Monday, March 28, 2011

Anecdotal Evidence

I keep saying, ad nauseum, that the biggest problems with our "schools" is not the schools themselves, it's culture--the society from which our students are drawn. Used to be that if you got in trouble at school, you got in twice as much trouble at home; today, you get in trouble at school and oftentimes the parents lawyer up--that kind of thing.

A teacher at school today told the following story that he heard from a friend of his, another teacher. He had no reason to doubt his friend's veracity, and I have no reason to doubt his.

Seems at his friend's high school there was a dance. The DJ showed up stoned, claiming that his/her "medical marijuana card" (legal here in California) allowed him/her to light up on campus--in a district that has designated all its schools as "smoke-free zones". At the same dance, one of the parent chaperones showed up so drunk that the chaperone could barely stand.

And we wonder why the kids act the way they do....


mazenko said...

It's true on basic discipline and manners, as well as goals and expectations, and simple knowledge of what kids might need to succeed - like the ability to read.

Since having kids, I see continually foreshadowed for me the struggling learners that are going to show up in my CP English classes. And that's at a high performing school.

Kids who watch TV and movies all day and night ... and never pick up a book or have set times to do their homework. Kids who clearly struggle in school, but whose parents let them play outside all night or go see the midnight showing of the latest Harry Potter and then stay home from school the next day.

Kids whose parents fail to raise them are set up to struggle. And this doesn't mean that schools and teachers can't turn some kids around. It happens everyday. But it won't be the norm.

Mary Elliott said...

So right you are Darren.

The problem with our schools has been unfairly placed on the teachers shoulders, especially the last 10 years. When in reality it's a combination of several factors. Parents, administrators, school culture, societal culture, pop culture, NCLB.

Parents and the way they raise their child has a HUGE influence. I have a good friend who is Hispanic. She graduated from high school, but never went beyond. She loved school, enjoyed studying, but at home, she often had to take over the cooking, cleaning and care of her younger siblings. She was often told by her mother to stay home from school to clean the house. If she refused, she was hit. Her parents had their children attend school because it was the law, but there was no expectation to become educated. Out of 7 children, 3 dropped out, 4 graduated high school, but none went on to college.

As a former teacher in a predominantly Hispanic school, parents valued hard labor over education. It was tough for teachers to impress upon the kids the importance of quality work, when they might be going home getting yelled at, and hit.

Ellen K said...

Parents are the first teachers. I have had kids who have had to bail out parents. I have had kids whose parents left them alone while they were out of the country on vacation. I have countless parents who cannot be contacted because they changed jobs, phone numbers and addresses more times in one year than I have in a lifetime. I have parents who think allowing a 15 year old girl to date a 25 year old man is a sign of maturity. I have parents cycle through rehab and spouses much to their children's chagrin. Frankly, in many cases I am shocked they are as sane as they are. When I was young, my mother told me a parent's job was to give a kids roots so that they would be confident and secure and wings so that they would have dreams and goals. Instead we have parents who run up credit card bills buying junk that is outdated by the time it is unwrapped. When I went with my grandson into the park today I talked to him about the birds and trees. With me in the park was a young mother with a toddler and baby who spent the entire time texting on her phone while her children were left to their own devices. And we wonder what's wrong with kids.....

neko said...

Ellen, do you really think that your grandson is old enough for the talk about the birds and the trees? ^_^