Reflecting on Christie's Speech: Bad Teachers and Bad Parents
As I reflect on last night's speech by Chris Christie, I cannot help but feel a bit unsettled in terms of his points about modern education. I have no disagreement with Christie over the need to take on the teacher unions or to raise expectations across the board. Do we need to identify underperforming and incompetent teachers in our schools and remove them from the system? Absolutely.
However, there are probably 10 good teachers for every poor teacher, and the good teachers are often unable to perform at their optimum level as a result of students who are the victim of poor parenting. Parents who fail to teach their children right from wrong, parents who fail to instill values in their children, and parents who fail to educate their children about respect make it impossible for teachers to teach.
Poor parenting is a far more significant problem in our schools than poor teaching. Too many parents think of public education as day care, and they drop off their children every morning without giving any thought as to whether or not they have truly provided them with the values necessary for the system to work. I find this to be true in both public and private institutions. Simply ridding our schools of bad teachers who don't belong in the classroom will overlook other more serious issues (such as the indoctrination of teachers-to-be at progressive teacher colleges.)
I know it has become fashionable in this country to mock teachers and to think of them as obstacles to the dreams parents have for their children, but my experience in education (public, private, elementary, middle, high school, and college) has revealed that the vast majority of teachers are good people who want to better prepare our children for a successful life. True, many of your children's teachers have been inculcated with progressive teaching methods, but even the robots who are produced by the progressive teacher colleges are competent and have the best interests of your children in their hearts and minds.
And so the rallying cry has been, "Fire the teachers!," but this is an oversimplification of the problem and ignores other causes of students who graduate from high school unable to write a complete sentence or solve a basic math equation. Both Democrats and Republicans are deflecting attention from the root cause of our country's education woes (as they tend to do with most issues that require tough solutions.) And American parents are contributing to the failure of our schools by not providing their children with a solid foundation of basic values.