Friday, November 06, 2009

Report Cards from The White House

What did/does your father do for a living?
Remember those school visitation days, when your parents would come to see your classroom and meet with your teacher? …and they always talked about You.

If you were a good student—no sweat.
If you had a few challenges, well you probably dreaded those days.

Imagine going to the same school where your parent was a Principal? That was my father’s desire—he was an Assistant Principal at Memorial High school for many years, and to simplify our home schedules, Dad wanted my brothers and sister and I to all attend that school. (He was responsible for many of the extra-curricular activities at Memorial—had to be at the football games, keeping tabs on the thugs, etc.)
That did not sound like a great proposition to me.

Could’ve been worse: Imagine if your Dad was The President of the United States…and you dragged home a D on Test!

According to The Caucus Blog, President Obama marked the first anniversary of his election this week by asking states to toughen education standards – and wound up calling on parents to toughen theirs, too, revealing that one of the First Kids, 11-year-old Malia, recently got a 73 on her science test.

The President wants to retool “No Child Left Behind,’ and promote his own education agenda, “Race to the Top,’’ – a $4.35 billion grant program that requires states to compete for education money.

Towards the end of his speech, the President went off the page from his prepared text to talk about Malia Obama’s experience in school – a rarity for a president who has tried his best to keep his children’s lives a private matter.

Apparently, Malia, who is a sixth-grader, had come home with a 73 on her science test recently. A couple of years ago, she had come home with a grade in the 80s, believing that she had "done pretty well.’’ The POTUS and the FLOTUS corrected the FKOTUS, telling her that their goal was “90 percent and up.’’

According to the Caucus Blog, the President commented, “So here’s the interesting thing: she started internalizing that…’’ and when Malia came home with a 73 on the science test, “she was depressed.’’ When The First Dad asked what happened, the First Kid said the study guide didn’t match up with the test. So she vowed to study harder.

(Note to parents: Malia did indeed hit the books and came home with a grade of 95.)

The President revealed Malia later remarked, “You know , I just like having knowledge.”

The moral of the story, in the president’s view: “Don’t just expect teachers to set a high bar. You’ve got to set a high bar.”

And Mr. Obama is correct.
Yes, we pay taxes to fund schools to provide education for our kids…but their performance in school is most dependant upon our expectations at home, and our suport of those expectations. There is a direct correlation between your involvement in your child’s school and the education they are receiving, and the level of success and achievement that results.

I would hate to be a school-aged kid with a father who happens to be the POTUS. Dates would not be fun. Just a little different pressure there…it was bad enough for my teachers to know my Dad was a high school principal in the same district. But there never was a doubt about what was expected of us in school at home. That’s where education begins, and it’s the anchor your kid must have in order to learn and accel.

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