What challenges do we face in public education?
Substandard & Unequal Education
The reality is too many children are falling behind. About 50% of the students in public schools are not proficient in the gateway skills of reading and math. Too many students drop out and of the students who do graduate, many are not ready for the modern workplace, college, or to contribute responsibly as a citizen.
Public schooling has a “No Warranty, No Refund, No Return” policy. As a matter of urgency, we need to properly educate our children from the day they enter kindergarten until the day they receive their high school diplomas.
Inadequate Parent Involvement
Everyone in the public school system says parent and public involvement is a crucial requirement for our schools to be successful. Yet, when well-meaning parents and citizens try to help, they are shepherded into ineffective advisory groups while business continues as usual – to the detriment of the students and our nation.
Roadblocks to Effective Reform
The people elected or hired to operate our public school system – bureaucrats, politicians, employee unions and others – are not fixing the problems. Good schools do exist, but good schools do not exist everywhere.
Some of the roadblocks to effective reform are:
- The absence of effective leadership and a means to hold decision makers accountable.
- The influence of well funded and professionally organized special interest groups.
- The gap between what experts, parents and the public believe constitutes a successful school.
- How difficult it is for the average parent or citizen to know if their neighborhood school is as good as it should be and if the school district is doing everything it can.
- Rules that make no sense if the goal is to ensure that every child receives a quality education.
So… how can we overcome these obstacles?
Informed and Involved Parents are the Key!
Supporting quality education in a
rapidly changing democratic society requires:
- Neighborhoods that claim responsibility for the performance of their schools.
- A shared understanding that student achievement is the measure of a school’s success.
- Community-wide access to research and information.
- A reform support infrastructure that facilitates community-based accountability for education.
- People working together, with integrity and firmness of purpose, to achieve the common goal.
Parents are responsible for the education of their children and are the critical factor for making good schools. Parents have the purest motive of all stakeholders in the public education system. They seek only one result: a quality education for their children.
Informed parents are able to recognize problems. Involved parents take leadership roles in their children’s education. They work effectively to ensure quality academic programs in their neighborhood schools and to change school district policies and state laws to support classroom excellence. Informed and involved parents – working together to magnify their impact – are the key to successful education reform.