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Cartoon: Experts' Role In Fixing Failing Schools

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I believe the environment a child is in assists more than anything with the learning experience. Having positive influences from teachers and peers during the school hours and beyond those traditional hours go a long way in helping shape the way a student learns and grows.

Let's see now, how many examples are there of an enterprise with inadequate service that improves by blaming its customers?

Parents should not be blamed for failing schools. It is, however, realistic to assume that a child with two highly educated parents in a stable home has a good probability of outperforming his peer in a low-income, single-parent home. These examples are not outliers. Almost every study on educational outcomes controls for the socioeconomic status of each child because it has such a large influence on academic and behavioral outcomes. Good parenting is hard to quantify, but is an undeniable influence over a child's performance in school and beyond. Let's face it. Some parents have the time and the means to provide the best out-of-school tutoring and activities for their children while others must work a second job late into the night and their kids grow up in day-care centers with poor nutrition.

Further, public schools cannot operate like businesses. They cannot carve out of the market their preferred clientele. On the contrary, schools are responsible for the abilities of all students to master their "products", regardless of background. At some point, students themselves must take some blame or credit for their actions in school. If a student refuses to come to school for 100 of the 180 days, the school is still responsible for testing that student as if she had been there 180 days. If a student rises above her circumstances to excel in all her classes, a big part of that achievement belongs to her (and perhaps also to her parents!).

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