Even the mention of social agendas can frustrate the common man, especially when politics are involved. However, one leading issue of our day, the education of our children, is an elephant in the room that we cannot ignore. It is an issue with international impact, one that effects how future generations will find their place in the global community.
Depending on whom you speak with, blame for a subpar education is usually placed on the institution, the child, or the absent or uninvolved parents. Perhaps the owness is on all of the parties involved.
First, let’s speak to the institution. I am using this term to refer to schools that are created to enhance the knowledge of students. Not all schools are created equal. Poverty-stricken areas often receive the short end of the stick in this regard. Unfortunately, many of these underprivileged students receive under-qualified teachers and inadequate resources needed to enhance the learning process. Discipline issues seem to take priority. In such schools the youth who have bright minds are bored and disengaged; they don’t feel challenged and thus revert to being status quo.
Secondly, students play a role in the quality of their education. These bright-minded underprivileged youth mentioned earlier should take initiative and be fully present in the classroom and complete their work assigned outside of class. The goal is for them to go beyond what is placed before them and go the extra mile to improve upon what they already know. It may be that they have to work harder than those living in ideal conditions since they have either very few models or no models of high school graduates or higher education in their homes or neighborhoods.
Finally, parents can make an impact on their children’s education. The talks around the kitchen table, the discussions in the car and the overall reinforcement of security and self-esteem propel a student courageously forward in their education. However, the reality for many students, especially those living in impoverished neighborhoods, is that parents are not present or are unconcerned. Sadly, they may even contribute to their children’s feelings of inadequacy by speaking in a demeaning manner when a student can’t figure out how to do his/her homework.
Geoffrey Canada, a respected educator in Harlem, NY, has highlighted the fact that students can receive a quality education and become productive citizens of society if the right conditions are present. All of the above mentioned parties each have a vital role to play in setting up a winning scenario.