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Related: USA Education

Failing Students - Failing Parents

by D. K. Brennan


In response to December 8th commentary, "Can't read, Can't write, Can pass," by Cal Thomas
published in the Washington Times



In his December 8th commentary, "Can't Read, Can't write, Can pass," Cal Thomas makes a strong case against public education. As a teacher with ten years experience in the Prince George's County public school system I would like to point out that Mr. Thomas has aimed at the right target, education, but missed the mark by placing the blame on what he calls the "monopoloistic education model."

He sites statistics about falling test scores, lowering of standards and social promotions, without mentioning perhaps the most important factors relating to those areas: parents and students. While the public school system can not be held blameless, it is time to share the "wealth."

Parents exert more influence on the educational systems in this country than any other single group; yet, they are not held accountable for the decline in education. The job of education begins long before a child steps through the school doors for the first time. Having a home atmosphere in which education is held in high esteem, where children are taught standards of proper behavior is a vital first step in the success of our educational system.

Sending your child to school with a notebook, pen or pencil, monitoring homework, attending back-to-school nights and scheduled parent conferences are an important part of the educational system.

In these areas parents, more often than not, receive a failing grade. However, Mr. Thomas, in his criticism of the public school system, does not once mention the role of parents' in the educational process.

Mr. Thomas says that there is "no excuse for schools that fail to graduate half their students." Students choose not to graduate, not schools. Students choose not to take school seriously, not to attend regularly, not to participate in class, not to do their homework and not to study and they must accept the consequences. Mr. Thomas is right, there is no excuse for this.

As an educational professional, I accept the fact that I must work hard to provide my students with a proper education. However, I can only work with
the materials that are given me. Children who are not prepared for school by their parents and children whose parents think their job ends when their child begins school are equal partners with the schools in the decline of our educational system. Students who refuse to take responsibility for their own education make themselves silent partners in this equation. It's time for someone to point a finger at parents and students and say "You're half the problem. Be half the solution."


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