Guest post by Home Educator, Christiel Gota
Dear friends who are teachers:
This article by Ron Clark drives me to tears. I know teachers have a tough job and many are doing their very best within this system. However, I have to speak on behalf of parents when it comes to this article.
Sorry, Mr. Clark and all your minions, but I will NEVER stand against my child in support of you or the system. I will never apologize for jumping to my child's defense - and I will ALWAYS jump to my child's defense. Sorry, but I can't trust you - especially when you say my child has a behavior problem. They are no problem at home. If behavior problems only occur at school, it is YOU that is doing something wrong, not me!
And if my child fails a test or misses an assignment because of family issues or illness, it DOES matter. What doesn't matter (ever in life) is your assignments, your tests, or your grades! I do agree on one thing you said, "you shouldn't assume that because your child makes straight A's that he/she is getting a good education." The truth is that you are part of a system - a peg board that is made up of many small round holes. Your job is to take all the pegs (kids) and put them through the system the best way you can.
It's not your fault that kids come in all shapes and sizes. Your job is to smash each and every one of them through the system - even the square pegs that won't go through the round hole quietly. That's why parents and teachers clash. Because we won't put your system above the well-being of our square pegs or oval pegs or star-shaped pegs.
Not all teachers feel this way, either. My best friend is a public school teacher and would not agree with Clark in this article. She is in the system, but not of the system. She knows that a good education is child-centric, not system-centric. Teachers like her who understand this are a rare and precious gem in this crazy system.
Anyone who would defend the system at the price of driving a wedge between the parent/child bond is NOT TO BE TRUSTED! The healthy, natural parent/child bond being assaulted by mechanisms of the system, like Zero Tolerance, standardization, etc. is the real and true problem - not the students or their parents. As long as this system exists, teachers and parents will always be "frenemies.
I felt the need to respond because it really doesn't have to be this way! Parents never have to abdicate their judgement or authority to teachers, especially when it potentially causes damage to the mind and heart of their child! It's what I always tell parents - especially those facing issues with their child at school - your child shouldn't just survive their education, they should thrive in their education. Anything less can and SHOULD be challenged!
Christeil Gota is mother of 4 boys and unschooling in California. The family is happily embarking on their 4th year of home education, following their passions and playing.
Read more: Learning expert Linda Dobson also takes issue with Ron Clark and Oprah and Disney. Read her article here.