In his July 27 guest column (Quality teachers, curriculum key), Columbia County School Superintend-ent Tommy Price provided some exciting reading about his plans for the new school year. He focused on two factors that he believes will point the way to a highter level of quality education for our children. These two components - quality teachers and a quality curriculum - are necessary but insufficient requirements in reaching the educational goals he envisions. A necessary third component is the family.
If, as recent polls, suggest, society is seeking a counterculture that values educational achievement, it is looking in the wrong place for answers. The first place it should be looking is the one place that is typically ignored: the family. Educational achievements, like a chimney, are built from the ground up and the family is the foundation stone. Encouraging and motivating and, yes, expecting children to learn is a parental responsibility that cannot be ignored or relegated.
Only one sentence in Prices column mentioned the family: Parents must become more involved with their childrens education and work in close concert with teachers, he wrote. This is a good prescription, but what can parents do? What are they preparing to do? What can teachers help them to do?
Working in concert with teachers, parents can and should create a home environment that is conducive to and supportive of a high level of intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth of all family members. Books, music and family activities should reflect a family value of continuous learning and psychological growth. The family, in essence, should be viewed as a learning enterprise where the joy and rewards of learning are emphasized. Additionally, parents must teach their children what the schools cant or wont teach: values, manners, respect for self and others, the virtues of delayed gratifications, etc.
Too often parents get involved in the school activities of their children only when something goes wrong. In these instances they react by blaming the teachers. Parental involvement must be proactive, and a necessary first step in this involvement is forming an ongoing partnership with teachers to help their children become all they can be.
Russ Holloman, Ph.D.
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