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Obama: Don't Blame the Schools for Poor Parenting


Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama, who has sent a strong message to families before about the importance of being a good parent, is continuing to expand that message.

According to this Associated Press story, Obama tells crowds that parents must set a curfew, make sure their children do their homework, meet with their kids' teachers, and set a good example.

This must be music to teachers' ears. He said:

And the last thing is, if your child is misbehaving at school don't curse out the teacher. You know who you are. It's not the teacher's fault that your child is misbehaving. That's some home training. You know what I say is true, though. Don't blame the teachers, and the government and the schools if you're not doing your job.

I agree with what Obama stated whole heartedly. I am a teacher and parent. When my child misbehaves he gets it. I let the teacher know they have my full support, but I also encourage them to give him a consequence in their classrooms. I do. I don't call home, but for positive reasons. I take care of all of my behavioral problems right in my classroom.

George Roycroft
8th Grade Math
The Stadium School #15
Baltimore City Public School

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, SENATOR OBAMA!!! The one thing that is missing from both NCLB and IDEA 2004 is a parental responsibility component. Show me a parent who sends a child to school clean, fed and with completed homework, and I'll show you a future success story. As a secondary sped teacher I've seen the entire spectrum of parental support to abuse. Until this MOST crucial component of a child's life has the same kinds of legal and ethical requirements that educators are expected to live up to, not much can change.

While I agree with the message, I am not particularly happy with the delivery or the tone. As a teacher, I do not blame myself for my students' misconduct or lack of homework. As a parent, I set the rules and consequences for behaviour of my own children. I do not however "curse out" the teachers. What in heavens name is meant by "That's some home training"? Does this refer to toilet training? Walking the child regularly? If Mr. Obama is going to talk, he could at the very least use proper language. The man is as out of touch with the real needs of education as the current president.

Thank You Senator Obama! It is about time that politicians stop blaming the teachers for poor test scores. NCLB's parent involvement policy should be changed to "Parent Responsibility". When 60% of our students in my school receive Title I services and only 8% show for Parent Involvement meetings, It is apparent that their priorities are not school. I have four children of my own and I do know how difficult it is to make sure homework is completed and that they study for tests. But it isn't impossible. Feeding my children breakfast? How difficult is that? And getting them to school on time? Make them get up. No discussion. When my children misbehave, and they do at times, I have always given my full support to the teachers. That is a no brainer. Teachers can't teach when the child is unprepared, hungry and tired.

There is much truth to this statement, as good parenting is one of the most important aspects of school achievement and behavior. Still, we must acknowledge that there are bad teachers, and we cannot always blame the parents for lacking the knowledge and resources to properly interface with their child's school. Politicians never have the luxury to frame the issues with the sensitivity and complexity that they deserve, and we as the educated public must never fall for these over simplifications if we ever want truly progressive solutions.

What I see today is troublesome, we have more parents depending on the childcare to provide the family values. They(parents/guardians) feel undermined by the governments and big business social advertising for the educated child. More and more we look for the perfect student, so we can have the perfect employee and less criminals! Interviews for childcare are no longer what will you do to nurture my child's happy, healthy development, it's what will you do to educate my child. Parents want to be successful in raising their children I believe they want a moral and accountable child. Give the parents back their rights as parents and tell the social workers to back off so the child will learn that there are consequences for their bad actions. No corporal punishment is not okay, but we sure have given our children more power over the adults than they should have.

This is so right on. Obama is saying what many teachers believe.I am a parent (and teacher), and will back my child's teacher up if he/she misbehaves in class or doesn't get work done. Children must be molded and guided (home-trained). What is being taught to children when homework and respect is not being taught? Quite a lot I think. C'mon, quit arguing semantics. His message is spot on, he isn't talking down to you (Bob).

There have been some parents who put all their student's failures on the backs of teachers, yet take no responsibility for not helping them to get it done at home.

Mr. Roycroft--you make me want to move to Baltimore! As a parent I seldom mind hearing that my child did thus and so and this is how the teacher handled it. Far more often I have gotten the phone call in the middle of the day to say "I don't know what to do with your child!" I can (and believe me I do) make suggestions--but far too frequently it is clear that what is wanted is some version of "fix the problem at home tonight by doing something that I am not allowed to do at school at return him/her tomorrow all better."

To be absolutely honest this comes much more often from inexperienced teachers (unless they really have some other problem), but there have been a fair number of them.

I have been trying for years to attend the "parent involvement" meetings at my kids' schools. Basically there aren't any. One year I lobbied all the way to the top and because I could show them in the law that they really were supposed to be involving parents we had some meetings. And to their credit they brought in someone to help the school listen to what parents had to say. Not much happened--but everything did get written down. Parents said outrageous things like--they want to know early on when their kids are having problems so that they can help before it is overwhelming. They said that they want teacher to know that they aren't bad people (and the teachers said the same thing about themselves--that's fair).

On to the next school and couldn't make it happen (their idea of publicity was a line on a school calendar that said "parent meeting" even then they had 15-20 folks show up on a Saturday afternoon). But I have been through many an open house that started out by bad-mouthing the "other parents" (the ones who weren't there), and been herded through a disorganized process that teachers only regard as a contract requirement (doesn't anyone ever think about what they want to accomplish and how they might best do it?) with no direction and an expectation that nobody will come anyway (I always try to ask some other parent if THEIR kid brought home something that my kid didn't--or are we all in the dark?).

So I guess we can stop blaming schools for bad parenting if we agree to stop blaming parents for bad schooling. Or stop blaming anybody and just work together on how to make things better.

It is one thing to say that "parents count" and quite another to conclude that schools don't. We have schools not to mirror a student's demography (race, parental background, income, etc.), but to give that student the tools to overcome it.

Thank you Senator Obama! Parenting is by far the most crucial job in this world.
If the expectation, cultural and legal, is for effort, support, and "zero tolerance" in that arena, what would the benefits be?


I wonder if you are aware what it feels like to be on the other end of the relationship that you describe--that is, as a parent in a relationship with a teacher who understands their role as being to help your child "overcome" the background that you have provided?

he's right...it's not the teacher's fault...shop around for a doctor to diagnose yoru kid wih ADD and re-commence absentee parenting without a shred of guilt

george roycroft you are a teacher and let me tell you that the way you handle alot of thing is not correct child protected services called to your home is not a good thing so please shut your mouth

Who ever this is making this unfounded comment is a coward for not revealing themselves. Anyone can hide behind a computer. Child-protective services...lol what a joke. But I tell you what, I'd rather give a good spanking and take the consequence than have my child break into your house and rob and kill you for a lack of discipline. Now shut your mouth!!!!!

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