Not Enough Parents Care
In a recent conversation with an elected official, he made the comment, something like, the Legislature responds to screams, not cries. The outcry has to get volume and erupt into screams for the legislature to even notice. As disappointing and exasperating as this is, he’s right. I’ve complained about the apathy and ignorance, but citizens don’t complain enough, or loud enough to get the “powers-at-be” to act. In some cases, the screams are about the wrong topic. People are more concerned about transgender bathrooms than about this State’s abysmal education ranking. They scream about the spider on the floor while a chainsaw killer is standing behind them.
This focus on the wrong topic is not be accident. Both Republican and Democratic leadership enjoy these little strolls down Topic de Jour Avenue, it keeps the masses from focusing on the other policy issues that continue to plague the nation. The news media won’t report on these policy travesties and the general public doesn’t have time to watch hours of podcasts or various news feeds. While some news aggregators try to filter pertinent news, it is a tough gig.
Unless focused, the general public is unaware of these policy failures.
As I have made clear, I think it is great to see parents involved in education, but there are not enough of them. The video shows a packed house. The packed house may have two or three hundred people (and this is best case). If the school has a one-thousand kids, that is about a quarter of parents that care enough to show up. The reality is most of those parents rarely participate, or haven’t before this most recent flare-up. It is an anomaly. Parents will stop going to school board meetings, they are boring, perfunctory, and very time consuming. I have never been on a stake-out, but I’ve watched enough of them on television and attending school board meetings is similar. Hang out, bored to tears until something stupid or exciting happens.
The big difference is you don’t get paid.
Legislatures everywhere are trying to make changes, but it is tough. The bureaucracy fights them, the unions protect the teachers, and any attempt to change the status quo is met with fierce resistance. Most of the students are getting a good education. The policy works. If a minority of the students refuse to participate, it is not a reflection on the whole population. In this scenario, a few bad apples don’t spoil the bunch. For the most part, this is correct. Students that want to learn, in most schools, can learn and the parents who are involved will ensure their child has the desired options.
A minority of school aged children grow up illiterate. They can’t read, do simple math or understand a basic contract (as has been discussed in prior blog posts, an apartment lease is often dozens of pages long). They are often in trouble with the law. They believe society owes them something or has wronged them in some way. They seek an easy scapegoat, it is not uncommon, it is human nature. The problem is exaggerated when society must care for them or suffer the wrath of their discontent. Both are expensive and can be avoided.
But it takes more parents to scream for legislative change.