After thirty years in in the public schools I can assure you that the problem is not a lack of money. The problem is not poor teachers or poorly trained teachers. There are many caring and kind teachers in the public educational system. If there is a problem with modern teachers, it is that they just reflect the values and norms of our humanistic society and culture. Their training has a void of absolute moral principles. Higher salaries will not fix them.
The problem in education is that our children are coming to school with many emotional scars and a lack of discipline and structure. The cause is that the family unit is breaking down and the government is trying to fill the void.
During my tenure in the schools, we attempted to heal these wounded children by adding a multitude of special education programs; it has not worked.
We added English Second Language, Remedial Reading and Remedial Language classes. We added Special Education classes for the slow learners and ‘Gifted’ classes for the fast. We added Emotionally Handicapped classes. We added counselors and social workers–once placed only in the High Schools, now they are down in the primary grades. These all cost money and take finances from the classroom.
We added Kindergartens to get children ready for first grade and when that did not solve the problem of children not being ready for school, we added Head Start.
When we saw that children where not eating properly, we added lunch programs — then a breakfast program. To keep the children safe going and coming to school, we added buses; and then because parents were not home after school, we started ‘after school’ child care. Much or most of the above is the responsibility of parents–not the schools.
When all of the above failed, our government decided we needed to initiate set standards, goals and Behavioral Objectives. We now have had to lower these standards in order that the ‘average’ student can graduate.
How can the schools be responsible for a quality product when they have no control of the input? The problem is sin and selfishness. The problem is that our families and our marriages are not stable. The problems are too big for any government!
An editorial in the USA TODAY (Feb. 21, 2013) targeted President Obama’s plan to start educating all children before kindergarten. He feels that the poorest children are being left out of this benefit–the very ones who need it the most. The editorial agrees that it would be a benefit but feels that society is not addressing the most important issue, which is that family structure is breaking down. Here is some of what USA Today said:
A few small, high-quality programs have shown the enduring benefits for at-risk kids. But intensive study of Head Start, the nations largest and oldest preschool program, finds that the benefits, which are real, wear out after the third grade.
The probable reason is not hard to deduce. Children are most likely to succeed in school when pushed by parents who provide stability, help with schooling and instill an educational and work ethic. But for decades now, the American family has been breaking down.
Two-thirds of the children born in the USA are born to unmarried mothers, an eight-fold increase since 1960. Many succeed thanks to the heroic efforts of strong, motivated, single parents and other relatives. But research shows that children of single parents suffer disproportionally high poverty rates, impaired development and low performance in school.
A typical pattern in these “fragile families” looks like this: When a child is born, most fathers and mothers are in a committed relationship. By the time the child reaches 5, many fathers have disappeared. As the mothers move on to new relationships, the children face more and more instability – often with new siblings and different fathers. Boys without strong male role models are more likely to turn to gangs and crime.
Single mothers read less to their children and are more likely to use harsh discipline and are less likely to maintain stable routines such as regular bedtimes. All these behaviors are important predictors of children’s health and development.
The core problem of social advancement has always been the family – and it is breaking down. God designed families to be founded on the principles of the Word of God. God’s plan is that every child have a father and a mother. It is God’s plan that parents (not the government) be responsible for the teaching and training of their own children. When society deviates from the plan – children hurt.
Make a Difference – Save Our Families!