border="0"> Snow Trapped Southern Girl

Friday, November 02, 2007

Should parents be held accountable

For their childs grades? Should parents get a report card and be judged by the school system? I saw this story on the Today show the earlier in the week where school systems are putting pressure on parents and alienating them and blaming them if the kids aren't making the grade. I have an issue with this on several levels. Now as I go on this rant, please don't think that I am against parents being involved with their children. I am all for it and quite frankly I think they should be. BUT when I first heard this I have to say my first reaction was to think "for crying out loud - just ONE more thing where we blame someone else and not making the teacher and/or child accountable at all". I know this is not exactly where they are going with this but like I said that was my first reaction.

I have several issues with this.

First - Teachers have a tough job. I wanted to be one early in my life and I was lucky that in my highschool we had an internship program where I would leave school after lunch and go to the elementary school to help teach. I learned really quickly I didn't want to be a teacher after all. I learned this leasson BEFORE spending my college years studying to be a teacher. AND that was exactly what I was going to do. In my humble opinion when we went to judging teachers and their pay based on a standardized test and not for the overall quality of learning is when we started down this path that we are on now. Many (I didn't say all but many) school districts now only teach the test. The test equals money for the school. And now that is where the focus is. Somewhere the child got left out of that.

Second - All you hear is how schools need parents "help". Great. I am all for it. BUT when you have a parent that is willing to volunteer, who spends time with kids after school, who does the things that are "wanted" and then they and their child are singled out as being trouble because the parents are involved and ask questions. There is a problem there. Now I am not saying that ALL parents are stepping up to the plate and doing what they should because we all know that is not the case. You can see the lack of parenting just from going out in public and watching the little animals er children running around without discipline. There is a need here but do you think sending home a parental report card is going to change that?

Third - Not every family has the luxury of having a stay at home parent. I feel extremely fortunate that I am able to work from home at this point. Man child needs the extra attention. Teenage daughter was very different and could handle things much better than he can at this age but truth be told I think she likes that I am home when she gets here too. BUT most families don't have this opportunity. There are single parent homes (either from divorce or death of a spouse or no spouse at all) and quite frankly in those situations, the parent must work at least one and maybe 2 jobs. They want to spend more time at home but can't if they want to eat and have heat and clothes to wear. There are homes where both parents have to work. So now you want to blame them and put more pressure on them because they can't do the things that would like to do instead of working together and finding a way to help - you would rather put blame?

Fourth (and this may touch a nerve to some of you out there that are teachers - my best friend is a teacher so I know that just like everthing else there are good ones, there are mediocre ones and then there are those that just should not be there - I am addressing the mediocre and bad ones here) there are some teachers out there that just do the bare minimum to get by. THE.BARE.MINIMUM. And then when their class doesn't make the grade it becomes everyone elses fault but theirs. They didn't do their job or barely did their job and yet its someone else's fault. They are ready to turn their judgement on everyone else but themselves because they can do no wrong. Same can be said for many schools as well. They didn't do the job so now its parents fault.

Fifth - and this goes along with #4. No one is being held accountable these days. Not being accountable for your own actions is a theme that is prevalent in today's society. Oh I killed that person but it wasn't my fault - I blame my parents. Oh I embezzeled money from my company but it wasn't my fault, they should have given me a raise. Oh, I was driving drunk and killed someone but it wasn't my fault, I blame the makers of the booze. Someone else is to blame for our every action or so it would seem. So now a failing child is now the parents fault. The teacher has no blame the have "insert excuse here" to deal with. The student has no blame, they didn't have time to study because "insert excuse here". I know lets blame the parent. Now don't get me wrong, I understand there are those students that require more attention and need to work harder than others to make the grade. I am not addressing those. I am talking about your average kid that would rather do anything else than what is required of them and then blame others when things don't go their way.

Let me give you an example of my ranting here. When we moved here in Dec of 2005, I met with the teachers to let them know that we were coming. I wanted to let them know that my kids are not only moving schools but moving to a completely different part of the country and will be going through a bit of a culture shock and adjustment. The learning ciriculum was different and so if there was anything I needed to do with them at home to get them caught up let me know. Manchild's first grade teacher was great. She worked with him to get him up to speed. She liked the fact that he said "Yes Ma'am and No Ma'am". He had a good year considering all the changes.

Second grade, teacher from hell. She singled him out from the beginning. She thought he was being a smart elect for saying Ma'am to her. Umm excuse me its a respect thing and he will do it. I asked questions so I could work with him on his homework, she was defensive. We attended our conferences to be told how bad our child was behaving, how he was doing terribly etc. I was in shock. He was not acting this way at home. He didn't act this way the prior school year. But, she was the teacher and was with him all day so we supported her. He had consequences for his "actions" (she would email me that day if there was a problem). It was a rough year for him at home because we would deal out consequences for his behavior. Then, she took a leave of absence due to the death of her son. In came a sub for about 2-3 months. Our second conference was with the sub. All of a sudden he was a great student. He didn't act out anymore than the rest of the class. He was being a kid. He would follow the crowd but was not an instigator. He was doing well on his work. Total disconnect and turn around from his regular teacher. Interesting. Regular teacher comes back and I get a scathing email from her (I did a post about this when it happened). I scheduled a meeting to address the problem. Turns out SHE was the problem. She would threaten things but never follow through. Not only had she lost his trust and respect but she had lost control of the entire class however she continued to single him out (there are many specifics here but I won't go into them now). I called her on every single one. EVERY.ONE. I was not angry or in her face but rather matter of fact. I took a copy of the email she sent me to our meeting and asked for specific examples of her accusations. And when she knew I had her, she then tried to blame the fact that she was a grieving mother. Ummm I am sorry you lost your son but you were not a grieving mother at the beginning of the school year. From that moment on, I did not punish my son when I got an email from her. We talked about it, I got his version and discussed how he could handle it better and that was it.

Here we are in the third grade. I have had communication with his teacher from day one. I follow up every couple of weeks to make sure homework is being turned in (he does it daily just want to make sure it gets turned in). I make sure there are no issues etc. She and his reading and math teachers have told me how much he is a joy to have in class. There are no discipline problems. Hmmm interesting. Did my child turn into a hellion for just one grade and only while in class and then magically return back to the child we knew? OR could there be another issue here.....the teacher?

Now if we were going by the "grade the parent" thing here, I would have gotten an A in the first grade, an F in the second and currently we have an A now in the third. I didn't change. My son didn't change. What changed? The teacher. Yet by the "parental grading system" I would have failed during the second grade. Seems like a disconnect to me.

So, I have been thinking about this for a few days before doing this post. I still pretty much have the same issues with this as I did the day I heard it. What is your opinion?


Posted byWendy aka Cheeky :: 7:08 AM :: 14 Singing with Cheeky

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