Failure or success in education depends upon the parents

Adam Carolla rants about why the public school system has failed. (h/t The Packing Rat) Some NSFW audio.

He’s right. Success or failure in school directly corresponds upon the level of involvement of the parent. My little sister spent 2 years as a grade school teacher in inner city Washington D.C.. It was most evident from the family culture there that it was the prime contributor to the student’s level of success or failure (mostly failure). I can speak from my own public school experience that parental involvement is the #1 factor in the success or failing of the student (which then corresponds to the success or failing of the school, the school system, etc.).

Trouble is, it’s not politically correct to talk about it (and Adam’s rant isn’t politically correct). Furthermore, the people who whine and care so much about public education, the Liberals and Democrats, have a huge voter base that pulls directly from those very groups that have the culture problem. Do you think they’re going to address the truly tough issues in a head-on and brutally honest fashion and risk alienating their voter base? Nope, because votes matter more than actually addressing and fixing real problems.

Furthermore, you can’t fix problems of culture by throwing more money at it. It’s harder to fix culture problems. Look at Chris Rock’s own rant about how you get more respect within the Black community coming home from prison than you do coming home from college.

So what sort of culture do you surround yourself with? What sort of culture do you surround and permit to surround your children? It’s not strictly a racial thing, but it does tend to fall along ethnic lines. Believe me, I know some Asians that are worthless and some Mexicans with more degrees on their wall than you. It’s the culture that you (and your children) are surrounded by. And don’t think it’s out of your control. Sure some parts may be, but that means you as the parent have to become even more involved. Yes it might mean you have to be strict, deny your child, say “no”, and be tough in how you raise them. It’s your job to be their parent, not their friend, not to “be cool” or any such notion.

Wonder why homeschooled kids do so well? Maybe it has something to do with that high level of parental involvement in their lives and education. Think about it.

10 thoughts on “Failure or success in education depends upon the parents

  1. I watched a wonderful Bill Gates interview last week and they touched on education quite a bit. He spends most of his time with his foundation these days and they are working on education. Charter schools came up and they talked about some interesting facts. First, these charter schools are putting 90% of their highschool graduates through to four year colleges. They are doing this with kids that come from broken homes and where their parents are not terribly involved, these are mostly inner city kids. They are putting cameras in these class rooms to discover what it is about these teachers that is so different and by and large the biggest difference is these teachers ability to engage the students, keep them interested and more importantly, sell them on education. The really great teachers are making adjustements to their presentation in real time to keep kids engaged. I think it really comes down to what makes a great teacher and what makes a medocre teacher. We need better training for teachers and we need to remove tenure, it promotes mediocrity. Don’t get me wrong, I put most of the blame with the parents, I really do, but charter schools are doing something right. The good news is that these charter schools are growing and that’s a very good thing.

    Just some thoughts! 🙂

    • But you touched on another vital point: they sell the kids on the value of education.

      What do our public schools care about? Funding. They don’t care about education any more, they care about ensuring test scores are high enough so they can get money. Consequently, it causes goals and attitudes and approaches to be different.

      Charter schools have different goals. Furthermore, charter schools are attended by choice. Same with private schools and so on. Traditional public/government schools tend to be attended because you have to. When something is done by choice, there’s more personal investment in the matter; you are going to be driven to succeed (either the student, or the parent of the student). So again, a different attitude is there, and that’s the key factor.

      Bottom line is: those who want to succeed will. Those who don’t, won’t. It isn’t changed any by what you said or what Adam said; very much on the same page. The student has to care about their own success, there has to be someone in the student’s life that cares about the student’s success (and more someones is better). Just throwing money at the problem isn’t going to solve it, and just trying to deal with solutions that can be addressed by money (e.g. “hire more teachers”) isn’t going to solve it. There has to be a culture change, be it the culture at home, in the school, or in the greater community.

  2. The course I’m taking this semester is “Philosophy of Education”. I’m reading several books covering the spectrum of educational philosophy. The common denominator is the family. What I am coming to understand and believe is that through government control and other cultural movements such as ERA, feminism, etc., the family unit is being destroyed or at least rendered impotent. Certain groups of elites have decided that parents cannot be trusted, so they are compelled to put their children in government schools. Crime rates will go down considerably if we but provide a place for our children to be for the majority of the day (this was a reason for compulsory education back in the 1800s and early 1900s – why, then, do we have metal detectors and police patrolling our public schools if education will reduce crime?). Parental involvement is encouraged, but only if it follows the current educational philosophy of political correctness and acceptance of lifestyles/morals that might go against the family’s culture and/or religion.

    Officials in my church (LDS) issued a declaration in 1995 called “The Family – A Proclamation to the World”. Portions of it state: “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives – mothers and fathers – will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. … we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. … We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

    Homeschooling parents who recognize this, whatever their reasons or beliefs, have won a lot of victories over the past couple of decades, but at great cost, including imprisonment and children being taken away from their parents, etc. Texas is a great state for homeschoolers, but we have to work really hard to keep it that way.

    In addition to parents bearing responsibility for the education of their children I also believe that children are especially responsible for their education. It is their responsibility to learn. The parents/mentors/teachers are responsible for providing the environment, resources, example, and encouragement for learning.

    Anyway. My eyes have been opened a whole lot more this semester with the reading I am doing. I appreciate that you also recognize these things and are bearing the responsibility for your family and your children’s education, and that you share these things with others.

    • Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine. But you can see that what it takes for a child to succeed is for adults that care about the child to be involved and work to help the child succeed. Look at the comments from Belinda here… another perfect example that it’s a high level of parental involvement that makes the difference.

      • I definitely agree that homeschool is not for everyone, though I do think that many parents don’t give themselves enough credit on that score.

        I also applaud Belinda’s involvement – would that all parents were that involved. My parents were, and they also supplemented our learning outside of school hours. I know many parents who are very involved and it does make a difference.

        I think that there needs to be more flexibility in school choice. Your other comments on the FB post about paying directly vs. indirectly would make a huge difference. If parents had more choice in where and how their children were educated, and could apply those funds accordingly, the whole scene would be vastly different.

        There is no “quick” fix, but part of the battle is for parents, themselves, to become educated as to their choices and then decide for their own families and not let a “one size fits all” attitude rule the day.

        • I’ll agree there. I mean, we didn’t think we could do the homeschool thing, but we dove in and did it. A lot of people thinking about homeschooling come to us for advice on getting started, and you can tell they are nervous, but that’s good! It’s a sign you care, that you understand the gravity of the task you’re about to undertake and all that. So, it’s all good. I think most people could rise to the occasion and do it, if they just try. 🙂

          I am happy that more choice is coming to schooling tho. Charter schools are a good start. Vouchers, tho not an ideal solution, it’s something. Of course there are private schools too. But a lot of the reasons these work out is because there’s more accountability where it matters… no, not to some government bureaucrat, but to the students and parents themselves. Simple way to bring that about is making people write the check themselves… even if we couldn’t withhold it because we kept it still as a “tax funded” source… just the simple act of direct payment would really change the dynamic.

  3. John, I know all of my children teachers, I communicate with them and volunteer at their school, I know all the school administrators who are at the front office. And most importantly they know me and my children by name. I make this a priority because I don’t want my child to be just another student. I think school is a tool, if you use it correctly you can build great things, if you don’t, well you have a bunch of half build projects that will never accomplish their goals.

    I had a conversation with Sean, who attends a Charter, on the way home for school regarding what electives he will be taking next year in the 9th grade. He told me, “well, I need to take classes that will benefit me and my college resume, I can’t just take classes that aren’t going help me.” Wow, when I heard this I had this very proud look on my face, He then went on and said, “I want to go to a good college but I don’t want to pay for it, I want a scholarship.” So, so far he has his goals. With perfect grades of 100’s in Algebra and Science, I see that happening,

    By the way in the last 9 years he has attended private catholic school, then homeschooled, then charter, he has only had one teacher I would say wasn’t happy doing her job, On the other hand, the homeschooling teacher was the very best, if I say so myself. Hehehe

  4. totally agree on the fact. whether it is homeschooling or not, it is the parents who play the major role. and yes, without a dedicated involvement of parents to their children’s education, it is not possible to get a good result.

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