Friday, August 25, 2006

Parental Wisdom Makes The Local Paper!

We live in California's "Imperial" Valley. This is a rather backward agricultural area in which the economic scene is dominated by a number of large "farms" of several thousand acres that are owned by a few very wealthy absentee owners, who (mostly) live "over the hill" in the much more temperate coastal areas in and around San Diego.

However, the actual farm work is done by immigrants, both legal and illegal.

Local governmental corruption is rampant, (and obvious to all) with nepotism and cronyism being factors in many hiring decisions at all governmental levels, including public education.

"Imperial" County is the poorest county in California and has the highest unemployment.

Not surprisingly, a large majority of "Imperial" County's students are from economically disadvantaged households where there are few parents with high school diplomas or college degrees.

Nevertheless, most parents in the "Imperial" Valley generally support public education and want (naturally) the best for their children but are rarely, if ever, actively involved in their children's schools or the local political scene.

So it came as a pleasant surprise when this letter written by a parent
appeared Monday in The Imperial Valley Press, (also absentee owned) which is what-passes-for-the-local-newspaper:
The school doors will soon be open, and your child will get inside. But the real question is, “Will they get out? Will they be left behind? Will this year again end in some form of disappointment?” The High School Exit Exam is in full force, and many parents and students are waking up to the alarm clock of accountability. Unfortunately, many will once again push the snooze button.

Just a couple of hints: If your child didn’t meet up to your expectations at the end of last year, or they had less than 2.0 with at least one F, please consider yourself warned. The red lights on your educational dash are blinking, but will anyone make it to the garage before something else goes awry? Young people who do not experience school success are more at risk for substance abuse or heading down a variety of other wrong paths.

Future concerned parents are proactive. When school starts, they are taking away TV, cell phones, freedom with friends and sports, in order to jump start the hearts of the academically comatose. If you take away distractions, you are likely to get more focus, which translates to work. If you give your child a very clear statement that the past was unacceptable, and they are now to experience consequences, you will be a better parent, and at risk for making them a better person.

The reality is that many students need help. There are many after school tutoring programs, and excellent teachers willing to invest time and extra attention before school, during lunch and after school for your child’s benefit. Take advantage of the grace that is offered. For families, less fiscally challenged, there are programs like Sylvan and private educational centers, who have committed staff with realistic solutions to your children’s learning woes.

There are many folks willing to help students, but the parent is the most powerful person in the equation. Parent power can get your child moving in the right direction and with the necessary support, success is achievable. Please act today. No educator really enjoys it when a child flunks or doesn’t graduate, unless maybe that is exactly what the student and the parent deserve.


El Centro
With the new school year just getting started in most areas of the country, I think that Mr. Shinn has put into written form what is on the minds of a great number of public school educators about now.

A successful public education system depends on teamwork involving educators, students, and parents.
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