The public school system is a valuable part of our country’s foundation and it is failing.
The good news is YOU can help mend the fiber that has propelled this nation to success for two hundred years.
Public schools are not failing because they are a bad system or because educators are worse now than in the past.
Our schools are failing because they lost two valuable components: parents and money.
Money was lost from the system of educating our children when politicians started gambling. Many states, including Florida, started a lottery. The recipe for pushing lotteries through was pretty standard: “the public should want this because ALL the proceeds will be used to support schools”. What politicians neglected to tell us is ALL the other money going to schools would be quickly diverted to other areas and the school system would be left to be supported solely by how much the public would and could afford to gamble.
Parents were lost from the school system some time ago. No, parents are still there and still involved in one or another in affluent areas; where the PTO is able to raise significant funds and parents do not have to work two or three jobs just to make the rent. Parents were lost when single parent households began to multiply; when parents found it necessary for both to work multiple jobs; and multi-media took the place of family dinner.
What can you do? Schools need involvement with community. Schools need volunteers. There simply is not sufficient money now and less is expected in the future. We must bring our communities back into schools and family back into education.
Here are some tips for bringing the community back into your local school:
- Visit your child’s classroom often. Regularly attend open house and take time to speak with the teacher and principal while you are there.
- Help your kid with their homework and if you do not understand it, have the courage to go talk to the teacher.
- Ask the teacher if there are things you can do at home to assist him or her in the classroom. There are always things to cut, past, and prepare that will help ease a teacher’s difficult job.
- Always participate in parent-teacher conferences. If you feel your child is not getting as much from school as you would like, ask for a conference.
- Attend student events. Go to plays, parent nights, open house, and other similar events. Talk to teachers, administrators and other parents as much as possible.
- Build a network with other parents and seek ways to contribute to the school.
- Join the PTO or similar organization at the school.
- Join a school committee, such as the SAC — School Advisory Committee.
- Ask your kid how they want you to be involved at school (after explaining that involvement is the only option).
What will you get?
You will get better schools.
You will develop a closer and healthier relationship with your kids.
You will have an influence on education as a whole and not simply just your child’s education.
You will develop knowledge and skills working within the educational system.
You will gain friends and forge new relationships.
You will help to preserve a system that has been creating leaders, inventors, and well educated adults for a very long time.
You will make a difference in your kids’ lives and in many others as well.
Remember that it is still true in this country that ANY child can grow up to make a difference — make sure you are a part of that wonderful experience.