Do kids really matter?

12000854_10207475688481539_6145221748530090797_oIt may seem odd to raise this question, but it’s one I think needs to be raised. We often say “Of course kids matter!” Though I wonder if our actions line up with that. For my boyz, today is the first day of school. With the coming of the first day of school I see many parent’s excited that the kids are gone, others who don’t care, and a minority who prefer our kids at home, but are not able to do that. The first day leaves me with an uneasy feeling.

Kids aren’t pets
Throughout my years working with kids I see a sad and growing trend. If a kid is not causing trouble or being too annoying, they’re essentially left alone. Kids aren’t pets. They take work. Painstaking, drive you up the wall at times, work. As parents we are either intentionally engaged or we’re in trouble and don’t know it. I honestly think it is that clear of a binary. Kids need us to be intentionally engaged in their lives. Too often we as parents approach teachers as a hairdresser for our poodle who can do no wrong. Let us be honest, your kids nor mine are perfect.

Teachers aren’t parents
A teacher’s job is to educate our kids. Our job is to parent them. In the realm of education I see two frustrated groups: parents and teachers. What I find interesting is how much agreement there often is on the frustrations, yet they exist. Both are frustrated with the system. One party has the power to change it. That’s right, we as parents. We expect things of teachers that kids really need from us as parents, and we often question a teachers ability, when they actually agree with us on things. Teachers are professionals and they’re good and bad teachers. Growing are tapped out and apathetic teachers because…

Politicians aren’t teachers
The goal of education is the reach in retrospect the goalposts constantly changing before them. Honestly, sometimes our kids getting an education is by chance of a skilled teacher educating despite the system. We’re all affright about the status of education, and so politicians jump in to regulate. Here is an idea: why not let teachers do the job they’re trained for? Politicians are not trained educators. We would think it crazy for state legislatures to dictate how a football team should operate and play the game. Yet, we do that with teachers all the time. Why?

Empty chairs aren’t helpful
There are too many empty chairs that should be occupied by parents. Sadly, the parents who often show up are not always the ones who need to. Showing up matters. If more of us parents were informed about how things work, things would be different and better for our kids. This would make it better for teachers. We’d likelier be on the same team. Teachers may even start enjoying the job that they love again. I too often see and hear about empty chairs at parent meetings,teacher conferences, workshops, etc.

The bottom line:
Parents, we are the key. This year and the coming election cycle, can we change the discussion on education? If kids really do matter, then let us ask our politicians, ESPECIALLY state legislators, how they can get out of teacher’s way and let them do their job. If kids really do matter, let us fill those empty chairs and realize teachers are neighbors with us and not a commodity for us. We say kids really matter, then let us act on it. After all, we can.

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