Do you blame your kid for the failures of U.S. schools?
Preston John Swayze, Jr. believes you can’t blame kids for the failings of schools.
Instead, he says the common thread plaguing U.S. schools may simply be under-resourced.
“Where we need to focus is going to the root cause of the problem,” said Swayze, a K-12 professor of administration at the University of Chicago. “The culture, policies, and practices we use as teachers need to change. Teaching and learning needs to be focused on.”
While a large university like Chicago has deep pockets and the resources to recruit top-notch students from all around the world, Swayze said the trend of sending kids to schools with steep costs and little resources “is the fad of the past.”
“My son is the first in my family to graduate from a college,” he said. “I sent him to school in an inner-city area where he lived 15 minutes from his school.”
For the 12-year-old to attend this highly competitive school was “a major disservice” to his education, said Swayze. “As a parent I would have been outraged if our kids were getting the same education.”
Swayze went on to say many schools were sending high-achieving students from urban centers to rural areas, where “the teachers are underpaid, overworked, underappreciated and undermanaged.”
“To put a fresh pair of eyes on the problem we need to invest in the people who work in schools,” said Swayze. “We need to reward teachers who work hard, not those who merely exist in their job description.”
“Paying more for teachers and reducing class sizes would improve our schools but it’s not our solution. There are bigger issues that we need to address.”
Eric Pinkers is an educator, author, and activist. He is the head of Stanford University’s Center for Children and Families and a contributor to The Huffington Post.