs, and drives for Uber and Lyft on the side. Yet the 34-year-old father has found time to take classes Monday through Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. to earn his high-school credentials at Academy of Hope, an adult public charter school in Washington, D.C. Sykes is about two years into the program. His wife usually picks up their children, ages 5 to 15, from after-school activities, but he still can’t always make it to class. “Some days, you just have to pick and choose,” he says.

About one in 10 low-income parents participate in education and training courses, according to a 2014 report by the Urban Institute. About half of those parents work while enrolled, creating a need for childcare. The Department of Labor’s Strengthening Working Families Initiative has set aside $25 million to fund partnerships between workforce and childcare organizations to help parents who want to advance their education. For parents who did not graduate from high school, earning a GED can have financial benefits. Adults who hold a GED certificate end up with higher monthly earnings than those who never finished high school.

Working parents often take classes in the evenings but childcare centers generally close before 6 p.m., leaving parents to find informal options, such as asking a family member to come over or dropping a child off with a neighbor. At Academy of Hope, which has two campuses serving a total of about 330 students, 42 percent say they have at least one dependent. Parents can participate in the GED-preparation program or in the college-transition program, where students can earn four college credits that transfer to a local community college. Parents who take classes here can qualify for a voucher for childcare through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, but there are more children than slots. And while the school considered offering childcare, it has decided that it would be too complex and costly.

The Academy of Hope CEO Lecester Johnson says that there are plenty of reasons a student might have to miss class: Many students have multiple jobs, for instance, and schedule changes can prevent them from showing up. Being a parent, however, can make things even more difficult. “If their babysitting or childcare falls apart, there isn’t usually a backup, and that’s the case for most folks,” Johnson says. At this school, female students who are also parents are especially affected by the lack of childcare, according to Richmond Onokpite, a lead science and technology teacher. Nationally, of the 1.8 million low-income parents who participate in education and training, more than half are single moms.

In a science class at Academy of Hope sits Domonique Gillis, a 27-year-old single mother of four. This is her favorite subject. Gillis grew up in West Virginia, where she did well in high school. But her junior year she got into a fight, which resulted in her being moved to an alternative school. She knew that the alternative school was for “bad kids,” and so she stopped listening in class and completing her school work. “I wasn’t bad until I went there and I adapted to the environment to fit in,” she says. “And then I stopped going to school.”

About two years ago, she started taking classes at Academy of Hope to earn a GED. Last year, she missed too many classes to complete the program. This year, she might again miss too many classes to finish it. Academy of Hope usually allows eight missed classes per 13-week term, though the staff tries to meet with each student before his or her absences reach this point to discuss solutions. “Once students miss beyond that eight, it’s really hard for them to catch up,” Johnson says.

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.”

Adapted from theatlantic.

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This was an article on Education.

Have a great day.
Jack Westin
MCAT CARS Instructor.
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28 Comments


  1. GED has positive benefits + parents become more involved with children

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  2. Finishing a high school education is tough. Kids inhibit attendance, but also motivate parents.

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  3. Parents have a hard time completing their GED for their children

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  4. author gives two reasons why parents want to get GED.
    1. financial reason
    2. to help their children.
    also author gives an example of why it isn’t easy to get education (childcare)
    author is neutral

    Reply

  5. MI: Adult EDU → Main obstacle = Child care , Motivation → Example for Child

    Reply

  6. The passage informs the audience on parents who are trying to earn a GED while balancing work, and family schedules. It mentions the obstacles these parents face, as well as the benefits and motivations they confront.

    Reply

  7. Need babysit services while parents in GED course. Females children most affected

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  8. passage tone = informative, neutral, respectful of parents who are working hard to get educated
    biggest challenge in adults getting GED – getting care for kids
    motivations for adults to get educated – help kids, motivate them, higher salary
    kids are motivator for adults to get GED
    reasons for lack of education – rough circumstances

    Reply

  9. Parents who go back to school to achieve a high school diploma or GED must overcome many obstacles including child care (which the government provides a little assistance for) and other obligations such as jobs. It is common for parents to go back to school in order to motivate their own children and to be able to help them with homework.

    Reply

  10. parental education can have many challenges but at the end it promotes great benefits for their kids.

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  11. MIP: GED –> positive outcomes (self+child); many reasons miss class; need childcare

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  12. GED programs grant opportunity for struggling parents; parents role model to children.

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  13. MI: attend class= hard for parents; GED=many benefits for parents and their kids; AH is helping but its impacted
    tone: neut

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  14. MIP: Greater need for childcare, especially for parents attending adult high school; complete GED benefits children, encouraging them to complete their own high school diploma

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  15. Adult education is available for adults who did not finish high school, and it is beneficial for low income families because of childcare.

    Reply

  16. MI1: no childcare => missing classes
    MI2: parental education = benefits for kids

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  17. GED is a great opportunity to complete secondary education, but can be tough for those who have children.

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  18. More low income parents obtaining GED now – 2 main reasons
    1. financial benefits (earn more)
    2. they can help their kids better, more involved and set a model
    however, it is also challenging for parents to attend w/o missing classes due to their other jobs/responsibilities

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  19. adult education has a lot of benefits for parents and their children; but its biggest obstacle is child care.

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  20. Low-class parents who want to improve their poor education face a major challenge: child care. However, their love for children and the encouragement from their children can give them power and determination to achieve their education goals. On the other hand, obviously, the article serves a purpose to advertise for the business of the school Academy of Hope.

    Reply

  21. parent education = benefits kids but this is difficult b/c of unreliable childcare to allow for attending class

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  22. Low income parents are advancing their education by pursuing a GED so that they can have better job prospects and salaries.
    Since the majority are working parents, campuses that provide GED preparatory and college transition programs provide childcare services for their students but demand exceeds supply.
    Enrolling in such programs do not only provide better earning opportunities for these parents, they also equip them with them with the means to help their children academically and inspire them to do well at school too. Parents are also motivated to be more involved in their children’s education too.
    Author is definitely supportive of such parents who take the effort to better their lives through education. Yet he/she is also cognizant of the fact that these parents have many responsibilities and challenges to overcome.

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  23. MI: Parents going back for GED = Hard, kids + Job commitments. Beneficial to get GED and kids can motivate

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  24. GED = beneficial for parents and their kids.

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  25. 1/10 low income = attain GED; GED = benefits, childcare = biggest problem for those attending school; classes = evening while formal childcare = day, Author = neutral

    Reply

  26. MP: Living without a degree is tough for parents who have kids, many eventually want to do it but its tough but overall will be beneficial in the end

    Reply

  27. Thank you for your wonderful passages Jack, but I think your passages are substantially more interesting than the ones on MCAT.

    Reply

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