School’s in. Most of the students are in class.
But where are their parents?
Education success often depends on the involvement of parents; a friend in Oregon alerted me to this opposite-editorial piece by Aki Mori, a teacher in Beaverton, Oregon. Notice the comments, too (do they just grow commenters stronger in Oregon?) and Mori’s getting into the discussion.
Inter alia, he wrote:
When I spent a high school year abroad in Japan in 1986, I found myself to be nothing but a minor leaguer trying to play in the big leagues when it came to math and science — a real blow to my pride since I’d always been a first-team all-star back home in the United States. On the other hand, not a single teacher in that highly competitive school left any impression on me in terms of his or her teaching skills.
I was equally underwhelmed last summer when I was among 50 teachers from around the world who were invited to Japan to visit Japanese schools and learn about their educational system. The shocking truth is, on the basis of pure teaching talent, American teachers are superior to those in Japan. Whereas Japanese teachers are by and large more knowledgeable and stronger generalists than American teachers, they do not possess key qualities that are essential for succeeding in the American classroom such as creativity, resourcefulness and compassion.
In the famous story of the little Dutch boy, a child was able to save his country from disaster when he called upon others to help plug up leaks until sufficient repairs to the structure could be made. Our American system of education is leaking in many places — how serious you feel is the threat depends largely on your location along the dike. But it is clear to me that teachers and schools cannot fix the problem alone. For better or for worse, we will always end up exactly with the system of education that we as a society deserve. Perhaps in the future enough of us will work together to deserve better than what we have today.
Discuss (in comments).