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Education - is the key parents, not teachers?

It's in vogue for reformers to blame the achievement gap not on poor parenting but more on poor teaching. New York City, encouraged by the Obama administration, is leading the way. Just last month, it announced that it will spend more than $25 million to devise special tests students will take to measure the effectiveness of their teachers.

Reduced to its simplest terms, the rationale behind the attack on teachers is this: Children born to single, semi-literate, poverty-stricken 16- or 17-year-olds can, with the right teachers, reach the same level of academic skill as children born to parents such as Ben's and Emma's. Teachers would love to have such power, but statistics and common sense show that with few exceptions, things don't work that way.


Asked by tasches at 2:33 PM on Jun. 21, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 48 (298,202 Credits)
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Answers (11)
  • It is BOTH!!!!! A teacher can do everything possible in the classroom for a student, but if a parent is NOT going to do their part at home, then that student may very well not succeed to their fullest potential. The same can be said for the reverse. The parents could be very involved and working with their child, but if the classroom teacher/school is lacking, and not meeting the students needs, then that student may very well not succeed as well as they could.

    Hell, sometimes the parents and teacher are doing their parts, but the administration, and lack of resources in the school building will play a role in a lack of student success. There are schools with NO reading specialists, NO speech and language therapists, under staffed SPED programs etc. The LACK OF EDUCATIONAL funding plays a big role here too.


    Answer by Anonymous at 2:48 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • I think both parents and teachers make a big difference. You can't blame just one.

    Answer by Gingerwheel at 2:36 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • Our school year has 181 education days. For each of those, my child is with their teachers for 6 hours. This means that for any school year, a child gets 1086 hours of schooling, annually. Assuming that your child sleeps for 10 hours a day, the number of hours they are under the parents' instruction is annually would be 2594 hours (14 hours/non-school day and 8 hours/school day). The teachers have kids for about 29.5% of their waking hours, any given year (1086 out of the 3680 total number of hours).

    If some kids manage to pull themselves out of a hole through the "right teachers", imagine how many kids would do better with the "right parents". I can't imagine holding someone responsible for outcomes when they only manage 30% of the issue. I also can't imagine NOT holding someone responsible if they've got control over 70%!

    Answer by Dr.Donna at 2:52 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • Parents are the main advocates for their children. If your children are falling behind or not receiving the education they need, you don't just sit back and blame the teachers. You get involved, you make a lot of noise, you fight for your children to receive the education they deserve, even if that means taking them out of public and homeschooling if need be.

    Answer by daughteroftruth at 6:09 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • What is truly key is brain development (optimal development & wiring for optimal integration) in the first three years of life. This makes a parent's work & a teacher's work "easy." Things like ACE's (adverse childhood experiences) are serious strikes against neurological functioning ("optimal" isn't even in the picture in some cases), but even for "normal" kids the degree of truly attuned parenting (accurately understanding the child/behavior from the perspective of the child's experience, not the parent's experience, perceptions & judgments ABOUT the behavior) varies widely.
    Most often (this is true for "Ben & Emma's" parents as well as less advantaged families) stressed parenting is the thing that interferes with attunement (& thus with brain integration: developing emotional self-regulation, attention, empathy, etc.) It's not lack of love, intent, commitment, etc.

    Answer by girlwithC at 4:16 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • (cont) This issue of attunement (accurate understanding) explains why it's true that attentive, caring & conscientious--but also anxious--parenting is as problematic as more harsh/authoritarian, neglectful & disconnected parenting, from the standpoint of optimal neural integration. (Concerning the likelihood of developing behavioral & or mental health issues.) Positive OR negative over-focus is a problem.
    Stressed parenting is a primary issue because of how it interferes with the ability to be calmly attuned & responsive to babies/children.
    BUT, thanks to neuroplasticity that extends all thru adulthood, accurate understanding & acceptance--being seen for who you are & understood accurately for what you're about (understood in terms of your needs)--is healing & restorative in the present, regardless of ANY lacks in childhood. It can come from good love, good therapy, good teachers...and it changes our brains. THIS is key, too!

    Answer by girlwithC at 4:32 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • It's definitely the responsibility of both, but even more so the parents. As a teacher I do the what I can for the time that I am with each student. I guide them not only academically, but also socially and emotionally. I WANT to see them succeed, I work hard to see them succeed but I need the help of the parents. I can only do so much, if parents want their children to be successful they need to put in the effort as well- it's not magic.


    Answer by skittles1108 at 9:25 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • I think it is both!!!

    Answer by ljmommy1211 at 11:55 PM on Jun. 21, 2011

  • Definately both. Poor schooling and great parenting wont do it. And neither will inactive parents and great teachers. It has to be both.

    Answer by Mme.Langley at 12:04 AM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • PARENTS!!! As a parent I am responsible for my children. As a teacher, I can do everything including standing on my head, but if education isn't important at home my effectiveness is diminshed by half, at least. Our advanced reading/ math class students have functional parents, come from stable homes and have parents who push education. Our remedial class students have dysfunctional home lives, behavior problems and parents who don't care about edcuation. Every once in a while, there will be exceptions, but not generally.

    Answer by tangledteach at 12:26 AM on Jun. 22, 2011

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