We’re All Teachers, Really

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin hit it right on the nose – though he didn’t hit it very hard – in one of his inauguration speech comments about school reform in West Virginia.

Education reform was the key topic Tomblin addressed last week after he was sworn in for a four-year term as governor. He’s absolutely right to emphasize the need to improve public schools.

Though West Virginia has some very good schools, many are failing our children badly.

But schools aren’t the only education problem. Look again at what Tomblin said last week: School reform, he said, “means making sure our school systems have the ability to be innovative, and that means making sure parents become more responsible for their children and their learning.”

The loud slapping sound you heard just after the governor said that was the sound of thousands of teachers applauding.

Now, teachers, principals and other personnel in our school systems are the professionals. They know how to educate children – and often, they don’t get enough credit for that from people who don’t understand knowledge of the subject isn’t enough. Finding ways to get through to children is both an art and a science.

So yes, we need to improve our schools.

But how long each week do children spend in classrooms? How many hours are they are home? And does anyone remember that research indicates the most important years for education are the very early ones, before a child ever passes through the front door of a school?

Bottom line: Are we as parents doing a good enough job educating our children? Are we doing as well as our parents did?

Do we really support schools or merely demand they do their jobs – plus ours?

Unfortunately, the adults who need most to be asking themselves those questions probably don’t care about the answers. It’s their children with whom professional educators really struggle.

But how many of us really care, but for one reason or another aren’t doing our part to teach our children?

Tomblin is right. More West Virginia parents need to become really involved in education.

Otherwise, when we talk about failing schools, we probably ought to be looking into mirrors.

Myer can be reached at: Myer@news-register.net.