Parents are responsible for their kids' education.Published 9.26.2011; reformatted 4.6.2013 and again on 9.17.2015
The piece below is derived from post I made to a Yahoo bulletin board that discussed alternative education options. Although I am ten years further into parenting my kids, I wouldn't change a word.
My position is that the parent is responsible for the education of the child, period.
Sending the child to public or private school does not change that. Divorce does not change that. Economic status does not change that. Divorce or both parents working change the circumstances and make succeeding more difficult IMO - but it does not change the fact that the parent is the responsible party.
Not all parents agree with me, I know that. I encounter them all the time. And my ranting at them wouldn't help change their mind or actions— and would undoubtedly be construed as a personal attack. They might like the rants of many homeschoolers though— because they would support their view that it's not their fault, it's the evil, self-serving system against which they are helpless. But will they moved to action— or will they be relieved that it's not their fault after all and wait for someone else (Superman?) to solve the problem?
My goal is to have all parents to recognize that the responsibility is theirs first, last and always. That means I'm not willing to nod agreeably when a parent asserts that it's the school's fault that his child isn't educated, or that he is/was helpless to do anything about it. The school may be at fault for not meeting the community's (tax payer's) standards and expectations and should be held accountable. But bottom line, the child looks to the parent—or ought to— to provide the necessary means to an education.
As a parent, I am not a potted plant. I can't control the teacher's actions—but I can certainly control and influence what happens within my own home. And I'm the one that makes the choice of how my child is educated. Am I certain I'll be a successful parent? NO.
Although I am responsible, I can't control or change the innate abilities or disabilities of my children, nor the unforeseen changes in my personal circumstance (for instance, if I become a single mom). But the uncertainty doesn't bother me. I recognize it and its potential to affect my actions, and then do the best I can. I may well fail— but I'm going to do my utmost to succeed. And I'm not going to blame anyone else for my failure in the event of my failure (if for no other reason than anyone who's listened to me opine regarding parental responsibility won't let me).
I don't say school (public or otherwise) is necessary. I do say that parental involvement is essential. If school is not the answer, then the parent had better be. If that means homeschooling, then great. If homeschooling is out of the question, then the parents must find another way to meet the needs of the child.