School of Hard Knocks

Some truths of high school life:

don't really care who they go to school with - they are too busy trying to get through the day just like their parents at work.

kids do not particularly care about school, or homework.

is no real way to motivate a kid to learn.

But - that being said, very few children whose parents graduate high school fail to do so. The students who excel usually are those whose parents did not have the chance to go further in education - like the children of immigrants. There needs to be a value placed on having an education, and for lack of a nicer way to put it, a good number of parents don't value education these days. They did not bother getting one themselves (or did not continue to educate themselves on a daily basis, read a book, or something similar) and guess what - the apple does not fall far from the tree.

What we are dealing with in Roanoke is a failure for the children, not of the children. Uninvolved parents, a school system confused as to how best serve the community/uphold state standards/keep the kids involved, and a shift in job skills.

Even the most physical jobs now require some sort of training, education, and ability to grasp concepts and learn from them. In order to work, one needs to understand work. Parents are all too familiar with the daily grind, and tell children often how miserable they are/how bad work sucks/how they don't pay enough... but never follow that up with the message that a little education can go a long way to allowing you to reach higher than they did.

It used to be that one generation always wanted better for the next, that has now shifted to one generation wanting the same for the next generation.

Not to mention the apathy of some parents, educators, and administrators when it comes to advancing students in the world. "Toe the line" is the call these days, maintain the status quo - and do not jeopardize the funding of the school.

The schools absolutely must raise standards, SOLs and "No Child Left Behind" warrant so - but the schools find themselves fighting apathy on the home front, a student body more interested in the "easy way" (as seen on TV, some conditions may apply.. Act now!), and a state and federal system that assumes the schools are failing the kids.

In reality, everyone is failing them.

I cannot tell you how many times in my average day I hear the words "I have a GED" or "I can get a GED and a job, why bother?" It's frustrating to say the least. But the question that I have, and no one else is asking - how many of the parents actually graduated high school themselves? I am willing to bet that of the 43% that drop out, half of those kids have parents with little in the way of education.

And excuses are easy to come by. Around the age of 15, a kid makes a choice that lasts nearly 10 years. I will/will not be like my parent(s). It's that simple. If a child sees that it's parents are making something of themselves thanks to the life-long process of learning, then that is imprinted upon them. And until the age of 25 or so, they will either embrace it - or they will renounce it (temporarily).

But then they learn, and regret what choices they have made. Without a solid background of education appreciation, the motivation to further oneself is nonexistent.

It's a generation doomed to fail, that is raised without valuing education and advancement of ones person. And it's already happening.

Look around Roanoke, where are the leaders - the young people who will take the mantle of achievement and lead into the next generation. They have abandoned the city. Left it to those who are the Status Quo.

And there in lies the problem in education - the educated move on, resolved in the knowledge that they will succeed in life - while the partially educated (no one's education is ever complete) resolve themselves to "do what they can with what they have" and miss the struggle to achieve.

Anyway - consider this part one in an occasional series - kinda like the Times is doing.

Comment away.

1 comment:

ATL said...

I cared about school, and Homework, as did all of my friends. And yeah high school for me was 4 1/2 yrs ago, but I don't think that since then the entire Rke school culture has changed drastically.

But what I think you are saying is mostly true. The subset that is on that "college track", which really begins in middle school and sometimes elementary school, seems to move on. And that leaves behind the less educationally motivated.....but its not just Rke, that's a problem found in many areas.

But mostly, yeah I agree w/ ya.