Are our teachers really to blame?

Published 6:04 pm Thursday, March 24, 2011

To the Editor:
In my chosen profession of teaching I spent 30 years.
I do not profess to be an expert teacher but I do have a great deal of experience. While being a keen observer of the present state of education, I like many of you am deeply distressed.
From the Secretary of Education in Washington DC to local boards of education, I hear calls for better teachers. I hear a call for better–educated teachers and a more careful selection of teachers. Is this new criterion?
Didn’t you always look for the best teachers and didn’t you always screen them to the best of your ability? I don’t see teachers being guilty of any wrong doing so far in the selection process.
Let me ask a question.
How many really bad teachers do you remember?
My guess is if asked to remember teachers you remember people who you really had a great deal of respect for maybe, even loved.
Teachers for the most part are dedicated, caring people looking out for the best interest of your children. Think about it.
Would a person with a profit motive go into teaching? Are teachers looking to make a fantastic living in education? Most teachers like myself wanted more than anything to leave this planet a better place than they found it, perhaps make some small contribution to humanity.
I believe the present scrutiny of teachers needs to be revisited. Who is really most responsible for a child’s education? Should teachers have their feet held to the fire or are they in an unfair partnership?
There are some very critical questions to be asked. For one, who spends the most time with your children? Who has the most powerful influence on your children? Who teachers your children values? Where values are concerned we may ask if we teach the value of education. I hope your answer to those questions is ME.
I once read that a home that has 500 books in it will always produce children who love to read.
You see there are lots of hints and subliminal suggestions parents give about the importance of a good education. If you ever say I did ok and I never graduated high school you are doing the greatest disservice you can to your children. All of us collectively must impress upon all children the utmost importance of a good solid education.
I once had the honor of talking to an Auschwitz survivor who told me. They took my family, they took my home and they took my clothing. But one thing they could never take away from me was my education. I think that speaks volumes for children to understand the deep and profound meaning of a good education.
So who has the real power here? Who has the real responsibility for providing an education?
I don’t believe for one second that the education system in America has failed the children, I believe the children and parents have failed the educational system.
In my opinion the changes in America have taken place in the home, not in the class room. Take stock America. Are you demanding excellence from your children? If your children are doing poorly do you go to their school counselors and find out why? Have you gotten them some tutoring?
Parents you are in charge. Discipline is really what education is all about, without discipline you can do nothing. Don’t stand for mediocrity; insist that your children get good grades. Don’t blame the teachers!
Even if you don’t like a teacher it’s a good lesson. You’re going to work with people you don’t like your entire life, get over it. Parents set the bar high. Talk to your kids, see what they want to be, and get them headed down that path.
Parents take charge of their education and make it happen. They will thank you for being hard on them when they are a great success.
––Rocco Lionetti

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox