This morning I attended a fascinating panel discussion of educational issues hosted by Kimberly Morgan, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The discussion, “How All Children Succeed”, was moderated by Michele Norris, host of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and featured the following great group of panelists:

Paul Tough, author of “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character”, which from all reports should be on everyone’s short list to read;
Dr. Pamela Cantor, founder and CEO, Turnaround for Children, an organization that helps schools support the social, emotional and cognitive development of children growing up in poverty;
Scott Palmer, Co-Founder of EducationCounsel LLC, an education consulting firm; and
Dave Levin, Co-Founder, KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program), a national network of 125 free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.

I will be reporting in more detail what came out of this fascinating session, but the theme of the morning was how important parents are to their children’s learning process. Across the economic spectrum, parents are the most effective and useful vehicle of support for their children’s development. Despite all of the research which concludes this, there is relatively little national focus on how to train parents in the best ways to support their children. Dave Levin described parenthood as a sacred promise to care for and support children from birth through adulthood (such elegant phrasing of such an accurate statement) and talked about how the KIPP schools work from the moment a child joins their school to help parents keep that promise.

More tomorrow on the importance of managing stress as a key to succeeding in education, and the benefits of failure.