Living Below Your Means
Who's Responsible for Educating Our Kids?

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By RetiredVermonter
January 29, 2004

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I posted this in another thread, in response to a post about our schools, but decided to open up a new one here, too, because I think this bears repeating.

(This is a rant, so pass on by if you'd rather!)

I get awfully tired of people pointing fingers at the schools and saying: "It's all THEIR fault!" Folks, a lot of the problem starts in kids' HOMES -- not schools -- so it's OUR fault!

There was a time when parents actually raised their kids. They taught them manners, basic hygiene, respect for others, and hard work, and expected them to go to school and learn. Whenever possible, parents read to their kids -- if the parents could read! (Those who could not read were all the more adamant about having their kids "do better", so they stressed the importance of education and learning, and encouraged their kids to do well in school.) If word came home that their kid had sassed a teacher, or otherwise misbehaved, the parent did NOT march down there and scold the school; he or she reinforced whatever punishment had been doled out and firmly told that kid to "straighten up"!

Ever wonder why many studies suggest that certain ethnic groups (notably Asian-Americans, for example) seem to do better in school? Check their ethics. Look into what they tell their kids, and what values they instill in their children from a very young age! Think they plop them in front of a TV set and let them stare at that for hours? Not likely. Think they don't demonstrate the value of hard work, in whatever they do? Hardly! And THAT is probably why those kids so often do well in school -- regardless of where the school is!

There was a time when a school consisted of teachers, supplies, a building, and perhaps an administrator or two. Have you ever wondered why it is that so many "staff" are needed in schools today? Why do we see all the psychologists, counselors, and other support people nowadays? It is because so many kids come to school with so much "baggage" -- upset by constant arguments or lack of attention at home, unaware even of what is "right" or "wrong" (because parents never bother to tell -- or show -- them), and confused about life in general.

How are teachers supposed to "teach the basics" when they have to also do what the parents have NOT done first, so kids will have a basis on which to even START to learn?

Wonder why so many American kids don't do well in school? There are a LOT of reasons -- and some schools ARE at fault, to be sure. However, an interest in learning starts at HOME; schools cannot do it alone.

In some cases, today, the parent or parents are simply struggling so damn hard to make a living that they have little time to be with their kids; thankfully, some make time, anyway, as hard as it may be.

However, even in homes where there IS ample money, a huge number of kids have no real parenting! Their parents are "busy" with careers, social status, and "self-improvement". They simply can't be bothered sitting down to read to their kids, or read with them; haven't time to go into the schools to see what's going on there; and tend to avoid parent-teacher nights because they are, again, "too busy".

Bush's programs to "improve education" may be well intended. However, you can be sure they also are political, to "show the folks we're doin' sumpin' 'bout this here problem."

"Leave no child behind"? Standard testing? They LOOK great, right? Again, nothing -- not those programs, not more money tossed at schools, and certainly not more "rules" can compensate for the biggest need in education: The need for parents to actually parent, spend time with their kids, teach them right from wrong, teach them respect for themselves and for others, and inculcate in them the concept that LEARNING is IMPORTANT -- and actually DEMONSTRATE many of the things they want their kids to do.

Bottom line?

It isn't "their" problem (government, schools or whoever), folks; it's OUR problem, and WE (parents and citizens) are the ones who have to DO something, ourselves, or accept the blame if we don't.

End of rant.


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