Monday, June 21, 2004

MY POST ON LASHAWN BARBERS CORNER; SCHOOL VOUCHERS

I Believe the solution to our education dilemma lies with first the individual parents being willing to truly educate their children. Then with them mobilizing within their respective communities, holding teachers more accountable, actually disciplining their own children and allowing teachers to do the same, and also, in the case of private schools, involving the church.

I am a product of private Christian school education from 8th grade through College. I found it far more beneficial for me, not because the academics were better, they really weren't much better, nor was there any real prestige, at least not until college. The truth of the matter is that these church going folks believed in the power of education and did all that was within their power to educate the children in the South Central area of L.A., where my Jr. High resides. My high school was the same, a Lutheran school at that. Mostly white teachers in an affluent black community. These schools got the parents involved and held them equally accountable for the success of their children. It seemed quite easy since many of them attended the very church that the school was founded by. There was more freedom on the part of the teachers to discipline the children as well, I mean real discipline, which caused many of us to feel safe, secure and created a stable teaching environment. There were still bullies to deal with, but they did get dealt with, as well as many of the same issues you find in public schools, yet, those issues seemed to occur far less in my experience.

My mother never went to college, my father went but did not finish, both were bible believing, Christian individuals. They weren't perfect and I witnessed their imperfections quite often, but they did profess Christ and taught the truth of God's word to us as well. My father started and ran his own repair business and did fairly well but still had to take on other work to pay the bills. Inspite of this fact, my parents were not rich or even well off, yet they found a way to pay for my private schooling, recognizing that the public schools had failed me and them, miserably. I have 5 brothers and 7 sisters, with me being the youngest at 30 years old. We grew up with two parents in the home. All of us graduated from high school and seven of us finished college at a four year university. I have two brothers who have been incarcerated more than once. Two sisters who had children before even finishing high school and one brother who, for the most part, still leads a life of crime. The ones who graduated college are not among the ones who I mentioned above. Out of the seven who finished college, one is an accountant, another is a corporate lawyer and partner in a law firm, and yet another, coincidentally, is a school principal and administrator in the LAUSD. The rest of us have careers and families as well. I say all of this to point out that the parents are the key to solving much of this mess. Our parents believed in education and saw to it that we got one. All of us were given the opportunity to succeed provided by our parents. I for one remember many long nights of math homework (I hate math) with my father sitting next to me helping me, encouraging me, and, yes, disciplining me when I slacked off. I ended up on the honor roll in high school, acing trig(A+), my worst subject(thanks Dad).

I say all of this to point out that parents have to take action now, on their own accord. Stop relying on the government to pay for everything and educate their own children, either through a private institution or on their own accord through homeschooling, or through public school, but make sure they are learning. In every case you are still paying for education, one way or another, the key, get what you pay for.

It is possible and if more people begin to take the initiative the market will follow suit. Private schools will begin to compete for students through stable tuition costs and offering better access to learning opportunities and technology and public schools will step up the quality if parents force them to by getting involved.

The truth of the matter is that the solution is with the parents, no government program, policy, or institution can replace the power of the family, period. When that foundation is repaired, whether public or private, you will see a change in the over-arching culture. You will see drop-out rates decline, teen pregnancy go down, abortion numbers fall and better behaved children in the classroom, and accountability of teachers will increase.

This is the truth of the matter. If we really want to solve these problems we have to get to the route cause, that cause is not big government, racism, economics, or any other excuse. It starts at home with two parents teaching their own children right from wrong and good from bad. It is not about how well educated the parents are or how much money they make, it is about their own moral character. When parents begin to put Christ back in the picture, the family can and will be repaired. The children will get educated properly, and society on a whole will improve. We will never have a perfect education system, yet, if we begin to put God back into the homes first then the rest will follow.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well put!

Andy Foster

r said...

Well stated, Jerry. We home educate our children because we were well aware of the left-leaning, secular humanist slant out there. We really want our children to have a Christian worldview and doing this ourselves has not only brought us closer as a family, we are all learning together. Makes for positive cohesion as a family :)