UK Chief Schools Inspector Blames Parents for Students' Poor Performance
"I blame the parents," says Chief Schools Inspector.
The schools blame the parents, the parents blame the media, and the media blames everyone. Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw made some insightful comments yesterday about the conflicting pressures on youngsters:
"Our youngsters are too often exposed to double standards – where bad behavior and violence are publicly condemned but endlessly available as entertainment. As a result, schools are too often asked to make up for much wider failings within families and communities. Too often, children grow up without the family, cultural and community values they need to thrive.”
He's right, our children do receive mixed messages. Be considerate and peaceable but it is fine to fill your spare time with violent images from films and games. Study hard but one in five university graduates cannot find work. Fame and fortune are yours if Britain thinks you've got talent.
He's right, children with busy parents, living in large cities, not closely connected to family, can be missing the support and moral guidance that family and community can offer.
He's right, children need encouragement to strive for worthy goals and make the most of the education they are offered at school.
But to blame the parents, that cannot be right.
The majority of parents care deeply about the well-being of their children, wish them to work hard, be well mannered, and succeed in life. At the same time, many parents are working long hours, without close community or extended family support.
Schools and teachers have an important part to play in guiding and shaping our young people. Sir Michael WIlshaw says that schools are having to do the job of parents, but when schools have more contact time with our children than we do, surely it is reasonable to expect them to share the task of instilling good ethics and attitudes.
My son is studying for his sociology GCSE and in the section on education three of the six functions of the education system are listed as: encouraging 'Britishness' and social cohesion, secondary socialization, and social control. If the curriculum taught at school states these roles for schools, why does Sir Michael not feel that schools should be performing these roles? If our children are to spend the best part of their day in school, five days out of every seven, surely this is a good place to pass on societal values. My experience as an adult is that I can very quickly acquire knowledge if I need it, but outlook and good values take longer to develop. It would be no bad thing if schools spent less time teaching Pythagoras' theorem and tectonic plate movements and turned greater attention to providing our children with the community values that Sir Michael identifies are needed for them to thrive.Continued on the next page