Comments about ‘In our opinion: Culture of 'can't': Parents frustrated with limited opportunity for input’

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Published: Saturday, Feb. 23 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mom of 8
Hyrum, UT

Fascinating to realize that broad and innovative education reforms occur all over the world, improving education and responding to the needs of our changing society.

But not in the US, where we're terrified to move a muscle out of line from the way we established education in the 19th century. We treat this bureaucracy as a sacred cow, and the education departments of universities are the ranch owners. But this cow has been bloated and dead for a long time. No one dares to be the one to declare so. Or if they do, no one with power believes them.

Until everyone--parents, educators, and government--is brave enough to say, "It's ok to NOT do things the way we did it when I was a kid," we'll continue to fall further behind the world, and do a grave disservice to our children.

Mrowley
Tooele, UT

As a teacher at the bottom of our exploding public education bureacracy , i can tell you exactly how to fix our schools. Get politicians and bureacrats out of our classrooms and give schools back to their local communities. Dissolve school districts, period. Every public school should be a charter school.

sally
Kearns, UT

I don't think it is possible to satisfy all parents. There are those who think the schools should do everything for their child. Then, there are those who think they have a responsibility to help at home in the education process. Parents say they do not have the choice if they are not satisfied with the current education system. Instead of complaining take responsibility as a family instead of being dependent on the government. As a parent, if you take the time to read the textbooks, you will probably realize you don't want your children in public education with the dumb ed down curriculum they offer. I know of only a few charter schools I would consider educating my children.

As an experienced scout leader, we have to deal with this all the time. I am not paid to do what I do. It amazes me how many parents become upset if their son does not earn an award every month. I am with them 3 hours per month. Where are the parents and extended family?

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

I recall attending various school meetings when the kids were younger. My takeaway was that that there aren't a lot of thoughtful, former or current educators in the attending parents. But in the era of helicopter parents, there are a lot of self entitled loudmouth fools.

worf
Mcallen, TX

Few things for parents to do:

* know what their child's behavior, and study habits are like during school.
* observe the methods, and contents of what's being taught
* by themselves, or with some other parents, sit in a classroom for a few days, and know what the child is learning.

MelissaR
Teasdale, UT

Thank you for someone finally putting into words what I have felt for a long time. I have tried to be as active as possible in my children's education, only to be told over and over again that "We can't do that here, it is against district policy". In order to be viable in the future, our schools need to be willing to accept change and help from the community, instead of shunning all outside ideas.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The goal of good public schools requires that we have government that represents the people. To have government that represents the people, we must get business out of government and religion out of both.

The proper purpose of public education would be the teaching children how to learn, analyze, test and evaluate their world. Not to indoctrinate, not to mold to their minds to a particular point of view and most certainly not to train them for a particular occupation.

Given the proper tools of learning, educated people can enter any field, any occupation, and any philosophy. And not be hampered by the chains of prejudice, false notions and useless facts.

The only thing a college degree gets you, is get you in the door.

JSB
Sugar City, ID

When there are huge school districts, the opportunity for parental input is limited and parents can feel helpless in trying to express concerns. I live in a school district that is composed of a high school and its feeder schools and I love it. I am personally acquainted with most of the members of the school board. I wonder if it wouldn't be better if a school district was defined as a high school and its feeder schools. Then the district could better focus of the needs of the students in that area. Current huge school districts could become area offices that could take charge of business operations and other functions that can be more efficiently run by the larger organization. Just a thought.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The goal of good public schools requires that we have government that represents the people. To have government that represents the people, we must get business out of government and religion out of both.

The proper purpose of public education would be the teaching children how to learn, analyze, test and evaluate their world. Not to indoctrinate, not to mold to their minds to a particular point of view and most certainly not to train them for a particular occupation.

Given the proper tools of learning, educated people can enter any field, any occupation, and any philosophy. And not be hampered by the chains of prejudice, false notions and useless facts.

The only thing a college degree gets you, is get you in the door.

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

Ultra Bob

"The goal of good public schools requires that we have government that represents the people. To have government that represents the people, we must get business out of government and religion out of both."

So if a person is in business, or belongs to a religion, they should have no voice in government? But so many people own, or work for a business, or go to church. I guess you want to exclude them from the people that the government represents, leaving the representation to a small minority, like just the government workers and government assistance recipients. Sounds like a country run by a few amoral leaches. No thanks.

"The proper purpose of public education would be the teaching children how to learn, analyze, test and evaluate their world."

And then you nix the teaching of facts, ideas, philosophies, etc. Sounds like you don't think we should have schools at all. Just let kids alone and they will evaluate their world naturally.

Truly helpful rhetoric. (Written with all sarcasm possible)

Kermit
Kaysville, UT

@ JSB
I agree, and I also commend my larger district, Davis School District, for putting parents from the Community Council and PTA/PTO on every principal hiring committee. I have worked for three different school districts in and out of Utah, and DSD feels very small, and a lot like the one high school district for which I worked in WY. They maintain a very personal touch and actively involve parents in decision-making process in Community Councils, etc. I know that some families don't always get the high school they want, but such is the case in a county in which the population grows at the rate of about 1000 students per year. Kudos to DSD and the families that take an active role in helping their children to know that life is not a cake walk, but an opportunity roll up their sleeves, and jump in to make something of themselves.

Monsieur le prof
Sandy, UT

I agree with the editorial. I tried to get a ridiculous school policy changed one time and was told that I couldn't change the policy because it was policy, as if it were written in stone. Most of our administrators are terrified to make decisions on their own, falling back on the excuse that they can't do something because it is "district policy."

This is especially true in a certain district which has a very domineering superintendent who squashes any opposition with a heavy hand. I'm glad that Kermit in Kaysville is having a positive experience. That's the way it should be everywhere.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Badgerbadger Murray, UT

One of the things we are supposed to get out of education is the ability to read. If you look again, you will see that my post refers to business not business people. The same applies to the word religion.

Our goverment(s) should represent and consider the welfare of all people under their control. Businesses, churches, unions, gilds and all other groups are not people even though their members are American citizens people. The problem of allowing groups to control government is that there is strength in numbers, especially if those numbers are dollars. It is sad but true that the group motivation seldom is the same as ordinary individuals.

Because of our dismal record of predicting the future, we really don’t know what jobs and the world in general will be 10 to 20 years from now. Computer driven “printers” may be able to create solid objects from a program. How about if you stand by a node and a new set of clothes are build around you. How about a new organ in your body that recycles water and eliminates the need to go.

beehive801
Salt Lake City, UT

The picture is extremely misleading. Running it with this editorial makes it seem that this is the "parents meeting" that you describe in the editorial, when it is a generic Associated Press photo. There needs to be more honesty in reporting here. Also, why not name the school district you criticize and even better give them a chance to give their side of the story before lambasting them?

worf
Mcallen, TX

MelissaR--sorry to hear that. As a retired teacher, I often invited parents to sit in my classroom. We reviewed curriculum, class behavior, and strategies. Too many parents,-don't know what's going on with their children.

This improved my teaching, and student learning. I had a mom come everyday for the school year.

Diligent Dave
Logan, UT

I have long heard "educators" (teachers & principals) saying derogatory things about both parents and students. Too many of them do not appreciate them. They feel they are superior, not least because they "have been trained for the 'ministry'" (of teaching). Phooey!

As the father of nine children, I can tell you how little so many teachers know. Some of them have never been parents. Others, suppose they are more enlightened than parents, even when parents have as high, or higher college degrees than they do.

I have often seen principals, vice principals, and counselors (as well as enough teachers), who are not only demeaning to students and/or parents, sometimes in their presence, but especially behind their backs.

The Deseret News has often backed the "education establishment". I am guessing someone there was perhaps personally involved in the example given.

Oh sure, there indeed can be and are parents that are "pig-headed". However, the same could be said of enough "educators". In their pride, their arrogance, those of either camp can be wrong headed. But parents are the people who ultimately should be in charge. It is their children who are being taught. Parents are childrens' ultimate stewards.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I'm a tad confused, aren't most school boards elected by the people? It's hard to whine about the school board going against the wishes of the people when the people elected them into office. And also, since we are a Republic, the people are somewhat restrained. They can't overrun the rights of the minority and the individual. I mean, our own elected legislature said that public school teachers must teach that we are a Constitutional Compound Republic. What this means is that we do have elected leaders but mob rule is restrained by the Constitution as set up to protect individual, God-given rights.

Lastly, I have to wonder how many charter schools if they could would segregate by race, ethnicity, gender, political persuasion or against special ed students or students with behavior issues if they could. I mean, things like this happened before in our history where mob rule was allowed. Again, don't the people currently have a voice through the school board members they elect?

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Diligent Dave:

I have also seen teachers willing to lay down the lives for their students. In fact, most teachers I know personally would do this.

I know a lot teachers and coaches that have taken money out of their own pockets to help students whether it be to buy school supplies or so a young man could go on a school trip but their parents couldn't/wouldn't come up with $20 or even take money out of their pocket so a kid could get lunch on a field trip. I have seen teachers work with the parents inside and outside of their schools.

I understand teachers are human beings and some may do the things in which you have said. But I think you are seeing things through a negative lens. I see teachers through a positive lens. I have two children, one struggles in school, one does very well in school. Not all their teachers are/were perfect but the vast majority care for deeply for my children and will work with my wife and I effectively.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

It's difficult to focus on education when parents deny global warming, reject evolution, attack science, complain when the President of the United States appears on TV at school, believe that if a woman gets pregnant because of rape, it's her own fault, and who believe that upper education is one big Communist conspiracy.

No wonder why we're declining so much...

toosmartforyou
Farmington, UT

Years ago when I was told by a bank that my request couldn't be handled because "it was against bank policy," I promptly retorted "Your policy stinks!" They'd never been told that before as everyone just quietly folded their hands and left the room with their heads bowed looking at the floor on their way out. They were shocked and couldn't respond about my view of their poor service as it took their breath away. Perish the thought that they might actually bother to look more closely at their "policy."

The only thing consistent with Utah's educators is their hue-and-cry for more money. Usually it's in the form of "per-pupil-spending" statistics, which has been their argument for over 50 years. It's far older than many using it at public hearings and it makes no sense.

Education reform isn't even in the same universe as those feeding at the liberal and cushy government education trough.

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