Monday, September 12, 2011

Sean Said: Eduation = Teachers + Parents

When the very notion of public education was in its infancy, attendence was optional, teachers were unqualified, and there was no expectation of results. Since that time there has been a steady increase in all of these areas; even in my lifetime there has been noticable changes in the role of education.

At the time I started school (in 1979) the general public widely agreed that a child should be made to stay in school until high school. However, completing high school was still seen by many as optional, and post secondary education was still considered to be the realm of academics.

However, while not everyone might have seen the value in school, some parents certainly did. These parents helped their children, encouraged their children, and demanded their children do their best. After attendence, parental encouragement is the greatest determining factor of success in school. (and seeing as attendence is frequently a function of the parents, one might argue parenting is #1 and #2). The children of these parents were fortunate, and were statistically far more likely than their peers to finish high school, go to college, earn degrees, and achieve success in their careers.

But then in the 80s a huge push began to get all kids to finish high school. Public perception was changed through massive awareness campaigns. School programing was changed to give greater options to those who previously struggled to earn a diploma. Eventually (much later), laws were changed to effectively force children to be in school during school hours.

Then, once it became expected that all children would finish high school, the next big push began - to get all high school graduates to enroll in post secondary studies.

We live in a world today where very few jobs don't have college programs dedicated to them. We live in a world that is very quickly moving to demanding that anyone who wants to enter a profession first get training in it. By the time children entering school this fall graduate, there will be very few jobs available that don't require at least a six month college course.

School teachers know this. They know that the education system is now expected to make nearly all students achieve what was once the realm of the elite. They know that the only way to lift the whole population upwards is to get the parents of all students to do what was once done only by the parents of those same elite - take an active role in the child's education.

The sad thing is that there are still many parents who wish to resist the demands the school is placing on them - even though the school is only asking them to do what they should have been doing already, for their child sake.

It is a lot easier to be apathetic, than to care. It is a lot easier to be angry at the school for placing demands than to take an active role in educating your child.

Success always demands sacrifice.

It is unfortunate that not all can see this, and it is very sad that some children will grow up to live hard lives because their parents could not recognize the importance of their own role in the children's education.

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