A school is not a place where a number of classes are thrown together in the interest of efficient maintenance and collective transportation. All functions within a school, across the grades it services, are interconnected and essential. In order to be able to function as a single unit with a cross-pollination of ideas and interdependent and cooperative services, the school develops policies, rules and regulations.
Parents are expected to be supportive of the school, supportive of the administration and faculty, supportive of its policies and to be fully engaged in the educational lives of their children.
TO BE SUPPORTIVE
In other words, in order for its educational programs to function properly, a school must be governed by a set of principles and regulations which eliminate chaos and confusion and introduce order and administrative management. Sometimes these rules may seem arbitrary and unnecessary; sometimes they may appear to be unmanageable and even counter-productive and sometimes they are true “out of order” but we cannot allow every parent to choose which rules they like and which to ignore.
None of this is to say that there isn’t a better way to achieve order than the policy which the particular school administrators choose to follow. What it does suggest is that unless and until the school administration can be persuaded that there is a better way to make a mousetrap, parents are obligated, in the interest of the school’s success, to follow school policy.
TRUST SCHOOL PERSONNEL.
There may be many considerations of which only the official might be aware which may, in fact, disqualify the idea and they deserve the benefit of the doubt. Let us accept as fact that school personnel are people who care about children; that is why they do what they do. Even when it is necessary to discipline a child an administrator or teacher does so because he cares about the child’s welfare along with that of his friends. School officials are human beings and they are not infallible but they are well-meaning professionals who know what they are doing. Parents must develop trust in both the judgment and the intentions of their child’s school officials.
RESPECT FOR THE SCHOOL AUTHORITY.
Educators deserve our respect and admiration if only because they are dedicated to an essential profession without which our society has no future. More accurately it is a calling, one which makes great demands but does not reciprocate with equal benefits. How nice it would be if parents would go out of their way to show the normative respect they show to other professionals, to the teachers of their children. The benefits that accrue to respectful parents far exceed that of the teacher and the children will learn from their parents to value the educational process much as they value its practitioners.
There is nothing wrong with maintaining a healthy scepticism about professional decision-making processes which affect our children. That goes for health practitioners as much as does for educators. We all need to question authority from time to time and make our voices heard about the things we care about, but we need to maintain perspective. I don’t think anybody doubts that the teachers are well intended; it is their professional expertise which is sometimes questioned. After all, the argument goes, we all work with children and we all know something about education since we were all subject to the process at one time. But, we may not lose sight of the fact that it is the professional educators for whom educational issues are daily bread and butter.