With education being the key to financial success, one would think that graduation rates would be going up not down. So, why are they tanking and who is to blame? Like everything else there are a lot of factors but two standout – school systems (teachers, etc) and parents.
Let’s start with the system. Some curriculum expectations are ridiculous, not practical and are set up for failure. They are so consumed with covering the material required that no time is taken to make sure students know the basics well. If the foundation is not solid, then we cannot build on it. Students who struggle with the basics are doomed when the class moves on to the harder material. This is such a frustrating environment for student and parent. As a parent, I have no problem giving any support to my children but if I wanted to be a teacher I would have gone to college and majored in education.
Another disturbing thing in the system is the lack of support to all students. High schools hand out curriculum guides to students and basically turn them loose. The idea being everything you need to do to graduate is listed….Good Luck! This is where the guidance offices fail. Granted, most students who have some parental help or a solid idea of their career path can take this information and go without any problems but others need help with class selection and career options. The schools in our area are reluctant to promote summer school or correspondence classes to students who need it for graduation. They only seem interested in helping the college bound student which alienates all other students and makes them shy away from asking for help. Guidance offices should be putting all options on the table for students to encourage them to attain that diploma.
Bullying and such is another problem for students. Schools take no real action to combat this problem. Any child dealing with this type of problem is probably going to drop-out unless they are one of the few with a strong enough attitude and support at home to tough it out.
With that said, parents are not off the hook as far as offering support. Parents carry more influence as a factor. Schools can only do so much given that they are responsible for a number of students. Parents have the ability to instill expectations at an early age and have more disciplinary tools available. They are the first “teachers”. Children learn values and behavior from what they are taught and see. If parents send the messages that school and grades are not important then guess what happens? School should come before video games and TV and parents should help impress this idea along with doing THEIR best work. Parents need to step-up and raise their children. I see too many kids dictating to their parents what is going to happen.
Many parents want to blame their child’s problems on the teacher or school in order to dodge accountability. If a student fails a class because they didn’t show up nor do the required work, is it really the teacher’s fault? When a teacher calls for a conference, it is because there is a problem and they want the parents to know about it and possibly help rectify the situation. Parents need to work with teachers more in finding solutions rather than pass around the blame. Working at a school I have seen parents threat to burn down the school because they didn’t like something or curse a teacher for taking a lunch box that their little darling was swinging around hitting other students. Nobody want to see faults in their own children and admit mistakes but sometimes you need to take off the rose-colored glasses and look at things in the real light. Then, take a deep breath and ask yourself “What can I do about it?” or “What haven’t I tried?”