A public apology to public school students

I received this e-mail today from a regular Get Schooled reader and thought it was worth sharing.

Maureen, I have been an avid reader and occasional contributor to your blog for quite some time. Recently, the tone of the bloggers has become quite unsettling to me.  It appears that many of your readers have taken an “us vs. them” mentality in the discussion of public education.  Although anger and frustration surrounding educational issues are understandable with a weak economy and an apparent lack of leadership in the political and educational arenas, there is no reason to shortchange the people for whom the educational system was established.  I am, of course, talking about the students.  With that in mind, please allow me to share this letter to the students in public school systems.  Feel free to use the letter as you wish.  Erase it.  Print it out and burn it.  Whatever you want to do with it is all right by me.  I feel better just having written it.

Dear Students,
I am writing to apologize to you for the failure of my generation to give you adequate preparation for life beyond high school.  Unfortunately, there are many well meaning, but misguided, adults who have handicapped you in your quest for a meaningful and productive life.  Your parents, teachers, administrators, and political representatives have let you down.  They have decided that you are simply not worth the effort it takes to prepare you for the future.  Please do not take offense to this; as I stated earlier, they did mean well, but they forgot to put you and your needs first when it came to your education.  I will address the failures of each group individually in the following paragraphs, but please accept this blanket apology for all concerned as the heartfelt sentiment it is.

I have opted to structure this apology according to the level of importance each of these groups holds in your life, so, obviously, your parents must come first.  These are the people upon whom you rely for the most basic of human needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.  They are also very instrumental in providing moral guidance and civic awareness.  Unfortunately, many of them have fallen short in some (if not all) of these responsibilities.  They have delegated these responsibilities to the state.  They have failed to provide you with adequate nutrition, warm clothing, and safe housing.  They rely on programs such as Aid for Dependent Children  to do what they fail to do.  Furthermore, they do not provide good examples of parenting skills for you to follow.  Unfortunately, decades of research has shown that you will also fall victim to the trap of dependence on the state when you have children.  By the example they are setting, they are promoting the same inadequacies in basic human needs for their own grandchildren.

Many of your parents do not actively participate in their communities.  Choosing instead, to ignore their responsibility to elect the officials who represent them and make policies which have a direct impact on your lives.  They make inadequate excuses for this behavior such as “It doesn’t matter who wins; they are all crooks anyway” and “I’m just not interested in that stuff.”  Their lack of participation will guarantee that your needs will not be considered by those elected.

As a final insult to you, many of your parents will not teach you right from wrong.  You will grow up thinking that anything is all right as long as one does not get caught, or, if caught, does not get punished. Your parents are the most important adults in your lives and many of them have failed you, and for that, I offer apologies from my generation.

Your teachers have failed you as well.  Many of them have become complacent in their jobs.  They no longer fulfill their responsibility to educate you, but have chosen to provide you with an easy way out.  They do not wish to “rock the boat” when it comes to your education.  They refuse to demand excellence from you in the classroom for fear of reprimand or losing their paychecks.  They believe it is far better to maintain the status quo than to be seen as one who challenges his or her superiors, so they let you slide by.  Thus assuring that you will be unable to compete academically with your counterparts in the global economy.  Many of them simply do not care whether you gain any skills under their tutelage and, for this, I apologize on their behalf.

The administrators at your schools have also let you down.  Many of them have forgotten their responsibility to support you and your teachers.  They have decided to play political games with your education.  Some have practiced dishonesty in representing your needs to their superiors which assures that those needs will not be met.  Many have practiced nepotism at your expense: promoting relatives or unqualified friends to work as their underlings and further impairing your educational opportunities.  Some have even misappropriated funds provided for learning materials, such as textbooks.  For their failures, I apologize to you.

Finally, your elected officials have failed you.  They have failed to provide adequate compensation for those people in the educational community who really do care about your future.  They have failed to hold your parents, teachers, and administrators responsible for their misdeeds and enact legislation which would give you an “adequate education” as mandated in many government documents including the constitution of the state of Georgia.  They have eliminated restrictions on the number of students in class.  They have diverted tax money from your education.  Many of them have refused to allow their children to attend school with you, opting to send them to private schools instead.  This will give their children large advantage over you when you leave high school.  They do not have a vested interest in your success, and, for that, I apologize on their behalf.

Students, I wish you well.  I know you are capable of great things in spite of the failures of these adults.  You have my apologies but not my sympathy.  Sympathy breeds resignation to one’s current circumstance, and that is unacceptable!  You must rise above the circumstances forced upon you!  There is no other choice for your survival!  And you will not only survive but excel despite these failures and frustrations!  Good luck to you, and I look forward to the remarkable achievements you will make during your lifetimes

Signed, Fred

PS.  If I have offended any adult who reads this letter, please be aware that there were no absolutes used in its composition.  I opted to use the words ”many” and “some” rather than “all” or “every.”  Therefore, if you are offended, you must be one of those discussed in its body.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

84 comments Add your comment


February 23rd, 2011
11:29 pm

The difference in schooling here and in Georgia continues to amaze me. We had the parents meeting at my kids’ school last week. Everyone, teachers and students alike, are held to the standards of an internationally recognized curriculum, and there is no wiggle room. I thought it was completely refreshing to speak with teachers who were not afraid to “offend” parents or to hurt my kids’ precious self-esteem by pointing out their areas of weakness, as well as areas of strength. Of course, since they came from Georgia public schools, although supposedly “good” ones, they are behind their peers. But they are catching up: when you demand the best–and mean it–students rise to the challenge. My children are getting a truly world-class education. How many parents with kids in Georgia public schools can claim that?

Georgia seems to grow ever-more developmentally delayed. Like the writer of this article, I could not stand working as a teacher in Georgia. The low level of education (even in so-called “good” schools), the hypocrisy, the demands to conform to utter mediocrity, and, for me at least, the constant battles with parents, especially rednecks and republicans, over standards just got to be too much. I will never teach in Georgia again, but the even-better news is that my children will never attend a public school in Georgia again.

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observer of this place

February 23rd, 2011
11:59 pm

Well-written. That being said (and if you feel this strongly), get in the fight. Goodness knows that this is such an emotional issue, but it is easy to judge from the cheap seats. Please be careful in the future when you decide to throw stones.

agree but

February 24th, 2011
12:10 am

I agree but….
Put it in a different order…
1. Parents
2. Politicians
3. Admins
4. Teachers
This puts it in the order of power that is able to make a change.
I might also add a catagory of society which pushes he with the most toys wins forcing 2+ income families….a society that says year round sports beats education everyday….a society that says everyone must go to college and all work is not valuable and a society that wants great everything but wants to pay for nothing.

another comment

February 24th, 2011
2:27 am

So is the Fred = Sanderson. By the way Maureen. My 16 year old is fretting over all ove the work that is due on February 28th at Midnight via e-mail, and then a hard copy turned in in the Morning of March 1st. Thank goodness for the New Board members in Cobb County voting to get rid of the balanced calander. She was not assigned this major paper in Honors World Lit. until the Friday before the 1 week February break, that we lost two weeks of Summer vacation over. Then to hand it out on Friday and make it due via e-mail on Monday night by 11:59 P.M. with a hard copy turned in by Tuesday class. That is absolute, utter crap!!!

What really ticks me off about this is that my kids really didn’t get a vacation vacation on this break, because their uncle died, after being sick for 11 years. Then my cousin’s husband was killed in a motorcycle accident in another part of Florida. As my daughter asks How am I suppose to concentrate and write a paper on what was suppose to be our break, when we have had two deaths in our family in the last week. To make things worse in the same class, they had a major group project due the Wednesday before break. My daughter and two of the group members spent all of Saturday and Saturday night working on the group project. The 4th member was suspended from school for smoking pot in school.

It is complete BS that High School kids were given major projects over this break. We weren’t given them in college and I went to top 20 Universities outside of Georgia.

Deal’s plan for a 3.75 GPA is also screwed up. It needs to only count for those coming in, as the grades vary too much from one school to another. Also my child got screwed when she got the Swine Flu, because “B’s were fine. I objected, to them saying that she was an “A” student, but they would not give her a tutor and she was sick and missed 7 weeks of school. They need to get rid of the Hope Grant, 63 Semester’s that is 31 hours of Welfare Queen’s working the system. But what do you expect when members of the Legislature own and default on the Meth Motel in North Ga.

You shouldn’t get a Hope Scholarship if you only get a GED. That is not fair, when you say othe the other hand now you have to have a 3.75 to get the whole Hope Scholar Ship, but you are stil going to give out Hope Grants for 63 Semesters. Are they nuts!! The best and brightest will be gone. It is virtually impossible to maintain a 3.75 in Architecture or Engineering in College. I graduated 5th in my Class in College with both an Architecture and Engineering Degree. I was also the President of a Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. As President of the School’s Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, I saw all the GPA’s of everyone in Architecture and Engineering in a top 20 rated School of Architecture and Engineering. I was 5th and had a 3.3+ GPA, not very many people in these degree majors even had a 3.0 GPA in fact less than 10-20% of the class. So on your Resume you cited your class rank and if you were in Tau Beta Pi the engineering Honor Society, the top 10% Junior year and top 20% Senior year of the Architecture or Engineering Class. The Drop out rates of Engineering 101 classes are over 50%. I could have been a 4.0 in another major.

GA taxpayer

February 24th, 2011
2:33 am

Maybe the students need to apologize for not trying harder in school than they do. I know too many students who don’t want to put forth any effort at all in school and are disrespectful to every adult. They think that everything revolves around them already and that they should have anything they want just because they want it.

David Sims

February 24th, 2011
2:41 am

The apologizing writer is well-intentioned but clueless. Cheating and deception weren’t APS preferred methods for making AYP. If it had been possible to educate their many black students to the necessary extent, then APS would have chosen to gain their recognition and awards honestly. Yes, even Beverly Hall. The decision to cheat was the result of a risk-benefit analysis. Either accept the consequences of a persistent, irremediable failure to make AYP, or else cheat and accept the risk of discovery. We all know how many schools in Atlanta chose.

Even as APS was cheating up black students’ scores on the CRCT, those same students probably were hitting their own intellectual limitations in their school work. Removing the cheating didn’t remove those limitations. So, really, it wasn’t the cheating that let down those students. It was their genes. They are in a culture in which the expected level of intellectual ability is more than most of them have.

Beach High Teacher

February 24th, 2011
3:05 am

I agree with GA Taxpayer. While schools may be perceived as bad, colleges still have record enrollments. More kids succeed through school compared to students who fail and drop out. We focus too much on the ones who dont commit the effort and develop the discipline to succeed. We never say “hey, lets look at the successful kid and show the unsuccessful one ways he/she could improve.” It’s simply blame blame blame now. Kids dont become unsuccessful overnight. It happens over a period of years, teachers and schools. The one constant is that student and his/her effort. Stop blaming everyone and take steps to empower these kids through their own effort. If they refuse to prepare for the future ahead, it’s on them, not the system.


February 24th, 2011
5:15 am

One more apology should have been included, for parents; the ones who care and try to make changes to their kids behavior. I’m referring to the mom in Florida who had the department of family and childrens services called on her for possible abuse. If making your child wear a sign (about lack of an education)is emotional abuse, we are in a much more serious educational crisis in this country than we admit.

The true definition of abuse would have been if she had done absolutely nothing to bring attention to his problem.

An apology to students for the many in society who chose to use abuse as a standard for any form of punishment they don’t agree with.


February 24th, 2011
6:02 am

I don’t disagree with the letter, but like GA Taxpayer, I’d reorder the letter a bit, and I’d also add the Georgia DOE (maybe they are considered politicians?) for making students, parents, and sometimes even teachers think that students are “proficient” when they are far below grade level, and for making them think they “exceed” when they are just (and sometimes just barely) at grade level.

Yes, that does promote mediocrity or worse.


February 24th, 2011
6:05 am

@observer: Actually, I have lifetime platinum seats to watch the disaster that is public education in Georgia. I can assure you that they did not come cheap.

@another comment: I think you are an example of the problem. The poor English teacher probably has around 200 students this semester and is trying his or her hardest to balance multiple conflicting, irrational demands, as well as dealing with pains like you. And here you are, complaining and whining about how unfair it is to your child—and probably demanding and expecting all sorts of time-consuming remedies. Of course, we all know that your child is so special and should not be subject to the same rules as everyone else. What if the little darling doesn’t get the free college education you are convinced she deserves? I’m not sympathetic at all.

Bryan in South GA

February 24th, 2011
6:07 am

How should the students who received this apology respond?


February 24th, 2011
6:10 am

Amen! Collectively, the adult generations are failing our students. Individually, though, we’re each either part of the problem or part of the solution. Right now, the problem people are winning. For those that want to be part of the solution, what can you do TODAY to improve our public education? For some, it begins with a simple decision to feed your children a healthy breakfast, put them to bed early, and get them to school on time. For others, it means asking what grant request can you write for your school. For administrators, can you be a positive light of peace and strength today for your faculty? For teachers, can you focus on what’s working in your classroom today rather than what’s not? Can you add one “out of the box” activity today that might spark a learning revolution in your classroom. Part of this issue is changing our perspective to see what’s working. In other cases its making shifts in the small things that collectively contribute to a negative school environment.

Here’s my small good news…my most difficult class of students (who all have the potential to be our future dropouts and criminals) ALL scored A’s an B’s on a difficult integrated math test. I made a few small changes in my teaching method with this unit and saw results. What can you do today to be part of the solution?


February 24th, 2011
6:14 am

Fled, to which Utopia have you flown? Please do add the kids to the list of those who fail, those who are responsible for the poor choices they make. Try everything, always do your best and work hard, because there is no good luck without adequate preparation. If we call home to talk with your parents about your complete and utter apathy, your surly and combative attitude, and work shirk, and they choose not to intervene and work cooperatively with your caring teacher, then we can start to kick that can on down the road.

God Bless the Teacher!

February 24th, 2011
6:18 am

“but they forgot to put you and your needs first when it came to your education”

Is that why I’m at school by 5:45 each morning to plan, alter plans, and prepare for students who would rather play video games or text their friends until 2:00 AM than do homework or study for a test?

Fred, I agree with most of what you said but ALL participants in the educational process have to be of the mindset that education and preparation for competition in the global economy (whatever that truly means) is a top priority. Unfortunately, too many of our students (public school and, I’ll even bet, private school) are incapable of seeing beyond next week and the impact decisions made today will have on their futures. Adults may “preach” it to them, but there really is no context in most cases with which they may connect what is being said. What they DO hear is the enabling drivel that they are not at fault, and that adults should be doing more for them, and that “failure is not an option.” Reality check – failure IS an option! Until students realize this and understand that “success” is not going to be handed to them by all of the adults who bend over backwards for them each day, they will NEVER fully evolve to a point of self-sufficiency in any context of their lives. Heck, there are many adults who fall into this category!

drew (former teacher)

February 24th, 2011
6:31 am

Yeah, this is a great way to foster responsibility in students…let’s lay the blame on everybody else and simply apologize for all of them. Students…It’s not your fault! It’s your parents, or your teachers, or your administrators, or your community, or your elected officials…so don’t even bother trying to raise yourself up…there’s just too many others holding you down. (end sarcasm).

I STILL believe that any student that REALLY wants a decent public education can get one. Is it the best education money can buy? Is the quality of said education the same for all? No, but it’s there for anyone who has the desire to get it. The last thing most students need are apologists for their failures.

And “another comment”:
I am so sorry that your child had to work on a project over the break. I simply cannot imagine the unfairness, the inconvenience, the HORROR, of having to work on a project over the break. And to think you could have been a 4.0 (in another major)! Geez…want some cheese to go with that whine? Bwahhh!!!


February 24th, 2011
6:41 am

Fred has overlooked personal responsibility in his letter of apology. Certainly there are many problems in our educational system in Georgia. And more money will not solve these problems.
Students–especially middle school and above– must take responsibility for their own actions in school. It is no one else’s fault if a student does not study and pay attention in class. School age children should make the choice to behave in class. Parents should teach good behavior and self-control, but even if they have not, students need to take control of themselves in schools and other public settings. By high school students are more than capable of making decisions that set their course and goals in life.

Many adults have come from challenging backgrounds and have made the tough choice to focus on getting a good education even under rather adverse circumstances.

Taxpayers should be demanding better use of our education dollars but we should also demand more for those we are investing in. We should insist on substantial reform in our school systems that shifts the focus to a vigorous education of our youth. We need to insist on better use of the money we have for education rather than demanding more money that will simply go to waste. And we need to find a way to teach our young that the ultimate responsibility for their education does lie with them.

Dunwoody Mom

February 24th, 2011
6:57 am

An apology? It appears to me just another insult, slap in the face to our public school students.

usually lurking

February 24th, 2011
7:12 am

@Dunwoody Mom – I’m with you, just more piling on…


February 24th, 2011
8:00 am

I am with you Dunwoody Mom!

The writer offers an apology and yet continues to ridicule, scorn, and point fingers … we wonder why our kids are so screwed up. They are learning from the adults.

Sadly, this is just more of the same! :(


February 24th, 2011
8:14 am


February 24th, 2011
8:17 am

Awww…I think Im gonna cry.


February 24th, 2011
8:22 am

Count me as another Dunwoody Mom supporter.


February 24th, 2011
8:42 am

And how exactly is that letter an insult to public school students?

Moving Fast

February 24th, 2011
9:06 am

out of DeKalb. My son will graduate this year with a degree in elementary education. He had wonderful teachers at Oak Grove Elementary and there involved parents. He loves working with kids and spent the last two semesters tutoring Title 1 kids who had never had anyone read to them before they entered kindergarten. My son now sees how much we gave as parents to prepare him for school by teaching him to listen when others were talking, how to be polite and behave in public. He must now teach children basic lessons on behavior. He is teaching children how to recite their ABC’s and recognize them and count to ten. How can teachers do their jobs in most public schools when 1. they cannot choose their students and place them according to ability. You need to place students on their readines in the same class so you can provide extra help to those who need it and not bore those who are prepared. 2. they do not have the resources and support they need. I told my son he can teach anywhere in the US but DeKalb or APS. The mess our school systems are in at this time is due to a lot of racial politics, nepotism and corruption. The same admin is still in place even with Lewis gone. There have been no positive changes. The resources that are wasted in legal fees is just too sad to think of for long. I vote. I work for candidates. Doesn’t seem to do much with the structure of the school board. I write letters and articles and with the structure of the school admin, I feel they go right into the delete box. How do we make positive changes in DeKalb? I think we need to recall the entire school board, tell Lewis to get his own damn lawyers and stop wasting our students education resources due to poor leadership.

V for Vendetta

February 24th, 2011
9:09 am

I agree that the order needs to be different, and I agree that the students themselves should have some share of the blame for this. It is no secret that education is a path to success. We just pretend that it is.

And I agree that “another comment” is a moron.

Tad Jackson

February 24th, 2011
9:21 am

Good morning, all … and while we’re at it, let’s not forget the part-time and full-time school employees—in addition to the teachers and principals—who take care of our children during the school day …

1. Bus drivers
2. The school nurse
3. The receptionist
4. Guest lecturers
5. The lunch ladies
6. The building maintenance fellows
7. Parent volunteers

There are whole bunch of good folks involved in our kid’s education as well as supporting their basic needs, too. Teach well!


Tad Jackson

February 24th, 2011
9:25 am

And museum tour guides! When you’re having a coffee pot-induced “teacher’s break” they can be real helpful, too!


February 24th, 2011
9:39 am

The letter has some truth to it. Sure, the students have to be accountable for their actions, to a point. Why do you think the law doesn’t consider you an adult until age 17? Why? Because most kids don’t understand what “reality” is. They will have plenty of time as adults to indulge in reality. Adults are responsible for children and for at least attempting to direct them down an inspiring path. I push my children to do their best, and they have their rough days, just as I have mine. But as my five year old son said to me yesterday “when you fall down, you get back up and keep going”.

That being said, one thing I can tell you, kids learn by watching, and observing. Whether it is TV, teachers, neighbors, or their parents, they learn how to deal with the world and how to treat each other. So while we are all yelling at each other about how “my tax dollars shouldn’t pay for your child’s education”, or when we are insulting each other’s intelligence and work ethic, or how the politicians show where there loyalty lies (which is with their salary and their special interests), the children are watching and learning. We as adults must do better to care for each other and of those around us. Not necessarily monetarily, but at least by showing some human decency and respect one another.

If we as adults show and reflect by our words and actions, that we could care less about the children’s education, why in the h e l l would they give a d*%n?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

February 24th, 2011
9:47 am

Students in GA public schools need my generation’s attention and encouragement much more than they need our apology.

P.S. THANK GOD for our conscientious students, teachers, staff members and administrators who
work hard every day out of public view and absent public recognition.


February 24th, 2011
9:54 am

@Fred maybe the state of Georgia should apologize for allowing teenagers to dropout of high-school at 16 years of age. What happens to these kids? They can’t get a job, heck there are plenty of adults who can’t find a job. I went to a public school in the sixties and the seventies quitting school although rare was frown upon, your peers or your family did’nt make it easy for you and they should’nt have, but today when the going get tough they dropout. Yes there is plenty of blame for the state of public school education , but lets start with the main culprit , the state of Georgia itself , dropping out should not be an option, why don’t you elected officials put that in your pipe and smoke it.


February 24th, 2011
9:59 am

As a teacher I follow all the rules handed to me by your elected officals. (I say yours, due the fact that my elected officals all come from the same political party that I neither support nor vote for) I teach the standards that they have developed. Remember, the only two parties are the Dems and Repub. Teachers have little say in what and how they are to teach in this state. STOP blaming us, the teachers for all the issues in education. I prefer you blame the Unions!! since there are none in this state then no one is offended.

James Palmer in SE ATL

February 24th, 2011
10:02 am

I feel Fred’s exasperation. I feel it, and I have expressed it in similar terms on this very blog. But then I am also a parent and community leader who is committed to building new relationships and partnerships in southeast Atlanta between local schools and nearby neighborhoods. There are a lot of parents just as engaged–and these parents represent all segments of the socioeconomic/racial population. We are exasperated, yes, but still working and talking and commiserating. We will continue to meet with our elected officials and our APS administrators. We will continue to be permanent fixtures in the halls of our local schools. We will continue to find ways to channel the public’s disenchantment with public schools and elected officials in a way that is constructive. Why? Because we have no choice! We love our neighborhoods and neighbors here in SE Atlanta. We’re committed to staying here we want our local institutions to work for ALL of our neighbors/families/children.

So, Fred’s apology–while cathartic and well-intentioned, should serve to further inform parents and community members just how vital community engagement and investment is relative to schools. Community disinvestment in local schools is a part of what got us here. I would invite Fred to turn this energy towards many of the local efforts to engage our local schools. Find out when PTA meetings are and attend them. Attend local HS sporting events and ask for tours of local schools when school is in session. Encourage neighbors without children to serve as mentors to local youth and to become involved in local churches. This is not the time to give in to our despair. If there ever WERE a time to roll up sleeves and get to work, this would be it. Frankly, we need all hands on deck.


February 24th, 2011
10:07 am

@Bryan in South GA: students should respond by agreeing and apologizing for expecting entitlement for everything in their life. The students should pledge to try harder and accept more responsibility for their actions. Lastly the students should vow to be real parents to their future children, and not their bff.

I do agree that they major apology should come from parents, followed closely by politicians.


February 24th, 2011
10:11 am

No, no, no. Its the parents that should be apologizing for failing the children, their children and their community. Its all the blame game with the parents and The CBC.

” If there ever WERE a time to roll up sleeves and get to work, this would be it. Frankly, we need all hands on deck.”

Nice rhetoric but nothing will get done.


February 24th, 2011
10:13 am

Bottomline. The Parents dont care.


February 24th, 2011
10:15 am

From James Palmer’s post:
“So, Fred’s apology–while cathartic and well-intentioned, should serve to further inform parents and community members just how vital community engagement and investment is relative to schools. Community disinvestment in local schools is a part of what got us here. I would invite Fred to turn this energy towards many of the local efforts to engage our local schools. Find out when PTA meetings are and attend them. Attend local HS sporting events and ask for tours of local schools when school is in session. Encourage neighbors without children to serve as mentors to local youth and to become involved in local churches. This is not the time to give in to our despair. If there ever WERE a time to roll up sleeves and get to work, this would be it. Frankly, we need all hands on deck.”

I live in Cobb County and I second that.

James Palmer in SE ATL

February 24th, 2011
10:23 am

@Dr. No…

Sorry but you are wrong. Please come to some of our community meetings in SAND (second Thursday of every month at Bulah Heights Bible college on Berne in Ormewood Park. More and more parents are committing themselves to a renewed effort. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. It’s not rhetoric. It’s a reality–and things are ALREADY “getting done.” We could use your help. Certainly, you care enough about schools to (frequently) make your opinions known on this blog. But I wonder whether you are as committed to a real effort? If so, we’d love to have you participate.


February 24th, 2011
10:24 am

@Dr NO ~ Please don’t group all parent’s together. I know I care and I know majority of the parents around me care. Even if the parents don’t care, you can. It is in ALL of our best interest to show all the children around us how to be outstanding citizens and caring human beings.

Atlanta mom

February 24th, 2011
10:25 am

What a load of crap.
I haven’t seen a paint brush that wide–ever.


February 24th, 2011
10:34 am

I think what people don’t understand is that this is a problem caused by a permissive society that teaches our children how to get OVER the system by taking short cuts rather than through working hard. I am sick to death of getting papers from students that are copied almost word for word from the internet. I am tired of students who think I am supposed to spoon feed them and make learning “fun”. I am not an entertainer, I am a teacher. When I was in school, method didn’t matter because learning ITSELF was fun.







We are headed for a “Mad Max” world. If we don’t get a handle on our kids CHARACTER, education will be the least of our worries. We need to get back to passing down the American CULTURE of OUR childhood (those of us over 50).


February 24th, 2011
10:55 am

@Chuck I agree with everything except the church part, forcing religion on someone especially children does’nt sit well with me. Sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior have all been link to 21 century churches its in the news as of late all the time, besides churches are to busy becoming political and invading consenting adults lives.

Mom who disagrees

February 24th, 2011
10:59 am

I have sent two kids through a pretty mediocre public school system in Georgia. My oldest was a National Merit Scholar who is now a lawyer, my middle child will graduate with a 4.3 gpa, made a 2200 on her SAT and attended the Gov’s honor program. They both worked hard in school, made the most of the opportunities they were given. Their teachers adored them, their school system recognized their accomplishments, and all along their father and I stayed on them at all times to work hard and excel.
Could they have gotten a better education somewhere else–yes, I’m sure I could have paid for a private education or moved to a different school system–where the TEACHERS and ADMIN would have been similar, but the STUDENTS and PARENTS would have been different. My kids made the most of what they had and they are fine because their father and I made sure that they were were motivated intrinsically and extrinsically to exceed. We stressed the value of education from early childhood, stressed the importance of hard work, respected and supported their teachers, and demanded results. You get out of education what you put in.
I offer no apologies (and I hope you won’t either) to the students and parents in our schools systems who coast along thinking teachers have magical powers to instill learning in students who sit passively and take no ownership of their own education.

2 cents

February 24th, 2011
11:07 am

instead of all this crap

go back to what the founding fathers wanted:


we have forgotten why an education is important


February 24th, 2011
11:16 am


It isn’t whether or not you CARE. I’m sure most parents LOVE and CARE for their kids. The problem is that most parents are too worried that their kids won’t like them and be their BFF. Parents are no longer in charge of the household. Their are too many “your, mine and ours” households and everybody walks around on eggshells trying to avoid stepping on the “steps” toes. We have lost sight of what is important and spend too much time trying to appease our kids rather than parent them.

This is rapidly becoming a lost generation and nobody has the guts to do anything about it.


February 24th, 2011
11:24 am

Ashley, I’m afraid that you are 100% wrong about church. You are using the oldest copout in the world. Since there are imperfect churches out there, I’m just going to avoid church altogether. That’s part of the problem I’m talking about. Instead of doing the work…and sometimes it is HARD WORK… to fix things, we throw our hands up and just give up.

There is no such thing as a PERFECT church. BUT, the vast majority of churches are doing a decent job of teaching the values of faith. Is there a possibility that you may be hurt by a church? Sure. My suggestion is to go into it with your eyes on JESUS and not on man. Man will let you down, but HE IS FAITHFULL.


February 24th, 2011
11:26 am

Right On, Mom!!!

Extremes make me scream...

February 24th, 2011
11:26 am

Many of you who want to blame the student is the exact teacher the author was referring to. You missed the point. A community where the adults stand up will influence that lazy child that want to play video games all night. Because the adults have not stood up, you get what you get in the performance of the children.

Just a Thought

February 24th, 2011
11:34 am

A student’s response:

I know that my parents are poor examples. I know that they don’t discipline me, care enough about my education, or spend quality time with me. That is why I act out in school or withdraw myself and shut down. It is also why I don’t try as hard as I should in school. I know I won’t be challenged at home.

I know which teachers really care about me and which ones don’t. Even though I complain most abou the ones who challenge me and love the ones who let me get away with being mediocre, I still know that the hard teacher really is the better teacher.

I know my administrators stink. I can tell by the way they talk to the teachers over the intercom or how they always take my parents’ side (which is really my side) in parent teacher conferences. This is why I continue the negative behaviors in school because I know I will get away with it.

I know the politicians don’t care. The biggest sign? I NEVER see them in my community doing anything related to young people. They only care about adults with money.

So thank you for emphasizing what I already know. Since I am young person with limited life experience, do you know some adults who can actually do something about this?

Georgia Public School Student

William Casey

February 24th, 2011
11:48 am

I remember well the “Nation at Risk” educational study published in the early ’80’s. Have we addressed the problems identified almost thirty years ago? Our nation slep-walked through the rise of Totaltarianism during the late 1930’s. We are similarly complacent about the problems of education today, consumed by our personal miseries. We mobilized 1941-45 to the level of meeting the task-at-hand and defeated the immediate menace. Do we believe that the same ad-hoc, frenzied approach will work today?