I have often said that the education system can only be fixed if the three highest stakeholders (the students, parents and teachers) work together. If a student or a parent does not see value in education, or if a teacher just doesn’t care anymore, then it’s not going to work.
Students have to believe that they have a future. Parents have to slow down and place a priority on learning above grades. Teachers have to genuinely believe that each child has a unique talent or gift that can help our society grow and thrive.
If students show up ready to learn and teachers are ready to teach-- If parents understand that they are a key factor in their child’s success and are willing to sacrifice-- If all parties respect and value each other’s time, energy, expertise, and talents, then we may see more wins across the board for all children.
Mutual respect--and dare I say love for one’s neighbor-- is the foundational element that must be present in a successful society… school system… school… classroom… family… individual life.
Schools can be full of life-- for even the poorest children in our society. I have seen it. I have walked into Title one schools where kids feel like winners. And guess what? They are, because they are actually learning. They are actually achieving. Usually these are elementary schools.
But I must admit something happens in middle school. Something shifts as students begin to test authority… as parents check out… as some teachers hold on for dear life--hoping that some of their students will desire to learn… as other teachers are completely satisfied with collecting a paycheck whether or not their pupils learn… as principals lose sight of why they go into education in the first place.
And then there is high school…
So how do we get this sense of respect back into all of our schools? How do we see a change that can turn the tide for students who have been underestimated, teachers who have been undervalued and parents who have been overburdened?
People have to know why they exist. They have to find value in this gift called life. If we don’t start valuing each individual life more… if we can’t start looking beyond ourselves to seek the good of others, I’m afraid not a single educational program, not a single curriculum, not a single law will repair this system.