The Post and Courier is to be commended for taking on big issues like education, but I found it remarkable that it never seriously considered that some fault might lie with the parents of the failing students.
Education begins at home.
In most instances where children fail in school, it is because they are already behind before they enter kindergarten.
Children who succeed in school are taught about the value of learning early on at home. Their parents read to them every day, encourage them to play with puzzles and educational toys, and take them to zoos, children’s museums and even libraries. Once those children enter school, these same parents closely monitor their progress, ensure that they are doing their homework and take immediate remedial action if they show any signs of falling behind.
The family unit provides the safety net for our educational system. When that unit breaks down, the system falls with it.
If you take a closer look at our failing students, you will see that a large percentage of them live in homes with absentee fathers. That phenomenon has, for various reasons, hit the African-American community the hardest. That is one explanation for the achievement gap between blacks and whites in our schools.
Raising and educating children is a daunting task for two parents. It is harder for a single mother who struggles just to make ends meet.
You cannot fix the problem of failing students without addressing all possible causes and solutions. It is easy to blame teachers, an uncaring political system, insufficient school funding and segregation, all of which cast the failing students and their parents as passive victims.
It is far harder to demand personal responsibility from the parents of failing students. Education not only begins at home, it ends there, too.
Thomas G. Roth