Parents must shoulder responsibility for children failing

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

To the Editor:

I’m beginning to think it is time to bring up a politically incorrect view of the problems we are experiencing in the Franklin School System. It may offend some people, but I’m offended by the lack of progress in the schools. I have read with interest the recent front- page article and the thoughtful letters from Mr. [Howie] Soucek (I had to scurry to my dictionary; I thought “paradigm” was 20 cents) and Mrs. [Edna] King. The front-page article (“State board to consider review of city schools’) read like a legal document.

I think we all know deep down that the education problem is rooted in the lack of parents’ involvement with and parents’ caring about their students. Too many parents look at school as a convenient, free baby-sitting arrangement for their children for eight or nine hours a day so they can go off and work or drink beer or do whatever they wish without the interruption of their children. Some method must be devised by which the parents of failing or underachieving students are held accountable.

If they are drawing welfare, their payments should be docked as long as their children are underachieving. If welfare can be withheld for failing drug tests, it can be withheld for failing their children. And the children are not stupid; they can learn when given the proper support and encouragement at home.

You may say that I’m picking on welfare parents. Well, as long as I’m paying them, I should be able to set some minimum level of acceptable performance. I’d guess that correcting the level of achievement of children of welfare parents in the Franklin School System would boost collective performance by over 50 percent. And there should be economic sanctions against parents who are not welfare recipients. If we can fine them for letting their dogs run loose, we can fine them for letting their children fail.

I think that for too long the responsibility for our miserable school situation has been placed at the feet of educators and administrators. It should be placed where the process begins, with the students’ homes and families.

Holt Livesay