Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor of the Niles Daily Star:

A crisis looms in education, and I imagine things will get worse before they get better. 

I am concerned about funding valuable educational programs, and I am concerned about the future of teachers’ jobs, and I am concerned about how best to increase language and math literacy.  However, the crisis I see is the decrease in parental involvement in their children’s education accompanied by a growing failure of students to accept personal responsibility.

I teach high school in Indiana, and my high school’s PTO recently sent a letter to district parents and teachers about the dearth of volunteers for leadership roles within the organization.  It is not my intention to air my district’s dirty laundry, but as a parent of a child in the Niles Community Schools and another in preschool at The Children’s Center downtown, I am recognizing similar patterns.  My daughter’s assistant principal should not have to remind parents that it is the parents’ responsibility that their child attends school.  My son’s preschool director should not have to caution parents about the dangers inherent in letting a child play violent video games after their child threatens others. 

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5 Responses to “Letter to the Editor”

  1. rmcartwright Says:

    I like where you’re going with this but it seems as if you’re ending all of a sudden stopped. If you switched things around a bit, I think your letter would be more conclusive. For example, the last paragraph should be the first. The second paragraph should be the first. And the first [sentence] should be last.

    Does that make sense?

  2. Gail Says:

    yes, I agree with Rhonda, I like this letter, it touches upon a very important subject. I am not a parent, but I am a teacher (IUSB) and even at college level I see students who just don’t know how to take responsibility for their own actions. I suspect this habit did not start when they left home for college. I feel that our education system places way too much attention on teaching to a test and not enough teaching of how to actually learn! to find information and apply it to life.

    any way…yes, the letter seems to end to abruptly and I think also that if you switched the paragraphs around it would read better.

  3. kathleen61 Says:

    I’m going to play “devil’s advocate” here and would like you, as an educator and parent, to respond.

    I work in the public schools. I do not have children. I listen to my colleagues complain about how many public-school parents shirk their responsibilities in raising their kids and valuing education, but from my perspective, so many public-school parents do not have good role models. I’m not talking about the parents’ parents, I’m talking about OTHER parents at the schools.

    From what I see, many of the so-called “good-role-model” parents (that is, the ones who read the bulletins, attend parent-teacher conferences and read to their kids) are sending their little darlings to private and parochial schools because, apparently, the public schools just aren’t up to their standards. So, rather than working to make their neighborhood schools better by getting involved, attending school board meetings, running for school board, writing their legislators to demand mandates be funded, etc, they pay the extra jack and drive the extra mile to get their kids out of the public schools, often THE VERY SAME public schools they work for.

    Last week, two of my colleagues were wah-ing because their children’s Spring Break didn’t match up to the Spring Break scheduled for our school corporation’s. I took out my tiny violin and shook my head. What are these people thinking and what does it tell the children they are raising? That public schools should not be valued? These kids are going to grow up to be legislators and voters; how will they act towards public schools for which their parents demonstrated such low regard?

    People who work for public schools but send their kids elsewhere make me wonder: “why in the name of social justice would you work for an organization you yourself don’t believe in enough to send your own offspring?”

    My mother told me that when her father worked for Studebaker you could drive past the Studebaker employee parking area and see a lot of Fords, Packards and Chevys but very few Studebakers. Apparently those workers didn’t believe in their own products; Studebaker ceased production in South Bend in 1963.

    We ask public-school parents to value public school education. Do all of us?

  4. Theresa Says:

    I agree, the parent should be responsible for his/her child attending school and no matter where a child attends his/her success will depend on parental involvement. The schools have become totally responsible for a child’s education and that is not the way it should be. Learning should BEGIN at home. Parents should not have to be reminded of their responsibilities to their children.

  5. CWhestone Says:

    I like this letter, but it needs more direction and more conclusion. It also seemed a bit too personal. I feel it should have been more emotionally impacting to a wider range of people.

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