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Who’s To Blame? Parents, or Kids?

Who’s To Blame? Parents, or Kids?

Across the nation, legislators are starting to blame parents for when their children mess up. Maybe the child is late to school; maybe he or she just doesn’t know how to behave. Either way, the parents are being held up to blame.

Understandably, teachers are fed up with being blamed for the failures of American education, and legislators are starting to hear them. A spate of bills introduced in various states now takes aim squarely at the parents.

Who’s To Blame? Parents? Kids? Teachers?

It is a complicated idea, taking on the controversial question of whether parents, teachers or children are most to blame when a child fails to learn.

From The New York Times:

But the thinking goes like this: If you look at schools that “work,” as measured by test scores and graduation rates, they all have involved (overinvolved?) parents, who are on top of their children’s homework, in contact with their children’s teachers, and invested in their children’s futures. So just require the same of parents in schools that don’t work, and the problem is solved (or, at least, dented), right?

Time was that children’s behavior in the classroom reflected on their “upbringing” and parents were expected to reinforce an accepted truth that “teacher knows best.”

But today’s parents are just as likely to see the teacher as the problem — a view that has been reinforced by presidents who accuse teachers of leaving more than a few children behind, governors who want to eliminate their collective bargaining and mayors who want to be rid of laws that protect teachers who have been in their jobs the longest.

It was conversations about what to do with lousy teachers that led to some of the new parental measures. State Representative Linda Lawson, a Democrat of Indiana, visited a local high school being threatened with closure for poor performance. “Any kind of problem in an academic setting, and people blame the teachers,” she recalled hearing over and over again. “They say things like ‘If teachers were more responsive … didn’t have the summers off … worked an eight-hour day …’ But no one looks at the parents.”

 In Florida, State Representative Kelli Stargel, a Republican, was hearing the same things. “Teachers were telling us: ‘We can only do so much in the classroom. We have no control over what happens with these kids at home,’” she said.

Parents Must Take Responsibility For The Failings Of Their Children

Ms. Lawson’s answer was to introduce a bill requiring parents to spend three hours each semester volunteering either in the school building or at a school-related function. She cast it as an antibullying measure, though it would not just apply to parents of bullies. The purpose, she said, was to increase parent-teacher interaction, giving teachers a chance to talk to parents and giving parents a better sense of the rhythms and requirements of the school.

What Do You Think?

Alaska fines parents for a child’s truancy. In California, a misdemeanor charge can be brought against a parent if the truancy is flagrant enough. California is also the first state to allow judges to order parents to attend parenting classes if their child belongs to a gang.

All the statistics point to the fact that student with parents who are involved at school ultimately do better.

Do you agree?

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Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe via Creative Commons

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233 comments

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6:38PM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

everyone is responsible.

4:08PM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

i don't think playing the blame game is really going to help anything, but if i child doesn't feel that their parent(s) want them to do well in school and respect/listen to the teacher obviously there's nothing the teacher can do to change that

1:09AM PDT on May 31, 2011

3 year olds understand the basic difference between right and wrong. By age 5, refined enough to understand the finer points of that difference. 12 year olds are old enough to babysit. So, it's up to the parents to teach their kids about this right/wrong business, NO EXCUSES! I'd also say once the kids get to be latch key kids, babysitting age, etc, that it's time they took responsibility also. Schools? Huh. High time that they take a look at their practices and see what the real problems are, rather than tying the hands of educators to the point where kids can bring a bat to beat the principal up, but, if a teacher lays a finger on the kid, they're arrested... What's up with that?

8:32AM PDT on May 29, 2011

In the above poll: "Are parents to blame for the failings of their parents?"

Who do we blame for the failure of the person that framed the question?

4:32PM PDT on May 27, 2011

CONTINUED
Hello Diana S.,...
The family law courts are destroying the lives of families and children. The reason for this is MONEY, BIG MONEY that the judiciary and the FAMILY LAW COURTS and others can extort from families and the taxpayers. Children as a whole perform much better with both parents involvement than a single parent, not that they necessarily need to be married or living together, just equal parenting overall. The difference is as clear as night and day. Check it out for yourself.
My years as a govt employee (MAYBE A WASTE TO TAXPAYERS, AS YOU SEE IT), was used to prevent and stop this non sense and idiotic mindset to destroy families and children in addition to exposing the fraud/corruption of govt/officials to extort BIG FUNDS from taxpayers, families and children that were slated for education. ABUSE OF FUNDS
I still stand by my statements, please look beyond your own personal issues as it may blind you to the reality around you.
Thanks again and take care

4:27PM PDT on May 27, 2011

Hello Diana S.,
Thanks for the response. I really do mean it. These are very important issues and have much more profound effects on our lives than most can even imagine. You state, “It never ceases to amaze me how children being products of divorce seems to be the subject surrounding the blame game” ???, Are you saying that children raised with one parent is a good thing? And, I believe the article is titled “Who’s to Blame? My view is the govt is to blame, the judiciary to be specific. My conclusion was not drawn from my post(???), as you state but from facts and evidence using a little logic and rational.
Your issues appears to be a personal one, I’m sorry for your personal pain but we as a community need to look beyond our own emotional issues and circumstances to look further up the river and see why so many children are being thrown in the river. In your personal issues it may be you, or it may be your ex to blame, I don’t know. To view one’s own personal issues and project it as the whole population maybe a little too shortsighted to solve a societal problem.
The laws are such that, Children need both parents and after divorce should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. There are only about 15% of our children that have both parents in their lives after FAMILY LAW COURTS which should be closer to 100%. Statistically this is a FRAUD. The family law courts are destroying the lives of families and children. The re

10:12AM PDT on May 27, 2011

Hzt s.It is apparent those 20 years you were employed by the government as you say were a waste of taxpayer's money if you are ignorant enough to draw this conclusion from your post:The govt has an anti family/children, most marriages end in divorce, children are abused and given to one parent after divorce, usually the worst of the two, the stats for children with one parent family is horrible and off the charts. In as much for education and teachers, the teachers are given a bad product or abused child to educate, a near impossibility. This is a set up for FAILURE, IT WILL NOT WORK.It never ceases to amaze me how children being products of divorce seems to be the subject surrounding the blame game.Incidentally then Mr.Hzt s. what is your solution to a marriage where the husband is abusing his wife and the children could be next so the woman divorces to protect her child or children?What is your answer to the fact that once a mother leaves a situation like that yet the courts allow the abuser rights to his child and then he uses his child as a pawn to attempt to destroy the mother and he verbally and mentally abuses the child forcing the child to choose or else he abandons that child on 3 different occasions.Explain your supposed government logic in regards to this.You need to seriously research individual situations before you generalize and make an ass out of yourself by doing so.Things are not always so cut and dry as you assume they are.

2:26PM PDT on May 26, 2011

Break a very fundamental principle and hell will break loose. Children require both parents.

2:21PM PDT on May 26, 2011

Having worked in the govt education for 20+ years, it is the concerted effort of the govt, particularly the judiciary of the FAMILY LAW COURTS AND CPS to blame. Your politicians know this fact. BIG Funds are extorted from families and taxpayers. The govt has an anti family/children, most marriages end in divorce, children are abused and given to one parent after divorce, usually the worst of the two, the stats for children with one parent family is horrible and off the charts. In as much for education and teachers, the teachers are given a bad product or abused child to educate, a near impossibility. This is a set up for FAILURE, IT WILL NOT WORK.

11:21PM PDT on May 25, 2011

Hey, Glenn Kendall! It is spelled "Dumbing Us Down", As in "Dumb and Dumber".

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