The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 12, 2013

Carolyn Tubbs, guest columnist: Parents, teachers can improve education together

JOPLIN, Mo. — I agree wholeheartedly with Anson Burlingame’s assessment (Globe, April 4) that hard work could remedy many of the current problems in education.

Let me give you an “insider’s view” to our current educational status. I see two underlying problems: lack of trust among parties involved and taking public education for granted. Communication is the solution to these ailments — communication that is achievable by hard work.

First, lack of trust: From the outside looking in, parents say, “Why haven’t they taught multiplication tables by now?” From the inside looking out, teachers say, “Why can’t they feed them breakfast before they send them to school?” There is obviously a disconnect between the two primary adult parties in a child’s education.

When our country was a more agrarian-based society, parents and teachers knew each other locally. They communicated with each other in town and at church, and they trusted each other. Today’s fast-paced, digital society is much more complex, layered and disconnected, with parents and teachers often not knowing each other — and not trusting each other.

Second, taking the system for granted: In my mother’s day, she graduated eighth grade and wanted to get a high school education. But she couldn’t get her high school diploma because she had no transportation into town in rural Arkansas in 1931. So she repeated eighth grade, just because she liked to go to school. She yearned for a high school education, but it was out of her reach.

Today public education is a given. Education is there for the taking. However, sometimes education is not highly valued because it is so readily available and so ordinary in our society. Several years ago in the Carthage School District there was talk of eliminating advanced placement and dual credit classes. Over 300 parents and students showed up at the next school board meeting to speak up for the programs that they valued. If American public education were in danger of being completely removed, patrons would suddenly rise up and demand it. But, because it so available and free to each family, we expect it to be there and be working well, without our involvement.

So, Mr. Burlingame’s panacea of hard work has merit. The hard work should be at the local level of education — parents and grandparents should make it a point to know their child’s teachers. Teachers should (and we are urged by our administration to do so) contact parents with praise or concern for their students. Grandparents can volunteer to help in elementary-school classrooms with activities; teachers are grateful for a helping hand. My neighbor volunteers at his grandchild’s school once a week to listen to children read. He has told me of some striking experiences. The Lutheran Church in Joplin sponsors a Bright Futures group where members can sign up to volunteer at grade schools. In secondary schools, active parents sell tickets to ball games and help teachers with extra-curricular activities. There are many other such opportunities to get involved with our public schools.

Likewise, teachers should consciously plan for parent communication — emails, phone calls, a post card. They should consistently keep parents in the loop about their child’s experiences at school. As teachers and parents work together, they will gain a trust for each other and will not take the tremendous job of education for granted. Communication builds trust and respect for the hard job of being a parent or a teacher. Parent-teacher connectedness will enhance the mutually inclusive roles they play in the education of their children.

As an observer of human nature, I know that what we do is much more powerful than what we say to young people. If students observed their parents and teachers communicating and working together to understand and improve public education, I know it would be a positive influence on students’ attitudes about and practices of acquiring an education.

Caroline Tubbs lives in Joplin and is a teacher in the Carthage School District.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: Lone holdout

    Missouri continues to be the only state in the United States that won’t allow a prescription drug database to be established.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anson Burlingame, guest columnist: Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years

    Does anyone recall the major economic argument during the 2000 presidential campaign between George Bush and Al Gore?

    July 22, 2014

  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

    Proponents of Amendment 1 — the Right to Farm Act — have not made their case. We’ve met with advocates of this amendment to the Missouri constitution and listened to their arguments, but we don’t believe they have adequately answered the central question: Who is it protecting, and from what?

    July 13, 2014

  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our view: Street smarts

    If your daily commute has been shortened because you no longer have to wait at 26th Street and Connecticut Avenue for a train to pass, thank your own tax dollars.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
Sports