Yesterday I blogged about my experience at a PTSA (Parent, Teacher, Student Association) meeting which had six attendees. While I was at the meeting I thought back to when I was at Sam Houston and could not remember a mention of any PTA/PTSA meetings.
Times haven't changed much in regards to parental involvement at the school. Thank God I had adequate parental involvement at home. Most children now a days don't even have that to benefit from. Let's face the facts, our children are deteriorating more and more due to lack of parental involvement in all aspects of life. Now, before I get a bunch of negative replies, I DO understand that there are the exceptions to the usual. There are single mothers and single fathers out there that are doing what they need to do for their children. They go the extra mile that they need to go in order to lead their children to success. HOWEVER, that is the EXCEPTION, not the STANDARD.
We have lowered our standards and have learned to accept the bare minimum from our youth. We have learned to make excuses for our students regarding any circumstance. We accept mediocre and label it outstanding. I remember when graduating high school back in the 50's and 60's was a HUGE accomplishment. Why are we in the 21st century still praying that we get higher than a 75% graduation rate? (In 2010 only 57% of Sam Houston H.S. seniors graduated) We must raise our expectations and our standard to a level of EXCELLENCE as opposed to "that'll do".
Although I can't speak on the generation of students who are in high school now, I must implore that we catch the next cycle of children before it is too late. Let's begin molding the next generation into the parents we need them to be. There is no better time for minorities to start over. First we had slavery, then we had Reconstruction, then Jim Crow, the we had the Civil Rights struggle, then we had Reagan ;) , then we had the to recover from the drug epidemic. Now that we are finally on stable ground and the field is finally level enough for us to play on, let's rebuild and recover.
We need mentors and tutors to start showing up and stop neglecting our youth. All the successful professionals, businessmen and "ballers" need to stop hiding behind your garage and come back to save those left behind. I don't knock you for being successful, moving out of the neighborhood and getting a nice house. I DO criticize you for not coming back to bring the youth of today up to where you are now.
We need the "church folk" to step outside of the church. Chill out on dismissing the youth because they aren't as righteous as you would like them to be. If they don't want to accept the Lord as their savior then fine. Move on and try to convince them that education and civility is a MUST. Jesus is MY savior, but if you don't want to accept him, I am still going to cram this general education down your throat.
We need the youth center's to step back and look at their own actions when the youth are in their presence. If a child is misbehaving, the last thing you should do is yell. I have been to way too many youth centers and seen the administrators yelling at the kids to "GO OVER THERE", "BE QUIET", "DO THIS", "DO THAT". After I leave I go to the high school and witness the same behavior from the students. We are trained that yelling is the appropriate measure to get our way. I don't expect the youth centers to educate our kids, but I DO expect them to instill a certain level of civility and respect for others.
Last but definitely not least, who is the most influential person in a child's life, outside of their parent? It should be the people that they spend eight hours a day, five days a week with. Teachers and school administrators need to become more involved and passionate about their jobs. There are too many teachers that don't care about their students' success. There are even more teachers that set the standard too low for our students. Teachers are the best mentors in students' lives. I understand that teachers aren't paid nearly as much as they should be paid for the job that they do, but that is something that needs to be addressed as well. Administration needs to make sure that teachers are properly compensated so that they have no reason to execute their duties to the fullest extent and further. Administration also needs to open a clear path of coordination with teachers.
My point of this post is that I am fed up with the line "I blame the parents". OKAY! FINE! I blame them too! Now, let's figure out what the hell we are going to do to fix the problem! If we have to circumvent the parental involvement altogether then so be it, but I don't want my children to have to grow up in a community in which we are still "blaming the parents".