Is The Family The Problem With Public Education? Part 1

“We have to teach the children we have…  Not the children we used to have, not the children we want to have, not the children of our dreams.  We have to teach the children we have.”

–Author Unknown

Blame the family.  We have changed a lot since I was a kid 55 plus years ago.  Talk about lack of diversity.  My K-6th grade classes had no minorities even though today that neighborhood is one of Salt Lake’s most racial diverse.  There were as many kids in my classes as there are today. I experienced material and religious differences between families, their kids and my peers, but we were pretty homogeneous–compared to today.

Jim Grant, renowned educator, author and speaker, in his book, “The Death of Common Sense in Our Schools, makes some Recollections About Families in the Past.  See if you agree.  He also has Observations About Present-Day Families which I’ll quote next time.

  • Most parents had a reasonable workload.
  • Most parents didn’t bring work home.
  • There were more stay-at-home mothers.
  • There were many extended families (grand-parents, aunts, and uncles) to help with child rearing.
  • There tended to be more relatives living nearby.
  • Parents were expected to raise their own children.
  • Most parents didn’t look to or expect “big government” to subsidize them.
  • Children had more routine, consistency, and continuity in their lives.
  • Most families had sit-down meals together where talking was the centerpiece.
  • There were fewer broken homes.
  • Neighbors knew each other.
  • Neighbors kept a watchful eye on all children.
  • Children were expected to play outdoors and be physically active.
  • Children were expected to entertain themselves part of the time.
  • Most children had a clearer sense of right and wrong.
  • Most parents were not their child’s “buddy.”
  • Children were expected to participate in a reason number of family chores.
  • Most parents supported teachers and the school.
  • Most parents had lives of their own and did not live through their children.
  • Most parents did not discuss adult issues with their children.
  • Certain boundary lines were not crossed.
  • Most families used a reasonable amount of “guilt and shame” to discourage inappropriate activities.
  • The pace of life was slower and less hectic.
  • Fewer children were overweight.
  • Children enjoyed one or two activities outside of school; they were not over programmed and enjoyed more leisure time.
  • Children spend fewer jours in front of a screen.
  • There were by far fewer material things available for children to ask for.

Question:  Was your experience similar to mine?  

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