Catherine, mother, grandmother, student @ Gwinnett Tech, GA

What role do you think school should play in achieving a 'good' life?

The school is vital.  One of the jobs that I want to do is to work as a parent-teacher liaison.  I think the two need to talk more.  There’s a breakdown in communication between school administrators and parents, and I think the children are suffering because of it.  I think parents are intimidated by the school system.  I see that people are being reactionary instead of being proactive regarding the children’s education.  They wait until something goes wrong. 

There needs to be an ongoing dialogue between the teachers, administrators and parents.  Everyone needs to do their part and communicate to understand each individual child’s gifts and talents and what they are interested in. The school system is too textbook sometimes, like they want to make a one size fits all for children.  That’s not going to work because we are blessed in America to have diversity and different cultures here. 

We also need to close the communication gap between cultures.  We need to talk across cultural lines.  Everyone needs to be talking and focusing on what’s best for the child because they are our future. If we don’t do it now, the cycle in our society where we are seeing a lot of violence and negative citizenship is going to continue. 

And the school can really help.  There’s a lot of power on both sides but it’s a power struggle—between parents, the government, administration—and it’s just a mess and it’s failing.  We’re all suffering because we won’t get rid of our biases.  We won’t simply sit down to communicate and talk to each other.  Instead, we need to starting asking each other “What is it that you need?”