Friday, December 10, 2010

Should Parents and Students have Choice in Education? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Should Parents and Students have Choice in Education? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

My answer to the redundant question would be the same as when asked fifteen(15) years, ago.

Ÿ  Q: Should parents have choice in Education?
Mrs. B.: Absolutely, the funding should follow the child whether the parent selects public, private, home schooling, or an alternative combined method. Education entails major decisions and if we expect parents to be responsible and accountable, they should decide(have the final decision as to) what is best for their children. The real issue- will we allow all children an equal opportunity to be educated?
Ÿ  Q: What if there should be a mad exodus from public school?
Mrs. B.: 1) It will force our public schools to get serious about meeting the needs of students and working cooperatively with parents. Presently, if parents encounter major problems with their children’s education, there is not much the parent can do. There are no clearly defined rights for parents, nor is true legal assistance available. 2) There’s a mass exodus from public school anyway. The students are simply dropping out, which in the long run will cost society even more.
In addition- Even in many cases wherein parents and students rights exist, enforcement of those rights is/are lacking.
Ÿ  Q: What is missing in Education?
Mrs. B.: Some key ingredients: Caring, Quality, Time and Commitment from both educators and parents, along with curriculum that meets the needs of the vast majority of students.
Ÿ  Q: What is needed in Education?
Mrs. B.: Those missing key ingredients mentioned above, the choice of education that allows the child- to reach his /her highest educational capabilities and quality legal representative for parents and students. The law mandates that children go to school, but those responsible for enforcing the law have failed to understand the fact that :you can make a student go to school, but you cannot make the student learn. Students have different needs and that is foremost, why parents and students need choice(in Education).
Ÿ  Q: What would be a solution to this “Choice in Education” dilemma?
Mrs. B.: One thing is certain and that is we cannot continue losing students who have the potential to achieve, but cannot due to public school being the only option for those who cannot afford choice. 1) Begin granting vouchers to parents with children who are experiencing difficulties that cannot be resolved in a timely manner or when adverse educational situations affect the child(emotionally) or his/her education. It is no longer feasible to wait until such toil has been placed on a child/ren; Choice in Education with funding to follow the child should have occurred long ago in Education. If reasons are needed to support “choice” in Education, establish an office that logs and monitor complaints regarding educational concerns, issue, problems, abuses and violations of parents and students rights, as well as how such affects students emotionally and academically. 3) Find innovative way and means that will allow a parent who strongly feel the need to remain in the home rearing and overseeing the well-being and education of their children and others to do so. The lack of leadership and discipline in the home are costly and has taken its toll on America. One of the chief reasons education has failed is simply because parents have been removed from the picture. They cannot effectively be in two places at once.
In addition: 1.) every home needs a computer and for those impoverished, an inexpensive internet service; we are in the digital age and telling a person to go to the library is not a feasible solution. 2.) Offer contract work to allow those who desire to operate a business to do so from home. 3.) Parents who homeschool should be entitled to receive a tax credit or funding allotment for school supplies should they desire (many have been and/or are taxpayers).

Between funding from the US Department of Education and those who desire quality education, I believe there is enough funding for choice in Education for each and every student. What is hypocritical and unacceptable- for some to deny choice in Education, especially in the form of vouchers to those who cannot afford choice and hold the position that public choice is the only choice in education, while many of these same individuals have had or have their own children sequestered away at private school or some alternative form other than public school. Besides and even if choice in Education becomes available to each and every student, all would not choose to attend private school, but each should certainly have choice in Education; such would also alleviate laying all blame at the door of our public schools.
Ÿ  Q: You have been a champion for students and education for many years. Has it made a difference?
Mrs. B.: Yes and No; Yes, I have made a difference in the lives of many students and parents whom I have interacted with. No, as it relates to significant changes in the process and procedures that govern education(the changes have been too little and too late for most students), but I believe whatever you are committed to, you should give your best each day and leave the rest to GOD.
Ÿ  Q: Why have you not chosen to become a professional(certified) teacher?
Mrs. B.: In a nutshell, the Education System consists of too many guidelines and rules that are not in the best interest of the children. I would not have the flexibility and funding necessary to do a quality job.
Ÿ  Q: Any last thoughts or comments?
Mrs. B.: Yes, the parting thought and verbal comment I leave with parents whenever I converse with them: “others may assist and encourage, but no one is going to do for you, what you should be doing for your own child/ren” (Mrs. D. Barron). We are embarking upon 2011and in light of some of my responses in 1995, how far have we come in Education as a nation? Whether the picture as it pertains to Education has become crystal clear or not, we are talking survival and the future success of a nation, ours.

Note: Both the questions and responses in black are excerpts from an interview conducted in September of 1995 with Mrs. Dorothy Barron, who was Co-founder and Director of the organization, Parents Focused on Education. The statements in red are present and additional ones by Mrs. Barron.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author


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