Chicago’s teacher strike raised one issue that bares consideration: who should be held accountable for so called un-teachable students? In my day if you didn’t want to learn the nuns beat it into you. Many a time, I experienced the unique sensation of having my head slammed off a blackboard to illustrate the importance of paying attention. I hated chairing sentences; however, I earned a “B” in that class and carried the significance of the head meeting blackboard lesson with me for the rest of my school days.
If I were a public school teacher I wouldn’t want may pay dependent on my student’s success. Not today anyway. I can’t imagine how it’s possible to teach anything of substance in an inner city classroom today. I’m not making a case for overpaying teachers or throwing more money at public education. Likewise pounding a fifth grader into submission is not an appropriate classroom lesson. I’m simply making the point that without discipline kids don’t focus on learning.
I think that teachers do present a fair argument against merit based pay. I also think that a voucher system or free market principles approach may be beneficial. Yet I know to my core that education quality is affected by a student’s home life. Having a mother and father that are aware and involved in a kid’s education is more important than a free nutritional low fat lunch.
Decades of educational reform have been a failure to students. School Administrators have substituted expense policy changes in an attempt to make up for failing American families. Public education cannot correct the destructive influence of worthless parents. Parents that blame the system instead of raising their kids make it impossible for public education to complete its mission. American Families and law makers need to commit to bringing discipline back into the classroom by bringing discipline back into their homes. Education is about parenting as much as it is about quality teachers and first rate schools. An engaged parent doesn’t trust their child’s school to guarantee an education. As I always tell my kid’s teachers at the meet and greets “my kids are on loan to you, but they belong to me.”
I’ve heard all the excuses and rationalizations for failing public schools, but it is the fault of our families that our schools are failing. My parents didn’t need an overpaid District Diagnostician to help me with my educational failures. My father had a cure for my ADD it was called a swift kick in the rear end. Apparently I didn’t do too poorly after all your reading this stuff so something had to be done right.
For all those academic ideologues in inner city America who think my Neanderthal like observations don’t take into consideration the complex learning needs of today’s families, here is a big Bronx cheer. Tell your unions to have the guts to call out “the kiddo’s” parents on television. Don’t go on strike, just quit. Chicago’s teachers and their Union have an opportunity for real education reform. Tell the school districts and the parents:
“Your children are disrespectful animals and we can’t handle them anymore. The working conditions are deplorable and until you clean up your families you’re on your own. Build more prisons because you’re going to need them more than you need teachers. No amount of money is going to keep good teachers working here until you fix American Family decline.”
Perhaps our social focus needs to change from dumping more money at educational disappointments and instead hold parents of failing students responsible for meeting real educational standards. Perhaps ignoring your child’s education should be treated as abuse? Maybe we should measure parental fitness in part by a child’s success in school? After all many states have truancy laws that hold parents responsible for habitual absence. Perhaps we need a Civil Educational Judiciary of sorts.
Imagine a family having to sacrifice paying the cable bill to pay court ordered fines for their kids failing grades or not being able to afford the new Nike’s because you’re kids a screw up and a Judge is going to make baby daddy sit in your classroom until your behavior improves? I would argue we would see a profound turnaround in parental dedication to a child’s education. Heck, it might make for great reality television.