Malone: Public schools must return to teaching and let parents do the parenting | Guest columnists | #parenting

Today’s children arrive at school less equipped with life skills. Schools rightfully focus on their needs before the teachers can teach them. Before the pandemic, school districts were feeding 42% or more (and now 100% under federal coronavirus funding) of the student population, providing clothing and special health and food festivals to needy students and their families, hiring more social workers and nurses, spending millions of dollars on safety, and reinstating summer schools. When students are in trouble, parents frequently respond with frustration, or they blame the school for their children’s behavior. Schools attempt to teach and administer discipline, but parents tend to defend the children and fight the disciplinary measures. Instead, some parents prefer to negotiate — with children — over decisions of parental duty.

The children who are doing well during the pandemic either are driven, self-motivated, and/or have strong parental support. Granted, many parents are struggling as single parents. Some parents’ priorities are simply not about the children. Others cannot see beyond their personal or family’s interests and do not accept the responsibility of living in a community.

Today the school, as opposed to the family, is the children’s primary community. Parents look to school events and activities to fill their children’s day and meet their needs. Children look to loving teachers and administrators, social media and friends for affirmation. Unfortunately, the school has gotten to the point that it cannot be all things to students and parents, and it will evolve into a quasi-orphanage.

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