The responsibility of making sure a child learns to read and write goes to… Is it the school system, the teachers, or the parents? If the parents’ first language isn’t English or if the parents’ themselves are uneducated, does this excuse them from that responsibility? Do we then look to society to teach those children their ABC’s and 123’s?
Recently, I came across a thirty-something year old who had problems reading and writing. This led me to discuss the matter with some friends and family.
One friend and I had a heated discussion on the matter. I was so enraged, that I even insulted him at one point and said, “I’m glad we never had a child together. I would expect that answer from an uneducated person, but not you.”
He went on to tell me that he believes that “the primary responsibility for teaching a child to read and count lies in the hands of the school system. When my brother was younger, my parents were unable to teach him, due to their language barrier.”
Maybe I was lucky to have a mother who believed that teaching me at home was important. Maybe my son was lucky that I was reading to him ever since he was in my belly. Even so, I believe that the foundation for everything—including education and values—needs to come from the home, regardless of what a child learns from the world.
Life is about people, not plugs. This comes from an old blog I wrote here on the Cheshire Patch. http://cheshire.patch.com/blog_posts/people-not-plugs
I do mean that though. My favorite moments with my son were from a time when I was teaching him. We would read the same book. Then we would discuss it later. We went to bookstores, libraries and my college classes together. The last one was not all the time, just when I didn’t have a babysitterJ. In the summertime, I taught him things that he would need for the upcoming school year. Year-round, I had him doing reading, writing, spelling and math assignments. Even if he hates me for it (which I’m sure he doesn’t), I loved those times. And one day, I might actually see the fruits of all that. Regardless, it was the best time in my life.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that if you don’t get it at home then no one is charged with that responsibility. I am just saying that if parents can at least stress the importance of education, then children will go to school demanding action and seeking answers.
This reminds me of some words by Bill Cosby as he joined some educational advocates earlier this year to discuss the “State of American Education.”
According to The Daily Caller, Cosby said that the country can try as many education reforms as it wants, but the real key is getting parents involved and concerned about their children’s education.
This is really all that I am trying to say. Parent involvement is, obviously, not
necessary for the success of all children. Yet, when it comes to those who need the extra push, home is where it needs to start.
Interestingly enough, two of my own educated sisters disagree with me. And, one of them actually grew up in the same house as I did.
Marlene, a master’s degree-educated sister who is two years younger than I, said “the teachers. Think about it. What if your parents can’t read or write…the school
system’s whole purpose is to educate regardless of your parents limitations or
education level.” Then she continued on to say that “the school system would be
better than saying ‘teacher’. That is what I really mean.”
I believe a child should get his/her foundation from the home. School isn’t free
babysitting. Parents need to get involved. Even if a parent’s first language isn’t English and even if a parent’s reading and writing skills are poor, that doesn’t excuse it. It is still the parents’ responsibility to reach out and find the proper help to ensure their child can read, write and count. This, of course, is according to me.
Another master’s degree-educated sister told me “there isn’t just one cause [of why some aren’t able to read and write].”
I understand there are many factors in the plight to educate our youth. That’s why they enacted the No Child Left Behind Law, right? And what I find interesting is that CT is one of the eleven states that have been granted flexibility from the NCLB Law. My take on this is that in order for officials to continue getting funding, even though their state is not fulfilling the law, they have asked for leniency. Please correct me, if I am wrong.
With CT’s continued educational issues, Malloy tried to impose a drastic Education Reform Plan. And though I am not a teacher, I was outraged from the onset.
The teachers were unhappy, but the charter schools seemed pleased. I believe that was because Malloy was promising more funds to the charter schools. Yet, he was threatening to impose evaluations on teachers based on how much their students learn. Then the teachers would have their students’ growth affecting their five-year contract renewals.
Malloy’s heart was in the right place—trying to do better by our children. My concern is that even the revised Plan, which I have not read, is lacking in areas. From what I heard in the news, back in May, it included adding more money to the educational budget. And, though money can help, it’s not the main problem. Children, for the most part, are influenced by their parents’ and seek their parents’ approval. Therefore, we have to give them examples to emulate. And, education is the key to our success as a nation, not who is the next Senator or the next President. So, if we stress the importance of education at home, we will be doing our part—as families, parents and communities—to resurrect our nation’s economy and productivity. We, as a community, need to do better by our children outside of school. I don’t mean to sound as if money and electing the right officials do not matter at all. But, I do believe that regardless of the system, there are things that have to start in the home.
I continue to get others opinions on the education issue. And Debbie, a mother of two young adults—the youngest child is named Jared, says “I would say parents.
Teachers teach, but the parents have to pay attention to make sure the child is learning. Also, kids should be at a certain level with ABC’s and 123’s before they get to kindergarten. [While playing video games] I just asked Jared’s friends and one said parents and the other said parents and teachers. They are 17 and 18 years old.” Kids being kids, she told me that “Jared said ‘wait. What was the question’?”
I told her, “It’s interesting how many people want to put it on the school system.”
“No surprise. That’s why kids are doing so poorly in school,” said Debbie.
Some of my other friends had a bit less to say on the subject.
Kelly told me, “That is a hard question.”
Maureen said, “I have no idea. I assume the parents.”
Regardless of who is responsible, Connecticut is not doing as badly as some other states.
According to a report called The Condition of Education in Connecticut, twenty percent of homes in CT do not speak English. And, the percentage of persons less than 18 years old living under poverty level was about 12.1% in 2010.
According to this report, “In the spring of 2010, 37,904 students graduated from Connecticut public high schools. More than half of these graduates went on to attend a four-year college or university. An additional 24 percent of the graduates continued their education at two-year colleges or other educational institutions. In all, 94 percent of the 2010 graduates were either furthering their education or engaged in military or civilian employment.”
At the end of the day, our goal as a society is to teach all the children in our village. That’s what my mom used to say. The more educated we all are, the more we prosper as a community.
Education is the key to all avenues in life. And as I say, “you can never know enough.” I’m sure someone else coined this phrase many years ago. Just don’t ask me who.
I was pretty good with reading comprehension back in the day. So, let me know if I can clear anything up that I have said here. Read. Share. Comment. Ponder the meanings. Question my ideas. I welcome that.