How entitled parents hurt schools

Affluent parents who wield connections and their ample resources to get their way can wreak havoc on schools

There is a widespread view in education that poor parents are trouble: They don't spend enough time reading to their children, monitoring their homework, attending school events or helping teachers. Educators, at times, complain bitterly about them, and many policies have been designed to address these issues. With economic segregation in the United States worsening, there is likely to be a growing number of school districts where poor children, and poor parents, predominate.

Yet, economic segregation, which is more pronounced among families with children, also creates public school districts where affluent families predominate. This can lead to trouble in schools, but of a distinct kind. Motivated by a fierce desire to protect their children and themselves from difficulty, and armed with a robust sense of entitlement as well as ample economic, cultural and social resources, affluent parents can create conflict and interfere with school districts on a scale that is rarely acknowledged.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2018, with the headline 'How entitled parents hurt schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe