Parents’ failure to impose moral values in the home has left many children out of control, with teachers now expected to effectively raise young people themselves. So says the head of Voice, Britain’s teachers’ union. Philip Parkin says the standard of parenting skills in the UK had suffered from a downward spiral in the last 15 years as generations of poor parents succeed each other. In a speech to the union’s annual conference, Parkin said long working hours and the decline in old-fashioned family structures has contributed to the problem.
“Schools are being required to take on more and more of the responsibilities that rightly belong to parents; and to provide more of the stability in children’s lives which should be provided by families. There is also the perception that, in general, the skills of parents are declining as one generation succeeds another.”
“In my last 10 or 15 years in school I saw a significant decline in parenting standards.” Parkin added. ”The shortening of many relationships, the creation of more step-families, the emphasis on parents going out to work and the consequent perception of the reduced worth of the full-time parent have all changed the way we behave and the character of childhood.”
I could be very wrong, but it’s hard to imagine such a naked critique of “parenting standards” issuing from a responsible U.S. union leader. For all the sturm und drang in the U.S. about accountability and overcoming societal ills, it says something about the overarching consensus on what schools ought to be able to do that these comments sound so, well, foreign.