• Head-Scratcher: When Did Parents Get Shut Out of Their Children’s Education?

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    Surge Summary: How did America ever get to a place where parents are consistently absent, even shut out of, their children’s educational process? It has not always been this way. This dangerous pattern began decades ago and has steadily intensified over time. The result: those who generally care most for their own children have little to do with their education.

    by Karen Testerman

    “Parents don’t care!” this is the common statement from educators across the nation.  Is it true?  Do mothers and fathers go through all the efforts to birth a child only to turn their backs on the future of those offspring?

    This is a statement that deeply troubles me.  Over the years I have devoted much thought to the statement because my personal encounters with those parents reveal the opposite conclusion.  This is not to say there aren’t examples where it appears the statement is true.  After all we are fallible human beings and circumstances do occur where others must step in for the benefit of the child.  Overall, it has been my experience that even parents who have made poor lifestyle choices care about their children, especially the mothers.

    So where does this all begin?  Since this statement of “Parents don’t care” comes primarily from educators, why is this prevalent in schools?  Where did the trend begin?  Growing up my friends and families actively participated.

    Our youngest child attended Hillsdale College.  In contrast to her siblings, we were able to attend parent-teacher conferences twice a year, as well as to converse with her instructors and the school administration to foster any challenges she was facing.  Why?  Because federal government dollars were not allowed, even in the form of educational grants.  Therefore, the school administration viewed the parents as an integral part of her educational experiences.

    Notice, I said in contrast to her siblings who attended private colleges, military academies and state colleges.  At each of the institutions we as parents were denied the knowledge of their progress reports (i.e. report cards) because they were over the age of 18 and had to give their permission to release the information AND because federal dollars were involved.  Hence the privacy regulations prevailed; never mind that the parents are providing financial support.

    Backing down the totem pole to the K-12 level of education.  Is this a common statement among private schools or parochial schools?  Is it just true in the government provided public schools?  My experience is that even those who are attending boarding schools that the normal behavior is that parents are involved even from a distance.  It is rare that parental involvement is missing.

    Is it then that this is a public funded phenomenon?  Not necessarily…because when comparing the ever growing Charter Schools it is apparent that parents do care and are involved.  And now with the SARS-CoV2 situation (aka COVID-19) we see that home education has increased dramatically over 2019 enrollments.  Read the article here.  Again this attests to parental involvement.  So where does this emanate?

    A hundred years ago, families gathered together to hire teachers for their children.  Children were obviously of different ages and so one room schools were prevalent in New Hampshire. Then in 1919-20 the NH General Court (State Legislature) established the Department of Education complete with School Administrative Units, Superintendents and the State School Board.  Likely it was sold to the people to standardize expected results and to consolidate administration for more uniformity.

    However, it sent a subliminal message to parents that we (government) can do better.  It became a requirement for certification relaying that those with letters behind their name know better than parents.  After all they studied methods of education and will better assess the individual needs of the child.  Parents were encouraged to assist the licensed teachers as aides in the classroom helping with reading, math, science, art, etc.  Years later it was decided that certification of aides were necessary and parents were relegated to being party planners and chaperones, that is until the dangers of homemade provisions were restricted.  Incidentally students were instructed “do not tell your parents about what we say” in addition other subterfuge.  In fact they are now telling parents not to be in the same room when children are in online classes because the parents don’t need to know what the teachers are saying.

    What appears to have evolved is the growing wedge to parental involvement.  Over the years, though not necessarily organized intent, parents were removed from active involvement.  It was assumed by each generation that education would be similar to what we as parents experienced.  And so we trusted.  We stepped up to the plate when there was a problem, but we supported the teachers and the teachers supported the families.  Heaven forbid that the school reported bad behavior or disrespect for the adults.  The school curriculum and administration supported proper respect found in the Golden Rule.

    Over the years with the advancement of technology, litigation, more and more government dollars and encroaching involvement caused the trust and respect factors to diminish and literacy became a casualty.  Our literacy rates a hundred years ago were 93-96% nationwide.  Today despite government involvement and the massive amounts of money expended across the country as well as here in NH literacy is about 50% on average.

    Ultimately, my conclusion is that parents do care.  Today, maybe precipitated by the stay at home conditions, maybe there are other factors, parents are more involved, because Parents do Care.  SCHOOL REALLY DON’T.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge

    Image: By Nevit Dilmen – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1426842

    Karen Testerman is the radio host of the Karen Testerman Show and Truth, Justice and Me and co-host of the Chic Chattin Hour television show.  The founder of Cornerstone Policy Research, a former candidate for public office including Governor and a staunch constitutional, liberty loving American, she lives with her husband, Dave, and Bouvier, Dutch in NH.

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