Parents throughout my city are heartbroken. The local newspaper broke the story on the newest controversy to hit our fair city. There will be no summer school this year due to “budget concerns.” Several parents have voiced their opinions, some citing the need for summer school so their children can graduate with their class, and others claiming the need for summer school because they can’t afford child care over the summer. Now, although I believe summer school is a necessity for some children, it truly isn’t a concern for me and I am not affected by it one way or the other. I hope that doesn’t sound harsh or callous, but here is my reason for feeling that way.
As a former student of and current parent to four children enrolled in the affected school district, there is so much I want to say and I’ll choose my words wisely so as not to offend anyone.
First of all, as working parents, my husband and I haven’t had any of our children attend summer school. Ever! We pride ourselves on staying up on their grades and homework and we’ve always developed a one-on-one relationship with their teachers and the staff of their schools. At the beginning of each school year, we introduce ourselves and our children to the administrators of the schools they’ll be attending and I let them know that I am my child’s biggest advocate, and I will not settle for less than what my children are capable of doing. I know what they are able to do because I take an active role in their education.
Initially, children need to know that their parent/guardian is their first teacher. It is our responsibility to know what it is our children are learning so we can help them when the going gets tough. In fact, I’ve had “tutoring” sessions with teachers so that I am prepared to assist my children when they are struggling with a particular subject. It comes down to this ... parent-to-teacher, and parent-to-student communication is a must! If we, as parents, keep up with what our children are doing in school, that will, in effect, show us what the child’s teachers are doing in school. Our children have 180 days in the school year. With supportive parents and teachers, it makes it easier for them to have a successful year.
Second, I think the greatest injustice done to our children in our local high school is the “credit recovery” program that has been in operation in recent years. (For those of you unfamiliar with that program, in most cases it’s for children who have gone through all four years of high school and have failed one or more classes during their high school tenure and are missing the required credits for graduation. Instead of failing for that year, they are pushed through to the next grade. When the student is in twelfth grade, they are given work that is supposed to bring them up to graduation eligibility.) I never thought it was advantageous to our young men and women, even when my own family members allowed their children to participate so they could graduate on time. Rubbish! It teaches our children to procrastinate in doing their classwork, and to not apply themselves during their high school years ... and, because so many are using the program, it makes the “graduation percentage” high, making it appear that students are doing better in school. (What a racket!)
Third, I pride myself on being a successful parent and I have several of the teachers ’ phone numbers on speed dial and I stay in contact by email. I can say that my children have had the privilege of being taught by some of the best teachers.
That being said, my children will enjoy the outdoors this summer and every summer. My motto is this: If you don’t get it done throughout the regular school year, next year you’ll be an expert because you will repeat your grade. Summer school is not an option for our children, and they know it!
(NOTE: I am not downing other parents who allow it; we just won’t settle for second best.)
Enough said. Have a great summer!