WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (5/8/13) - I want to take a moment to say that the Webster County School Board took a stand Monday night that all of you should be proud of. In the past I’ve stepped on a few toes of board members, as I am sure those who came before me in this job have. But just taking them at their word, I can tell you that the men of the current school board have decided to put their foot down and do what is right for Webster County’s children.
I graduated from Providence in 1998. Somewhere in the years between now and then, in my opinion, the entire educational system went off the rails. You can’t blame the local educators or the school board, the problem is state and perhaps even nationwide.
When most of us were in school, you went to class, listened to your teacher talk and then did work. You had tests. If you studied and did well, you moved on to the next grade again and again until you graduated.
At the meeting Monday night, one of our district’s principal stated, “Right now report cards are based on effort, not the master of the standards.”
Seriously? That right there sums up the entire problem with the educational system.
My nephew is fifteen now, but when he was about five years old I went to watch him play t-ball at the park here in Providence. The coach of the opposing team wasn’t running the score up, but he wasn’t letting up either. The parents were mad. They didn’t want their kids to feel bad because they lost (in a game where they didn’t officially keep score anyway).
That mentality moved on to take over all of the kids sports at first. Then it got into education. Now that the kids who were raised on this are entering the work force, employers will tell you that they are not equipped for the work place.
Let’s compare a third grader from today to one from thirty years ago. Today’s child is taught with the latest fancy teaching techniques. Yesterday’s child is taught the old fashioned way, with a book and a blackboard.
Today’s child didn’t do his homework, did poorly on a test, but he sure did try in class so he passes. Yesterday’s child did the same, except his teacher held him back.
The first child learned the lesson that it really didn’t matter if he tried, so he went to fourth grade and didn’t try there either. He moved on and on until he got to high school. If it wasn’t for Facebook and the internet he probably wouldn’t be able to read.
The second child came back to the third grade for the second time, determined that he wasn’t going to fail again. He tried hard. He made good grades, and when he passed to the fourth grade he was prepared. The initial blow of failing hurt, but he turned it into motivation.
It feels bad to fail, but reality is that if you protect your kids from failure for the first 18 years of their life, they have much higher odds of failing in the real world. I mean, if you go to your job and don’t try, how long are you going to keep your job? Not very long.
Somewhere the Feds or KDE or someone has forgotten that, not only are the schools supposed to educate children, they are also supposed to prepare them for life. Learning that trying is not that important isn’t motivation, it’s neglect. The system has failed a generation of children because it didn’t want to hurt their feelings.
The idea is for the school, or the parents, to do what is best for the child. Sometimes what is best for them isn’t to worry about hurting their feelings. You can go to Wal-Mart and tell which children have parents that don’t want to hurt their feelings. (No this is not an exact science, and yes sometimes my child does act up!) I find myself struggling with this when my daughter acts bad, but the truth is, she has to learn right from wrong. She has to learn that every decision has a consequence, and in the real world sometimes those are bad.
Now one school board has had the nerve to say “no more!” Bless you guys.
J-E News Editor
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