By Derek Maul

It’s been 10 years since I left teaching, but I still write commentary on education. This month I’d like to share the following “Top-Six” list.

1. Education is the parents’ responsibility: When I taught middle school I had kids seven-hours a day, five-days a week, 180 days. That’s just 14.4 percent of the year. Parents are not only responsible for the other 85.6 percent, they’re also responsible when their child is at school.

2. Education is the parents’ responsibility: Kids learn all the time. The question is, “What?” If education is valued at home, that reality shapes a child’s disposition. Likewise honesty, kindness, respect, tenacity, commitment and more.

3. Education is the parents’ responsibility: This is for our lawmakers in Tallahassee. We understand your frustration, politicians; we realize you can’t go inside homes and make parents do the right thing (and we’re so glad that you can’t). But that’s no reason to make teachers’ lives so difficult! Listen, this is important: “Making teachers miserable may help you feel like you’re doing something. But it only makes things worse for the kids. So stop it!”

4. Education is the parents’ responsibility: (We get it!) Schools are still set up according to the industrial revolution factory model. Schools are, to some extent, sausage machines. But your child is an individual! This means the enrichment end of the equation – the museums and art classes and piano lessons and trips to the Grand Canyon and Scrabble games and novels and long discussions over the dinner table etc. etc. – are (you’ve guessed it) the responsibility of the parents.

5. Seize the day: School is important. But it’s only a small part of raising a child. Every moment has the potential to be a teachable moment. So teach already! Don’t wait for someone else to educate your child.

6. Include god: Parents don’t have to educate alone. Dedicate your family to God. Be invested in a faith community. And make sure the most solid truth your child learns from you is a faithful, committed relationship with their Creator.


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Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at