Most of us don't like other people telling us how to live our lives. I suppose there are those few that would approve of big brother coming in and taking over things, because to them security is more important than freedom.
We feel the same about our local institutions. Judging by what has gone on concerning land use issues around our area over the years, when the federal government tries to exercise power over what local people feel is their domain, there is a fight and often a big one.
Of all the institutions that a community treasures the most, schools are the gem most everyone tries to protect from the national governments influence.
When the No Child Left Behind laws were passed a few years ago, experts predicted that the end result would be more control by the feds in education. And now, after a few years of that act being in force, school districts are beginning to face the wrath of the law.
While a lot of that seems far away to Carbonites, it isn't. Carbon High is the highest profile school in the county and after failing to meet AYP for two years in a row, a third year on that list could create some problems as it applies to NCLB laws.
None of us want to see our schools affected by federal mandates anymore than has already been put in place via the purse strings they control. That is why it is important for Carbon High to get past AYP this next year.
When something goes wrong in the schools, it is easy to blame teachers and administrators for the failure. But, it is the users of the service that also have a large responsibility to make things work. By users I mean not only the students, but also their parents.
Carbon failed AYP this past year largely because of math scores and attendance problems.
Math is a skill and a learning process that requires a lot of building blocks. Those blocks have to be set in place by teachers in the classroom, but the mortar that fits them together comes from the home, where students take their homework to do. Parents must do a better job of working with their kids not only on the work that must be done on the paper, but in reinforcing how important math is as a skill, that will be used in their childrens future.
Now I know the tune. I have heard parents say it many times.
"When in their life will they ever use this algebra (or geometry, or advance algebra, etc.)," parents will often murmur. I heard my wife do it many times with my youngest son as she tried to figure out what he was supposed to do for the next day when he was in high school.
The fact is that the world is becoming ever more technological, and all that advanced technology requires various forms of math and numbers to design and operate these kinds of systems. While not every kid will turn into an electronic, computer and mechanical engineer, knowing how things operate will be a large part of our economy in the future. And not knowing it will certainly mean a lower tear job, if one exists at all.
But even if parents balk at the idea they need to help with math, I have no idea how they can back off helping with the attendance problems their children might have. With the truancy laws the way they are, I am not sure how anyone would dare to let their kids not be in school when they should be, but some apparently do. The laws are strict and can result in some pretty strong penalties if they don't require their kids to attend school.
It's time for parents to wake up and realize that NCLB can and will affect their kids and future generations of students as well. And unless the law is rescinded or not authorized again, it is something we will all have to live and deal with.
And how much we have to struggle with it is up to those who attend our schools today and their parents.