It Takes A Village To Raise A Child
What is happening to our youth? Adults observe the public school system with disgust. More and more students are adjudicated to juvenile detention centers and county jails. The American public systems are now free public daycare centers. Furthermore, the education gap between African-Americans, Latinos and Caucasian children is more prevalent.
According to the Digest of Education, the high school dropout rate among all races decreased by 20.5% from 1960 to 2012 (US Department of Commerce, 2013). But there is still a disparity between white students and minority students. What happened to the public school education system? Why are our children failing? That is a good question with a lot of answers.
The Most Common Reasons
The most common reasons why children are failing is because they don’t want an education, they are not motivated, and don’t understand the importance of an education. That may be true. But ask yourself why? I know I say a lot of things about social media. But social media has taken over the world, as well as television. Reality TV shows, such as Mob Wives and Housewives of Atlanta, heavily influence teenagers. Teenagers see women fighting about men and other irrelevant issues.
Furthermore, reality TV sends negative messages to teenagers. Reality TV and social media don’t reiterate the importance of getting an education. But you can’t put the blame on TV for the lack of motivation among children. Parents and the employees of the school system are to blame too.
Teaching is a very respectable profession. But there are not enough teachers who care whether or not a child receives a quality education. The increasing teacher shortage in American doesn’t help the situation. Many states offer alternative teacher certification to decrease the teacher shortage.
But these programs rarely produce qualified teachers, and teachers are disillusioned about the teaching profession. Nevertheless, children are not receiving a good education anymore. The results from standardized tests label children below average in math and reading. Now, teachers are teaching children how to pass mandatory standardized tests.
Another reason why there is a decline in the education system is teachers’ inability to understand or can’t relate to their students. In other words, you don’t learn street smarts in college. Public school systems across the county develop and implement after school education programs. But the programs are ineffective because the lack of support from the parents and unequipped staff. But there is hope for the future generation.
Utilize Community Resources
Almost every city has at least one community center, literacy program, or non-profit organization. The local school districts should take advantage of such programs, preferably literacy programs. Literacy programs offer educational services that focus on improving reading and writing skills.
Local school districts can create a referral program for students who are have poor reading and writing skills. Always review the literacy program’s curriculum and program success rate. The local should also create an interdisciplinary team that includes the director of the literacy program, superintendent, principal, school counselor, and a language arts and math teacher. If you are including children with special needs, you must include the special education coordinator.
Improve Existing School Based Programs
Some school districts have existing school based programs. If your school district is not performing academically, try revamping existing school based programs. These programs include after school programs. Implement mandatory tutoring for under achieving students. But always get parent consent.
School administrators should strategically pinpoint students who are failing by evaluating student records. After evaluating student records, meet with the students’ teacher to investigate why the student is failing. People are either visual learners, hands on learners, or both.
Sometimes it is not the student; but the teacher’s teaching methods. This is the perfect time to take advantage of the curriculum coordinator. The curriculum coordinator can help you and your staff create more effective lesson plans that are in compliance with federal and state guidelines. Modifying lesson plans can improve academic performance.
Utilize Your Counseling Staff
Many parents don’t understand the role of the school counselor. Many school districts use the school counselor to talk to children who exhibit bad behavior. Children are affected by their environment and bring their problems to school. A child’s poor academic performance can be affected by his or her environment.
Poor nutrition and unstable home life are the most common causes of poor school performance. Some situations, such as abuse, may be too serious for a school counselor to handle. Consider outsourcing licensed professionals or soliciting help from your local community counseling center. Regardless of which method you choose, always involve the parents. It takes more than the school system to change children.
- Heather Browning, MBA, BA
National Centers for Education Statistics. Percentage of High School Dropouts among person 16-24. (2013). Digest of Education Statistics. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
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