Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Parents and education...

I've long thought that one of the greatest problems with public school education is that parents have dropped the ball when it comes to insisting their children work at learning. Generally, I think parents do a pretty good job through elementary school, but, when their kids get into middle school and high school, too many parents seem to think their kids will work hard without their standing behind them. Moreover, the parents who do care and participate seem to be among the first to blame the public schools for failing and send their kids (and dollars) to private schools.

"When High Schools Try Getting Touch, Parents Fight Back," an article in the Wall Street Journal, seems to confirm this. When students at some schools did not do well on a senior project requiring an eight page paper (only eight pages), and oral report, and creation of some "related" activity, parents didn't get upset with their children; they blamed the school for requiring such demanding projects. Oy vey! This is a tiny project. Eight pages is nothing! An oral report and some small, related activity! Parents should be pushing their kids to succeed, not supporting their failures by attacking the schools and teachers.

We spend much too much time in our society blaming teachers and schools for the failures of our children. If parents don't push their kids and discipline them to work hard in school, if the parents who do push their kids end up pulling them out of public schools to send them to private schools, if no one wants to pay the taxes necessary to support high quality public schools, then we deserve what we've got. We spend lots of energy wringing our hands over test scores, the perception that teachers are ineffective, and "failing" schools. But, in the end, parents, the buck stops with you. You and the rest of society get what you work for, pay for, and expect from your children!


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