Have you heard? American students are lagging behind other countries in reading, math and science.
As an American, a parent and/or taxpayer, who should we blame?
Do we blame the teachers union for not using "performance" as a primary measure for giving raises? Do we blame the administrators for not developing an adequate curriculum that better educates our children? Or do we blame the politicians for collecting campaign donations, and not pushing for limited class size, longer school hours or an extended school year?
The "blame game" can go on and on, but honestly, when will we face the brutal truth? The ultimate responsibility for a child's education falls squarely on the parent(s), period.
Parental involvement is essential to a child's success or failure in school.
THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT (NCLB)
The NCLB legislation, signed by George W. Bush in 2002 requires ALL STUDENTS to be proficient on state standardized reading and math tests by 2014.
Students are tested in grades 3,4,5,6,7,8 and 11.
The percentage of students that are required to meet or exceed expectations for the school to pass:
- 2010-11 - 77.5 percent
- 2011-12 - 85.0 percent
- 2012-13 - 92.0 percent
- 2013-14 - 100 percent
Those schools that continue to score below standards will risk being closed down completely.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR VVSD 365U?
Last week, we published an article highlighting the elementary and middle schools that have improved in both reading and math, as reflected in the ISAT scores.
Whether 85 percent of Valley View students meet or exceed expectations in 2011-12 (as required by NCLB) will depend in part on whether the board decides to increase class size, and/or class hours.
Another important part of the equation is PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT.
PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT AT VALLEY VIEW
As a parent of two children in the district, I can honestly say "parental involvement" was not one of my strengths in the beginning.
The primary reason for my lack of involvement? I really didn't understand my role in the educational process. All I did was drop off the kids in the morning, sign off on permission slips, attend holiday events and pick them up at the end of the day.
I simply assumed, "it was the teachers job to educate them."
Well in the first week of school, I got a huge wake-up call from my son's kindergarten teacher. She was concerned because he did not know his alphabet, or how to count to 10. My response? "That's your job, right?"
The look on her face spoke volumes.
Instead of condemning me, she was very kind, and actually took the time to explain in great detail what I needed to do to get my son prepared for kindergarten, and school overall.
I listened, took notes, and followed her advice then and every year since. In fact, I have made it a point to volunteer in their classes, maintain close contact with the teachers and work closely with the kids at home.
I am still very much involved with my children's education and can see positive results in their performance. My son performed well on his ISAT exam and my daughter's teacher shared how she has improved in reading, and is well behaved.
I've learned from personal experience the importance of parental involvement. It works!
Also, I am forever grateful to all the teachers and administrative staff that helped guide us through the process. There's no way we can do it alone. It truly is a partnership between the teacher, parents and student.
Superintendent James Mitchem publicly states his belief that "every child can learn. No matter the background." I agree with Mitchem 100 percent, but would also like to stress the importance of parental involvement.
The "blame game" will go on ad infinitum. In the meantime, what can we do today to improve our country's educational system? We can start right here, at home, by becoming more involved with our kids education.
How can we honestly expect teachers to adequately educate our children when they are burdened with expanding class sizes, less instruction time, etc.? We need to provide reinforcement type help, at home.
It's time we become an active participant in our kids' schools. Come on, it's worth the investment.