Friday, January 7, 2011

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part IV. - School Educators: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Parents Taking Charge in Education: Part IV. - School Educators: Your Stake in Society’s Most Precious Resource- Our Children by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

“Be careful that your role as a leader does not have you following, instead“(Mrs. Dorothy Barron).

During my sixteen year career as a school advocate and volunteer, I have had the privilege of having served beside some of the best educators- school administrators and teachers in the field. I observed administrators who spent twelve to fourteen hours a day at their schools, took on responsibilities over and beyond their job requirements. Some of these individuals and some volunteers spent their personal funds to insure that many children had what was needed, as well as exposure to unique experiences outside the classroom. Unfortunately, I have served for a short period of time beside some educators whom I would not have allowed to have walked my dog around the block had I had one.

In my opinion and from observation, the one thing that has been most damaging to those in the field of Education is the depth or extremes to which many went in an effort to cover up the problems in education; some of which were tied to job performance and some due to job protection and security. 

Even though many educators are to blame for certain actions, other sectors must accept some blame for failure to take responsibility and/or proper action(s) as well. I will now briefly list six (6) problems in Education applicable to Educators.
1.      Here we go round in circles- a short while ago, the media had a field day with a school system whose teachers were responsible for having tampered with students’ tests; sadly, this is nothing new. If the media’s information is correct, this is the same school system during the latter 1980’s or early 1990’s who had a retired military official take the helm as its School Superintendent. In an effort to accurately determine student performance, the superintendent had students’ tests placed under lock and key and monitors inside and outside the classrooms each day during the testing period. When the results came back, let me just say, it was one school board meeting I will not forget; the superintendent rebuked the school system and teachers publicly. The results- The School Superintendent lost his job. Sadly, such is pretty much how we operate; society punishes the person who does the right thing. The media, school system and city quietly buried the incident and now, over twenty years later you expect people to get excited over a situation that should have been handled differently over twenty years, ago.
2.      The loss of some of the best teachers- I watched one of the best Science Teachers in the field of Education quit; she was not allowed to do her job and was not interested in the game of politics inside the school.
3.      The various ways we learn are ever-changing, yet, too many Educators- teachers are not open to changes, which impede students’ academic growth and ability to be competitive. Let me give you an example: In the early 1990s, computers arrived in the schools for the general student population and produced much excitement. However, computers sat for months because most teachers refused to use them; they did not have the necessary skills and according to many, it was not in their job description to learn. The school’s budget did not allot for a computer specialist. To curtail a long story, by the time students were allowed to turn on the computers and/or fumble with them, they had lost interest. Let me be clear; this is not an endorsement to hop on every educational bandwagon that emerges or comes along; such can be just as damaging as doing nothing when change is imminent. 
4.      What our schools are actually filled with are too many immature, petty-minded, and vindictive educators. What we fail to see or choose to ignore is the harm to student(s), as well as these individuals’ negative influence upon the remaining faculty and school environment.
5.      The chief administrator of the local school, usually the Principal, sets the tone for the school. Job promotions for principals can and often include an increase in pay and oversight of students at a higher educational level. Some administrators function very well at one level, but when promoted and transferred to a higher level simply do not function well.
6.      Concerned about the academic performance level of students in general, I visited the State Department of Education and met with one of its chief officials. His parting advice was and according to him, a need to return to the basics in education. It was disheartening to hear, but years later, his advice and logic attest to the fact. Many students have and continue to pass through our schools, but cannot read or write, have graduated, but not prepared for the future. It does indeed appear that we need to return to the basics or rudiments of Education.

In the 1980s, Educators informed the public at large that they could not along with teaching students handle the additional and undue responsibility of raising students; they allowed themselves to be silenced and ignored. Instead of standing firm, many caved in and sold out, not only losing their credibility, but the public’s respect for the field of Education in general. Now that the façade is continually being ripped away and some educators’ and/or their authority continually being removed or replaced, they have no bargaining chips. Your stake or role in Education, the most clearly defined of all sectors involved was and continues to be - educate and prepare students academically for the future. You should have stood your ground and remained steadfast; you were the experts in your field- “Educators, not babysitters.”

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author
Parents Taking Charge in Education at

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