It’s Not School’s Job To Teach Your Kids

Spend any time around parents and inevitably the quality of the neighborhood schools comes up. One mom complains about Common Core. One dad laments the time spent on standardized testing. Parents go to enormous lengths to send their kids to expensive private schools or jump through insane hoops to qualify for that special public school that everyone wants to get into.

To be sure, this is better than being checked out or indifferent to your child’s education. But there is always a vibe of missing the point to all of it. Because the quality of the neighborhood schools are mostly outside of any one parent’s control. Meanwhile, what is in a dad’s control is often neglected or abdicated. That is: You spend way more time with your kids than teachers ever will. The question is: What are you doing with that time? What are you teaching them?

As always, Barack Obama—regardless of what you think of his politics—was spot on as a dad

Schools can’t do it alone. As parents, the task begins at home. It begins by turning off the TV and helping with homework, and encouraging a love of learning from the very start of our children’s lives…Michelle and I know that our first job, our first responsibility, is instilling a sense of learning, a sense of a love of learning in our kids. And so there are no shortcuts there; we have to do that job. And we can’t just blame teachers and schools if we’re not instilling that commitment, that dedication to learning, in our kids.

It’s not the job of the school system to teach your kid. Not really. That’s your job. They are your kids. It’s your job to care about them. To teach them. To inspire them. To model a love of learning, to introduce them to books, to hold them accountable to their potential. Even the best, most expensive, and exclusive private school won’t be as good at that as you are. 

So do it.

P.S. This was originally sent on November 27, 2019. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”