I just read a couple of articles about measures to hold parents responsible. Here’s an excerpt:
It was conversations about what to do with lousy teachers that led to some of the new parental measures.Linda Lawson, a Democratic state representative from Indiana, visited a local high school being threatened with closure for poor performance. “Any kind of problem in an academic setting, and people blame the teachers,” she recalled hearing over and over again. “They say things like ‘If teachers were more responsive … didn’t have the summers off … worked an eight-hour day …’ But no one looks at the parents.”
In Florida, State Representative Kelli Stargel, a Republican, was hearing the same things. “Teachers were telling us: ‘We can only do so much in the classroom. We have no control over what happens with these kids at home,’ ” she said. From Whose Failing Grade is It? in the New York Times
Well, it is interesting that people are now considering the need to legislate what should come naturally to a home. The truth is that the problem is SYSTEM problem…but, yes, the home is where the answer is going to be found.
Jim Taylor mentions the same article and adds the thought that education begins at the moment of conception:
As the noted educator Diane Ravitch suggests, “What we should be doing instead is giving a helping hand…Parenting education needs to begin when a woman gets pregnant.” Dr. Ravitch has it right. From Punish Parents or Failing Students?
So, the challenge is that in this SYSTEM (which people seem to recognize is broken), no one is quite catching on to the fact that we have been educating people for 1,000s of years; successfully, I might add!
I agree that the home is crucial, but I also think schools can actually educate students (you know, Boarding Schools seems to educated without the parents…not saying it’s a good idea…I’m just saying). The problem is that we have have been inundated with pseudo-intellectual theories about learning and self-esteem which are both perfectly and patently wrong. The breakdown began back in the 1960’s with the destruction of the In Loco Parentis doctrine (the school could stand in the place of the parents…speaking of discipline in particular) on the altar of civil liberties. The breakdown continued as experts told us we don’t know what we are doing as parents…so we gave away our responsibility to discipline as well.
If a homeschool has a poor educational strategy and lacks discipline / accountability…it is capable of failing just as gloriously as a school which lacks discipline / accountability.
The real problem with these measures is that we are now setting up a way to blame one another. Frankly, as long as we are blaming, we aren’t solving. I’ll tell you what history tells us:
1. Reading and Writing and Arithmetic are the essentials
2. A low student-teacher ratio is powerful
3. Socratic dynamics (discussions for older students) are genius-building
If we are going to pass a law, why not just require the child to learn or be fined (we at least have some responsibility put somewhere)? On the other hand, why not get back to business and return the right ingredients to both our schools…and….homes.
We already know it works.
What are your thoughts?
Dr. Fred Lybrand