Americans blame parents for bad education

A perpetual question in our country is who to blame for poor educational results. A recent poll shows a large number of Americans blame parents:

An Associated Press-Stanford University Poll on education found that 68 percent of adults believe parents deserve heavy blame for what’s wrong with the U.S. education system — more than teachers, school administrators, the government or teachers unions.

Only 35 percent of those surveyed agreed that teachers deserve a great deal or a lot of the blame. Moms were more likely than dads — 72 percent versus 61 percent — to say parents are at fault. Conservatives were more likely than moderates or liberals to blame parents.

Those who said parents are to blame were more likely to cite a lack of student discipline and low expectations for students as serious problems in schools. They were also more likely to see fighting and low test scores as big problems.

Figuring out how to improve education is always a difficult issue to address. I’ve always thought the discussion is compounded by the fact that people feel more control or duty to check on how their property taxes are being used for education. People gripe about paying money to the federal government or the state but when it comes to the more local level and education, everyone has an opinion (and often a solution).

As the story goes on to day, it is not all about blaming: “55 percent believe their children are getting a better education than they did, and three-quarters rate the quality of education at their child’s school as excellent or good.”

A final thought: the next question on the survey should have been: if you are a parent of a child in school, do you blame yourself for your child’s performance? Or do the people who blame parents really blame other parents?

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