White House Hosts New Hampshire Town Hall on Importance of Fatherhood and Education
Obama Administration Continues National Conversation on Fatherhood and Healthy Families
Archived Information

September 23, 2009
Contact: John White, Press Secretary
(202) 401-1576 or john.white@ed.gov

Today, as part of the continuing National Conversation on Fatherhood, Obama Administration officials made the second stop of a national initiative with a visit to Manchester, New Hampshire to focus on the importance of fathers in the education of their children. The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, in cooperation with The U.S. Department of Education, conducted the event.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan participated in the day's activities, which examined the ever growing importance of fathers in the education of their children. Increasing parent involvement, particularly the involvement of fathers, is key to improving struggling schools across the country. Research shows that children do better in school and are less likely to drop out when fathers are involved. More than 70 representatives of nonprofits, parent organizations, faith-based organizations, counseling agencies and university, business and government services from across New England participated in the discussion and provided feedback on engaging fathers in their children's education.

"As we work to drive down drop-out rates and increase graduation and college completion rates, fathers have an important role to play," Duncan said. "Children are always watching. Engaged fathers can strengthen our schools, mentor and tutor students and demonstrate through their actions how much they value their children's education."

The overall goal of this national initiative is to find and emphasize what works: what dads, organizations and communities across the country are doing to address every day challenges, and how we can work together to strengthen their efforts. The information gathered during each of these regional sessions will be used to inform policy decisions supporting fatherhood and families.

"President Obama appreciates the positive impact that strong fathers have when they are a consistent presence in the lives of their families and communities," said Joshua DuBois, director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. "He also believes that we need a stronger focus on education in order to compete globally, and that focus begins at home. Fathers have to step up to be, not just an influence in their own child's education, but a stronger influence in our community schools as well."

The day's sessions provided insight into getting more involved in schools, promoting mentoring and tutoring and using techniques to involve fathers more in the lives of their children. White House aide Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, led the afternoon town hall highlighting dads from wide ranging backgrounds who offer their personal stories about how they are working daily to ensure their child receives a quality education.

While President Obama was raised without a father, he often discusses the influence his mother had in ensuring he received a quality education, even going so far as to teach him herself in the morning's early hours before going off to work. He believes strongly that we need more parental involvement from our fathers.

"Fathers are our first teachers and coaches. They're our mentors and role models. They set examples of success and push us to succeed ourselves – encouraging us when we're struggling; loving us even when we disappoint them; standing by us when no one else will," President Obama said.

For more information on President Obama's fatherhood initiative, visit www.fatherhood.gov.



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Last Modified: 09/23/2009