Achievement Gap - Advice to parents and children from teacher John Morrison


My friend and fellow gym buddy John Morrison teaches computer science at the North Carolina School of Math and Science in Durham, North Carolina.   He founded their computer science department in 2005.  In 2015 four teams of his students finished 1-4 out of 26 teams at a computer programming competition in South Carolina.  He's nicknamed himself the "Chief Wizard of Computer Science" at the North Carolina School of Math and Science.  That epithet is very apropos.



Here is John's advice to parents on how they can get the most out of their child's years in public schools:


  1. Recognize that the public schools are your child's opportunity to get a free education.  Make the most of it.  Don't fritter this time away. 

  2. Recognize that education requires the cooperation of a teacher, parents, and child working as a team.  Don't promote an adversarial relationship with the school.  Form a partnership with the teachers.

  3. Ask the teachers what you can do to help your children succeed.

  4. Children have to behave properly at school.  Undisciplined children are a distraction and waste energy.

  5. It's important for children to be socialized and have a strong sense of self discipline.  Here are the reasons:

    • Poor impulse control will hurt them later in life.

    • Self-discipline is an essential part of developing someone's character.

    • It's going to give them the wherewithal to stick with doing difficult things.  Life is full of difficult things.


What does John's advice have to do with the achievement gap?  Well, in my opinion, if a study were launched to document the behaviors of children at the two extremes of the achievement gap, it's my assertion that you would find a strong correlation between their behaviors and John's advice.  If you want your children to succeed, heed.  To paraphrase John Kennedy, "Ask not what your children can do for you, ask what you can do for your children."


Ken Larsen's home page