Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Teachers Should Not Be Held Accountable for Society's Problems

I believe that we need to get children into school earlier for pre-K and full-day Kindergarten. Many parents work 2 jobs just to make ends meet, so they don't have enough time to work with their children. Many students are coming to school without knowledge of the alphabet, letter sounds, basic number sense, ability to count from 1 to 10, or even understanding directionality of print. Instead, parents are relying more and more on teachers to teach early literacy, math and life skills to their children in 1/2-day Kinder and in 1st grade classes. This late start puts these children at a distinct disadvantage, where many spend the rest of their academic lives playing catch-up.

I don't see society and our economy rolling back to the time when one parent can afford to support the family and the other parent, mom or dad, can stay home to work with the children. I would, however, like to see it roll back to a time where people earn a living wage so that they only need to work one job. At least, then, parents will have more time to spend with their children and teach them life skills, early literacy and numbers, to read to them, and help them with their homework.

I truly hope the next President will realize that the problem with education is a problem that originates in the basic structure of society, the family and the economy. I think we blame teachers because they are scapegoats for these much deeper and more difficult problems to solve; problems without one, easily identifiable "go-to" person or group to hold accountable.

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