By SSG James Miller, Assistant Center Commander
US Army Recruiting Center Knoxville
As a parent I am deeply involved in my children’s education, and like other involved parents, I am concerned about the direction our education system is going. The big talk these days is about the Common Core State Standards. I am a proponent of the these standards, so long as they are implemented in a way that truly benefits the child. Let me explain why: We are a military family, and so, we tend to relocate on a regular basis.
We have lived in several states, and each time we move, we struggle to adjust to new educational requirements. Without naming any states, my children have gone from being at the top of their class to the bottom simply by moving to a new home. I have also seen the reverse; my children have actually had to repeat the previous year’s curriculum when relocating to another state. It is because of these reasons that I can support the concept of the Common Core State Standards, and I am extremely hopeful, as a parent, that when Common Core is implemented we will have learned from past mistakes like these.
If Common Core is implemented to benefit the student and not the school, then I support it one hundred percent. Unfortunately, like state testing, I fear our education system could become focused on simply passing these tests and not teaching our children. Here is where it is important for us as parents to take responsibility and action. No matter what is decided on the Common Core, we need to get involved in our children’s education. The schools can only teach so much. So, we, as parents, must teach our children to reach out and learn more on their own, and we must also provide them with the additional education they require.
There is a phrase, “Knowledge is Power.” In order for us parents to empower our children, we need to provide them with all the knowledge we can. Even everyday tasks can become learning experiences. Take, for example, simple chores around the home. In my previous article I talked about my children working on gardening. The wonderful thing about everyday tasks is that they can easily be connected to more involved ideas and lessons. While my children are working on gardening, they are also learning about plant science. If they are cooking, they can also learn about health and good eating habits. The possibilities are infinite.
For me, the most important take-a-way from all this is the need to be fully involved as a parent in the development of our children. The proverbial saying goes, “the children are our future,” and if we do not participate along with our educational system, then our future could become bleak. It is time to step up and not only be a parent but also be a source of learning for our children.
SSG James Miller is a 24 year veteran of the U.S. Army currently serving as an Army recruiter in Knoxville Most importantly, the father of two wonderful children and husband to a great wife.