Thursday, April 28, 2011

Teachers Say the Problem with Education is Parenting (and for once I agree with them)

Deputy Political Editor Alison Little wrote an interesting article in the Monday April 25,2011, edition of the UK Daily and Sunday Express Newspaper online. 
HOW LAX PARENTS PACK OFF PUPILS WITH PHONE AND IPOD...BUT NO PEN : Nearly half of the teachers questioned said children did not come to school ready to learn
PARENTS were blamed for classroom failures yesterday after teachers said too many children turn up loaded with the latest technology but lacking basic essentials like pens.
Some 68 per cent of 8,000 teachers questioned by the NASUWT union said lack of parental support was a major cause of pupil bad behaviour.
Nearly half said children did not come to school ready to learn, with a quarter blaming the influence of television, the media and video games. They said pupils were distracted by their phones and other gadgets.
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates told its conference in Glasgow: “Parents can’t simply abandon their responsibilities at the school gate. Sending their child to school with basic equipment, on time, with homework completed and with clear expectations of how they expect them to behave in school, is a critical part of their role.
“Too many pupils arrive at school with mobile phones, iPods and MP3 players when teachers just wish they would bring a pen. Hours of valuable teaching and learning time are clearly being lost in lessons every day through pupils not being ready to learn.”
I have long maintained the single biggest problem facing public school education cannot be solved by creating new programs or spending more money in the classroom.  The single biggest problem facing public school education is a lack of parental support, and the reality is that proper parenting cannot be legislated.  It doesn’t matter how much money is spent on computers for a school.  If little Johnny’s parents don’t require him to complete his homework, if they don’t monitor his progress, if they don’t sit and read with him in the evening, if they don’t instill discipline at home, the odds are Johnny won’t succeed in the classroom. 
There are no better examples of active parenting than in the homeschooling community.  That is why the results of study after study reveal that homeschooled children outperform their peers on academic tests at all levels.    


  1. I agree with this 100%. Being a former public school educator I saw this firsthand. It also knows no economic boundaries. It happens with poor and wealthy children (in my experience). This trend I believe is linked to a society that is moving farther away from its Christian roots.

  2. This is a problem that public educators have created for themselves. How many decades have Christian parents been marginalized because they want to have a say in how their kids are educated, particularly when it comes to sex education?

    Starting back in the '70s parents were basically told, "We want you to hold the bake sales and make sure your kids come to school with a full belly and paper and pencil, but don't tell us what to teach them."

    Not too long ago a judge even ruled that once parents drop their kids off at school THEY HAVE NO RIGHT to say what they want their children taught or not taught. This was precipitated by a situation where a dad was concerned about the sex education that his young child was being exposed to and wanted to see the curriculum. He was told no and when he insisted, he was arrested!

    I'm sorry but I cannot have compassion for a profession that is represented by the likes of the NEA. I don't know what it's like in the UK but I can't imagine their teachers' union is much better.

  3. Amen to that. And yet ironically the school seems to assume from the get-go that the parents' role stops at the classroom door. How's that for backwards?

  4. I assure you, Anne, that the point of posting this was not to create sympathy for teachers. And I do not have an argument with you about how teachers helped create this problem. At the same time, public education has become a financial black hole, with millions of tax-payer dollars spent on trying to fix a problem that money cannot fix.

  5. I do Getting Started Homeschooling workshops twice a month. Many of the parents who come intending to pull a child from school are spending 3 hours a night helping with homework. I tell them that is called Homeschooling the HARD Way!

    Parents are the key no matter how children are educated and as you said, we cannot legislate parents into doing what they need to do. Children need heaping amounts of both time and love to grow into responsible, caring adults and no amount of creative selfishness can get around that. Lack of education is the least of the problems when parents do not care enough. And the government is not and never will be an adequate substitute.

  6. I will agree, with a reservation. When my oldest attended our local public cesspool, (after homeschooling k-8)I sent him with everything he needed...and a cell phone was NON NEGOTIABLE. I really didn't care about their "NO CELL PHONE" was for his safety. He had a frills, I wanted to make sure he had a life line to a parent, should anything occur with which he needed a parent's help. I have never trusted public schools priorities. Anyone who thinks their kid is the public schools priority is naive. A cell is a good safeguard...

  7. I see. You do the same thing you have done for years and years and expect different results? Children are distracted...naturally...and can focus their attention...naturally...when they have interest in what they are doing.

    More money will NOT solve the takes a different mindset to "assist" children with THEIR education rather than just teaching "at" them so they can "pass" some standardized test.

    And...let's not forget where public school got its start....

  8. Mike, to whom are you addressing the first paragraph of your comment? I'm not sure I follow your train of thought.

  9. Why do they need a pen? My grandson was allowed to rap his 'book report' to the class. Give me a break!! Half of the kids can't write anyway. It's pretty sad. they can text but they can't write. I am in agreement with you and this article. Kids need to be prepared, pen in hand and ready to write, not rap or text.