My wife and I are home schooling our seven-year-old daughter. Both of our boys attended public schools, from kindergarten all the way to HS graduation. You might be wondering, “Okay JP, why the difference? Is it because she’s a girl?”
Nope. The reason that we are home schooling our daughter is because we have lost faith with the public school system. During the past seventeen years, my wife and I have borne witness to a combination of arrogance, overcrowding and apathy on the part of our local schools and school districts. Almost from the beginning, we as parents had to stay on top of the schools to ensure that our younger son, who was a resource student throughout his compulsory education, received the services and support he was lawfully entitled to.
On several occasions, my boys (and my daughter-in-law) were told by their high school teachers, along with a few assistant principals, that they “had no rights” to freedom of speech or expression. Luckily, our household is a tad more educated than this. Since the “In re Gault” and “Tinker v. Des Moines ISD” cases of 1967 and 1969 respectively, SCOTUS has ruled that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
Mr. Ron Clark, award-winning teacher and founder of the Ron Clark Academy in Georgia, recently wrote an article for CNN in which he stated the following:
“…I know that sounds crazy, but principals all across the country are telling me that more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children.”
Mr. Clark, given that schools across the nation have been consistently trampling on students’ rights, do you really have to wonder why parents are now accompanied by attorneys?
The nearest elementary school, which is right around the corner from our house, has made it standard practice to place its students out at the corner intersection after school, as crossing guards. Now, keep in mind that the intersection we’re talking about is in a “not-so-nice” part of town, and drivers here aren’t always very considerate or observant of those “25mph when children are present” signs. I don’t know about you, but this worries me. This would be the school that my daughter would be attending, had we enrolled her in the local school district.
In his article, Mr. Clark states that teachers are “walking on eggshells”. GOOD! They need to be. Teachers wouldn’t HAVE a job if it weren’t for parents. WE’RE the ones that gave birth to these children, and it’s OUR job to ensure that their rights and needs are being safeguarded.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I DO realize that our children aren’t perfect little angels. Being the father of two boys, I’ve personally witnessed some doozies on the part of my sons where behavior is concerned. I’m all about the accountability as well. When my sons screwed up, if they got detention, I was usually the first one to say “Okay, when do you want him there?”
My wife has always been fond of the phrase: “Okay teacher, TEACH.” We’ve had dealings with a few who were just in it for the paycheck, so this phrase has indeed been spoken aloud on a few occasions.
Finally, Mr. Clark advises the following:
“…never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don’t respect her, he won’t either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.”
I would respectfully submit that respect is an earned commodity. If the teacher isn’t respecting the student, then what right does the teacher have to expect it in return? I’ve raised all three of my children with this set of values, and they’ve all turned out pretty good.
For the complete text of Mr. Ron Clark’s CNN article, please click through to the following: