September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Title:Why you should join the PTA
Original Language:English and Spanish
Blurb:We need and want our schools to serve the children who come ready, willing and able to learn. To help this happen, we need all responsible parents in our community to get involved in their respective schools and advocate for change.
Body:I became a member of my daughters school Parent Teachers Association (PTA) in the hope that I would make a difference. My wife and I worked very hard to prepare our daughter for school. She learned to read and write before she was three years old. We made sure she was well mannered and respectful of the rights of others. We did our job as parents to send a six-year-old pupil to schoolnot a six-year-old problem.
My daughter was lucky to have an experienced veteran as her kindergarten teacher, along with two capable assistant teachers. Collectively, they helped to make our daughters first school year an exciting and nurturing one. It reinforced everything that was started in our home. The disturbing and disheartening thing was the foreboding warning that the following school years would not be as promising. Why? Many caring and concerned people told us that our daughter is a different kind of problem for the school in our communityshes an achiever. They explained how most of the schools budget is spent on reaching underachievers. In other words, if you work hard and do the right thing, the system has no rewards.
Hearing this was a bitter pill to swallow. Wheres the justice? How do we maintain successful schools and communities if the system does not serve its most talented and cooperative members? If we allow the system to chase away the best among us, what do we leave behind? The answer is glaringly evident. We are left with failing and dangerous schools. And we are left with schools dominated by out-of-control children.
Nearly a third of the citys 1,100 public schools are listed as failing. Black and Hispanic elementary school children are failing at twice the rate of white and Asian-American students. The National Assessment of Educational Progress reported in April 2001 that 27 percent of white American fourth graders and 63 percent of black fourth graders couldnt read.
Some experts cite the following factors to account for the low performance of black and Hispanic students: uneducated/illiterate parents; language barriers; poor study habits; and low standards and expectations. But what about solutions? I believe that the first step is to ensure schools maintain a tough standard to ensure students are well behaved. Children must come to school with discipline and respect for others. No school can have an impact on a childs aptitude if the child has a bad attitude. Children with negative and violent behavior will no longer be tolerated. Let these children and their parents be the ones forced to make changes. Our schools must stop placing and keeping problem children in special classes within our schools. Instead, put these children in special schools. The fact is that many of these children are not receiving the proper care in traditional schools.
We need and want our schools to serve the children who come ready, willing and able to learn. To help this happen, we need all responsible parents in our community to get involved in their respective schools and advocate for change. The answer is not running to private schools and paying $500 a month in tuition, nor is it transferring your child to a better school. The answer is in fighting the system and effecting a positive change. That is why I joined my daughters school PTA.