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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Schools should be more supportive of single moms

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Dear Editor:

I am sure I am not the only single mom who feels this way:

Recently, my 7-year-old son brought home his second-quarter report card. His grades were exactly the same as the quarter before and it made me wonder if his teacher lost her grade book. The notes were very telling, however. His teacher wrote, (Student's) "low grades are due to incomplete work or failing to turn work in." My son's grades reflect my unwillingness to do homework with him.

As a single mom, I am already doing the work of two people to raise this child. It is completely unacceptable to me as a taxpayer, and as a mom needing more support, not more duties, to require moms to do the work of teachers too.

My son is at school from 8:15 to 3:15. This time should be dedicated to learning reading, writing and arithmetic. From 4 to 9 p.m. is my time, because I take care of food, clothing and shelter.

I am not at home all day like June Cleaver, doing just the domestic stuff. I am earning a living and a good living that will help my children for many years to come. My evenings, however, are mine and my son's to have family time. Whether we watch a movie or read a book, this is our time. I have from 4 to 9 p.m. to make sure he is fed, clean and done with chores. We typically have just enough time to watch a movie and wind down from our day before bedtime (for both of us).

Making him eat his greens, take his dishes to the sink, collect eggs, take out the garbage, clean up his messes, take a shower and spending quality time together is how my evenings are spent. Making him do homework is simply unreasonable and his report card should not reflect poor scores because of my unwillingness to take the additional 30 minutes out of my evening to do what my tax dollars should be doing.

When I called my son's principal about making my son do his homework at school, I was met with: You are not making your son a priority in your life if you are not doing homework with him.

The insensitivity of this elementary school principal is unacceptable. I take my son to wrestling practice twice a week and piano lessons once a week. I have very little time for myself, and this principal insulted me and a large portion of our population.

Here are a few statistics that should influence our schools to be more supportive to moms:

According to the Women's Bureau, "Of the 123 million women ages 16 years and over in the U.S., 72 million, or 58.6 percent, were labor force participants -- working or looking for work. Women comprised 47 percent of the total U.S. labor force. Women are projected to account for 51 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018." Also, "Unmarried mothers have higher labor force participation rates than married mothers. In March 2013, 75.4 percent of unmarried mothers with children under 18 years old were in the labor force, compared with 68.1 percent of married mothers with children in the same age range." The labor force participation rate of all women with children under 18 years of age was 70.3 percent in March 2013.

Finally, "If women hadn't dramatically increased how much time they spend working for pay outside the home since the late 1970s, gross domestic product (GDP) would have been about 11 percent lower in 2012, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress."

There is no doubt, schools need to pick up the slack and quit pushing their jobs on parents who are creating the revenue that pays for their educational service.

Tammy Murray

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