|...Or do they?|
From Diane Ravitch's blog, Do Parents Always Know What is Best?.
The State Commissioner of Education John White memorably said in defense of school vouchers: “To me, it’s a moral outrage that the government would say, ‘We know what’s best for your child,’” White said. “Who are we to tell parents we know better?”
Ravitch printed a teacher's response to the superintendent's statement:
I am tired of this attitude about parents knowing what is best for their children. Parents are easily swayed by politicians, talk show hosts and preachers. They rarely understand how schools work unless they are teachers themselves or have relatives who are teachers. If their child broke his leg they would not try to fix it themselves even if they did not have health insurance. They would take the child to a health care professional. So what in God’s name is wrong with taking your child to an Education Professional? This debasement of teachers and deprofessionalization of of K-12 education has got to go before we get a whole generation of uneducated, dysfunctional adults.
Certainly they should have a say and be part of the decision making about the child’s education but parents also starve, beat, tie up, and rape their children. They also spoil them rotten and don’t expect them to do anything and teach them that they are “entitled”.You have to have a license to drive a car, for your dog, and to practice most professions. No license is required to be a parent. I have also seen parents demand inappropriate programs for their child and not accept the truth that a child with a 30 IQ should not be mainstreamed into a college prep program. I had a parent swear that her multihandicapped son could rollerskate when he could not even turn over on his own. But I had to clean dried feces off the little boy’s butt.
I agree that some school programs are bad. They have no vision for the children’s success. They think poor kids are in a pipeline to prison. I have known some bad teachers, some lazy, some incompetent, some functionally illiterate, two drunks and some just not bright enough to teach. But at least 95% of teachers do their best and are competent and do better as they get experience. Some of the best teachers I have known started as paraprofessionals.
Programs may be inadequate or inappropriate for some students but that is not the fault of the teachers but of the politicians and upper administrators. That is part of why I stayed in Severe/Profound. I could pretty much do what I wanted because most people thought my children could not learn anything. I could keep away from the politics pretty well until I came to Louisiana. But this place is a mess from hell.
So who DOES know best for children? Is it parents, state employees, or educational consortia controlled by private corporations unaccountable to taxpayers? There are thoughtful readers' comments and it should be noted Mr. White, the superintendent, has connections with Joel Klein, who promotes school "choice". However, Mr. Klein is silent on common core standards and other federal mandates ensuring that this "choice" is not really a "choice" at all.
Conversely, are teachers never swayed or directed by their union policies? Are teachers considered professionals any longer? TFAers can enter the classroom with a 5 week training period. Would you send your child for medical treatment to a doctor with a 5 week training period?
Several readers understand this "class warfare" between parents and teachers does little for education and children and only creates division. Below is Warren's comment (a teacher) on who knows best. This might be the teacher to avoid and may embody the main reason some parents choose not to utilize public education for their children:
Parents don’t know jack about education or schooling. If they did, there would be no need for schools and schooling.
Teaching and education is best left to us, the professionals. We spent many years working and learning, and yes, mr. white, we DO know what is best for kids, in terms of education.
There you go, parents. In Warren's eyes, you exist to pay his salary and provide him the children. That's your function. You don't know "jack" about education and schooling and what's best for your child. Someone needs to tap the home schoolers on the shoulders and tell them how uninformed they are in terms of directing their childrens' education.
Does anyone else find Warren's attitude rather chilling?