The only way the school boards and teachers are let “off the hook” in the education of children is if the child is removed from the formal school system and is home-schooled. Otherwise, all three parties have a vital and important role to play in the education of children.
Parents must play an active role in their child’s education. It is ridiculous for an adult to demonstrate no interest in what and how their child is (or isn’t)learning and expect their child to succeed and progress in school with little difficulty. Parents are children’s first role models. They have to be enthusiastic participants in the learning process and show interest in their children’s work if they expect their sons or daughters to do the same. As a teacher, it is extremely frustrating to have a student struggle in reading for example, only to find an uncooperative parent at home who refuses to go over the material with the child and help him or her grasp the basic concepts. School is not a on-on-one experience for children and most need this added time with mom or dad to bolster their education and do well in school. Sadly, I have witnessed parents too involved in their own lives to have any time to share with their children struggling to learn. Other parents do not regard education as a top priority. This can rob children of the motivation and desire to learn that they need to succeed in school. If they have to answer to mom or dad when they achieve poor grades, they have more incentive to learn and complete their work. If they are struggling, they need to know they can come home and get help from their parents to understand their subject material more clearly. A parent is absolutely a key partner in the education of children. It is part of their parental responsibility. To shirk this responsibility could throw a wrench into their children’s academic progress and ultimately, their success in later years with career and work experiences as an adult.
To suggest that school boards and teachers lean heavily on parental involvement and do little themselves is a nonsensical notion. Most teachers I know, enjoy seeing a child succeed! They celebrate their achievement with them! This is why primary teachers experience so much pride with young students. Often times, children begin school knowing almost nothing about the three R’s, yet make tremendous strides quickly throughout the school year. It is a shared joyful experience to see a child develop skills and acquire knowledge. To suggest teachers are not motivated to help children learn is insulting and a bizarre notion. Of course you will always find a “rotten apple” in the bushel, however most teachers work diligently at helping children with every subject matter. They provide before and after school assistance and arrange for extra help in the classroom. They have “team meetings” to hear other ideas and techniques which may help a particular child. Nobody wants to see a child fail! It is a personal accomplishment for them as well as the student in their charge. However, in school, there is not a lot of time available for one-on-instruction. That is why it is vital that parents get on board and be a co-educator in their child’s learning. Most do so willingly for the sake of their child. There is sadly a small minority that feel education is the sole responsibility of the formal education system. Their children may pay a price for this rather skewed perception.
School boards are there to instruct schools on the curriculum that needs to be in place to facilitate learning. They are there to monitor teachers’ and principals’ performance and to listen to community concerns and questions. School boards arrange many workshops throughout the school year for teachers on ways to improve teaching styles and strategies. Boards need to be on top of the latest studies on what works best in educating children. They also make courses available throughout the summer for teachers to update skills and ready themselves for new grades they are about to teach. They too play a key role in the education of children.
Low functioning schools can be the result of a combination of factors including poor funding, large numbers of new immigrants needing time to acquire language skills, a general sense of malaise within the community where other issues such as poverty, crime or violence take precedence over educational concerns, lack of medical care or contagious illnesses which result in children missing many school days. Sometimes there are weak teachers, disinterested parents or less effective school boards but these are usually all in the minority.
One thing is for certain, encouraging parents to play a more active role in the education of their children, lets nobody “off the hook.” Lively parental involvement will address concerns at schools where there may be something lacking. Their interest and participation in what is happening in school will improve the quality of education for their children. Schools are generally very open to parent volunteers and appreciate their presence in the schools. Meeting with parents may enlighten a teacher as to why a student may be struggling and help a teacher develop new strategies in helping to teach the child to learn.
All three parties play a vital role in the education of children. If one part of the trio is missing, low academic performance can result. All have a duty and a responsibility to ensure that children are learning to the best of their ability.
When it comes to educating our children, no one is “off the hook.”