has a passion for excellence in
former administrator and teacher, Phyllis Austin has been in the
education field for over 18 years.
In 2001, Ms. Austin founded In My
Shoes, Inc - The National Parent Education Center, a non-profit community educational organization that
serves, supports, and educates parents on education. Phyllis Austin’s
organization helps parents and students to resolve educational concerns
and to achieve success.
In My Shoes Inc. - The
National Parent Education Center
In My Shoes, Inc. - The National Parent Education Center
was founded as an answer to the lack of honesty that exists in Georgia
Public Schools. I like to tell the story that initiated my concerns in
Georgia's education system. These alarms eventually led me to establish
In My Shoes, Inc. - The National Parent Education Center.
After moving to
Georgia, I registered my son in the local elementary school, which I
later learned was considered to be one of the better elementary schools
in the school district. In March, two months later, my son's father and
I attended the school's open house. During open house, my son's teacher
approached us. She was very nice. We sat down and the teacher began
showing us our son's grades, A's and B's. She was very delighted to
inform us that our son made the Academic Honor roll. I remember looking
at his teacher in a state of puzzlement and asking, "How? Why? He
can't spell. You didn't notice?"
Her response was
bizarre, unprofessional, and unethical to me. She said, “Yes, but we
use a whole language approach and he did very well. He's an excellent
student." My response was a very firm, "I don't care what you use; you
are going to create a generation of students who can't read."
When we arrived
home, I sat my son down and jokingly stated to him, "You know you don't
spell well, and you hate looking up words." My son laughed. I told him
that we were going to stick with the standards from his former state and
our expectations are higher than those of Georgia.
One side note:
I never put the bumper sticker on my car. You know that bumper sticker
that reads, 'My child is on the honor roll at ___________ school'.
By the end of the next school year, I had
transferred to another school district to teach. My son was able to
transfer to a school within that district, a school that taught
reading/language arts using phonics.
Unfortunately, this story discloses some
of the problems that plagued Georgia's public schools. They are:
standards and low expectations
2) Grade inflation
3) Inadequate curriculum
4) Willingness to mislead parents about
their child's abilities
5) Willingness to mislead students about
Sadly, too many
of these problems currently exist in schools across Georgia.
The schools my
children attended were great schools according to my standards. Still,
in order to get the most out of the educational system, I had to
supplement their education with additional learning tools and
assignments. In addition, there were times when I had to be persistent
in my endeavors to get the best education possible under federal law.
I have learned that public schools that
succeed in Georgia have great teams. The most valuable members on the
team are the parents. Parents are the ordinary heroes of their child's
success and these schools flourish in spite of a bad 'franchise'.