Sunday, August 12, 2012

Kids are kids. Blame the parents.

Joanne Jacobs (blogroll) is one of my daily reads.  It’s a total love/hate relationship with that blog.  Let’s just say her blog is like the Barry Zito of education blogs; at times she mows down stories with a wicked curve, and other times she latches on to the teat of “edu-reform” based around the wonders testing and KIPP, thus walking the bases loaded to a chorus of boos. 

However it is nice that she’s starting to throw out stories questioning the clientele of education; the students.  It’s not the problem, but it’s a step closer to the real problem with education which is, simply put, the parents.  Take the reference from this op-ed article from Utah’s Desert News.

“The problems of public education are a societal problem — a society that no longer values individual work ethic and a society that wants to place the responsibility for education on what is taught, how it is taught and by whom it is taught, instead of on the students who are responsible for learning.”

While this comment makes my eyes sting with the tears of joy, readers need to realize that the answer was not at the back end of the paragraph.  The answer was at the top.  Society has the problem.  And society is sending their kids to school with expectation that they will pass with a minimalist attitude, much like the child comes to school with.  But wait a minute; the kid is supposed to have that attitude.  They’re kids.  They will always look for the path of least resistance.  The difference now is that parents have no problem with that approach.  Back in the day, educational authority was respected to make good decisions and when students didn’t meet certain standards, parents held them accountable.  Now those standards have gone up (at the behest of parents) while accountability for the child has gone down (at the behest of the parents) and the scapegoat has been named (at the behest of the parents); everything else. 

It’s incredibly unpopular to place the responsibility of one’s child at the feet of the parent.  It’s parents that feed, clothe, pay of the cell phone, and sit on the District School Boards.  And I’m not saying that all my parents are enablers either.  I have really good relationships with lots of fantastic parents.  However, the majority of parents that I deal with not only want instant gratification for their children, they want it at no cost.  The simple act of being at school means the student should get the grade, and the act of being at school for thirteen years automatically means graduation from high school, regardless of academics.

The boo-birds are already out on the Desert Times article.  This piece from an Ed Blog went far enough to say:

“Are today's students too lazy or spoiled? Are they—and, by extension, family and societal influences—primarily responsible for schools' failings? Is there another side to the story? For example, do schools and educators bear part of the blame for failing to reach and support disengaged students?

And a more philosophical question for good measure: Is Talbot's (Desert Times author) viewpoint even workable for practicing teacher? I mean, if that's your perspective, do you stand a chance in the classroom?”

Of course schools bear some of the blame for failing to reach students.  Bad teachers still exist and are still protected.  The system is woefully underfunded and many of the allocated funds are used inefficiently.  And the system fails to let professionals do their job in the most efficient manner by constantly changing “reform” schemes.  But that’s not the majority of problems and a huge swath of teachers will tell you that support is the number one reason why so many quit within five years.  Administration is hounded by school board members and politicians, hand-cuffed to support the teacher because “local control” dictates “what’s best” for kids.  Teachers are more dedicated and passionate than ever, and they don’t like that the dedication is taken advantage of and that the passion is going to waste.

By the way, the last paragraph in the previous Ed Blog statement is pure trolling.  And trolling that blatant deserves a crazy animated GIF.

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