By Yvonne Sam
School is out today, and the verdict will soon be in. Once parents begin to see their children’s grades, the annual passing-the-blame game, regarding the state of our education system, will begin.
Well it is what it is, but in 2017 passing the blame is certainly not a new game, as the system did not just begin its descent.
As a community and as parents, we have sat, in large part, on the sidelines and made petty fuss, although this collision course has been taking place for quite some time.
Regarding the education of our children, do Black parents know the name of the current Minister of Education in their province, and whether or not her/his priority lies with the education of our children?
Believe it or not, but the growth and innovation of this country lies, in large part, with the education of our children.
With all that being acknowledged, there is still a nagging question that we must ask ourselves: what made us comfortable to simply put the minds of our children into the hands of the school system and walk away?
In this regard, we are failing our children.
It is not enough to see only a handful of parents engaging in the education process of their children. It is not enough to see only a handful of parents work with teachers and school administrations in order to guarantee that their children are having their academic needs met.
As a community we must take some responsibility in the education, or the lack thereof, of our kids.
The truth of the matter is that we do see certain things happen in certain schools that we would not dare see happen in schools in other areas. Parents in affluent school districts are always watching and raise hell with the schools. They make sure that the schools’ administrations never forgets that they pay taxes.
It is understandable that some parents have to work exceedingly hard to make ends meet, but we must try to make sure that the children know that you are watching and expecting their best.
In the event of accompanying problems, communicate with the teachers. If the school calls to inform you that your son or daughter is not completing homework, or has disruptive behavior, ignoring the teachers is failing the child.
If you are unable to attend every parent-teacher’s meeting, does not mean that you cannot communicate with your child’s teacher to find out what is going on. This is a community effort.
If we have time for social media then we should have time to deal with our children’s education. Many teachers and administrators can be reached via email (which most of us have on our cellular phones), and will make time to communicate with you.
As a community and people, if we sit back, waiting for the Ministry of Education, or the School Board, to care about the education of our youth, then we have failed them. If we can march and protest their deaths, then we can, in like manner, speak out for them to have adequate teachers and schools that give them a fair shot at a future.
Education of our kids must be a priority, and we need to engage the schools, as much as possible, while setting expectations of excellence for our children at home.
Regardless of your level of education, you must instill in your child the academic discipline to achieve higher than you. No school or teacher should be tasked with having to light that fire in your child.…….that fire should start with you, the parent.
If we will fight for our kids to be themselves, aesthetically, then we must fight for them to be educated, on par with their peers, regardless of the school district.
At this time we are failing our youth; this must change if we are to have a fighting chance as a people.
Aleuta —– the struggle continues.
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.