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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Fathers Day -- or why there should be no tenure

Part One

“Kodomo no tame ni,” which means, “for the sake of the children,” is a value ingrained in Japanese culture that we would be well advised to adopt here. I’m referring of course to all of hullabaloo about public school teachers and the chaos created by a system that should have been changed 30 years ago. For the sake of the children, can’t we figure out how to fix this mess?

I have just spent the past year substitute teaching in New Jersey. While my experience is anecdotal, I can tell you that in the two districts where I spent my time, in one case a district with a stellar reputation and the other, at one of a rare breed of so called “Schools to Watch” in New Jersey; public education needs lots of help.

First, let me say that there are some good teachers out there and that good teachers are born and are not the product of experience. These teachers possess a gift for the art of teaching, a burning intellectual fever for learning, and an incredible amount of patience and compassion for their students. They are called to the job of teaching and are always working on becoming a better teacher.

Second let me say that there is nothing worse than bad parents and there are many, many more bad parents than there are bad teachers. This is worth repeating for those who are not paying attention --- many, many more bad parents.

There are the parents in denial who make excuses for their child’s emotional problems, or sometimes just plain laziness.

There are parents who don’t want to accept that their child has learning disabilities and might need help from what I believe is the flooding basement of public education, Special Ed. It is painful to learn that your child has special needs but it is not about you. Get over it and get them what they need to succeed.

Then there are parents who neglect their children and don’t provide appropriate role models and their children come to school not understanding what it means to show respect, not knowing why school matters and not realizing that the children sitting near them, hate them for wasting so much of their teacher’s time.

There are even parents who just don’t understand the value of education, in spite of the fact that a global market dictates that to have more than a minimum wage job, you must at least possess the literacy skills of a first year college student.

To all of these parents I say, you haven’t earned your parent tenure. These parents need to go back to school and attend a program that explains what it really means to be a parent. You have to pass proficiency tests, the results of which will be made public.

If parents are not proficient and don’t straighten up in three years, they lose their parenting rights and the tax deduction. The state claims the children and the parents have to pay the state to raise them. Instead of basing real estate values on good school districts, we’ll start to look for good parent districts because we all know that we learn more from our peers than from our folks.

1 comment:

  1. AND depending on how the child 'turns out' we should base the amount of Social Security benefit the parent receives (pay based on the child's test scores so to speak)