Wow… I wonder what goes through the heads of bureaucrats, that makes them think wasting time on an “I will be responsible for the education of my child” pledge is worthwhile?
The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has recently released [10/2010] their Parent Pledge which—and I quote—is supposed to create “a caring, involved and accountable [public schooled] parent.”
[Update: 12/2016 – After a couple of administrations have come and gone, obviously this important document meant to create a caring and involved and accountable parent… has vaporized from the IDOE website. In fact, a search for “Parent Pledge” returns ZERO hits for the entire DOE IN.gov website. This should serve as a lesson to everyone that anything the government does to help you… is never intended to really help you. Requesting you to, “Sign zee paperzz,” is the first sign that the government wants to hold YOU accountable, not the other way around. PS: How many tens of thousands of dollars were spent on something that ended up being this uselss?]
After rereading the document [view the PDF copy here], I had an epiphany! What Tony Bennett, the State Super of Schools really wants all good Hoosier parents to do … is HOMESCHOOL!
Holy Cow! I couldn’t believe it myself, but it’s right there, all in black and white, ready for everyone to sign and GET BUSY WITH HOMESCHOOLING THEIR KIDS!
But believe it or not, I think this form is a little TOO simple. Maybe it’s written for a certain grade level of adult reading. (What grade level is “Sheeple?) Anyway… Here’s what the pledge is really asking parents of publicly schooled children to do, in a “what they say” vs. “what they are really saying” fashion.
Buckle up! What they “say” vs. what they *mean:
As a parent, grandparent or caring adult I hereby affirm my commitment to the academic achievement and career success of my child. I promise to make the pursuit of knowledge a priority in my household.
* I promise to not abdicate my responsibility as a parent to direct the education of my own children. Therefore, I will not expect any government agency, including public State Schools to raise my children. I will also promise to be the sole arbiter of the definition of academic and career success.
To demonstrate my commitment to this goal, I pledge to adhere to the following principles:
* To demonstrate my newly reclaimed responsibilities as a parent, I will proudly call my child MINE, while gently reprimanding anyone (public school employees, politicians, social workers, nib-nose neighbors) who refers to other people’s children as the collective “ours.”
i.e. “We need to raise everyone’s taxes because it’s in America’s best interest to assure all our children receive the best free government accredited education possible.” (Verbal spanking follows if gentle reprimands don’t work.)
Here are my core principles according to the State:
My child will read with an adult or be encouraged to read independently each day.
* I will read to MY child or encourage him to read on his own, as long as he likes, from books that interest him, each day.
My child will complete all homework assignments given by school instructors and will be encouraged to ask for help when it is needed.
* I will encourage my child to complete whatever project he begins, as well as any work I assign. I will–of course–answer his questions in a timely fashion and help him learn difficult tasks when asked.
My child will arrive at school on time, well rested and prepared for a full day of instruction and learning.
* I will not stress my child with busy-work so he’s well rested and healthy. He will be able to learn at his own pace, with an emphasis on what interests him. Instruction will take a back seat to learning and I will model the difference in our new learning lifestyle.
My child will treat teachers and fellow classmates with respect and compassion. I will make positive behavior the expectation in my household.
* My child will treat EVERYONE with respect and compassion. PERIOD. No matter what the situation, or whom my child is interacting with, positive and proper social behaviors are expected. I will provide models for this proper social behavior by being present in his life as much as possible (acting like an adult) and not expecting other adults to provide this important form of socialization.
My child will graduate from high school and will understand the importance of a strong education in determining future success.
* My child will graduate from high school and be prepared to lead an independent life as an adult. (I have no interest in rearing my children into their thirties. Really.) They will learn the true meaning of success–it is based on one’s character, not one’s diploma–before they graduate. (See next principle.)
I will encourage my child to dream big and always give 100 percent effort.
* My child will learn that 100 percent effort doesn’t always mean 100 percent success. Dream big, but expect to WORK and make lots of mistakes if you want to make your dreams come true. This will provide a balanced and realistic view of the world because there are no self-esteem building programs after high school and employers will NEVER tell you, “Good job!” when you really don’t deserve it. Heck! They will probably only grunt when you DO do a good job. Get used to it now.
I will treat my child’s teachers as a valuable resource and work with them to support academic improvement and classroom behavior expectations.
* I will treat everyone that can positively influence my child as a valuable resource for learning. We will be on the constant look-out for interesting people from whom we can learn interesting things. Our experiences will be broad and diverse because we will socialize with others with broad experiences, age ranges and lifestyles different from our own. By living this lifestyle, I will be modeling proper social interactions for my child. Some people call this “Socialization,” and they are absolutely right. Socialization is best handled in the home by the family. (Thank you so much for returning this responsibility to the home where it belongs! How this would work in a bland institutional classroom with 20+ other children, I’m not sure… but I suppose that’s the school’s job to figure out.)
I will monitor my child’s academic growth and stay as involved as possible in my child’s education. I will let the teacher know right away if I notice any problems.
* I will monitor my child’s academic AND character growth (at home) and then take action right away if I notice any problems. There is no need to notify a teacher, since they are not my child’s parent. Intermediaries aren’t necessary and only delay academic growth, not to mention suppress or counter proper character development. I WILL, however, be sure to notify the school–right away–if I notice my child’s teacher indoctrinating my child with values counter to those of our family.
Together, my child and I, in partnership with Indiana’s educators, will make education our #1 priority.
* Together, our family will take back our responsibility to educate our children and raise them to be responsible and educated adults. We will carefully choose those who are to be in authority over our children. (Possibly including Indiana’s Educators.) And finally, we pledge to make our home-learning lifestyle our #1 priority for our children and our family.
[Addendum: Please provide a similar pledge of responsibilities to the entire teaching staff of the school our child attends. We will schedule a meeting to interview each teacher and witness the pledges THEY sign… just so we know we’re all on the same page. Thank you.]
Yup, sounds like homeschooling, doesn’t it?
*NOTE: These principles were all derived without the use of tax dollars, government programs (or legislation), suggestions from unions, psychological counselors, government employees or state school appointed parent councils. You are welcome.