Sunday, December 04, 2005

Are we educating them or raising them?

The Washington Post ponders the huge agenda handed to public schools today. Before school programs, lunch programs, after school latch-key programs, counseling services, nursing services and the list goes on and on.

Some say it is a grand plan hatched by the liberal left but the Washington Post says, "It's more a grand hodgepodge, created by those on the left, the right and in between."

8 Comments:

At Tuesday, December 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more educators say we can do it all the more education becomes baby sitting -- yes, in many, many respects educators are raising the kids. Why because many years ago education and the government said parents were not the people responsible for raising their kids. It gets worse educators, businessa nd government decided schools should become the vehicles for social change. Well they have done it and failed miserably. Look at what happened after Katrina -- nothing!!! Government educated people had no clue what to do. All the people who have been taught to depend on government for every h andout rather than think for themselves had no clue what to do. Educators should be ashamed of themselves.

Education gets what it asked for -- glorified baby sitting done by less and less qualified staff with a dumbed down curriculum. The results -- a country that is rapidly loosing its way.

Hope ths helps -- it is most frustrating as a parent. Why do I work so hard to improve our city's public schools when it is educators who need to stand up and say stop the madness. I don't think you went to college to be babysitters or maybe you did. You decide what you want to be and do it quickly! The country needs high quality, demanding education -- not something where all who have their hands out for the pool of money (which is rapidly becoming limited) get it and take away from the direct education of our children.

Of course it would be great if all parents demanded a high quality education for their children and we wouldn't have the poor quality schools we have today.

You asked -- it is a very frustrating time for education in my city. We have a disjointed board and an administration who knows it. The administration does its own think, the board does its thing and the children get the raw end of the deal -- very sad!!!

Thanks --
Elizabeth

 
At Tuesday, December 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that upon a person's eighteenth birthday they will have spent 157,680 hours on this earth. If they go to school 7 hours per day for 180 days for twelve years, they will have spent 15,120 hours in school (or less than ten percent (10%) of their life.)

But for some people, evidently like Elizabeth, whenever something goes wrong, schools must take one hundred percent (100%)of the blame for people's actions. I guess that what happens in those other 142,560 hours just doesn't count.

 
At Tuesday, December 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people, like Anonymous II above, prove to be so defensive that they can't even understand the points that are being made to them. As I read Elizabeth's comments, it stood out to me that she was saying that schools accept TOO MUCH, not that they deserve the blame for everything.

Or maybe Anoymous II DID understand Elizabeth. There certainly ARE a lot of educators out there who truly believe that the schools ought to take on all these issues. That's a big reason that social issues keep getting tossed in educators' laps -- because they ASK for it! And when someone like Elizabeth points out the failures in that approach, those same educators get defensive.

So which one is it, Anonymous II? Do you want schools to take on all the roles that Elizabeth decries? Do you want to usurp the role of parents? If so, then you need to stop your belly-aching and all the excuses and start doing something with these kids! If you actually AGREE with Elizabeth, then you owe her an apology -- just as any decent educator would expect their students to apologize if they shot off at the mouth in class.

Unfortunately, your sarcastic, simplistic, demagogue response to Elizabeth leaves me with little hope that you are a decent enough person to offer ANY substantive response. How sad for the kids you claim to serve.

 
At Wednesday, December 07, 2005, Blogger Indiana Public School Superintendent said...

Everyone take a deep breath.

First of all, Anonymous III - You said, "How sad for the kids you claim to serve" to Anonymous II.

I never saw anything in Anonymous II's response that would indicate they are an educator. They might be a greeter at Walmart.

Second, I have wrestled with the question of, "DO educators really bring this on themselves? Are they asking to do it all?

I think "in-the-trenches" teachers are asking to have a more focused role. The state curriculum standards in most states resemble the menu at a huge "all you can eat buffet" - something for everyone. They don't even know where to start sometimes.

I think it tends to be educational policy makers, not the average teacher, that is asking the schools to do it all.

 
At Wednesday, December 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'll trust the readers of this blog to determine who is and who isn't being defensive. All I did was state a fact that by the time a student turns eighteen, they will have spent less than ten percent (10%) of their life in school.

As a matter of fact, I am not a teacher. As a matter of fact, I believe that schools are asked to do too much. As a matter of fact, I believe that schools get blamed for many things that other people, such as parents, should take responsibility for.

Are there poor schools? I'm sure there are. Are there excellent schools where students choose to not take advantage of what they are offered? Without a doubt.

The point is that because of the time differential it tends to be easier for good parenting to overcome poor teaching than it is for good teaching to overcome poor parenting. Does that excuse poor teaching? Never. But let's be honest and try to address all aspects of the problem. That gives us the best chance of arriving at a solution that truly does serve students.

Anonymous 1

 
At Wednesday, December 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it runs contrary to common public perception, but there is actually a lot of research out there now that says pretty clearly that teachers have the greatest impact on education achievement of their students, regardless of their socio-economic or other family backgrounds. None of these studies dismisses the importance of parenting; but when all the factors are thrown into the analysis, teacher quality matters more. For more on this, look first to the Education Trust. But there is a lot more out there for those who are truly interested.

Now for the irony, as it relates to this discussion: The evidence also shows that the schools that do best with challenging populations are the ones that actually ignore those challenges and focus on academics. A lot of people say schools can't do that. But the evidence, both impirical and anecdotal, prove that assumption wrong.

 
At Wednesday, December 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't dispute that there is sound research that says teachers have the greated impact on educational achievement. What is almost NEVER discussed is that the research consists almost entirely of narrow, standardized bubble-sheet assessments that have there place but do NOT represent the sum total of what education IS.

Recently we had a community forum with business leaders over what they want from education and educators. Almost no one said, "better test scores" or "better reading and math skills."

Almost every person at the forum said, "work ethic, attitude, people that care, people who show up to work, people who come to work on time, people who get along with each other, loyalty, communication skills..... and on and on.

Most of these items are primarily a function of the environment and good parenting and less related to quality of academic methodology.

Schools SHOULD continue to do better at educating students to be better readers, writers and mathematicians - but the disconnect between what some people say they want and what society chooses to measure and track is sometimes disconcerting to say the least.

 
At Wednesday, December 07, 2005, Anonymous stonebinge said...

I'm sure that teachers do have the greatest impact on the educational achievement of their students regardless of the socio-economic indicators. The reason for that is obvious to me.

Responsible parents make sure that their children get the best instruction they can find. That may be requesting a different teacher in the same school or it may involve moving across town or across the state to find a better school for their child. Even if they incur additional expense, they will do it because they know that good teachers make a difference.

OTOH, less responsible parents take little or no action when their child ends up either with a bad teacher or in a bad school. But in that case, even a bad teacher may still have the greatest impact on the educational achievement of the student, if for no other reason than the fact that they may be the only one having an impact at all.

In either case, the teacher is making the difference, but they are still subject to the choices of the parent.

And to take it one step further, who would like to speculate on how responsible parents spend the remaining 90% of their child's non-school time compared with an irresponsible parent. And what impact does that have on what happens in the classroom?

 

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