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Showing posts with label Parents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parents. Show all posts

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Can Parenting Be Taught?

The biggest problem in education today is the parents. Period. I've written about this before and now it seems that a trend is emerging in education discussions. We need to start teaching people how to be better parents and this recent cover story from the Christian Science Monitor illustrates just how we can.

The stakes are high. Parental improvement might seem like a national pastime these days, given the unprecedented volume of advice books, blogs, and lectures coming at moms and dads across all demographics. But for lower-income women like those in this classroom, and others like them across the country, improved parenting skills can not only increase a family’s happiness, it can also dramatically improve a child’s long-term educational achievement, lower the chances of juvenile delinquency, improve health measures, and reduce poverty, according to a growing coalition of child-development experts and scientists.

Further, we instructors do not have the time to teach students basic manners and respect for elders. We don't have enough time to hit the standards in a school year as it is. I'm really sick and tired of having students look at me with that quizzical expression when I tell them to do something. It's as if they have never heard an adult tell them what to do. Over the years, a greater percentage of students are showing up to junior high without the foggiest idea of how to behave. Far too many parents have done a very poor job raising them.

Of course, this is a big reason why I am a big supporter of the president.

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act allocated $1.5 billion for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program to expand parent home visitation initiatives, such as the Nurse-Family Partnership, which pairs registered nurses with pregnant, at-risk women. School systems across the country are collaborating with programs such as Families First to expand their parent education classes.

It seems like a small amount but ECFE is absolutely vital if we are going to turn this tide around. And it can't all be done federally as the CSM article notes.

Local governments are also getting involved, coming up with their own ways to try to improve parenting. (Providence, R.I., for instance, recently launched the Providence Talks program to “close the 30-million-word gap,” a reference to the difference in the number of words spoken to a baby with lower-income parents by the age of 4 compared to a child with higher-income parents – a difference shown to have long-term educational repercussions.)

All of us at the community level need to work together to be better parents. The rest of the CSM piece details how we can do that. So, let's get started!

Friday, October 25, 2013

It Begins (And Ends) With The Parents

Nearly all of the challenges I face as an instructor are due to poor parenting. Parents do indeed really suck and they are getting worse. Even the number of sucky parents are on the rise as our culture becomes more and more cemented in the misplaced and harmful values of the Michael Jordan Generation. It's very clear that parents are just not doing their job.

Never was this statement more true than with the parents of the shooter in the recent Sparks, Nevada Middle School shooting. While it hasn't been fully confirmed yet, the student who killed teacher and vet Michael Landsberry and wounded two other students likely got the semi-auto 9mm from his parents. What the hell were they thinking? And what kind of a fucking country do we live in where a guy who does tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan lives through that but gets shot in his hometown? It's stuff like this that completely disgusts me.

This would be a clear example of people who should not be allowed to own guns and why our laws regarding arms need to be changed. Their license to own a gun should be taken away and they should face criminal charges. I'm wondering if they were "live free or die" types like Nancy Lanza who also thought it would be nifty to let her mentally ill sun have access to her guns.

The facts of this case have been very slow in coming but my takeaways are that it's clear there was some sort of bullying involved (more on that later), the shooter was mentally ill, and his parents are directly responsible. Further, this latest incident has led me to reflect about Newton and come to the conclusion the ideology that bloviates from the gun community is also responsible. This is particularly true in the case of Nancy Lanza who bought their lies to such a degree that she felt she needed a fucking arsenal to protect herself.

It begins and ends with the parents, folks. If they don't do their job, we end up with situations like this. And more and more of them these days are failing miserably.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Back To School

As students across my state head back to school today, I was very heartened by a recent conversation with my gym buddy, Edward. Recall that Edward is an evangelical minister and is just about as right wing as you can be.

As were lifting he turned to me and asked what was involved in becoming a teacher. I told him and then asked why he was interested. He said he was thinking of becoming one at either the secondary level or college. He'd like to have another job in addition to the ministry that he runs and, with his wife's business struggling right now, he thought it might be a good field to look into for some stability. Of course, I told him that the high pay and exotic travelling were a big plus:)

Even though he and I differ on our ideological views, I was pretty amped that we was interested. Quite honestly, we need all the help we can get. I know that wherever he ends up, he is going to push his religious beliefs but I don't really care. Yes, he believes in Republican Jesus but at least he has convictions. So many people today don't. Maybe a few kids will be inspired and motivated by him to actually give a shit about something other than fucking X Box or their smart phone and go out into the world and be productive. And this is what led us to a point of mutual agreement that made me happy on this, the first day of school.

Parents suck.

Actually, they don't just suck. The majority of them are doing a fucking horrible job. He sees it every Sunday in church and I see it every day in school. All of us see it when we go to Target or Wal Mart. In fact, Edward said, "Liberal and progressive ideals are not the problem in schools. Parents are the problem in schools and in places like my church." He then went on to tell me a series of stories of incidents he has seen over the years at church which echo what I see every day in school. They ranged from a complete inability to discipline to encouraging children to misbehave.

The main avenue of socialization of children is parents. For a wide variety of reasons, they have ceded this authority to people outside of their home. People like me and Edward are ill equipped to handle the individual needs of so many children. So, they end up being socialized by their friends and the corporate owned media. I don't know about any of you other parents out there but I wouldn't trust the socialization of a styrofoam cup with several of my children's friends. To begin with, none of them have basic manners. Their social skills suck and most seem to care only about sports. And many of them are socialized by corporations as well so everything is geared around the incentive of materialism. Even at grade school age, they have smart phones and watch endless hours of TV. Why?

Because their parents are too busy, either with work or simply being selfish and lazy, to hang out with them and do something. To put it simply, parents don't raise their children anymore. Parents don't fucking parent. They can't be bothered to do it so it's left up to people like me and Edward. Unfortunately, this leads to both of us (especially me) getting the blame when a child isn't doing well. Geez, you'd think I could easily socialize 100+ kids a day and turn them ALL into winners. What a lazy ass I am! With parents, it's always someone else's fault...never their own.

This is largely what our culture has become, though, so I guess I shouldn't be shocked. We are a nation filled with people who completely fail when it comes to reflection. It's easier to blame someone else or come up with wild eyed conspiracy theories on why our schools have these problems. Pointing the finger at the parents simply isn't done.

Even if we could point the finger at them, what then? We can't force parents to do a better job. Can we? If so, how?