Friday, April 24, 2009

Poor Schools Or Being Poor Are Not Holding Your Kids Back: your poor parenting skills are — turn your family on by turning your TV off

Now that I have your attention, let me start by saying that urban schools are not without their challenges: in-effective school boards whose members are more politicians than educators, unqualified or barley qualified staff, teacher turnover lack of funding, etc. And yes, these things need to be fixed. However, despite these challenges, most public schools, even those in the inner-city, do a good job given the task at hand: educating children who come through their doors with a host of issues that should have been resolved at home: lack of quality medical care; hunger; depression; domestic violence; child abuse; alcohol or drug abuse by family member; family lack of priorities, especially for education; lack of productive male role model; etc. The way I see it, these schools are being asked to be mom, dad, counselor, pastor, doctor, dietitian, motivator, and teacher—all rolled into one. And folks, that simply just can’t be done. Government cannot fix all the ills of society. Parents, you need to get involved! One way to do this is to get family back focused on each other by turning off the television.

The average U.S. household has at least one TV set turned on for about seven hours a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics' recommends that a child watch no more than one to two supervised hours of TV a day. Yet the average school-aged child watches 27 hours of television per week (some preschoolers watch much more). And most of the time, they are unsupervised by a parent or responsible adult.

Here’s an interesting fact. Did you know that kids today spend twice as much time in front of a TV or computer as in the classroom? Children spend about five hours watching television, playing computer games or online each day—that’s 2,000 hours a year! Yet, they only spend 900 hours in class and 1,270 hours with their parents.

Do you allow your kids to watch this much TV or stay on the computer this long?

Did you also know that much of what your child is watching is intended for adults and that TV shows contain approximately 20 violent acts per hour?

Do you supervise your children while watching TV or using a computer? You should.

I also found the habits of parents in other countries interesting. Japanese kids watch about four hours of television every day, yet they continue to outscore American kids on all standardized test. Why? Japanese parents not only monitor but control what their kids watch. Japanese parents tie television watching to homework (i.e. watching more educational shows and the completion of homework before watching TV. Wow, there goes that parenting thing again—and it didn’t cost any money.

Chinese children are not even allowed to go out with friends or watch television on school nights—they to school six nights a week. They are expected to be responsible, work on their own, do their homework, and do well.

You see, it’s all about priorities. We must make parenting, education, and saving a priority in our families. Parenting is not just something you do because you had kids. You should have had the kids only after you knew you wanted to and were ready to be a parent. While public schools have their share of problems, I contend that too many of our children come to school ill prepared to learn and expect schools to fix these problems. Mark Michaelis in “The Seven Big Problems In High School,” summed it up this way:

"In the 1940s a survey listed the top seven discipline problems in public schools: talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, getting out of turn in line, wearing improper clothes, not putting paper in wastebaskets. A 1980s survey lists these top seven: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, assault. (Arson, gang warfare and venereal disease are also-rans.)"

After reading this, do you still feel public schools share much of the blame for your child's lack of academic success? If so, would you please tell me why?

Keep this in mind; over the course of a year, children spend more time watching TV than they spend in school or participating in any other activity except sleep. If one of these kids is yours; you need to reset your priorities. So, the next time your kid reaches for the remote or the laptop, give them a book instead. Better yet, read the book with them. After all, if your kid is not doing well in school, it’s your fault.

Do you send your children to school ready to learn?


SweetIceT said...

You really hit the nail on the head - and I know the truth hurts.

I am the product of public education (through high school), and I have completed both undergraduate and graduate degrees and have been blessed with a very successful professional career for more than 20 years. My parents were average, middle-class people. My success is as much attributable to the foundation laid by my parents as to my own efforts.

I am a former educator, and much of the failure I witnessed in the inner city public school system certainly was more attributable to a severe lack of parental involvement. I taught junior and senior high school students. I was always amazed - and dismayed - when I had to call in parents for a conference, and a 14-years-old's mother would say, “I just can't control her. Besides, she's your problem when she's here.” Parents, if a teacher calls you in for a conference about your child's behavior or academics, it is your problem!!

Parents, you need to set boundaries - your children really expect that.

Parents, you need to set the example - consider all the alternatives. You should be afraid, very afraid.

Parents, you are not supposed to be your child's Homey, Pal, BFF, Girlfriend, Buddy, etc. But that doesn't mean you are a Dictator. You should not have to rule your home through fear and intimidation.

Parents, you can buy the material things your child needs (and some of material things they want), but you can't buy love or respect. You have to give both unconditionally, and you will receive it abundantly. More importantly, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are raising responsible, self-sufficient, respectful adults.

Parents, you need to talk with, not just at or to, your children. They want and need to be heard, and you should take the time to listen. Your children need to know what you expect of them. And most importantly, your children need to know that you love and believe in them.

I'm no parenting expert, but I certainly can share the lessons, values, and the morals that my parents imparted on me which I continue to holdfast to this day. The impact of good parenting does last a lifetime.

Iam Robert said...


It's nice to hear from you, a former educator, who was actually in the field. I have had the opportunity to speak with teachers, counselors, and principles in many schools and the complaints are always the same: lack of funding, lack of qualified teachers, but most important, lack of parent involvement and student preparedness to compete in the classroom.

Parents play a critical role in EVERY aspect of a child's (and therefore adult's) life. It's high time we put the emphasis and blame if necessary, where it lies.
Thanks so much for your comments!

RiPPa said...

Being of West Indian descent, and having attended schools abroad at an early age, I must say that there is a huge difference culturally when it comes to the education of children.

Education is important, and though it is expressed as such in this country, many parents fall short on the followup. You're right, there are parents are not involved with their kids academically as they possibly could or should be.

However, it is my belief that you get what you pay for. So, in spite of what you've pointed out above about parenting, there is still a need for reform within the educational system.

The cultural differences in approach to education is astounding. I want to say that Americanism or the ideal of "being the best in the world" has been taken for granted by many.

Iam Robert said...


Welcome Back!

According to the USDA, 7.0 percent (8.3 million) of U.S. households had low food security in 2007. Food insecure household is defined as a home that sometimes times during the year, is uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.

You see evidence of this right here in Georgia. For instance, in Augusta, local officials are noting that more kids are eating the school lunches, instead of bringing their lunch, because the food is not available at home. Martin says 90-95% of the kids in all of the schools eat school breakfast, and 90% eat school lunches.

Children who come to school hungry come to school with low energy levels and don’t perform as well as kids who eat a healthy breakfast.

Family dysfunction is also hampering our kid’s academic performance. The 2000 U.S. Census cited more than 60 percent of all American children are from divorced families and 72 percent of American homes harbor someone with a sort of addiction.

So yes, K-12 schools and some universities do need overhauling. But as we saw in Decatur GA. (incompetent and corrupt School Board led to loss of accreditation), change within a school system only comes when families, strong families, get fixed, get together, and get involved.

You point on cultural differences in education is right on point. One of the things I noted in doing this post was the difference in academic performance and business ownership among native born African Americans and immigrants. Children of immigrants tend to do much better in school. But there are differences there too—immigrants who tend to come from better classes in their home countries tend to do better than those immigrants that didn't.

My question is: what will it take to turn our black families on, turn them around, and get them to address the issues facing them? In this instance, the schools that serve them so poorly.

Anonymous said...

I agree. As an educator I experience the lack of importance and motivation with education from most of my parents. I enjoy the challenge of shaping young minds to their fulliest potential. I just wish that the parents be just as passionate and outraged at mandatory "school uniforms", as when it comes to the lack of funding and eventual removal of programs like PE, Art, and Music from the curriculum. We as educators face an overwhelming task as it is now, not having the parents on the same page makes it just that much more complicated.

Iam Robert said...


Thanks so much for joining in! Your insights as an educator have definitely helped shape the focus of the discussion. You mentioned that parents get a little hot under the collar about school uniforms. Three questions. First, are these mainly minority parents? Second, what are the "hot button" issues for parents? Finally what issues should concern them?

Check back in!

Anonymous said...

In the words of Leland Mississippi Alderwoman Marla Brooks, We are not going anywhere. We are not going anywhere. Stop! Stop! We are not going anywhere. Leave us alone. Leave us alone. We haven’t done anything wrong… They are doing us wrong. There is a bunch of racist evil black integrationist Niggers up in here that’s doing us wrong.

I can’t speak for Hispanics. But if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Low graduation rates among Negroes have nothing to do with the absence of married mothers and fathers in the home. But here is the thing. Negro males and Negroes in general aren’t integrationist. And the low graduation rates among Negro children are a clear and present rejection of that philosophy. Let’s be real. The so-called educated integrationists Negroes don’t represent the interest of the masses of Negroes i.e. the children of a Negro mother and Negro father etc. They represent the interest of mongrels, the children of a white mother and a black father etc. And the educational system gives credence to that philosophy.

The dirty little secret in the United States among the so-called educated integrationist Negroes and their collaborators has been exposed. Under the guise of indiscriminate love for everyone, they seek to annihilate the “ugly” black faces of the original Negro in the United States via education, interracial marriage/sex, and outright genocide. And it’s promoted by fostering institutional advantages to black mongrels etc. thereby encouraging the original Negro to loathe his physical appearance e.g. Michael Jackson. History shows us how the original black Egyptians were annihilated because of their failure to reject a similar educational system. It was used by internal and external enemies of Egypt to transform original black Egyptians into mongrel Egyptians.

Using low graduation rates as the evidence, the original Negro males in the United States absolutely reject the leadership of the so-called educated integrationist Negroes and the enemy educational system they impose upon their families. But all is not lost. What a fantastic job our first “black” educated integrationist President of the United States, Barack Obama and Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates are doing with their children.

Iam Robert said...


First of all, this forum is for those who can communicate on a higher level than spouting racial epitaphs of others who do. Second, I highly encourage you to read my post "The Top Ten Things White Men Are Afraid of, But Shouldn’t Be."
Finally, about the only thing I agree with you on is that our President and his first lady are doing a fantastic job running the country and rearing their children. They are also doing a wonderful job of rearing their children, as so any other African-American families are doing each and every day.