There’s no doubt in most women’s minds: being a parent today is extremely challenging. One of the key factors is the current state of the U.S. education system.
In a recent SheByShe Parenting study, 71 percent of the participating women said that they feel the current U.S. education system makes it harder to be a parent today. These women shared a variety of reasons supporting this belief, many of which are shared below.
One stated, “At least in California, the public schools have lowered the bar so much that I felt my only choice was to opt for private school. When I see high school graduates entering the workforce with shockingly poor writing and math skills, I feel that the school system has failed us. Growing up, I didn't feel that way.”
Another participant said, “Kids aren't number one anymore. Education is no longer our priority as a nation. Teachers are no longer respected by children or adults. My kids are in private school where I have more control over their educational choices, teacher hiring, and overall well-being and focus of the school. Sure I have to pay for it, but it is worth every penny.”
Many women expressed concern over school funding, such as this comment, “I was in enrichment programs and college courses- ‘No Child Left Behind’ has eliminated these programs in our area.”
“I think the school systems are lacking funds to educate our children properly,” said another.
Another women explained, “There were many more extra extracurricular activities available at much lower costs when I was young. No one was excluded due to lack of funds. It gave us something to do before and after school, and during the summer. It made us part of something, and easier to establish our own identities outside of our parents.”
Yet another mother expressed concern for the violence in today’s schools, “They need security or something at schools to protect our children and make them feel safer.”
Another woman said, “There are so many choices and so much competition, yet we still rank low in the world as far as academics. I don't think we try to help the kids whether they are the top tier or bottom tier find the best niche for learning. Parents have a lot to do with it too. Some are entirely too involved, then others do not add whatsoever to the education of their child.”
Several participants believe standardized testing is an issue. Said one, “Teachers seem more hands-on these days. However, I don’t agree that children should spend the entire year studying for standardized testing. They are missing out on other wonderful things that used to be included in the curriculum.”
Another added, “It's not about teaching and learning, but about testing, standards and politics.”
A few mothers commented on parental involvement in education. One said, “The education system is more challenging as well, because more work is required. Parents are saying, ‘Did I do this when I was in that grade?’ Yet, we are expected to help them when we don’t know the subject matter. There are no examples to go by, just do it.”
In a similar note, one woman said, “It's amazing how you send your kids to school to learn but they come home with more homework for you to teach at home.”
Another participant commented, “They can’t deal with hyper kids. They call them ADHD and want them on meds.”
Another mother explained, “School plays a smaller role in a child's life. Parents are busier with two careers. Children are more skeptical and less willing to accept rules. They want to experiment more and push against societal limits.”
One of the participants who feel the U.S. education system doesn’t make it any more challenging to be a parent than when she was a child said, “I actually think the education system is stuck in the same rut it was when I was in school. Unfortunately, parents haven't taken much of the blame for what is happening in our schools. This is one area where parents are the problem. We have so many parents who have totally checked out of the educational system.”
A teacher who participated in this study says, “I am a teacher. I don't see dramatic differences in education since I was a student.”