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It Takes More Than Teachers to Educate Students

The responsibility for educating our children takes parental and community involvement.

“Back in the day” as the opening of school for the year was near there was a jingle: “School days, school days, good old golden rule days.” Immediately, by referencing this jingle I reveal my age. The school days currently are light years ahead of those days when the three Rs (Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmetic) were the primary educational focus.

The updated approach to education and training in the public schools has added character development, tolerance and political correctness to the basic educational requirements of science, social studies, language arts and mathematics. Despite these increased requirements, public schools are still expected to provide the best possible education to each student enrolled.

Our state’s largest school district, Gwinnett County Public Schools, has the stated mission to "pursue excellence in academic knowledge, skills, and behavior for each student, resulting in measured improvement against local, national, and world-class standards.”

Take a look back at the last academic year. Of the 126 Gwinnett schools required to meet state standards, 101 or 80 percent made adequate yearly progress (AYP) leaving 25 schools that did not make AYP. This is the second year in a row four of the schools failed to make AYP, according to the Gwinnett school district website.

Citing the reality that standards are high and increasing each year with demands from the public for evidence that the students are being provided the best possible educational experience, CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said: “We realize that the standards for making AYP continue to increase and as a district we are committed to raising student achievement and meeting those standards.”

From where I stand, as the demand for results is increased on our teachers and administrators, they cannot be blamed or credited with the success or failure alone of the classroom experience. Having the best of resources for each student is only one component in the process. Parents must be engaged with their students to encourage that the learning experience is carried into life rather than being isolated inside a school building. There must be a partnership between parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community leaders in order to see achievement levels reached and exceeded each academic year.

Patrick T. Malone August 02, 2011 at 11:41 AM
Ray, teachers, schools, community leaders and parents can only create an environment that encourages students to learn. The ultimate responsibility for learning rests with the student themselves. Additionally the superintendent is right about raising the bar. The world is demanding more and if our students are going to compete successfully in the global marketplace, our expectation of them needs to be raised and that doesn't only mean the best doctor or engineer. It also means the best plumber, cosmetologist or mechanic.
Ray Newman August 02, 2011 at 11:42 AM
Thank you for the comment. You have spoken from experience. For those of you who have students in the system and work in education you know how the focus has changed. We need more interested and involved parents like you and your wife.
Ray Newman August 02, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Patrick, as a person who is self motivated I believe you are correct that much of the responsibility rest with the students. I also know that there needs to be encouragement given to the students to excel, and yes the bar or standard needs to be raised in order to work in the global market. Thanks for reading the column and taking the time to comment
Edwin Gravitt August 02, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Ray, as a product of the old school myself, I find it totally repulsive that our well over-priced government education system has literally failed in the realm of teaching 'Readin 'Ritin and 'Rithmetic as you have stated. What I see coming from a government required education for our children is a complete form of indoctrination toward a socialistic system of government with virtually no particular emphasis on the founding principles of individual freedom and independence from the government take over of our local, state and federal governments. In fact, I think our Founding Fathers would be rolling in their graves and calling for another war for independence from the government they created, by The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. In short, it is incumbent upon all parents to make themselves aware of those facts and educate their own children to those facts that are easily attainable. And that is where I see it from where I stand. Thank you for your time my friend.
Ray Newman August 02, 2011 at 07:48 PM
The parents must take a major role in the education of children if we are ever going to have this generation and the next to understand the principles that were set by our Founding Fathers. Edwin, thanks for reading and commenting on today's column.

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