Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Pentagon of Education

Hello and Happy Presidents Day ! I have a ton of packets and some quizzes to grade, but I decided to blog for a bit before getting to those.

The Pentagon of Education, as I call it, looks at education of a student as a pentagon; one side each for parent(s)/home, student, teacher(s), school and "community". All have to pull their share of the responsibility for educating a student. As a generally conservative person, (but usually liberal when it comes to education issues such as teacher pay and teacher working conditions), I don't want to sound like this is a spin on Hillary Clinton's "It takes a Village" book. But, when governmental policies like NCLB place the sole responsibility on the teachers and schools, IMO it is highly unlikely that as much progress as could happen will occur. How do you get the students, parents and community to accept and contribute their share of the responsibility for a child's education ? And in some cases, get the school administration to do their part ?

As any classroom teacher can tell you, if there is no/not enough support from the parent(s) or the school, the possibility of student success decreases. Few students, (based on my experiences/observations) will solely take the responsibility for their own education. Afterall, that is the difficult path, the unpopular route, the culturally incorrect course. Most must have some level of encouragement from their school and parents. Here where I teach, in a low-socio-economic, high "minority" community, it is rare that students or their parents request work from the teachers if the students is going to be missing school, is out sick, out for sports, or out of school for whatever reason. Rarely do students request the work they missed when they return from an absence. ( I keep a folder marked "MAKE UP" where I put assignments for kids not in class, then I take the initiative to make sure they at least receive their missing assignments). And, how about the huge number of parents who are shocked that their child has low grades in their classes when the parent asks their kid, "Do you have homework" and the kid usually says, "NO" or that they "did it at school." Did the parent see the homework? Did the parents see the quizzes/tests that the kid failed and the parent was supposed to sign? Usually not. Where does the responsibility lie ?

At the Junior High where I teach, I have also had administrators comment negatively about the kids I assign afterschool detention to make up missing work. These administrators, who have forgotten about life in the classroom, are bothered by referrals I write on the kids who consistently refuse to come afterschool to make up their missing work (and who are usually failing the class). These administrators have to take time out of their busy office time to counsel these kids, sometimes many times over the course of the semester, or, they have to assign the kid to the schools afterschool detention (held mainly for kids who are tardy to school). Rarely will these defiant kids be placed in "ILC" (our schools in-school suspension facility). And, if the kid is ever placed in ILC, the administrator usually does not request assignments from the teachers (like administration is supposed to do). I could go on about this, but will cut it short at this time.

Well, if you got this far, thanks for reading what I wrote/ranted about. Your comments are welcome. Guess I'll grade some of those packets now. Happy Holiday!
or any of the other sides of the pentagon, improvement will not be too great.