The American education system has been taking some serious hits recently. In an article entitled What Our Education System Needs Is More Fs, Carl Singleton suggests that students are merely attending class, but do not complete an acceptable level of learning. Teaching levels are of low quality and impersonal in nature with an emphasis on passing the students from their classroom to the next without ensuring their level of learning meets the minimum requirements. By a widespread issuing of Fs, we as a society must look at the cause and effect aspect this will produce.
Giving Fs will not solve the problems Singleton suggests, but create new ones. Society must be prepared to deal with the results of more Fs by understanding how it affects the family, student, and schools themselves. As part of his argument for sending home more Fs, Singleton feels that this would force parents to take time out and help children improve their grades. Many parents do not play an integral role in encouraging good study habits by allowing their children to watch television as opposed to doing homework.
By sending home Fs, this would force the parent to address the issue, take away privileges, and become more active in the education process. According to Singleton, the responsibility of failing children belongs at home with the parents. It is a noble idea to have parents spend more time with their children and a core value that many politicians promote, but the reality of this situation does not always leave enough room for parent involvement. Singleton must realize that the majority of school-aged children are products of single-parent families, multi-family households, or dual working parents.
The report card in the mail with a barrage of Fs will only create a hostile environment between the parent and child. The over-worked, over-stressed parent will yell at the child and could potentially discourage the childs willingness to work harder on achieving better grades. As mentioned earlier, this is the cause and effect issue at hand regarding parents and Fs. Assigning Fs does not leave total responsibility on the parents. This would also force principals, school boards, and voters to come to terms with cost as a factor in improving our educational system.
Singleton suggests that with the reality of failing students will come the obvious need to spend more money in bringing these students up to a passable level. One way or another, says Singleton, they will learn the material. School systems across America are in need of additional funding to run a program that is adequate for todays students. Keep this in mind next time you answer your door to a neighbor kid or your friend in the next cubicle over asks you to buy some candy to help support the school programs.
When you start to send home Fs, the school board becomes aware of problems in the school system, but so do upset parents who contact their district council members. Before you know it, the school is on the 10:00 oclock news for having children that do not meet the minimum standards of education. The reputation of the school is at stake. Yet again, cause and effect of Fs as related the school systems. Lets also consider the adolescent child who struggles with daily personal battles of trying to fit in. Social pressures are beyond what adults can really understand.
True, we have already traveled that road, but to an adolescent, this is new territory where self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-efficacy dominate their total existence. Giving an F to the child and holding them back from their peers who advance to the next grade level will only destroy their personal value system. Take it even further and consider the anger and embarrassment the child will feel from his family. I am sure that a small percentage of parents will see the F as a warning flag and will be prompted into action, but not a large enough percentage to deem the widespread giving of Fs as a solution.
I do not mean to say that we should continue to pass students who do not meet the standards to save face, but that careful consideration should be enforced with a student who doesnt meet the standards. This calls for more awareness at the elementary levels. Perhaps we should reduce the number of students per teacher, address the overpopulation issues many school systems face, or provide more direct attention to students who show signs of struggling through the assignments. By encouraging parents early on to be proactive in their childs education will also reduce the amount of failing students that just get passed through the system.
Finally, a reevaluation of the teaching styles should be addressed. We need teachers who will motivate our children, challenge their thinking, and tap into their creativity. As previously stated, giving Fs will not solve the problems Singleton suggests, but create new ones. Society should be prepared to accommodate childrens needs of education by supporting the education systems, the family, and the students. We need to focus on the big picture of not failing our students, but help them learn. Until we reach that level of understanding, our students will not be deserving of the Fs we will.