Education and community comments

February 13, 2008       Editor: Lila McCulley
Mrs. McCulley is a retired teacher from Fieldcrest South

Anyone else notice that when a school team wins a tournament, a sign is posted at the edge of town, but when a school earns a blue ribbon honor it gets trashed online for the world to see?

What is the purpose of Minonktalk? It is a very useful tool for getting information about Minonk--until we get to the comment section. One has to wonder if we need that kind of information. If the purpose is to put our community and school in a poor light--congratulations, we've succeeded! If it's to slam the school and individuals--great job, we did it! Dave's article did what any good editoral does whether we agree or disagree--it got people thinking and talking. Readers began to cross the line with comments attacking individuals either by name or innuendo.

I'd like to address the concerns of Minonk's elementary school becoming a blue ribbon school. Genetics, prenatal care, and rate of development are just a few of the first "contributors" to a child's education. Schools have no control over that! The first and most important teachers for a child are his parents.

Parents provide the stimulus of conversation and experiences that are so necessary for proper development. (Are you aware that some students have to be taught how to hold and open a book when they come to school?!) Parents continue to be the most important teachers for as long as the child remains in their care. Parents help determine a child's attitude toward learning. If Mom and Dad read a lot and are lifelong learners, children value learning. If Mom and Dad have nothing positive to say about school, teachers or subjects in school, students soon make that apparent in their attitudes and actions. (Let's give a non-academic example: If parents hate eating liver, do they serve it often and teach their children to like it just because it's good for them and rich in iron? Chances are, the children grow up knowing they would hate liver without tasting it.)

Now, let's do the math. A parent has a child approximately 1825 days before he sets foot in school. Even allowing for 12 hours of sleep a day, that's 21,900 hours of opportunity for learning. Let's take out another 2000 hours for a parent working a 40 hour week for 50 weeks leaving 19,900. There are 180 days in a school year and assuming that teachers have 6 hours out of the 7 hour school day to work with a child (and that's a stretch, considering time spent on lunch, recess, restroom trips, PE, music, getting into and out of coats, boots, gloves, children trying to find their "stuff", etc), that is about 1080 hours with each teacher. Parents, hopefully, are there continuously. Parents are ultimately responsible for a child's education--most of us knew that when we became parents!

Yes, teachers make mistakes--they are human! Parents make mistakes, too! Parents and teachers must be doing something right in this community for our school to achieve this very big honor! Do we really have to go to a website to put each other down?

NCLB is a great idea in that it pushes for the same opportunities for all children. The frustration is that it is not a level playing field for all due to some of the things I mentioned above (prenatal care, life experiences, home support, IQ, rate of development). It is unrealistic for all students to achieve the same successes at the same levels. It is also frustrating to compare one year's class to another year's class. We should concentrate on each child's growth. But for now let's celebrate that this success was made at the elementary level and hope that as these children move into Jr. High and High School scores will climb there as well.

It's very easy to be nasty, and attack someone anonymously. If you don't want to sign your name, perhaps it shouldn't be written! If you truly believe it...sign your name.

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                                                             Viewer comments on this editorial

re: to to censorship wrote on 2/17/2008 at 15:52:51

well, YOU are wrong. While the PJStar and the Pantagraph have comment sections, they HAVE in fact had people "asking" the newspapers to get rid of them! If you read the comment section (especially when it's a "hot" issue or a death in the community) many people are writing in complaints over the section....I would know because I have submitted a letter as such on many occasions. The reason the comments stay is because the bottom line is that the section brings readers and generates talk, which in turn, brings readers.

to "to censorship?" wrote on 2/17/2008 at 04:49:48

you are wrong! both the pjstar and the pantagraph have comment sections at the end of every article just like minonktalk, and also just like minonktalk you DO NOT have to sign your name! and like minonktalk sometimes the comments are out of line, but you don't hear anyone asking those newspapers to get rid of them?

PTO comment wrote on 2/16/2008 at 07:55:58

The other PTO's have not disbanned...East has a very good PTO that does a lot for the school. I don't know about the other one's but I know they haven't "disbanned"

PTO active at South wrote on 2/16/2008 at 08:29:51

"What PTO?-nothing brought home from PTO??" You must have forgotten that PTO sent a packet home with each student at the beginning of school. The packet asked for room mothers, helpers/volunteers for class parties and for volunteers to help with Market Day. It is the South PTO that sponsors Market Day in Minonk. PTO just started the annual candy sale of Cunningham Candies. Be active in your school. Call and ask the school about the PTO if you have questions or are interested in being involved. PTO is a volunteer organization. Don't fault them for anything, unless you are willing to step up and "walk the walk" yourself.

To Good Editorial wrote on 2/15/2008 at 15:26:32

Interesting. My children have not brought anything home since the first week of school concerning PTO at South....I assumed they disbanned like the other PTO's in the district.

To: To Good Editorial wrote on 2/15/2008 at 14:30:14

Fieldcrest South has a PTO

To Good Editorial wrote on 2/14/2008 at 17:03:10

What PTO?

to censorship? wrote on 2/14/2008 at 07:45:11

Comment sections are great and have a purpose. But even the pjstar and pantagraph won't publish a letter without your name on it

Lila wrote on 2/14/2008 at 06:49:22

Where should a parent go? 1. Go back and ask "what else can we do?" "How else can I help my child?" Unfortunately, because of stricter guidelines from NCLB not every child qualifies for special services. 2. Don't get angry. Once tempers flair, communication breaks down--no one is helped! 3. There is no quick fix! I know many parents and grandparents who work with their child every evening, weekends, and all summer to keep them from losing any progress made during the year.

Good Editorial wrote on 2/14/2008 at 06:02:03

It was a nice editorial. One item I would add, is parents should try to be involved with the schools PTO also.

Heather Peiffer wrote on 2/13/2008 at 09:53:29

That was a very nice editorial and my thoughts exactly.

censorship? wrote on 2/13/2008 at 10:34:39

"What is the purpose of Minonktalk?" you answered your own question with..."whether we agree or disagree--it got people thinking and talking!" and may i add typing?, granted some comments are way out of line, but thats the price you pay for living is a free society where people are allowed to think and express themselfs anonymously though the i-net, in the blink of an eye. i for one believe that the advantages of the comment section of this site, just like the pjstar and the pantagraph far outweigh the disadvantages!

well wrote on 2/13/2008 at 11:12:58

I do agree that parents have to play a huge role in their childs education. However, when a parent is communicating with the school and asking for help and guidance knowing that their child is struggling and not getting help, that is the problem. I understand not all children develop the same and that is why help was asked for. Where else is a parent to go?

Lisa Zimmerman wrote on 2/13/2008 at 10:18:55

What a very informative editorial and respectfully written. Mrs. McCulley, you truly were an asset to the educational field and I am glad that my 3 children were under your watch. Enjoy your retirement, you deserve it. Anytime you feel the need to put things back in perspective, please do. I like the way you come across, straight and to the point.

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