How Poor Parenting Effects Education in America
Long before Common Core there was a menace stalking our schools. It’s still here and has had a crippling effect on student behavior and achievement–especially our Special Education programs. It is not a new problem, but it has metastasized and grown just under the surface for decades. My guess is that almost every classroom teacher in the country has been effected directly, or indirectly, by this problem. It blows apart classrooms, but because of its nature and a discipline philosophy built on political correctness, no one dares address it honestly. It is students who have an “environmentally induced behavior disorder.” Translated into less politically-correct terms, it means “kids who are rotten and out-of-control because they have been screwed up by their parents.”
Children who are coming to school with severe, sometimes unmanageable, behaviors, who have no underlying cause such as a mental illness or a personality disorder are often victims of their own home environments. Poor parenting, or no parenting, is destroying a generation of kids; their ability to learn, get along with others, problem-solve, and regulate their own emotions.
A lot of extreme behaviors are observed in kiddos who have no organic or genetic disorder. They are usually physically normal. But they one common denominator are homes that volatile and stress-filled, and parents fail to care for them, keep them safe, or provide even minimum structure for their lives. Other commonalities are single moms who have serial boyfriends, generational poverty, location instability, drugs and alcohol. Many of the otherwise normal students who display severe antisocial behavior at school are victims of physical, sexual, emotional abuse and/or neglect. Their parents are often poorly educated and lack the skills or the will to find stable work, or become self-reliant. These troubled students may have little or no time with one or both biological parents. They may be fostered, placed in the homes of relatives or grandparents, or all of the above. In many cases they are so stressed, fearful and unsure that they completely lack the security and structure needed to develop emotional self-regulation.
Students who manifest the symptoms of an “environmentally induced behavior disorder” are not segregated by race, region, socio-economic class, or learning styles. Almost every school, in every part of the United States has a population of kids who fit this profile. And the numbers are growing.
The dirty big secret is that these children are ending up in the Special Education “Severe Needs Behavior” programs, either by default or by process, because they are so disruptive and dysfunctional in the general education classroom. Their academics are so impacted by their social/emotional issues that they appear to have learning disabilities, or mental illness, or both. Special education professionals end up tracking and servicing these students at a very high cost per child to the tax-payer. Children in SpEd may have up to 7 or 8 service providers working on their case. The onus almost always falls on the school and educational professionals to provide structure, safety, and social modeling where parents fail. The children of whom I speak are the monster children of monster parents.
The public school system has few effective means to hold parents accountable. Political correctness and the expanding role of schools in feeding, entertaining, and sheltering kids lends to a sense of entitlement among parents. Schools are perceived to be feeding sites, medical clinics, counseling centers, and dawn to dusk day care facilities. Private and charter schools may opt to have parent-school contractual relationships. Since education in America is regarded as a right, schools deal with such children and parents until behavior becomes so severe as to warrant expulsion. And too many times, such children are simply expelled into the street. Their extended families exist in group homes, jails, and rehab.
The answer to this educational problem is easy. Bring back Ward and June Cleaver, and old-fashioned personal morality and responsibility.
Education will not recover until the American family is restored. Broken students are a parenting problem, a spiritual problem, not an educational problem. Until marriage is restored to its proper place, parents put the well being of children first, and God becomes central to personal and public life, there will be no improvement in our public schools.
by Marjorie Haun 3/2/14