Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blame the Parents — I Do

I agree with most of what this teacher had to say.

Blame the Parents — I Do


This happens to teachers and counselors quite a bit. We wonder why a kid is failing in class. We meet their parents — then we know....


The biggest influence in a child’s education is not the school, or the teachers—it’s the parents. If we really want to change education in our country, we need to start in the homes.



This is where I'm not in quite so much agreement.

I guess at the heart of what I’m saying is that we need more social services at our school sites. And instead of having these services spread around our cities, why don’t we put them where they are needed most? Why don’t we take all these social outreach programs, and after school programs, and counseling institutions, and make them an integral part of our public schools? I think that by combining all the great things we have out there with the physical site where the learning takes place, we could improve things a great deal. Our teachers, administrative staff, and counselors, are doing jobs we are not trained to do. Half of what we do is social work, which takes away from everything else we want to get to. If we ever want to get serious about CHANGE, this is where we need to start.


The suggestion of integrating social services into the public school programs sets off all sorts of alarm bells for me. The more responsibilities the public school system tries to handle, the less effective the system becomes at its (theoretically) main objective of teaching.

I agree that teachers should not act as social workers. Teachers should teacher. Students should behave themselves and study. Problem students should be expelled.

What to do after the student is expelled is debatable. There is no easy answer or quick fix. Every option should follow the basic swimmer safety rules: In a rescue attempt, don't create more victims.

Just as someone drowning can pull under another swimmer, problem students can pull down good students. No intervention to assist floundering students should put successful students at risk.



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Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

5 comments:

shawna said...

What is actually needed for any sort of effective change is a full-scale embracement of good parenting - and I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Michelle Thomas said...

I disagree with the writer of that article. I don't believe that parent's are apathetic to their child's learning. As a homeschool advocate, I would think you of all people would understand this. I get calls weekly from families seeking help with their child's school issues. Often they can't afford to pay for the services I provide, but they ask for advice on how to help their child.

Sebastian said...

I can't help wonder if the unintended consequence of moving all of those services into the school would be to further disrupt parental involvement.
Take for example how many parents don't attempt to teach their kids to read, even though they might be ready for it as a 4 or 5 year old because that is something for school to do.
There are lots of families who know what they want for their kids but are already flummoxed by how to navigate the system. I'm encountering many families who are turning to homeschooling as a last resort after schools failed to listen to them as parents and help them deal with the need of the student as an individual.

Sebastian said...

BTW, how does one reconcile the idea that parents are the single biggest influence on student performance with the conceit that divorce, single parenthood, parental abandonment, etc don't matter.
All the school reform in the world is going to get hung up on the fact that we as a culture have bought into an idea that the village is going to be able to do what the family has abdicated

Janine Cate said...

>What is actually needed for any sort of effective change is a full-scale embracement of good parenting

So true.

>I don't believe that parent's are apathetic to their child's learning.

There are many concerned parents, but they can't undo the damage done by the freeloaders.


>I can't help wonder if the unintended consequence of moving all of those services into the school would be to further disrupt parental involvement.

That is my concern. Educational "welfare" encourages parents who would otherwise take care of business to take a vacation.