I can remember when I was a child coming home from school, the first question my mother would ask me (as many of our parents did) was “what did you learn today?” After brief hesitation I always gave the same answer, “nothing.” My mother would always give me that look our mothers often gave us when we weren’t being honest and instead of interrogating me further she just quietly rummaged through my book bag.
Now that we are adults with school age children of our own, we tend to repeat the pattern our parents set. Our children come in from school and the first thing we ask them is “what did you learn today?” and as the apple doesn’t fall far, they give us the same answer we gave our parents. It is important to know that for the most part we answered that way to avoid conversation; of course we learned at least one new thing a day and we can assume the same is true for our children, but is it?
After recently transitioning from a working mother to a stay at home mother, naturally I became more involved in my children’s education. I was excited to see what type of things they were doing in the classroom and even anticipated that classroom smell that reminded me of my elementary years. What I found was disturbing, but in a sense not surprising. You see, my children attend public school and I have learned throughout the years that we as parents can not expect much from a public school system. It is not their job to cultivate our children, but to only give them the average education.
Last year, the school held a meeting for the parents to talk about the upcoming PSSA (the state’s standardized testing). It was their goal that each child scored at least proficient on this test in the areas of Math and Reading. Needless to say, less than half of the school reached that goal, and what we as parents need to ascertain is why? This epidemic is not just taking place in my children’s school but in public schools across the nation, and where is the outcry?
Most of us as parents work full time jobs. The number of stay at home mothers has dropped since we were children, as the economy has demanded dual income in the household, but we are in desperate need of change. For the most part we teach our children that the only way to success is through education, and this for the most part is correct. But what exactly is education? Education is more than memorizing your multiplications or knowing that the capital of Arizona is Phoenix. It is more than early mornings of pledging allegiance and afternoons of rhyming songs to help you remember your prepositions.
The reality of it is your child’s education starts and ends in the household. Within those four walls is where they eat, sleep, play, etc. Where there is no set curriculum exemplified in a lesson plan, a curriculum written by some guy in an office who basically is dictating what your child should be learning. Whoever he or she is, my suggestion is that we run him out of town, but can we really put the blame on him for our children’s mediocre education?
The problem is that we, as parents, are too content with teaching our children and preparing them for the workforce. There is nothing wrong with being a cashier, or an autopilot, or even a doctor, and we teach our children that they can be whatever their little hearts desire. But to prepare them to become ideal employees is an injustice, as we should be preparing and teaching them how to create jobs, something the public school system will never do.
So little Timmy loves animals. Why would you then encourage him to be a veterinarian? Why wouldn’t you encourage and cultivate him to own a chain of Animal Shelters or hospitals? We think too small, and we pass it down to our children so it’s no wonder why they are satisfied with scoring proficient on a state exam instead of being upset over not scoring advanced. We need to take our children’s education into our own hands and begin to want more for our children, because after all, aren’t they our future?