"The mass of our citizens may be divided into two classes -- the laboring and the learned. The laboring will need the first grade of education to qualify them for their pursuits and duties; the learned will need it as a foundation for further acquirements." --Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1814. ME 19:213
Early in American history, public education was split into two tracks for the purposes of creating two distinct classes of citizens: industrial workers and cooperate leaders. Although many leaders in the field will deny the continuation of tracking students, the structures are still seen in schools- the investments in sports programs, G/T and Magnet programs, specialized schools, and the underfunded, under performing schools and extra-curricular programs.
For parents and educators, first and foremost, dig deep and dream. Dream and visualize for the benefit, gain and survival of your children. Dream a magnificent future for your progeny and set the expectations that support your visions. Then roll up your sleeves and work. Provide your students with the information and materials necessary to reach your visions, encourage them through the learning curves and struggles that come with acquiring new skill sets. Challenge their teachers to invest in their learning- show up at every opportunity available and pop-up unannounced to show you are concerned about your investment/s.
Never forget the public schools are not here to develop (all) our children into strong, intelligent, self-sufficient individuals- they're hear to produce an obedient labor force. Therefore it's your duty to inspire and fortify your children before school, then check and correct the lies and distortions in your own house after-school. Empower them through images and sounds, smells and emotional connections that awaken their inner genius and spark their resilience and scholarship.
**Note: I encourage all parents to have their children tested for Accelerated Learning Programs, Gifted and Talented, Magnet Schools and Honors programs. These are the programs designated for the children tracked into 'Cooperate Leaders.' Also, involve them in after-school extra-curricular programs whether the ones the school provides or community-related. These are opportunities for social interactions and leadership development.