Column: Good parents are the key to good schools

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 26, 2006

By Gordon Correll

For the Salisbury Post

As a former South Carolina educator and administrator, I can tell you that we look in every corner, put the blame on many different people and say we need more funds when our school or district is “failing” by the standards set by various levels of government. Some even say that our schools need to be run more like a business. The trouble is, we are afraid to look in the corner that contains most of the “dirt,” and we forget that schools do not manufacture products; they serve children and adolescents.

Schools must be reinforced and validated by other social institutions in order to work well. The family is the institution that is most important to the maintenance and wellbeing of our society, and it is the family that is most important to the progress students make in school. Thus, the key ingredient for a good school is good parents. It is really no secret; although, we don’t always want to admit it. The corner we need to investigate and clean up is the family. In other words, good parents make good schools.

Good parents will make sure a school is staffed with competent and dedicated administrators, teachers and staff. They will make sure that schools are safe and clean and will see to it that a school’s curriculum is designed to meet the needs of its students, both now and in the future. Good parents will make sure that government provides the necessary resources needed to educate our children, and they will provide the work and sweat that is necessary to secure those items for the school that tax money will not secure. Good parents will solicit the entire community to come to the aid and support of its schools, and they will aid other parents who may need assistance. Good parents will see to it that children are prepared for school, and they will take an interest in their children’s education.

Finally, good parents will take the responsibility for the development of their child’s character. They will guarantee that when the child comes to school, the child will follow school rules and put forth their best effort in academics. Once this is done, teachers can teach, and teachers and administrators can guarantee that students will learn.

All levels of the education system are accountable, the administrators, the teachers and the students. The only level that is not accountable is the most important one, the parents. It is time that our legislature and local boards determine how best to make parents accountable. For without good parents, our schools will never be the institutions that our children need.

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During his 30-year career in education, Gordon Correll was a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent. He now lives in Salisbury.