Should Kids be Challenged in School or Is it Okay to Just Get Good Grades?

I have always thought my kids went to a good school. They have an active PTA that does a lot for the school and provides extra programs for the kids that keeps them engaged.  I am starting to wonder how great the school is when the classroom numbers are so high (39 or 40 per class) and they employ teachers that don’t challenge the kids.

I met with my daughter’s teacher, principal, psychologist, and other teacher this week as I was concerned about my daughter not paying attention in class.  She is medicated for ADHD and it makes a world of difference. Thankfully, she is smart, but does have some behavioral issues at times at home.  She has told me many times that she does her homework in class while the teacher is teaching the lesson and that she doesn’t pay attention during some subjects.  The bottom line is that she is smart and gets good grades so they don’t really care what she does in class because she is not disrupting other children.  She is too smart to sit in the front row where she would need to pay atttention because there are other kids that behavior and/or learning issues that need to be there.  The education professionals in that room told me that they don’t care what activities she is doing in class as long as she is still getting good grades and not disturbing others.  While I am educated and understand that principal, is it okay to still be disappointed that she is in a class where she is not challenged?  Is it okay to only teach to the tests and nothing above?  I am sure I should be more grateful that she does well with minimal effort and no, I do not think she is a superstar or better than most kids. 

While my daughter has never been excited about school or engaged in school, I have had the complete opposite experience with my son at the same school. I know that each child is different and they both learn differently, but every teacher my son has had challenges the students.  I know he has the best teacher at the school this year, but all his previous teachers have been great as well. My daughter has not had any of the same teachers.  This year he has been challenged and encouraged to think creatively with writing, reading, and science.  There have been many collaborative learning opportunities that the whole class was excited about.  The same week that I had the meeting for my daughter, my son had a group science experiment day where the kids were encouraged to work together in small groups and build Rube Goldberg displays and created contraptions that would keep an egg from breaking when falling from ceiling height.

I think kids do better when they are challenged and are engaged in the learning lesson. In the adult world so many of us learn from doing.  We have all been through training at work, but the real learning is from hands on practice and doing it.  It is too bad not all classrooms and teachers are created equal. 

Are your children’s teacher teaching to the tests?  Are they teaching so that your kids get good grades?  Or are they challenging your child and making learning fun for the kids?  Does is matter that the kids get good grades, but are not challenged or engaged at school?





2 thoughts on “Should Kids be Challenged in School or Is it Okay to Just Get Good Grades?

  1. Oh how I could write a book on this. I’ve been extremely disappointed in the education that BOTH of my kids have received, even when one is in GATE. This not only includes elementary school but middle and high school as well. There are California Standards for the Teaching Professional that teachers are to follow and are evaluated on. One of them deals with reaching ALL learners no matter who they are: RSP, EL, GATE, special ed., and regular ed. students (whatever that label means). This doesn’t happen and teachers at some schools are allowed to get away with it. There is sooooo much research, new theory, trainings etc. that I don’t see being utilized in the Yorba/Placentia district. I just had a meeting at Esperanza with the teacher, counselor, and assistant principal because the teacher wasn’t meeting Kaitlyn’s needs. Basically, I am having to put her back on a 504 because the teacher isn’t willing to give her any accommodations. I shouldn’t have had to threaten them with this but what else does a parent do to get a child properly educated? Unfortunately, it is these “lazy” teachers that give the rest of us teachers a bad name and allow the potential of some kids to slip away. UGH!

  2. Pingback: Should Kids be Challenged in School or Is it Okay to Just Get Good Grades? | juliekellerblog

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