BY: John Horvat
Progressive educators have an obsession for results, especially test scores. Higher scores supposedly prove children will be more “career and college ready” after graduation.
For this reason, these educators are forever coming up with all sorts of one-size-fits-all programs like Common Core that they believe will solve the problem of flagging test scores.
Since new schemes are always appearing, it would seem that they are not working. Educators should look at those things that work. If scores are the ultimate indicators of success, then it would stand to reason that any proven method to improve test scores should win the enthusiasm of educators everywhere. It should not matter to educators how the scores improve, but only that they improve. Success should be rewarded by adopting such methods.
However, there are methods out there that are proven to be highly successful … and yet are ignored. Moreover, these are methods that can be immediately encouraged by any school district. Every parent can implement them. Best of all, this can be done without costing the taxpayer a single dime.
The children and their futures must be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.
But these tried and true methods will not be officially adopted by the liberal education establishment because they go contrary to an agenda that cannot be opposed. The children and their futures must be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. The reason: These methods involve the family and moral values.
While it is unlikely that the liberal education establishment will encourage these methods, the good news is that any parent can implement four things that will boost their children’s test scores and make them more “career and college” ready.
The first thing parents might do is eat dinner together with their children. Robert Putnam in his book, “Our Kids,” claims family dining is a powerful indicator of how children will do in school.
He quotes researcher Jane Waldfogel who writes that, “Youths who ate dinner with their parents at least five times a week did better across a range of outcomes: they are less likely to smoke, to drink, to have used marijuana, to have been in a serious fight, to have had sex…or to have been suspended from school, and they had higher grade point averages and were more likely to say they planned to go to college.”
The second thing parents can do to boost their children’s chances for success is to read to them. A British philosopher, Adam Swift, recently claimed that those who read to their children can provide an advantage over those who do not read to them. Professor Swift claims the difference can be “as big as between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t.”
Swift’s solution, however, caused quite an uproar across the globe, since he recommended that caring parents restrict bedtime reading so as not to give their children an “unfair advantage!”
Go To Church
The third thing parents can do to improve student test scores and college readiness is to take their children to church.
Robert Putnam writes: “Compared to their unchurched peers, youth who are involved in a religious organization take tougher courses, get higher grades and test scores, and are less likely to drop out of high school.”
He further states that children whose parents attend church regularly are forty to fifty percent more likely to go on to college than those who are unchurched.
Finally, intense parental engagement in his education enormously improves a child’s future. The involvement can be as simple as asking about homework, or as serious as regular involvement with the PTA. Many studies conclude that intense parental involvement leads to higher academic performance, better social skills and fewer behavioral problems. When parents get involved, children perform better and go further. Even the schools themselves become better places to learn.
Other methods in the same line might be cited, but these four should suffice to start heading in the right direction.
Sadly, big government solutions call for education schemes that focus on test scores through massive programs like Common Core. The liberal education establishment also insists on pumping more money into failing schools despite evidence that shows that school finances, including teachers’ salaries, do not figure significantly in determining school performance in any schools—good or bad.
What determines a great school is the state of the students’ families. It makes sense since the family is the primary educator of the child. When the family breaks down, education is not far behind. The government can never substitute for the family.
Good education policy should be directed toward improving family involvement. And while government cannot force people to have good families, it can point them in the right direction.
Above all, it should not promote curricula that are hostile to the traditional family. It should free subscriptioninclude classical works that have long success in transmitting perennial values that have always helped children succeed in life. Schools should not be testing grounds for politically correct ideas that undermine the family and social order. Education should not be turned into a testing numbers game.
If there is to be a return to order in education, then it must focus on the family values that work and not the test scores that distort.