Totally disappointed at a High School <TPS> Open House 9/12/07

I went to my daughter's open house at a TPS High School and was so disappointed. Its no wonder the school's aren't fairing well.
As we pulled in it appeared to me the place was going to be packed, good turn out. As we visited my daughter's classes one by one, I was amazed to see that it was usually us alone in a class room, just 2 of the classes had another set of parents.
I'm trying to figure out is it the kids who don't care or the parents? I'm not sure in this instance, but how do u expect a child to care about school when the parents don't. or is it possible that the kids tell the parents, its NO BIG DEAL TO GO, WHO CARES. Well we should care!!! It just seems to be a vicious circle. I try to go to all of my daughters events. I know us as parents were tired, we work alot, we stress alot. But we are talking about where are kids are going to be heading. I felt so bad for the teachers who were in their rooms waiting to talk to parents, That never showed. Some of the teachers expressed their feelings about how frustrated they are to try and teach with SO MANY distruptions of unruly kids. You can see they want to teach but it's becoming harder and harder. We need to divise a plan thats going to get the kids caring about school again. Like I said it's a vicious cycle. Why not instill an online website for homework, blogs for help to ask for help. Our kids are online the majority of the time, anyway why not use it to our and the schools advantage.
Set up the website so kids can help other kids without getting
the crap from other kids in the school. We have to pat them on the back when they take the initiative. Our kids are under so much stress to pass the ohio graduation test that I think that's all they think about. My daughter stressed so much she was ill. Something has to change for the SAKE OF OUR CHILDREN.

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Why not instill an online website for homework, blogs for help to ask for help. Our kids are online the majority of the time, anyway why not use it to our and the schools advantage.

There are already many websites (thousands in fact) where kids can go to for help on homework and such. A quick Google search found this site hosted by WGTE which has many local classrooms listed on it.

Build Your Own Website - WGTE Public Broadcasting
Name:
SMALL SCHOOLS, ROGERS School: ROGERS HIGH District: TOLEDO PUBLIC, Description: THIS WEB SITE IS ONE VEHICLE OF COMMUNICATION FOR THE ENTIRE ROGERS ...

The problem is that after a full day at school the kids would rather play World of Warcraft, Runescape or talk to their friends on Myspace. The parents must create online rules and enforce them. Something like "show me your completed homework assignment before you can log onto Myspace". They then must monitor the childs online activity to make sure they are not violating it.

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

You raise a great point dmicha. The fact is that people too easily blame the teachers, the administration, and the board without first looking at themselves. They do nothing at home to encourage their kids to succeed. I know many people who went to TPS to become Doctors and Lawyers, but the only reason they succeeded was because they had the support at home. While the Urban Coalition and others fight for a better way, they simply blame others and don't realize that TPS gives the SAME EDUCATION AS EVERY OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS PARENTAL INTEREST. By the way, I love how they still go after Eugene Sanders even after he left the district. Instead of going after the district, perhaps the urban coalition members should instead try to help their own children.

success is like a three legged stool. Success depends on the support of parents, children and teachers. Take anyone of these pillars out of the equation and you have failure. The blame game is circular and does not lead to a solution.

bill

I always went to open houses & conferences - made it a big fun deal about going to the open houses, even though my one son (great student) had to be dragged to it after the 5th grade - we enjoyed it (they could never get me out of the Art room, drove them nuts). I was enthusiastic about going - sometimes in awe of what they were learning (that was far beyond anything I'd learned at those ages), and they caught my enthusiasm I think. We had fun with it. I heard complaints of poor parental turnout even then (my youngest is 24), but the rooms were still packed with parents & kids - so much so, there was a line to wait in if you wanted to speak to the teacher. This current trend of parental indifference is sad - but doesn't surprise me. The 'cure' seems to be in asking for more money to be thrown - at buiding new schools, supplies, better & more teachers/raises, etc. & I've long believed that throwing money at the system isn't the cure. There's far too many less well to do countries that exceeed us in education - doing so with with far lesser schools, money, etc. The problem is not the teachers, the 'old' buildings, lack of supplies, money - the problem seems to have begun when the schools lost the right to discipline. There seems to be a generation out there of indifferent parents & kids, a lack of accountability by both. I'm sure a lot of these kids tell their parents 'it's not a big deal, I don't wanna go' - and there are parents who buy into that as an easy out - they're tired, it's late, they have laundry to do before their favorite TV show comes on, etc. It's an easy out for the parents because they're only doing what their kids gave them permission to do - skip open house & conferences with a clear conscience. Those kids need to hear their parents WANT to go, & make it a family night to go - like it's a good thing, and not something just to 'get over with'.

I have no opinion about a website - I do believe something like that is in place already, but the kids have to want to use it. I'm against anything that harbors a mindset of not dealing with school problems in school. If the kids are dealing with 'crap' from other kids - then that is a huge part of the problem, and it goes back to the teachers & schools loss of the right to discipline without fear of the kid declaring that mom will sue, or the parents defending little Timmy's bad behaviour. If kids behave badly at school, they probably do so at home as well. I put most of the blame on the parents, always did.

Bottom line, if you wnat your kid to succeed, get it done at home. Rely on nobody but yourself.

The Urban Coalition does in fact advocate for change in TPS. But we get labeled as playing the "blame game" because that is what TPS officials and the Blade want you to believe and it is the way it is reported. Yes, we do point out the problems, but we also identify solutions. Many times TPS implements the solutions but never, ever do they credit us with having pointed out the problem and that they implemented the recommendations. Why do you think that is?

I've been the spokesperson many times for the Coalition and we know that the blame is shared. And I'll start by saying ultimately it is our community that must hold the institution responsible.

And no, TPS does not have the same education system as every other district.

Finally, visit our website at tpsinfo.com and please show me where we have blamed teachers or principals unless they have acted inappropriately. I recently responded to a Blade editorial and defended principals - they have no authority in their schools. We recognize the difficulties they have, but TPS as a whole is a disfunctional organization without processes and systems to recognize problems and implement solutions and onerous collective bargaining agreements that stifle the creativity of teachers and keep principals from being the leaders they need to be and more.

Look at the issue of the MOUs - they have implemented every solution we recommended except for one and I expect it will be adopted as well. We have analyzed all the test and performance data. Pacing guides which the district is saying that they are implementing was identified as a solution for mobility issues by Cheryl Catlin who belongs to a member organization of the Coalition. Few know this because TPS simply does not wish to have our organization viewed as anything but a critic that plays the blame game. Why? If you can destroy the messenger, just maybe the message will get lost.

Finally, TPS is the ultimate "blame game" player. Charter schools, vouchers - you see these issues and lack of parent involvement. etc. blamed all the time for their woes. (TPS is not a parent friendly institution regardless of the PR they put out.) If only they had more money, more parents, more community support, etc. things would be better. TPS officials need to wake up and compete, make their schools "parent friendly zones" and much more. BTW - we recommended that parent resource centers be included in all new buildings - that is not been done!

High school is a tough situation - teenagers are looking for more independence. Parents realize they need to give the kids some space. You see a lot of parents that were active in earlier grades taper off. I was a very active parent and I too was not as active inside the school as in earlier years. However, I did stay in touch and carefully watched for signs of problems. And we do need to encourage parents to stay in touch with their children and the lives they have at school.

There is plenty of blame to go around! We try to be part of the solution, but you can't improve unless you identify the problems and issues and work to improve the situation.

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