There are many issues about schooling and the education system which parents are concerned about. The intense focus on statistics and results, consequently the narrowing of curriculum and squeezing out of arts and sports, unhealthy relationships and bullying, and stressed out kids along with the rise in mental health issues, to name a few. Not to mention the worry many families face when their child’s special needs are not being met.
For increasing numbers of parents these issues outweigh the benefits of school and they’re finding that through home educating their kids can learn without these damaging effects, families from the special needs community among them.
A recent article in the news illustrates what one parent does here.
However, this is not a choice for most. So what can be done about the issues that parents face within the system and how could they go about changing them?
With social media and the facility of making public our concerns, writing reviews and directing blame, some parents feel that naming and shaming a school is the answer.
But is it really beneficial to use shame as a way of changing things? Will it produce the outcome parents want?
Read some views in this article here.
Everyone’s circumstances are different and this obviously affects how we feel and our reactions; how personal or individual our concern is, whether there are wider implications, e.g. how it affects others.
There’s also the consideration that much of what goes on in the classroom is not the fault of the schools but of wider policies which staff bound by.
Many parents want things in schools to be different but unless it affects them individually are unlikely to do anything about it. However, when it feels like a personal attack on a child and their progress, it is understandable that parents feel angry and lash out often through social media.
The trouble with doing this is that it’s more likely to create bad feeling rather than result in positive outcomes. And there is also a huge difference between asking for change and going on a witch hunt.
So perhaps if you’re driven to follow the trend of #schoolshaming there are perhaps more productive approaches to making your concerns known and move towards change.
Five ways might be to:
- Identify what your key concerns are
- Consider how you’d like them solved – this could be on a personal or more national level – consider what outcome would be beneficial
- Talk about it with others in your community and see how concerns might be proactively addressed
- Discuss this with the school and see what response they have in the first instance
- Consider taking it further to your local MP, education authority or education minister
The whole point of any action we take, which naming and shaming can overlook often being a gut reaction, is to initiate change – either stopping something or starting something new. And the fundamental reason for change is to improve the wellbeing and education of children. It’s important to keep that in mind. Equally it is important that we don’t shy away from publicising things that are wrong so people (and politicians) don’t get away with it! It’s just a question of choosing how most effectively to do it.
For, just as we would abhor the idea of our kids being publicly shamed for their actions, it may be best to consider whether shaming schools is a beneficial way for us to achieve change. And to use social media to create communities intent on positive proactive outcomes, rather than the opposite.