I don't write very many serious things on Facebook, let alone long rambling posts, but every so often something grabs my goat enough that I feel the need to respond.
Our teachers in Ambridge began a strike today after going for over a year without a contract. As I look through various Facebook comments I see so many people making angry, if not vicious posts, suggesting that our teachers are undeserving of a fair deal. One person commented that kids are coming out of the school are "disrespectful" and "entitled." Several others cite the fact that Ambridge kids have not been scoring highly on standardized tests compared to other nearby districts, and therefore our schools are to blame.
I know many parents of high-achieving students in our district. Why are these kids doing so well, while studying under the very same roof as other kids who don't perform well? I'm willing to bet that it's because these kids have parents who have taken the initiative to be active in their kids' scholastic lives.
These are students who have parents who have taken an active role in their children’s education by making sure that homework is done on time, by ensuring that they are getting help in subjects where they are struggling, and as parents they are constantly keeping their finger on the pulse of their children’s progress. And these parents are also making sure the kids are IN school to begin with, not allowing the kids to constantly stay home "sick" if they merely have a blister.
These are parents who have become partners, not adversaries, of our teachers. I have seen many cases where parents will instantly side with their kids any time they have been challenged by a class. Teachers can only do so much. If the teachers' work isn't reinforced at home and parents aren't standing by them, it's no wonder the kids aren't thriving.
As for our district churning out kids who are "disrespectful" or "entitled," I can't help but ask… where are the parents!? I hate to break it to you, but one of the main duties as a parent is to be the moral compass for your kids. Instilling a sense of human decency isn't the job of the school. That's YOUR responsibility. I know many very well-mannered high school kids, and guess what? They got those qualities from their parents.
I'm very proud to say that our daughter graduated from Ambridge third in her class this spring, and she is now thriving in a very challenging college curriculum. When we found that Carrie was struggling with a subject in the Ambridge schools, we helped her to figure out ways to bounce back and we stood over her until she did so. We didn't blame the teachers and say the heck with it. The Ambridge teachers were always a phone call or e-mail away with a willingness to help.
Are there bad teachers out there? Sure, there have been a couple. But I can honestly say that out of all of the teachers she had during her time at Ambridge, the overwhelming majority of them were tremendously talented, helpful and genuinely cared about her success. I stand behind our teachers, and hope that a fair compromise can be made in the near future.