Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Sundays on Sunday ... for Monday.

Finally. FINALLY a politician has come out and said what needed to be said re: education. It's so simple and full of common sense that I'm surprised it isn't said more often, or quite frankly done more often.

Barak Obama would have my vote (if it counted), based only on this speech, if nothing else. Surely a man who is so practical in this area must be practical in other areas too.

Here's the taped footage..

But for those of you unwilling to watch (oh it's an eye opener alright) - he hits gold at about the 3 minute mark with this gem:

“It’s not good enough for you to say to your child, ‘Do good in school,’ and then when that child comes home, you’ve got the TV set on,”

“You’ve got the radio on. You don’t check their homework. There’s not a book in the house. You’ve got the video game playing.”

“So turn off the TV set. Put the video game away. Buy a little desk. Or put that child at the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework. If they don’t know how to do it, give ‘em help. If you don’t know how to do it, call the teacher.”

“Make ‘em go to bed at a reasonable time! Keep ‘em off the streets! Give ‘em some breakfast! Come on! Can I get an amen here?”

“You know I’m right,”

“And, since I’m on a roll, if your child misbehaves in school, don’t cuss out the teacher! You know I’m right about that! Don’t cuss out the teacher! Do something with your child!”

HELL YES! FINALLY the truth is out. Parents, need to parent. Weird idea I know, but the way I see it is if you have them, then you should raise them. Education doesn't stop and start at the school gate.

I can't remember any time when any politician has made such a statement about individual responsibility - that is, even though it's true. The students I see succeeding are students who:

1) come from money (I don't necessarily mean rich but I do mean they don't have many worries about money for instance; they DO NOT have to worry about the basics, food, water, shelter - and by extension emotional support - yes it's related)
2) come from families that INSIST, hard line, on all those things Obama talks about in his speech.

It's not about catering for gifted and talented children. Or blaming teachers for not teaching properly and thus creating a panic about our test results (for the record Australia has one of the BEST education systems in the world, backed up by world data (OECD - PISA). However the way the media carries on you'd think we were failing). Bottom line is that we need to start being practical about this stuff.

How do we expect kids to learn, if they aren't getting any support at home? Any teacher in the world will tell you that it is a FACT that children who don't get home support by and large struggle. If they don't then they are doing so against the odds. We see exactly how home life helps and hinders children in the classroom. Thinking a child turns the home switch off when they enter a classroom is a mistake politicians have made for far too long when it comes to making policies about in classroom curriculum. This is not the way to improve the way kids learn. We can't ignore the influence of the most important people in a child's life: their parents! It's time a mirror was held up. I'm glad the day has come.


Enough ranting, onto Musical Monday - which takes me back to the early 90s waiting for the school bus on windy spring afternoons with my friend Gil. The bus stop was in front of this charming, well maintained art deco house inhabited by a lovely elderly gent who would always wander outside to chat to the youngsters stepping all over his roses with scruffy black shoes and socks that just wouldn't stay up. One day - and I remember it well for some reason - Gil told me about this band she'd heard about called The Sundays - and they, along with Ratcat were her new favourite bands. I thought it sounded like a whimsical name for a band and later discovered they really were rather whimsical sounding in music as well.

Whenever I hear The Sundays I think of Gil and springtime and how we impatiently waited for the bus every afternoon, and how often I'd just pack it in and walk home instead - stopping every few meters to pull up my socks and adjust the volume on my walkman.

I heard the old guy died not too long after I finished high school. I drove past that art deco house the other day but it was graffitied and condemned. I wonder why no one has bought and renovated it? It's a sad sight and a ghostly remainder from a more glorious time.

Here's Where the Story Ends - The Sundays

Labels: , , , , , , ,