Parents, not educrats, are best suited to determine their children’s future.
BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970) | We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.
Determining what needs to be done about primary and secondary education depends on your vision of how it is produced. Basically, educational outcomes depend upon at least two important variables:
The school (of whatever type).
How these two variables relate to one another is absolutely critical, because the educational philosophies that guide policy decisions directly depend upon the assumptions made about the relationship between those variables.
The first assumption is that:
Educational Achievement (=) what happens in the home (+) what happens in school.
Therefore, if the student’s home environment does not promote educational achievement, it can be offset by investing more resources into the school.
This additive relationship has been the prevailing assumption for the past several decades. Consequently, America has poured billions of dollars into schools, equipment, books, and teachers with virtually nothing to show for it.
The second assumption is that:
Educational Achievement (=) what happens in the home (x) what happens in school.
Therefore, if the student’s home environment is neutral and/or hostile concerning educational achievement, improvement is virtually impossible, regardless of the quantity of resources invested into schools (i.e. nothing multiplied by anything remains nothing).
Considerable evidence suggests this second assumption is the correct one. Children who acquire a good education g-e-n-e-r-a-l-l-y come from two-parent families, but the most important factor (by far) is the parent’s level of intentional engagement:
Intentional parent(s) ensure that homework is completed, and that educational material is accessible.
Intentional parent(s) expect appropriate behavior at school and, when necessary, punish misbehavior.
Intentional parent(s) ensure prompt and consistent school attendance (largely by putting their kids to bed at a reasonable hour).
Intentional parent(s) respond to school notices and grades/assessments.
Needless to say, a good home environment is crucial to getting a good education. Consequently, it is impossible for the edutocracy to replicate everything that parents do in order to create a good home environment...because real improvement begins and ends with parents.
To be fair, even the worst schools enroll some children whose parents provide a good (or marginally good) home environment. However, even these kids are subsequently affected by the presence of other kids from apathetic and/or hostile home environments.
Since it is clearly beyond the ability of school administrators and teachers to prevent these kids from influencing the others, the education process is brought to a virtual halt. Instead of teachers teaching, most of their classroom time is devoted to discipline while attempting to motivate unreceptive minds and to help (often in vain) chronic truants keep pace with the rest of the class.
The edutocracy seems to believe that no child can be well educated until it is possible for all children to be well educated. This belief is implicit in their opposition to homeschooling, charter schools, private schools, online schools, hybrid schools, vouchers, and tuition tax credits, as they sanctimoniously rail against, "the abandonment of public schools!"
[But there is more than a little hypocrisy in that message, since a much higher percentage of public-school teachers (21%) send their own children to private schools than the general population (12%) does].
Where is the compassion in condemning kids—whose parents do their best to create a good home environment—to unsafe and inferior quality schools? Parents are the number-one-experts-in-the-world on their own children and it would behoove the edutocracy to acknowledge that fact.
But fortunately, there is no shortage of amazing alternatives available to parents today, so start exploring your options. You'll be glad you did and your children will thank you for it (at least someday). :-)