I would like much better feedback to parents of what their kids need to work on.
~Stuart Jenner, Parent Advocate
Dads can be powerful workers at saving public education. Many dads are teachers and parents and they go to bat for their children more than on the baseball field. They recognize that education is important for all children, not just their own child. I asked Dads on Facebook and Twitter how to reimagine school during these times, like I asked moms for Mother’s Day.
I also reviewed the literature to see what Dads are discussing when it comes to public education, school reform, race, and the pandemic. Their responses were thoughtful and interesting. Some wives also told me what they thought their husbands would say.
- Social Services and Education. Alfred also suggested combining social services and education in order to make sure the whole needs of the child are met.
- Close the Achievement Gap. Another dad has high on his list, making sure children who are poor get good quality schools and teachers who are well-prepared. He wants to see the achievement gap finally closed.
- Let Me Teach! A dad who’s a teacher wants to be able to teach his way. I’m assuming he doesn’t like outsiders telling teachers to teach Common Core State Standards or other mandated programs.
- Schedule Change. One reader who may or may not be a dad, but who is a teacher, has shared with me a different way to schedule classes that works especially well with middle school. One of these days I will share his write-up about how the schedule works.
- End Grades. One dad suggests ending grading.
- Fund Special Education. Alfred Frates, a dad on Facebook, wants to see the money from the Mccleary Court Case finally fund the State of Washington’s students. Both Rep Pollet and Sen Rolfes said they were short changed. He’d also like to see special education teachers have enough PPE (masks, gowns, gloves, and face shields so they feel safe working with students.
- Improve Reading Achievement. A dad and reading expert recognizes the importance of reading achievement to students and public schools. We need to focus on the variables that make literacy instruction work in public schools.
- Social Change. John Mountford from the U.K. mentions a radical global overhaul of schools, to address the pressing problems currently facing our world. The Extinction Rebellion addresses the problems of climate change and ecological decline. It would begin with critique of the educational system, what’s holding us back including discrimination, exams, reward punishment systems etc.
- Sports Concerns. One Mom told me the dads she knew were concerned about the return of school sports during this pandemic. Pride in public school sports programs brings communities together. There’s camaraderie while following the progress of the local high school football, basketball, and other school teams. How students perform on those teams also ensures their placement on teams in college, so the loss of sports is a serious concern.
- Students and College. Stuart Jenner wonders why fewer young men than women are attending college. What’s behind this phenomenon?
- Counselors. Stuart also recognizes a need for more school counselors. Right now, counselors advise, but they’re also needed to assist students with difficulties. Teachers are spread too thin and cannot take on the counselor’s role. Counselors are needed to provide students with emotional and behavioral support.
- Movement. He’d like to see students get physical education several days a week throughout each year.
- Curriculum Changes. Stuart would like to bring back classes like shop and home economics. It would be advantageous to provide students with life skills, like how to manage money, balance a checkbook, and other tasks that help young people live independently.
- Better Testing and Feedback. Dads are looking for better and more information about how students are doing. Tests like the SBAC don’t provide them with the information to help them better understand student gaps.
- End High-Stakes Testing. Many dads are tired of high-stakes standardized testing. They don’t see it as helping them to better their students.
- One Size Fits All is Boring. The drive to teach the same way and the same material means that many students become bored. Schooling should be geared to the interests, strengths, and needs of the students.
- Provide Necessary Classes. Better understand student interests, so they will get the classes that they need to help in college.
- Spend More, Effectively. One dad expressed concern that we need to spend more for education and with better effectiveness.
The dads I know are taking the pandemic seriously, and they are, like many of us, torn between how to open schools, or whether to open schools in the fall. Some believe schools need to be opened with added precautions. Others lean towards not opening schools, with extending distance learning with teachers. They want to see all students get better connected to online instruction, but they realize the importance of face-to-face school. They look forward to getting schools back in the future, better than they were before the pandemic.
To Dads everywhere, enjoy your day and stay well. You set an important example for your children and students everywhere. You are valued greatly every step of the way.
Rick B. says
The Dads and other adults who believe in teaching to the “interests of students” just don’t get it. It is not the role of educators to enter the world of the 12 year old, it is our job to pull them into the worlds of our disciplines: the sciences, engineering, history, civics, geography, literature, psychology, philosophy, and more. To open windows of wonder that they didn’t know existed. As a rule, students do a great job of catering to their own interests, leave it to us to cultivate new ones. On this note it should behoove schools to move in the opposite direction of the ultra-narrow, highly constrained curricula imposed by the Common Core standards and federal test-threaten-and-punish “reform” movement. More variety, more enrichment, more options/electives as kids progress through the K to 12 experience
Nancy Bailey says
Very well-said, Rick! I couldn’t agree more. Thank you!
Roy Turrentine says
This dad, also one who has been teaching somewhere most of the years since 1979, suggests that the covid experience with distance learning proved that distance learning is a disaster. My daughter worked with mighty effort, and her teachers worked harder. but it did not work like class at all.
Nancy Bailey says
It didn’t work. I agree. I’m sorry your daughter missed out on class. I hope they quit thinking anytime, anyplace learning is better than real schools! Thanks, Roy. Hope you had a nice day.
Lawrence D'Amico says
These might help:
Interesting how Lebron James’ school can work WITH unionized public schools. LOOKOUT BETSY!
“The I Promise School is public and part of Akron Public Schools. The curriculum aims to adopt the “We Are Family” philosophy of the LeBron James Family Foundation, infuse it with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and take into account the struggles and traumas in students’ lives to provide “social-emotional learning.”
Donny, Betsy, and Ayn Rand wannabes TAKE NOTE!
“Cooperation not Competition
While most Americans and other countries see the educational system as one big Darwinian competition, the Finns see it differently. Sahlberg quotes a line from a writer named Samuli Paronen which says that:
“Real winners do not compete.”
— Samuli Paronen
Ironically, this attitude has put them AT THE HEAD of the international pack. Finland’s educational system doesn’t worry about artificial or arbitrary merit-based systems. There are no lists of top performing schools or teachers. It’s not an environment of competition – instead, cooperation is the norm.”
Nancy Bailey says
Thanks again, Lawrence. I appreciate these links. I like Lebron James’s school and the “We Are Family” philosophy. However, no matter how well-meaning he is and how great the school is, I’m worried that it sets a presedent to rely on celebrities to fund public schools. It is really a charter school that is run like a public schools. That’s a worry, since public schools should be well-funded with tax dollars. I think celebrities should be able to support schools, but it shouldn’t be that they are needed so desperately to do so.
As far as Finland, they have a lot of great ideas.