The Education Gap

No Child Left Behind, the federal legislation that spends billions of our tax dollars is predicated upon the existence of an education gap.  The mandates in the law are to close that gap . . . or else.

But ask any teacher and he will surely talk to you about the importance of the student’s family in his educational success.  While it is not news, the interaction between parents and their children is one of the greatest predictors to student success.  Many formulate this in how much a child is read to at home.  Yes, reading to children is important.  But so is talking to children.  It seems common sense, I know, but my adulthood has been a lesson in that common sense is not as common as one might think.

It is easy to take a hard traditionalistic line on such matters.  If parents don’t/won’t care for their children, why should I, as a taxpayer, be responsible? I am not hear to dispel that line of thought.

But I will relate an observation I made on Wednesday morning . . .

I dropped Beetle off at her school.  I walked her into her classroom, spoke briefly with her teachers, leaned over and encourage my little girl to have a good day, and then kissed her.  I turned to leave.  Beetle rushed toward me and asked for a hug.  I picked her up high, kissed her, and told her I loved her.

While all this was going on, one of her classmates looked on.  I have learned about this girl previously.  She does not come from a home like ours.  Her parents did not come on the field trip last week.  This little girl stood right behind Beetle and looked at us longingly.

I don’t know what was going on in her head, but it is easy to project that she had not seen a parent take this kind of interest in a child recently.  That is easy for me to do for I see such children about six years later.  The gap is present in fourth grade; it begins long before that.

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