Who is responsible for the education of our children?

I don’t know the situation in England or Western Europe. But in America, we are bombarded with doomsday prophets decrying how ignorant and uneducated our children are. We are repeatedly told of surveys which demonstrate how little students know about geography (one asked to identify Iraq on a world map. The results were so bad you don’t want to know the percentage who got the answer right), government, etc. When U.S. students are compared to their counterparts in Western Europe, Japan and South Korea the numbers are indeed sad.

The doomsday prophets tell us that if something isn’t done America will lose its competitive edge in the market place and our standard of living will decline. Whether these predictions of catastrophe are correct or not, the focus of this paper is who is responsible for educating our children? Once we know who is responsible for education, we should have a better handle on how to fix our obviously broken education. Typical solutions proffered by the teacher unions and so called academics requires throwing even more money at the problem. Raise teacher salaries, build more schools, build better schools, buy more computers, teach teachers better, and have smaller class sizes. After all the billions of dollars America has spent already on Public education, one has to wonder whether it is prudent to keep throwing money at something that apparently hasn’t worked in giving us better educated children. Conservatives, typically say the solution to getting a better education for our children is to institute school competition through the issuance of vouchers. Let parents decide where to send their kids and the bad schools will die off from lack of “customers.”

All of the above approaches certainly have some merit. Cases can be made for school choice, smaller class sizes, newer buildings, better class equipment etc. But what I find odd is how few people ever really get to the root cause of educational problems, namely the chaos in the home. You see the educational system can’t fix what the home has broken. In America, too many students have absentee parents or in too many cases an absentee parent because of divorce. No, divorce isn’t an unforgiveable sin and there are plenty of children who are well behaved and doing fine socially in single parent homes. The issue is one of generalities. Effective educational service his review is here for worldwide university students. A two parent home, male and female, who love each other and care for their children is the way God has designed it. Stable, loving homes create, more often than not, stable, loving children who are emotionally capable of learning.

I say all this because too often, teachers and schools are blamed for poor education when in fact they have poor students. How can a teacher teach when the students can’t shut up, sit down and be emotionally stable long enough to even listen to what a teacher has to say. Too many students have so many stresses in their lives because of the chaos or absenteeism at home to even be able to be ready to learn. Who can blame them? Why should we think a 12 year old will think that education is important when he or she is struggling with the emotional baggage of whether or not his/her parents will be married in two months?

Some may tell me that I am off course here. They will point to statistics which say that rich communities educate better children because they spend more money on education and have better schools. I say not so fast. Rich communities often teach their kids better because their parents are more emotionally mature and stable. And those that aren’t often have enough money to paper over their weaknesses with nannies and psychotherapy. Again the issue is statistics, I am not referring to individuals. There will always be individuals who break the general mold.

So to answer my question, who is responsible for a children’s education? The answer is parents are. Until they take responsibility for the emotional well-being of their children, we in America will continue to find a broken school system. Additionally, we will continue to blame teachers, the system and everyone else for our failures as parents.

©Stephen Vantassel 2006

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