Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Parents Blame Themselves, Not Teachers, for Failing Schools

Hey Teachers, It’s Not All About You
A new poll conducted by the Associated Press and Stanford University found that 68% of adults believe that parents deserve the blame for failing schools, while only 35% blamed the teachers. The poll also found that a slight majority, 55%, believed that their children were receiving a better education than they did, while 75% believed that the quality of their child’s school was good or excellent, indicating that the Ed Deform movement has failed to sway parents with their sky is falling and all teachers suck hysteria.

While this may seem like vindication for teachers, it is really just another case of blaming the victims. The most significant cause of poor student achievement is social class. Poor kids do worse in school. This achievement gap is measurable at the pre-k level in terms of vocabulary and pre-reading skills.(See Burkam and Lee, and Hart and Risely).

While it is easy to blame parents for not reading to kids, or teaching them good manners and discipline, when parents are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet and aren’t even home for dinner, it becomes very difficult to monitor their child’s school progress or to find time to read to them.


  1. How can we reimagine a society where parents (single or coupled) aren't the end-all and be-all? What would happen if people didn't have to work multiple jobs to cover the rent? As a teacher, I usually try to stay within my realm of influence but as a society, we have a responsibility here.

  2. As a parent and a teacher, I am keenly aware of the difficulties facing both. However, as a teacher, I believe that some social issues, especially economic ones, directly affect my ability to do my job.

    Single payer health care, for example, may not seem like an education issue. However, if it keeps kids healthy and in class, they are more likely to stay caught up with their school work. High school drop outs have far more absences than those who graduate and, for many, the absences start as untreated health issues.