Pennsylvania Gov. Ridge Urges Pennsylvania Schools to Support `Take Your Father to School Day'

Fathers Encouraged to Visit Their Children's Schools On May 24th



One of Four Pennsylvania Children Live in Single-Parent Homes; Most With

Absent Fathers



Governor Has Made Fatherhood a State Priority



Apr 11, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In his ongoing effort to
 encourage fathers to play a more active role in their children's lives,
 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge today called on all Pennsylvania schools to create
 their own "Take Your Father to School Day" program on Thursday, May 24th.
     For the last two years, public schools in the City of Pittsburgh have held
 successful father-in-school events.  Gov. Ridge said national studies show
 that fathers can be a positive force in their children's education by simply
 getting involved.  He is asking all Pennsylvania schools to follow the lead of
 the successful Pittsburgh program.
     "When fathers take the time to get involved at school, their children do
 better -- it's as simple as that," Gov. Ridge said.
     "Every Pennsylvania child needs and deserves the love and attention of
 both a mom and a dad.  And that attention extends beyond the home.
     "I'll be there to visit my children in school on May 24.  I hope dads all
 across Pennsylvania will be at their kids' schools, too."
     As a lead governor on fatherhood issues for the National Governors'
 Association, Gov. Ridge has made responsible fatherhood a state priority.  The
 Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative is a key component of Gov. Ridge's Project
 for Community Building, and seeks to bolster families and communities by
 increasing public awareness about the importance of fathers and reconnecting
 dads with their children.
     Based on the most recent data from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children,
 25 percent of Pennsylvania children under 18 -- more than 715,000 children --
 live in single-parent homes.  The fathers are absent in the overwhelming
 majority of those homes.
     "We all lead busy lives, and it's easy to sometimes forget our
 priorities," Gov. Ridge said.  "Our children must come first.  They take their
 cues in life from us -- from moms and dads.  A father's interest in his
 children can mean all the difference in the world.  And an interest in school
 can mean the difference between A's and B's and C's and D's."
     Gov. Ridge thanked the parents, students, teachers and administrators at
 the Pittsburgh Public Schools for leading the way in developing this unique
 program.  Gov. Ridge also thanked James Carmine, chairman of the Philosophy
 Department at Pittsburgh's Carlow College, for bringing the program to the
 attention of the Pittsburgh schools.
     "We are delighted that Gov. Ridge is using our successful program as a
 launching pad for this exciting statewide initiative," said John W. Thompson,
 Superintendent of Pittsburgh Schools.  "It has been so gratifying to see a
 growing number of dads taking an interest in our young people and their
 education.
     "Take Your Father to School Day is a special opportunity for fathers and
 caregivers to visit classrooms, learn more about the educational process, and
 perhaps become more actively involved in school activities."
     Schools could consider welcoming fathers into classrooms to participate in
 a lesson; schedule student performances during the day; select and train a
 group of students to be "tour" guides; ask fathers to be guest readers; or ask
 teachers to plan a special lesson involving parents and students.
     "We know that mothers and fathers are more likely to get involved in their
 children's schools if the schools make it easy for parents to get involved,"
 said acting Education Secretary Charles Zogby.  "We encourage all of our
 schools to think in creative ways, to come up with unique activities, that
 will make 'Take Your Father to School Day' a rewarding and meaningful
 experience."
     Zogby said all 501 Pennsylvania school districts are being notified
 directly, through the Department's "PennLink" notification system, of Gov.
 Ridge's call to make May 24th Take Your Father to School Day.
     The Department of Education will send school districts an electronic
 survey to enable them to inform the department of their participation in this
 event.  Districts will be able to register by including the name of the
 district and school; a contact name; how they plan to participate; and
 comments on the initiative.
     Gov. Ridge's proposed 2001-02 budget enhances his landmark Pennsylvania
 Fatherhood Initiative by targeting nearly $10 million in state and federal
 funding for fatherhood-promotion services, a nearly $3 million increase in
 fatherhood-related funding over the current fiscal year.
     Seven state agencies are involved in the initiative:  the departments of
 Community and Economic Development, Public Welfare, Health, Education, Labor
 and Industry, and Corrections, and the Board of Probation and Parole.
     Last summer, Gov. Ridge announced Pennsylvania's first-ever partnership
 with the national Advertising Council to run a statewide television and radio
 public service announcement campaign encouraging fathers to play a more active
 role in the lives of their children.
     The outreach campaign features a series of television ads highlighting the
 toll-free line and the vital role fathers play in their children's growth and
 development.
     Statistics provided by the National Fatherhood Initiative demonstrate the
 lifelong negative impact on children who grow up
 without a father:
 
     -- Children who live in a single-parent home are more likely to
        spend part of their childhood living in poverty;
     -- Up to 60 percent of convicted rapists, 70 percent of adolescents
        charged with murder and 70 percent of long-term prison inmates grew up
        without a father;
     -- Children from father-absent homes are three times more likely to fail
        at school or drop out; and
     -- Teens in two-parent families who have fair or poor relationships with
        their dads are 68 percent more likely to use drugs than those in
        average families.
 
     For more information about the Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative, visit
 the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us and click on Citizens in PA.
 
     CONTACT:  Steve Aaron, Deputy Director of Communications of the
 Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, 717-783-1116; or Dan Langan of the
 Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, 717-783-9802.
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In his ongoing effort to
 encourage fathers to play a more active role in their children's lives,
 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge today called on all Pennsylvania schools to create
 their own "Take Your Father to School Day" program on Thursday, May 24th.
     For the last two years, public schools in the City of Pittsburgh have held
 successful father-in-school events.  Gov. Ridge said national studies show
 that fathers can be a positive force in their children's education by simply
 getting involved.  He is asking all Pennsylvania schools to follow the lead of
 the successful Pittsburgh program.
     "When fathers take the time to get involved at school, their children do
 better -- it's as simple as that," Gov. Ridge said.
     "Every Pennsylvania child needs and deserves the love and attention of
 both a mom and a dad.  And that attention extends beyond the home.
     "I'll be there to visit my children in school on May 24.  I hope dads all
 across Pennsylvania will be at their kids' schools, too."
     As a lead governor on fatherhood issues for the National Governors'
 Association, Gov. Ridge has made responsible fatherhood a state priority.  The
 Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative is a key component of Gov. Ridge's Project
 for Community Building, and seeks to bolster families and communities by
 increasing public awareness about the importance of fathers and reconnecting
 dads with their children.
     Based on the most recent data from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children,
 25 percent of Pennsylvania children under 18 -- more than 715,000 children --
 live in single-parent homes.  The fathers are absent in the overwhelming
 majority of those homes.
     "We all lead busy lives, and it's easy to sometimes forget our
 priorities," Gov. Ridge said.  "Our children must come first.  They take their
 cues in life from us -- from moms and dads.  A father's interest in his
 children can mean all the difference in the world.  And an interest in school
 can mean the difference between A's and B's and C's and D's."
     Gov. Ridge thanked the parents, students, teachers and administrators at
 the Pittsburgh Public Schools for leading the way in developing this unique
 program.  Gov. Ridge also thanked James Carmine, chairman of the Philosophy
 Department at Pittsburgh's Carlow College, for bringing the program to the
 attention of the Pittsburgh schools.
     "We are delighted that Gov. Ridge is using our successful program as a
 launching pad for this exciting statewide initiative," said John W. Thompson,
 Superintendent of Pittsburgh Schools.  "It has been so gratifying to see a
 growing number of dads taking an interest in our young people and their
 education.
     "Take Your Father to School Day is a special opportunity for fathers and
 caregivers to visit classrooms, learn more about the educational process, and
 perhaps become more actively involved in school activities."
     Schools could consider welcoming fathers into classrooms to participate in
 a lesson; schedule student performances during the day; select and train a
 group of students to be "tour" guides; ask fathers to be guest readers; or ask
 teachers to plan a special lesson involving parents and students.
     "We know that mothers and fathers are more likely to get involved in their
 children's schools if the schools make it easy for parents to get involved,"
 said acting Education Secretary Charles Zogby.  "We encourage all of our
 schools to think in creative ways, to come up with unique activities, that
 will make 'Take Your Father to School Day' a rewarding and meaningful
 experience."
     Zogby said all 501 Pennsylvania school districts are being notified
 directly, through the Department's "PennLink" notification system, of Gov.
 Ridge's call to make May 24th Take Your Father to School Day.
     The Department of Education will send school districts an electronic
 survey to enable them to inform the department of their participation in this
 event.  Districts will be able to register by including the name of the
 district and school; a contact name; how they plan to participate; and
 comments on the initiative.
     Gov. Ridge's proposed 2001-02 budget enhances his landmark Pennsylvania
 Fatherhood Initiative by targeting nearly $10 million in state and federal
 funding for fatherhood-promotion services, a nearly $3 million increase in
 fatherhood-related funding over the current fiscal year.
     Seven state agencies are involved in the initiative:  the departments of
 Community and Economic Development, Public Welfare, Health, Education, Labor
 and Industry, and Corrections, and the Board of Probation and Parole.
     Last summer, Gov. Ridge announced Pennsylvania's first-ever partnership
 with the national Advertising Council to run a statewide television and radio
 public service announcement campaign encouraging fathers to play a more active
 role in the lives of their children.
     The outreach campaign features a series of television ads highlighting the
 toll-free line and the vital role fathers play in their children's growth and
 development.
     Statistics provided by the National Fatherhood Initiative demonstrate the
 lifelong negative impact on children who grow up
 without a father:
 
     -- Children who live in a single-parent home are more likely to
        spend part of their childhood living in poverty;
     -- Up to 60 percent of convicted rapists, 70 percent of adolescents
        charged with murder and 70 percent of long-term prison inmates grew up
        without a father;
     -- Children from father-absent homes are three times more likely to fail
        at school or drop out; and
     -- Teens in two-parent families who have fair or poor relationships with
        their dads are 68 percent more likely to use drugs than those in
        average families.
 
     For more information about the Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative, visit
 the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us and click on Citizens in PA.
 
     CONTACT:  Steve Aaron, Deputy Director of Communications of the
 Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, 717-783-1116; or Dan Langan of the
 Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, 717-783-9802.
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania Office of the Governor