This is an unsettling time for education. As a parent with one child and another on the way, I realize that I will have to be proactive in helping my children receive the best education possible. However, thinking about all realities that one needs to consider and all the choices that need to be made it can overwhelm very quickly. Do we live in a good school district? Public school? Private school? Then it doesn’t take long to realize that those questions are just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath each question is a larger set new questions. How can someone be confident that they made the right choice in ensuring the best education for their children?
I feel that I have some reason to be concerned. I spent nine years as faculty of a university. Over time, I have felt the strain of trying keep the same standards of performance for my students. To be blunt, the quality of students seemed to be decreasing. This has increasingly concerned me as I think about what kind of education system my children will be entering into when the time comes.
At this point, I think some begin to point fingers. We start playing the blame game. It is the teacher’s fault! It is the legislator’s fault! Students these days just don’t care! This is wildly unproductive. In reality I believe blame is shared and that parents share an equal (if not greater) portion of that blame.
Is it possible many parents have just sent their children off to school and then only show up again when there are problems? And when they do show up there is only criticism. Instead, what if we, as parents, took a more active role in helping educators? Instead of showing failures, why don’t we begin to help our schools find the tools they need to help our children in this challenging environment.
It is not getting easier. Funding for schools is tight, classroom sizes are larger, and teachers are having to deal with increasingly diverse realities in students. However, I believe there are tools that can help. Technology is changing and our understanding of how to use data is maturing. Instead of blaming, I believe we should seek out solutions. Let’s stop pointing out failures and start encouraging our educators to think outside the norm. I think we can leverage these things and give our teachers the tools to handle all that is on their plate.
After all this is our children’s future we’re talking about here!