How the Legion Serves…

During the week of the blizzard that hit the Midwest recently, specifically in Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools closed their schools for the first time in over a decade.  I was compelled to bring into perspective this huge occurrence and how many of our children are affected.  I again, went to Facebook and shared, Chicago public schools have not closed down in over a decade…let us put this in perspective…Do you know, when students don’t go to school they maybe in an unsafe environment, cold and hungry when there are school closings? Say a prayer that our future generations in all the areas where schools are shut down are out of harm’s way and have food to eat…”

This topic was a hot button and received 17 comments.  This is a huge concern for teachers who are parents themselves I learned through this thought provoking topic.  Parents are sending their kids to public school and not following up at home.  The majority of the dilemmas that teachers face about doing their job right now is, they feel as both the parent and the teacher.  Teachers did not sign up for this, they want to help students learn and enjoy teaching is their job.

Should we tie the performance of the children to teacher’s pay when we know that some households children are starving and not receiving the proper stimulation needed to be prepared for learning? Should we hold only the teachers accountable just because they are receiving pay from tax payers?

What about the accountability to the parents; teachers are asking? A lot of parents are receiving pay from the government for having children.  Here lies one major challenge.  We know some parents are not as involved and are not as fortunate as some other families and households which leads to a huge disparity between the haves and the have nots.  People are having children and some are not the most literate themselves.

Do you think the government cares?  Or do you think they simply care about the revenue generated from the floundering school system?  What if we did not have a public school system and everyone was responsible for teaching and learning themselves as so many of our ancestors did? Would this solve the problem? How would our country fare globally then?

As public servant in the school system says, “My job is to teach and not to parent and the government needs to step up and hold parents more responsible.” I ask, how?  How are parents to do this, when today some parents came from broken homes themselves and are simply recycling what was taught to them?

The government says they have a solution to the problem: extending the school day and make it year around so the parents are able to shun their responsibility even more onto the school system some say.  I do think this is a good idea though, because if the home is not a safe environment because of lack of parenting then at least we can have a safe place for a child can go to and learn and prepare for the future.

The government also wants to link the child’s performance to the pay of the teacher. Wait a minute! First, we should thank our educators for having the guts to be on the front lines teaching our future and managing the conflict between the government, parents, teachers and school system.  We have to take a moment and thank our teacher’s who really care and understand they are public servants paid by the tax payers of our country and come up with a solution to this problem.

Do you feel education will always fall behind here in America because of lack of support from parents and lack of accountability to our future?  Will this ever change? Are the teachers right? Should the government’s main focus be on equipping parents to become more involved?

How can we build a bridge to support your mission?

Thank goodness for an involved parent to come in and comment on this conversation.  Because, I am not anywhere near being a parent, however, I am a concerned citizen willing to put forth an effort to serve and try to be a part of the solution.

An involved parent had this to say about this topic, “As a parent who is involved, responsible and an active participant in her children’s life I am not taking this personal because I understand the educator’s point. Yes, I too believe teachers/educators are underpaid, underappreciated, and undervalued. So to the educators my hat is off to you!

As a parent I personally feel that the government has gotten overly involved in how a parent raises a child. Hence the longer school days, year round and so forth…. Yes there are students that aren’t safe at home, however this is not a new epidemic and it only gets worse when the adults who are most important in children’s lives don’t communicate and begin to place blame.

The answer: parents call your children’s teacher, check their grades and their homework, reinforce that the teacher is there for a purpose-to guide the education and not to babysit, be berated or a punching bag. Parents let’s teach our children a healthy respect for the educators and the education. Yes I understand you’re tired after working 8-12 hours, but don’t let your child suffer for it, and I won’t even start on the single parent thing…

Educators call the parents back, let the parents know that their children need extra help, work with those who are willing to work with you to see to their child’s education, unfortunately many of you are the first safety line in many children’s life and that requires more, that’s because of a breakdown in the community.”

Want to get involved?  Look for your local American Legion Post, and notice The Pillars of the American Legion at the bottom of their site.  Plug in to the resources available to serve and volunteer.  If you are a person that served in the military, please join the ranks of this organization as a member.  This membership gives us a voice at Congress with close to 3 million members strong trying to make a difference to protect our future and national security.  You are able to join our post, The Paul Revere American Legion Post 623, and help us serve the Chicagoland area.  We are a cyber post which enables us to serve around the country as well.  We are able to conduct training and development through new technology by sharing resources and opportunities to volunteer to help strengthen your community.  This is a huge problem that we need to address.  If you care about your children’s future and society, please learn how to get involved and serve for the betterment of our youth.

Byron Watson is an educator, entrepuneur, and investor currently works as an Adjunct Medical Assistant Instructor, who looks for ways to, “Add positive value to the lives of others, individually, families, and organizations by coaching and training development.”  He is also Sr. Vice Commander of the Paul Revere American Legion Post 623 in Chicagoland. You can email him at and please subscribe to his blog at and receive updates of his journey of, “Adding Positive Value to the Lives of Others.”


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