Whose fault is it when students fail to achieve? Some like the eight out of nine school trustees in the Houston Independent School District think that it’s the teachers’ fault when students fail to achieve and plan to fire them. Others think that it’s the parents’ fault when children fail in school because of poor parenting skills or because parents don’t spend enough time with their kids. Still others blame the media or the students’ peer group or the kids themselves for their failure.
I’ve been teaching academically at-risk teens for well over 25 years now, and I can tell you the reason why kids fail at school is a complex one. Kids fail to achieve in school for any number of reasons. It’s easy to point the finger of blame at teachers, at the administration, at the school system, at parents or at kids themselves when they fail to achieve to their potential.
The school trustees who think it’s the teachers’ fault when students fail to achieve are misguided. Yes, perhaps some teachers need support to help improve their teaching practice. I’m not denying that. But some parents also need support to improve their parenting skills, and some students also need support to help them take ownership for their own learning. The education system itself needs some major changes so that schools offer the programs that better meet the needs of all students. Kids also need to realize they have to take responsibility for their learning.
We probably all have heard the statement ” it takes the entire village to raise a child”. Well, it takes the entire village to educate one as well. We need to stop blaming. Blaming doesn’t help. Instead we need to ask what can the villagers do, what support can they give to all the stakeholders so that kids can succeed at school. After all, the village will benefit if it’s kids live up to their potential. The way I see it is that the village supports kids when they are young, and then the kids support the village when they grown up. It’s a win-win situation.