Charity begins at home, the old saying goes—and the same could be said for the education and discipline of children.
We are hearing a great deal about ineffective teachers in the New York City Public School system, and many of the criticisms are certainly true. But the same could be said about the ineffective parents or guardians who pay as little attention as possible to the youngsters in their care.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg recently pointed out that “some people don’t care and some people don’t understand the value of education,” and it led to a public relations firestorm only overshadowed by his proposal to limit the size of soft drinks sold in the city.
Parent leaders, local politicians and the usual host of attention hounds started jumping up and down at Bloomberg’s statement. They called for more guidance counselors, social workers and smaller classrooms to help keep track of students.
With exception of illness or a death in the family, there really is no excuse for a public school student not to be in class each day. Tuition is free and breakfast and lunch are provided at little or no cost to students. There are school buses for elementary school students and free MetroCards for older children to get to and from school.
Truancy, chronic absenteeism and dropouts, however, continue to plague the New York City public school system. Mayor Bloomberg recently came to P.S. 91 in Glendale to announce a new public outreach program to encourage parents to keep tabs on their children’s attendance and to find help if there is a problem that prevents their youths from attending class daily.
Stop and think about that for a minute. What does it say about our society that the City of New York need to advise parents to do what should be one of the most basic obligations of child-rearing?
The responsibility of a child’s education shouldn’t have to be told to parents by anyone; the parents should know this already and do what they need to do to ensure that their children get the best education possible and get to class every day.
But the problem is that, in this service-oriented society of ours, too many parents treat schools and teachers as if they are solely responsible for their child’s upbringing.
When a child misbehaved in class or performed poorly, the blame used to fall on the student. However, many parents have turned that blame around on the educators themselves.
There are some teachers who can’t perform up to the standards, but they are vastly outnumbered by brilliant educators who bend over backwards to help their kids learn.
Yet the powers that be do little to support teachers who succeed and get rid of teachers who fail—and that’s both a disgrace to the public school system and a tremendous disservice to its students.
Children are born into this world in pure innocence. With the exception of a few genetic traits, they only know they are hungry and want to eat. From that point on, they learn from what they see and hear. If the home and school are both dysfunctional, it stands to reason the child will have a big disadvantage.
Parents and the education system alike need to put their differences aside and do what’s right for their children. They are each jointly responsible in some way for the dysfunction, and they are each responsible to get it right.
Post new comment