Aug 3, 2011

With the recent cheating scandals erupting in the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and other schools system around the country, a spotlight has once again been placed on the teachers of our country.  Many have expressed the fact that our children are falling further and further behind other countries is a reflection of the inability of teachers to teach.  All the blame is being heaped onto the shoulders of the teachers who are the public face of the school system. 
I have always said that it's very easy to target teachers because then we don't have to take a look in the mirror and realize we are at fault too.  I'm not writing this article in defense of teachers.  I realize there are some bad teachers out there, but by no means do I think these people are the majority.  There are some genuine people who got into the profession because they love children and they love teaching.  A lot of these people could be making a heck of a lot more money had they gone into a different profession all together.  Teachers don't get paid nearly the amount of money they deserve for all the hell they have to go through.
My younger sister, Tracie, has a saying, "Parents are the first teachers of their children."  I love that saying and I understand exactly where she is coming from.  As a parent, you are responsible for your child's education.  You are the one who has to hold the teacher accountable if you think your child is not learning something they are supposed to be learning  Now, while you holding the teacher accountable make sure you are filling in those gaps for your child as well (if you can).  I realize that not all parents can help their children when it comes to school work, but you can find them a tutor. And if you say getting a tutor cost money that you don't have, well then I would suggest you talk to someone at that church you go to every Sunday about starting a tutoring program for kids.  Look, I am very much aware that all of us have jobs that may take away from our free time, but as a parent you have to make your children's education a priority.
Parents also need to attend school board meetings and take voting for politicians seriously.  One of the biggest problems going on in our country as far as the educational system is concerned is the fact that we have people who never steped foot in a classroom as a teacher making and implementing policy affecting the classroom.  This is a fact.  Any half decent teacher could have told the Bush and Obama Administrations that the 'No Child Left Behind' law was a joke.  If you implement a pay for performance policy what do you think people are going to do other than cheat?  It is a system set-up for cheating.  Children are not being taught basic skills they are being taught a test and if they mark the wrong answer the teacher just corrects it for them anyway.  This is what is going on and it's all because of 'No Child Left Behind.' 
So when you decide to point fingers when it comes to who to blame for the state of the educational system in this country realize that there are more involved than just teachers.  Parents, administrators, and politicians all share in the blame.

Matt Damon sums it up:


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