To the editor:
When we lived in Missouri, we participated in their Parents as Teachers program, and I am glad to see the governor express an interest in expanding the program in Kansas.
The beauty of this program as it was originally conceived is that it recognizes that parents are, whether for good or for ill, the first and the most effective teachers of their children. Parents as Teachers accepts that unchangeable fact and simply tries to equip parents to carry out this role with maximum effectiveness. Through Parents as Teachers, I learned the importance and the value of the time I spent with my small children. In a day when full-time child-rearing is an unsung profession. I really appreciated the affirmation of my chosen path. I was inspired to take my duties seriously and strive for excellence in this as in any other endeavor.
Therefore I am concerned about a comment made by a Lawrence school board member about the program. Harriet Shaffer said that if Parents as Teachers were implemented in Lawrence, "Maybe we'd get a better idea of how many children are at-risk and who could use early intervention programs." However, Parents as Teachers cannot be effective if it is used or is even perceived, as another method to get Big Brother to watch you.
Parents as Teachers is not about taking children out of their homes so that experts can "intervene." Such action would be contrary to the very nature of the program. The purpose is not to go into homes looking for dysfunctional parents and deprived children; it is to reduce the need for intervention at every age by training parents to make the most of their time with children.