Monday, April 05, 2004
Stop teaching my kid.
The Irascible Professor-commentary: "'Limited expectations yield only limited results.'... ....Susan Laurson Willig.
- Guest commentary by Elise Vogler.

The vast majority of Americans would be shocked to learn of one potent force that keeps the quality of public education low. Budget problems, you ask? No. I'm talking about parents.

Why would parents want anything but a rigorous curriculum for their children? I honestly don't know. In my experience, however, most parents want an easy pass (in some cases, an easy A) rather than a course in which their children acquire real knowledge and skills.

I know that I was shocked when this truth first became apparent to me. Nothing in my teacher education courses had prepared me to deal with parents who would object that I assign homework, or who would take their objections not just to me, but to the principal, the superintendent, and the school board. It's not just the existence of homework that raises the ire of these parents; it's anything that provides an academic challenge to their children. It's as if the self-esteem movement has found full realization in the generation that is now parenting. All these parents want is that which is safe and comfortable for their children. This includes a curriculum where there are no real expectations of the students."

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