Warning: State Of Education
Gaining an Insider's View
One of the most effective things parents can do is to obtain an insider's view of their child's school. Getting a feel of daily activities will help you understand what is occurring on a day to day basis.
Have you ever wondered what insiders are experiencing in our public schools? What are teachers and administrators doing for our children? I interviewed two different people with contrasting backgrounds in education-a retired school teacher and a school bus driver. Barbara Doyle, a retired school teacher who sometimes substitutes for Harvest Preparatory Academy, is a thin woman, with a peaceful facial expression and quiet energy. As we walked to a quiet area in the hallway along a counter, I could see from the expression upon her face that Mrs. Doyle was anxious to talk about education. After gaining many years of teaching experience she knew very well the kind of challenges that teachers face today.
Lack of Parent Involvement
One issue she acknowledged is that parents don't get involved enough in their child's education. When parents get involved, the child's behavior becomes better as well as his or her education. The knowledge that the parents really care is the number one factor in the child's life. But today, as far as parents" involvement, it's a "No Show", states Mrs. Doyle. "Very few parents attend teacher conference, "she said. But without this kind of involvement, it is unlikely that the child will value education or go forward in a positive direction.
"Parents must hold teacher accountable also," she said. "Too many teachers are coming to work just to do a routine. They are not really into the child." Mrs. Doyle acknowledges that if teachers can't positively influence the children, the children will not be motivated to learn. She states that many teachers have giving up on challenging students and believe that there is nothing they can do to change them. So they just come for the paycheck. But parents and teachers must be in constant communication. Mrs. Doyle believes that it takes a village to raise a child. The more the teacher, the parent, the administration, and the community get involved in educating students, the more prosperous the children will be.
Do You Know What is Happening in Your School on a Typical Day?
Today many students are victims of "social promotion." They are not promoted because of academic excellence but they are passed to the next grade because of their age. "This is insufficient passing of a child to keep up with grade level," states Mrs. Doyle. But if the teacher and the administration are held accountable by the parents and the community, they are likely to be more committed to the child's academic progress. These are some of the solutions that would benefit today's educational problems.
Connecting with Teachers and Staff
Talking to teachers and staff about the school's vision and curriculum will give you an ideal of the direction the school is heading. But don't limit your conversation to teachers. Talk to librarians, hall monitors and janitors to get a variety of insider's views.
State of Education
Refuse to Label Children
If Mrs. Doyle could change a few things, one of them would be the way children are educated. Children learn on various levels and at different paces. Therefore, we must not label our children as slow or ADDH. The curriculum needs a major change. "I believe every child's curriculum should not only be unique to that particular child but should extend outside the classroom into the community, "states Mrs. Doyle. She believes that children should actually have hands on experience within some sectors of the community on a weekly basis. This will get children outside the classroom and into the real world experience.
The next person I interviewed is a school bus driver known as big Rob. He believes that challenging educational problems with children today begin in the early eighties when babies were having babies. "These children couldn't even take care of themselves. They needed guidance themselves, "he states. He believes that these younger children of the eighties were too immature to raise their children responsibly. Also the explosion of media changes which brought the idea of quick riches and glamour were a great influence on young people in the eighties. He believes this was a distraction to raising their children morally.
The value of a good education became an after thought as young people pursued quick riches and success. " I believe it's going to take society as a whole to get parents and young people to value education again, " states big Rob. " I believe in the village thing. The parents can't do it by themselves."
When looking back Big Rob wished he had talked more to his nieces and nephews about the value of a good education. Many of them are struggling in life and some has been behind bars. Now he takes every opportunity to talk to bus students that will listen to him.
These two individuals, I think, represent a majority of the concerned people who care about the children's education in today's society. They care about what might happen to them if parents, teachers, and the community turn their backs on our children.