Who’s Really to Blame for Failure in Education?
“If your kids are disrespectful little shits, parents, it’s your fault,” said George Carlin.
There. It’s finally been said. It’s about time we started blaming parents for something. Failures in education seem like a good place to start.
I was a teacher. I saw it so often in schools, I could hardly keep myself from pointing the finger of blame at parents. It’s true, the damned apples don’t fall too far from the tree. But in this day and age, quite often they don’t even fall from the tree at all. They just hang up there on a limb, sucking the life out of the tree.
Kids fail classes and tests. Kids misbehave. Kids don’t come to school. Kids drop out. Who’s to blame? Politicians who want to be elected or re-elected blame school administrators and teachers. Pundits who want to make a name for themselves blame today’s television shows, movies, and modern music if indeed it can even be called music. And eager entrepreneurs blame everyone for just about every known social malady just to make a buck.
Parents Brought Their Kids Into the World
Who brought the kids into the world? Who took care of them for a half-decade before they entered school? Who gets them up and off to school every morning? Who makes their lunches? Who helps them with their homework? Who goes to all the Back-to-School nights and progress conferences? And who gives them luggage as a parting gift for graduation?
I think George Carlin got it right. It has to be parents who are to blame. Who else could it be?
Figuring time alone, kids spend more of it with their parent or parents than anyone or anything else. Whose rules and expectations, or the lack thereof, carry the most weight with kids? Success in school is not always a part of every family’s actual list of priorities, though every parent says it is.
Why do parents always seem so eager to blame everyone and everything else for their screwed up kids? Among the parade of culprits, parents have “blamingly” pointed to include, teachers, principals, next door neighbors, movie stars, athletes, musicians, politicians, religious clerics, the police, grandparents, wayward siblings or relatives, etc. The list goes on and on.
A Tempting Solution
As a school principal, I thought often about telling parents when their children misbehaved to come retrieve them and do whatever it takes to get them to accept responsibility, and then have them come back with a renewed attitude about doing their very best. If they came back with the same chip on their shoulder, I’d call parents again and tell them whatever they did didn’t work, and that they must retrieve them and try again.
Some states, cities, districts, and schools fine parents for poor student attendance and behavior. Some even see time behind bars for not controlling their troubled teens properly. I must admit, though, the kids need to be part of paying such fines and spending time in jail with their parents. You can’t just punish the parents and let the kids off scot-free.