Study after study show that the “average” American parent talks to his or her child less than five minutes a day and that 80% of parents never attend a parent-teacher conferences during the thirteen years his or her child is in school.
The “No Child Left Behind Act” became law in 2001 and it was ignorance personified since nowhere in the Act were parents or students held responsible for anything.
Two presidents have pandered to the popular myth that bad teachers are the reason so many of America’s children are not learning what they should in school. George W. Bush was the first president and then there is Obama.
I’m writing this as a protest about Obama’s words concerning underperforming schools that should fire teachers. When schools do not perform, politicians have always looked for scapegoats and teachers make good targets.
Yes, there are poor teachers but no more than any profession. Most are hard working and dedicated. I should know. I taught for thirty years and my weeks were often one hundred hours of work, because I often worked at home correcting papers or planning lessons.
This reaction to fire teachers when students do not learn is wrong. Why not punish the students and the parents instead?
When I was a child and educators said I would never learn to read or write due to severe dyslexia, my mother taught me to read at home. Both of my parents were avid readers, and my parents were my role models—not my teachers.
Studies and statistics show that the “average” American child spends about 10 hours a day either having fun watching TV or playing video games or social networking on Facebook or sending endless text messages with a mobile phone.
The high school I taught at in Southern California for many years has a low state ranking and was one of those underperforming schools and still is five years after I retired.
One year, there was a story in the news about the school’s scores going down and one of my students with a failing grade mentioned this in class, which caused others to laugh with looks on their faces that said it was a teacher’s fault.
I said, “Walnut Valley High School has a state ranking that is a nine out of ten and our school is a three. If we swapped students from Nogales to Walnut and did not move the teachers, that ranking would go with the students and Nogales would have a nine and Walnut a three.
“The score comes from the students—not the teachers. You started kindergarten in a different school. After seven years, you went to an Intermediate school. By the time you walked through my classroom door, you had been in school ten years and probably had fifty different teachers.”
They stopped laughing.
At the time, half the students I taught were failing my classes. The reason they were failing is that they didn’t read at home, do the homework or study for tests. I should know. I’m the one who recorded all those zeroes in the grade book.
I’m the one that called or attempted to call parents to get them involved.Then when students fail, Washington D.C. blames and punishes teachers.
Associated Content said in 2006, “Every day, as many as 77 percent of American youth are labeled by special definition: Latchkey Kids.”
In the US, a latchkey kid is one that leaves school in the afternoon to go to an empty house because the parent or parents are working. If no parent is home, who is guiding the child?
It didn’t help that I made more phone calls to parents than any other teacher on campus.
It didn’t help that I stayed in my classroom at lunch and at least an hour after school to help kids who wanted extra help, but none of my English students ever took advantage of that help and we couldn’t make them.
However, I was there year after year. Every day I reminded my students that I would be there. There was a sign posted on the wall as a reminder, and it was placed near the door where no one could miss it.
At lunch and after school, I often sat in an empty classroom but I didn’t waste my time. I used that time to correct the student work that had been turned in.
By the time I left teaching after thirty years, less than five percent of my students were doing the homework and it didn’t matter how many phone calls I made to parents.
It was obvious that most of the kids I taught did not have the types of parents I had. Many of the parents of my students didn’t speak English and were illiterate, so books were not important and children learn from their parents’ lack of interest.
It is obvious that President Obama’s mother and grandparents were great role models that made a big difference in his education. Why can’t he see that?
That fact that Obama is as blind as Bush was, is because it was probably a teacher’s fault.
Discover A Good Teacher Beats a “Bad” Student
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.
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