Everybody is talking about education. Is anyone listening?

Marian Wright Edelman (Children's Defense Fund)

"Incarceration is becoming the new American apartheid, and poor children of color are the fodder," said Marian Wright Edelman (Children's Defense Fund)

Over the past few weeks Georgia has been the epicenter of education debate, hosting some of the most notable — and controversial — voices in the field today.Speaking to the Georgia School Boards Association in Savannah 10 days ago, historian Diane Ravitch urged, “Don’t stand by and let politicians tear down a public institution that has been the foundation of our democracy for 150 years.”

Reminding the audience that more than 90 percent of Georgia’s students attend public schools, Ravitch, author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System, ” said: “We must improve those public schools. We must not pretend those children don’t exist while we are creating more choices for 2 [percent] to 3 percent of them.”

Following her to the podium was a politician, Gov. Nathan Deal, who won applause with his pledge, “We have to restore the joy of teaching to our teachers. And that means diverting away from the concept that everything hinges on a CRCT score.” (If that sounds familiar, it’s because Deal, the candidate, said much the same thing to the same group last year in Savannah.)

Last week, the National Charter Schools Conference brought 4,000 charter school advocates and a pantheon of national figures to Atlanta, from former President Bill Clinton to Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke to the conference attendees from Washington, telling them, “I think one of the most insidious things that’s happened in this country over the past couple of decades has been the dumbing down of standards for children. In far too many states, including the state I come from, Illinois, we have been lying to children and lying to families in telling them they are prepared for college and careers when, in fact, they are nowhere near ready.”

The charismatic and fiery Mayor Booker was more preacher than politician in his speech, calling education the new civil rights challenge and declaring, “We fought the greatest war on American soil for the liberation of our people yet we imprison more and more of our own in prisons of ignorance every single day.”

Children’s Defense Fund president Marian Wright Edelman also spoke at the charter conference and amplified Booker’s theme of ending the cradle-to-prison pipeline.

“Public education is the battleground for the future and soul of America, ” she said. “Today education is the Freedom Ride and the sit-in movement of this era.”

Edelman described the moment in which she realized the desperation of many poor children’s lives. The day after the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Edelman went into Washington, D.C., schools to warn students not to riot or loot because arrests would hurt their futures.

A boy about 12 looked Edelman in the eye and said, “Lady, what future? I ain’t got no future. I ain’t got nothing to lose.”

“I have spent the last 40 years and will spend the rest of my life proving that boy’s truth wrong, ” Edelman said. “I had no idea how hard it would be. This boy saw and spoke the plain truth for himself and millions of others like him.

“Despite great progress for some over the last 40 years, so much peril remains to snuff out the hopes and dream of children like him, ” she said. “Incarceration is becoming the new American apartheid, and poor children of color are the fodder.”

America’s most pressing dangers come not from an enemy without, she said, but from a failure within to invest in its children.

Quoting Frederick Douglass, Edelman said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Donald L. Hense, a Morehouse College graduate and founder of the Friendship Public Charter School in Washington, came to Atlanta to receive a hall of fame award from the charter conference. Hense’s charter high school, which awarded its first diploma in 2003, awarded its 2,000th this year.

As the student representative on the Morehouse board of trustees, Hense served alongside King, who was a Morehouse grad. When King was killed, Hense ushered at the funeral. In the aftermath of King’s assassination, Hense recalled sleeping in his Atlanta dorm room with buckets of water for fear of bombs and fire.

“What with everything that we faced in the 1960s, I feel threatened more today as a part of the so-called education reform community than I did then, ” he said.

“Our schools are threatened not by people who don’t believe in charters or school choice, but by education reformers who believe that reform is best charted and directed by the same public school system that did nothing the previous 100 years, ” he said.

Hense said the charter movement is under siege, adding that he lives in “a city that will try to kill charters by a thousand cuts. Every single year, something happens to try to knock the legs of education reform from under charter schools, every single year.”

“Somehow, we have to find a balance between the undertow caused by those who justify the continued existence of failing schools and the overzealousness of TV reformers who believe that schools can be transformed in 20 months, ” he said.

“We cannot allow the continued mindset of either these groups to prevail, ” Hense told his audience at the Georgia World Congress Center. “Our children’s lives depend on those of us who believe that the liberating value of education is too important to be left to either group. Thoughtful reforms with a clear sense of urgency, without gimmickry, must take the lead.”

When you attend these education events and hear how many dedicated people are working toward better schools, from small-town school board members to former U.S. presidents, you have to wonder if anyone is listening.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

284 comments Add your comment

Dr. Proud Black Man

June 28th, 2011
5:17 am

Outstanding article!

CB

June 28th, 2011
6:31 am

“For all their support and cultural cachet, the majority of the 5,000 or so charter schools nationwide appear to be no better, and in many cases worse, than local public schools when measured by achievement on standardized tests.” Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/education/02charters.html

God Bless the Teacher!

June 28th, 2011
6:42 am

The problem is not that no one is listening. It’s that people listen to reform “experts” who basically want to sell a book or earn speaking fees and decide the promoted reform will save their schools. We continue to change things in education thinking changes will save our children and miraculously place them in great colleges and higher paying jobs. True, there are a few reform models that have better results than others if given time to be fully implemented, but which reform efforts specifically include/address direct accountability of parents and students? We may change the format of education (e.g., charter schools) and “professionally learn” our teachers to death about how to be better teachers, but ALL of our efforts are for naught if students and parents aren’t held responsible for neglecting the educational system.

peachpits

June 28th, 2011
7:01 am

Interesting article, thank you! As one in the classroom, I see lots of great teachers burned out by paperwork, teaching to the test and being squeezed between demanding administration and parents who fight us tooth and nail when all we want to do is grow these children into the best version of who they are. Positive change will come when we all agree that we are fighting the same fight and not each other.

teacher&mom

June 28th, 2011
7:28 am

Jerry Eads

June 28th, 2011
7:31 am

Thanks, Maureen. And thanks to you first four; many truths. I do need to (VERY humbly) take departed Jerry Bracey’s place for a moment and note that Hense is wrong – the public schools have most certainly NOT “done nothing.” Not long ago the publics could simply toss the low performers and troublemakers onto the streets; school was for people who WANTED to be there (or were told in no uncertain terms by parents to be there). Those with parents who didn’t or couldn’t care could be sent away. Now, the publics – rightly so – must do their very best to succeed with every child – including the ones dragged in there forcefully by the truant officer. As the family structure has (seemingly, not sure about this) declined and (absolutely sure about this) poverty has so radically increased over the years, public schools have been required to address all manner of ills AS WELL AS requiring that they teach EVERYONE. They have indeed become “in loco parentis.” Given the task, the data show that publics have done a truly phenomenal job. Hense, as with privates now and public schools of old, gets to cherry pick a few he can save and toss the rest. Aside from the likelihood that Hense has nevertheless done well by the kids he keeps, publics do not have that luxury. SO, when we look at the virtually worthless indicator of minimum competency pass rates, (Maureen, will the AJC EVER get this straight? WE DO NOT HAVE SCORES) guess what? Things look pretty dismal. And that provides false fodder for the so called “reformers” to stir up the naive and gullible with teacher hate-mongering.

@peachpits brought it home. “Positive change will come when we all agree that we are fighting the same fight and not each other.”

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
7:52 am

“A boy about 12 looked Edelman in the eye and said, “Lady, what future? I ain’t got no future. I ain’t got nothing to lose.”

BS…Dont believe a word of it. These politicians, speakers, airheads always have some silly story or quote that makes them appear they are in touch with the “little” people. BS pure and simple.

The issue isnt with the schools so much as it is with these “parents.”
This is all nothing more than bloviating and flatulence. A group of suits get up waste our precious oxygen then when all is said and done slap each other on the fanny. HHHHRRUMPPFFFF!!

What Reform?

June 28th, 2011
8:00 am

Does anyone on the “outside” of education really think that it’s as bad as the inside outsiders would lead you to believe? We are finally getting to the point now in our national education where the playing field is being leveled, and with the caring cadre of teachers in the schools now we will see improvement. What is needed is not charters, school choice, or any other magic potion. What is needed is professional teachers, who are given the responsibility and the flexibility to teach the children that come in front of them.

teacher&mom

June 28th, 2011
8:04 am

This article does a great job describing the classroom level changes that have taken place in far too many urban schools.

http://www.theroot.com/print/49176

For the record:

I am not against providing a quality education for all students.

I am against excessive test prep, test prep pep rallies, test prep after school sessions, and test prep summer sessions.

motherjanegoose

June 28th, 2011
8:06 am

Hi Maureen…I saw this in the paper and decided to check in….

I am sad to report that I have met teachers from coast to coast, who have lost their joy and it ( to me) is not getting any better. I cannot fathom teaching if you do not enjoy it but I know there are many teachers who do. I am told: ” school cannot be fun…we have tests to take.”

I am in early childhood and know that sound learning can happen in an interesting and fun environment. Are ( early childhood) teachers coming out of college ill prepared to be creative in the classroom or are they too afraid to try anything out of the box ? Is it all about facts? Is it better for children to know that ducks swim or why their webbed feet are more suitable for the pond than say a cow’s hooves? What am I missing?

When I arrive, children are excited as I engage them in creative language activities designed to build vocabulary and strengthen comprehension. We are learning!

How can we restore joy to teaching? Can it be done? I am curious as to what actual teachers would need to get back to being excited in the classroom.

@ peach pits….this is so true:
all we want to do is grow these children into the best version of who they are.

Is it possible to let teachers use their own instincts to grow children anymore?

teacher&mom

June 28th, 2011
8:12 am

atlmom

June 28th, 2011
8:21 am

No, public school hasn’t really been around in the form it is for 150 years. More like 50 or 60 years. Go back and read to kill a mockingbird. it’s eye opening.

Yes, years ago they took the troublemakers out of school. But no, they didn’t ‘throw them out on the street.’ There were schools that were designed to deal with those kids who didn’t want to be there, or whose parents didn’t care if they were there, or whatever. The reality is that the schools just have to ‘deal with them’ these days – to the detriment of the other student. Why is it okay for one student to disrupt the school for the others? It is wrong. Take them out of the school at the beginning of them causing trouble and straighten them out. Right now our schools are holding bins for some kids who don’t care. And they make it more difficult for the others. It’s just wrong.

I have been doing a little bit of research into education lately. Not to sound all old person-ish – but really – part of the problem is our society. We don’t seem to value education for our children. We don’t have any consequences that are real for kids who don’t do well (saying to them: in 20 years you will be sorry is hardly anything to them). We don’t have consequences for the parents of the kids. since the parents are much of the problem. We have bloated bureaucracies, and don’t seem to be doing anything to make them smaller. If anything, more talking, more ‘doing’ well, – we’re just creating bigger bureaucracies. It’s awful, and not attracting the best to the teaching profession. Did any of the people in the conference actually SEE waiting for superman? It is eye opening – I don’t think that blaming everything on the unions is the answer, but it is part of the problem. Part of the problem in education (as with many other areas in our society) is that there really isn’t one person to *blame*. There’s this bureaucracy, and there’s people throwing blame at other pieces and parts, but there’s not really one person/group to take the blame. Part of the blame goes to the parents, many of whom are just as happy to throw their kids to the ‘free’ education and say: it’s good enough.

No, I don’t think anyone really wants to do anything about this. They want to have conferences, they want to discuss it, they want to be all dramatic about it, but no one seems to care about the kids (what’s that quote? when kids pay dues to the teacher’s unions, I’ll worry about the kids?).

Tad Jackson

June 28th, 2011
8:21 am

Right on, peach pits. You’re exactly right.

http://www.adixiediary.com

Ron

June 28th, 2011
8:31 am

We can talk and talk and talk, but until the dead beat parents get involved it doesn’t make a difference.

DagnyT

June 28th, 2011
8:35 am

I saw Waiting for Superman and what stood out to me is the idea of inner city boarding schools. If chaotic home life and parents not being parents is as big a problem as it appears to be, why not more inner city boarding schools like the one in Waiting for Superman? It seems like you would remove the negative influences and perhaps unburden some parents in favor of a real shot getting an education surrounded by other students who want to be there. Just an observation.

Georgia dad

June 28th, 2011
8:54 am

So sad to hear of “leveling” at the school system. We should be lifting, not leveling. If you have a child in school, you know what’s happening in Georgia. Instead of lifting up the brightest and smartest, we’re raising a generation where the smartest aren’t being challenged so we can “level” the playing field. Teaching down to the lowest common denominator. What will that result in?

Jennifer

June 28th, 2011
9:01 am

It’s a mess.

i used to teach

June 28th, 2011
9:07 am

The problems with education started at home. I remember a time when I could call parents and have full support. I remember when people wanted their kids to get an education, not just the HOPE or athletic scholarship to pay for college. I remember when parents came to meetings and not just to complain. Now, the parents are friends with their kids and they gang up on teachers. Teachers are less empowered to teach rigor and hold a high standard. I don’t care what kind of school Georgia sets up, unless you have true parent support, it won’t produce results.

Education Insider

June 28th, 2011
9:10 am

When public assistance becomes a career choice, and it is for many…we have to look at how we “help”. There is an assistant principal in GA who encourages those who will mess up their graduation rate or AYP score to “withdraw”…”you can always go on assistance”. We are paying this dude…by God is keeping score.

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
9:10 am

“The Joy of Teaching.” How silly. Teaching is a job like all other jobs and who can honestly say their job brings them joy. If everyone was honest, which they are not, the answer would be less then 15% or lower.

Let me explain something to you unrealists, a job is a job and everyone performs their job for money. Money for the essentials and perhaps a few luxuries. If jobs were fun then individuals would take much less financial compensaton as the reward would be the “joy” brought by said job. etc etc etc.

Wake up America. Get over yourselves and these fantasies, fallacies and self righteous attitudes OR do what the community organizer n chief wants and volunteer, volunteer, volunteer!!! Can I get an AMEN!!

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
9:14 am

DagnyT

June 28th, 2011
8:35 am

And take the children away from these parents, put the children in orphanages and put these sorry parents where they belong. In Prison.

Middle School Teacher

June 28th, 2011
9:27 am

No one is listening. In public schools teachers are plagued by administrators and county “leaders” who have fallen prey to the published reformers who truly do not understand the real world. Our entire education system is designed to get our students into college. The truth of the fact is that, perhasps, 30 to 40 percent of our population is truly intelligent enough to pursue a traditional college degree. The others, regardless of how anyone feels, are not up to par.

Every society in the history of the world has its elite. We just pretend that everyone fits into this category. And the beat goes on!

When is America going to wake up and realize that our education system needs to be completely redesigned with the above facts taken in mind? We desperately need to have a realistic system that measures potential in everyone in the system. We need to take that information and create a realistic school system that works towards the goal of getting each and every student prepared fot their “place” in life. Some of us will be philosophers, some thinkers, some MENSA members, some professors, some movers and shakers, some politicians, some teachers and professors, some engineers and inventors, some business leaders and executives, some managers, some technical workers, some electricians or plumbers, some mechanics, some lawn care specialists, some clerks, some custidial workers, and some laborers. We all have our place. This is not “Shangrila!”

Our school system MUST recognize the diversity of human beings. We are killing the potential of our children when we expect too much from them all. We need to teach all levels of intelligence and stop pretending that Johnny must go to Harvard.

All other major countries have already gone in this direction. We are pretending that everyone is college material. Our goal is set too high. It is a goal we will NEVER reach. Countries such as China and South Korea have strict criteria in place to identify the true potential of each student, and they have designed educational systems that recognizes those potentials and prepare each child for the place they will inhabit.

Wake Up, America!

Ashley

June 28th, 2011
9:27 am

Wisdom….our great-grandparents and grandparents had it. Although a lot of our ancestors didn’t attend school or only went long enough to learn the basic, they knew the next generation of black americans needed it. These were the people who saw Martin Luther King Jr. as a way to bridge the gap between the haves and the have nots. Education was that one factor that was suppose to expand our horizon. When I was a child in the 60s-70s education came first no excuses and no reprieve. Our parents knew school was the stepping stone to a future, no matter what you wanted to do in life. I didn’t really have a loving household , but I use the schools as an escape and along the way I learn a valuable lesson, education was going to take me away from my hellacious homelife. School was the only place where life had meaning not always good but not always bad either. Of course back in those days we didn’t have all this child cuddling let them do what they want mentality. Education and good grades were a must, we had to be better than the next generation. We can fought the educational system in this country , we can blame teachers and the higher ups, but when are we going to hold the child and the parent responisible? Our wise ancestors who struggled to achieve a better life for us are rolling over in their graves. I once heard that a black man or woman is not truly free until they are educated….I believe that.

Dr. John Trotter

June 28th, 2011
9:28 am

I have been reading a lot on nutrition in the last couple of years. (This is what you do when you are getting older, right? Ha!) For years, physicians and nutritionists ignored the essential fatty acids when developing diet plans for people. Everything was about the American nutritional chart (the famous pyramid) which was heavily tilted toward carbohydrates. Then, the low fat craze came in. But, the essential fatty acids were ignored.

We have all kinds of talk about “reforming” schools, but the essential element of discipline is completely ignored. But, you must first have discipline in place BEFORE you will ever establish any significant academic achievement. Discipline THEN achievement, not vice versa. If you aim at academic achievement without first addressing the essential discipline, then the academic efforts fail miserably, as has been the case for the last 30 years, especially in the urban schools.

Without emphasizing a disciplined and orderly learning environment, we are doing a great disservice to the children. As soon as these kids end up in the military (or, unfortunately, in the prison system), “discipline” will be imposed on them from the outside.

No serious person would try to diet today without paying attention to Omega 3s and 6s (fish oils, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, etc.). But, educrats (Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, et al.) continue to talk about “reform” without addressing a disciplined learning environment. Our urban schools are as far from “a disciplined learning environment” as I am from trying out for and making the Miami Heat basketball team next year. Talking about making the Heat’s team and actually making the team are as far apart as you can conceive. By the same measure, talking about reforming these urban schools (and let’s face it, all of the hand-wringing is really about the failed urban schools) without addressing discipline is pure folly. Nothing will change: the learning conditions will only get worse. And, as we have said a zillion times at MACE, you cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.

At MACE, we have been sounding the alarm of the paucity of discipline in the schools since our inception 16 years ago. Our message has never changed. We have seen these “reforms” come and go…with complete and utter failure…because they ignored the essential element in the learning process…the disciplined learning environment. (c) MACE, June 28, 2011.

http://theteachersadvocate.com/

justbrowsing

June 28th, 2011
9:29 am

Unfortunately, the African American cradle to prison analogy is only fodder used to elicit positive support for charter schools. I wish we would stop experimenting with the futures of children. Many charters are for-profit machines- simple. As for Arne Duncan- charters will lower standards- not raise them.

SoGAVet

June 28th, 2011
9:30 am

Dr. NO – your life must be a sad one. I’ve held primarily two jobs in my adult life:

The first, the military, I served in for more than 21 years. Despite the family separation, late nights, cold and HOT environs…I had one bad year – and it was because I had a bad boss that year.

The second, teaching, which I did for 5 years. I truly enjoyed the classroom, loved engaging with students and reveled in every “ah-ha” moment when the light went on and they figured it out. I left because I was working for a horse’s pa-toot who had no respect for me or my colleagues.

I meet teachers every day who truly enjoy their jobs and really only want respect as a professional. And BTW, teachers DO take much less financial copensation to do their very difficult jobs.

Dr. John Trotter

June 28th, 2011
9:32 am

I forgot to address “the outside culture.” The discinplined school environment helps cut off or at least mitigate the outside culture which in many, many cases is anti-academic and works counter to any efforts to “educate” the children.

Dondee

June 28th, 2011
9:34 am

@AtlMom…You said what I have been saying for a while now. School is just a smaller part of what is wrong with our society. We can have all the tricks in the book, etc., but if children come to school not valuing education (be it from home or from other sources), how can we overcome that obstacle? And like Peachpits says, we are all fighting the same battle…we just want the best for our students, simple as that.

atlmom

June 28th, 2011
9:37 am

dr no: You are so correct. For years, people who went into teaching were supposed to get ‘joy’ out of it – it was just an excuse not to pay them anything. and here we are, where a SIXTH year teacher doesn’t even make $40k (yeah, it’s not completely awful, given that the perks they have are awesome, you can retire in your 40s with 60% of you pay – what is that ? why not pay people what you’re supposed to pay them and have them worry about their retirement? – and also you can take on extra work all those months where you’re not teaching) – who do we think can go into teaching with that pay rate?

Insanity

June 28th, 2011
9:39 am

The problem is that there are actually people who continue to believe that central planning works. It never has and never will. The presence of government in the education delivery marketplace is a destructive force that has destroyed everything that was once great about education in this country. Get government out of the picture, make parents responsible for their own children’s education (either through home schooling, private, charity, or whatever other creative mechanism the marketplace might create – there needs to be absolute freedom) and the problem will correct itself.

Government serves only the continuation of government. It has no customers it must be accountable to. The ballotbox is not a mechanism of accountability. The almighty dollar and the voluntary exchange mechanism of the marketplace IS.

Dr. John Trotter

June 28th, 2011
9:39 am

Sorry about “discinplined” above! Ha! I have been multi-tasking the whole time. Time for my essential fatty acids now! I think that I love cooking breakfast more than any other meal!

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
9:39 am

“I meet teachers every day who truly enjoy their jobs and really only want respect as a professional. And BTW, teachers DO take much less financial copensation to do their very difficult jobs.”

“Very difficult jobs.” Yeah, cry me a river buddy. Life is tough, jobs are tough, its tough all over.

Sad life? Not particularly. Has its up and downs like most I would imagine. Not sure I understand your point.

James

June 28th, 2011
9:43 am

Edelman merely restates the problem; the solution does not lie in politics nor in the hands of anyone else but the “people of color” she describes. But don’t expect people of “no color” not to compete for jobs, education, and quality of life. The best educated are those who desire to be educated. Ignorance will lose.

@ Dr. No

June 28th, 2011
9:47 am

You are 100% correct: teaching is a job; so is being a student. Therefore, by your logic, NO ONE at school is there to have fun – just work. How pitiful your understanding of education must be, sir. Everyone involved should be there for the singular joy of learning. Anyone that is in education for the job only should be in another line of work. I have taught 15 years and I am fortunate that I begin every year with hope and happiness in my heart for the students. If I only showed up to do a job, my effectiveness would be only measured by test scores for students (mine happen to be the highest in our 7 county area, by the way); instead, I measure my success by the enthusiasm of my students and my own willingness to come early/stay late/take work home. Please leave your black & white analysis in your cubicle and stay out of education debates; you really are not qualified to deliver an opinion of any substance.

I'm just sayin'

June 28th, 2011
9:53 am

@Dr. No–I believe some enter teaching because of the security (?) and summers off. However, a true teacher does love teaching students and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. These are the same teachers who are assigned all the extra duties and have more students in their class than anyone else. Probably “taking the joy out of teaching” isn’t as appropriate a statement as “please stop burning me out.” I have worked in classrooms and the private sector. You might be tired at the end of the private sector day, but at the end of every classroom day, you are physically, mentally and emotionally drained because you have given it all to all the students.
We have been teaching to the test for so long now our children no longer have critical thinking skills. They only know how to fill in the blank or multiple choice. Who convinced us that yearly testing was a good idea? The testing companies? When I went to school, the teachers tested us to make sure we had learned the material. At the end of the quarter, we had finals–and you had to study for everything you had been taught. Exams lasted three days, 2 finals per day. About every three years they would standardize test us to compare us more to the rest of the country than each other. I assumed it was to make sure the state’s curriculum was “getting the job done.” When we graduated from high school, we were prepared to enter the work force if college wasn’t our choice. It seems all we are preparing now are students. So many haven’t learned to think for themselves and are waiting for someone to tell them what to do next.

Dr. John Trotter

June 28th, 2011
9:54 am

School “reform” has NEVER been successful nationwide, statewide, or systemwide. NEVER. I defy anyone to attempt to dispute this categorical assertion. The entire “school reform” movement for over a century has been a dismal flop, as well pointed out by Diane Ravitch in one of her earlier books, “Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms.” Professor John Goodlad of UCLA essentially made the same conclusion in his mega-study, “A Place Called School.” School “reform” can only take place on a school-by-school basis and then only with an inspirational leader. None of these outside mandates and top-down, heavy-handed management crap. Snoopervision and standardized tests galore! None of this works. None. In fact, it only retards real education, as we can clearly see today with the dumb-downed and narrow curriculum. I am sorry, but I have not one scintilla of educational respect for the Arne Duncans and Michelle Rhees.

Becky

June 28th, 2011
9:55 am

I taught for five years in Special Education. You would not believe the paper work involved or the hours. I had students who could not even be in the classroom and would disrupt everyone while I was trying to teach. I loved being in the classroom but could not handle the stress of the student’s behavior, the mounds of paper work, or the administration breathing down my neck for everything to be perfect. I also had to put up with parents whom I would call and never get a call back. And don’t even get me started about the behavioral issues. It can downright awful in the classroom these days. I’ve been in schools where students have their IPODS out, their cell phones used during class, and interruptions galore. How can you teach in an environment like that? And all the top dogs want to do is blame the teachers. We are supposed to get up there and tap dance and entertain the students while trying to teach. It is really sad when you have to entertain students instead of teaching them.

motherjanegoose

June 28th, 2011
9:57 am

I LOVED teaching, in the classroom, and did so for 15 years. I still LOVE my job and that is teaching teachers and also on site visits with children.

I have frequently donated my time, because I believe in what I do and the outcomes.

The joy comes ( to me) when you have the AHA moment. Not in the 8 hour days nor the times you dealt with things you never dreamed could happen.

At the end of the day I do not wish to be out of my job, while others are waiting at the door to get in.

If I can teach, in the way I know to be effective, I can get children to learn and that is my joy. Red tape has often stolen my joy but I look in the mirror and remind myself that what I do will affect another life….hopefully in a positive manner. When I get feedback from thankful teachers or parents, then the joy kicks in.

Fedup

June 28th, 2011
9:59 am

Dr. Trotters’ comment regarding the “outside culture” is right on. No matter what goes on inside every classroom in every urban school, the kids go home in the afternoon to God knows what. The pressure of gangs, thugs, and hoodlums, multiplied with the lack of appropriate parental guidance/love, fosters an environment of the need for survival – only survival. Where are the bootleg preachers who steal money from families to cushion their own needs? Where is the leadership to help a child envision a positive future as a productive American citizen to combat the “gangsta rap” lyrics that penetrate the minds of these young people? For those of you who believe that it is the sole responsibility of successful Americans to pull people from the dungeons of despair in our cities and rural Southern States, that’s not going to solve the problems. Healing is going to need to come from within as well….it’s time for everyone to take a hard look at where this country is and that if we do not work together to resolve our problems, we will all need to learn how to speak Chinese and eat with sticks. That is not meant to be a funny joke, but a harsh reality of where we could be headed unless serious changes and developments can alter a bad forecast.

A Conservative Voice

June 28th, 2011
9:59 am

@DagnyT

June 28th, 2011
8:35 am
why not more inner city boarding schools like the one in Waiting for Superman?

Yeah, OK. Getting enough money allocated for the armed guards would be a problem

AMEN, Dr. Trotter

motherjanegoose

June 28th, 2011
10:00 am

OOPS….true educators rarely have just 8 hour days…what was I thinking?

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
10:00 am

as “please stop burning me out.” I have worked in classrooms and the private sector.

I buy that. We all tend to get burnt out with our jobs.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:03 am

Between the School to Jail Pipeline and Corporal punishment still being used in Georgia Schools – we are in serious need of real reform. I too wonder if anyone is listening

Dr. John Trotter

June 28th, 2011
10:11 am

@ Fedup: Do you think for even one mili-second (is this a word?) that the Chinese would countenance ANY defiance from the children in their schools? Ha! The defiance and disruption that goes on in one day in each of America’s urban schools might very well be more disruption and defiance than the Chinese will see in an entire year…among it more than one billion students. I am trying to make a point. This defiance and disruption is unheard of in other cultures but it has become a way of life in so many, many of America’s urban schools. In fact, it’s almost universal in America’s urban schools. Every now and then, a Joe Clark comes along and makes a difference…then he is fired because he rocks the boat.

atlmom

June 28th, 2011
10:13 am

if we got rid of the feds in the ed. equation, and got rid of more than half the bureaucrats that do nothing but ‘oversee’ what is going on (because there isn’t enough of that in the school? we need dozens more for each school?).
then there would be plenty of money for whatever you want to do. boarding school, private like school, several different schools in a neighborhood/district that do things different ways, validating the idea that different children might learn differently.

Grob Hahn

June 28th, 2011
10:16 am

Politicians aren’t the ones destroying the schools. More often than not it is the very “children of color” you speak of as if they are victims. With a culture that still treats advancing non-white students as if they are “Acting White” what could you possibly think would be the result? Politicians can only do so much fiscal damage. The bricks and spray paint aren’t being supplied by them. The disrespect for teachers is not being taught by them. At some point a community will have to address the REAL problems and quit looking for external scapegoats. We have already seen that throwing money at a cultural problem does NOTHING to solve the actual problem. Time to man-up and actually ADMIT what is wrong.
Grobbbbbbbbbbbbbb

atlmom

June 28th, 2011
10:19 am

grob hahn: do you not think the politicians had ANYTHING to do with this? Really? Creating a lifestyle that says: it’s okay not to take responsibility? the man was so mean to you – you DESERVE to take from others?
Do you think govt doesn’t thrive on this wealth envy? on creating the whole myth that some people are owed something from others?

That eddie murphy skit from the early 80s was so relevant then, and it just as relevant today (where he dresses as a white man…from saturday night live)…

Mikey D

June 28th, 2011
10:19 am

Unfortunately, what is happening now is the same thing that usually happens in debates of public policy… Those in positions of leadership have a certain mindset, and they find those people whose ideas echo that mindset, and they listen to those people simply so they can convince themselves that they were right all along. That’s why Michelle Rhee was brought in twice to speak to our legislature, but people like Diane Ravitch or (gasp!) actual teachers were not.

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
10:21 am

Dr NO–Some people do have jobs that they love, and if not for the necessities of life, many would do it for free. I am sorry that you have chosen a field that you do not feel that way about.

One major issue with education is the parents. It doesn’t matter what school you attend, socioeconomic status, teachers education, or anything else. If the parent is not supportive of the child, pushes the child toward greatness, and supports the teacher, the student has no desire to achieve greatness.. Many parents feel that the public school system is their free child-care system and nothing else. Teachers are overwhelmed by paperwork and lack time to prepare exciting lesson plans to make learning fun for the students.

In my opinion, the college education system is failing our teachers by not preparing them for the content they are teaching. A middle grades education major who has concentrations in Math and Science is required to take content classes with future Rocket Scientist, Physicist, Biological engineers, and Mathematicians. How do these classes teach our future middle school teachers how to help a child learn simple math. That is like going to a Brain surgeon when you have something wrong with your toe. It just doesn’t make sense. Most other degrees teach you what you will be doing, it just makes sense that it should be the same for teachers. Middle grades majors are required to take 5 content classes and are certified to teach 4-8 grade. That is 5 years, so why not have a class for each year that covers the standards and goes in depth with it. While covering the content, they could also learn multiply ways to teach it as well as ways to make modifications for the diverse group of students that are being grouped together now. Instead of teaching to the middle you would be more prepared and be able to address all students needs. The Gov’t would never pass an idea like this, it makes to much sense.

bob leblah

June 28th, 2011
10:22 am

“Incarceration is becoming the new American apartheid, and poor children of color are the fodder.”

Oh here we go, Excuse making 101 in session. You don’t get sent to prison because you’re black. You get sent to prison for breaking laws. So whose fault is it now? Is it lawmakers? Should we allow black people to get mulligans on crime committed? What?

The source of this is bad parenting. There are many kids that turn out fine from poor backgrounds. Stop making excuses, you only extend the problem.

@bob leblah

June 28th, 2011
10:35 am

but…but…but…it’s racist to say that racism isn’t the major reason for minority incarceration. you can’t possibly expect rational people to believe simply obeying the law is the answer to the problem, can you?

Below the City

June 28th, 2011
10:46 am

To answer your question, Maureen, no, sadly, no one is listening.

Really amazed

June 28th, 2011
10:46 am

We are receiving sooooo many articles on education it is hard to not get confussed. Is or isn’t Georgia’s education great???? Some say that some districts are doing great. Some say this is just manipulated bs. Which one is it? I guess it must be whatever ones parents need to believe. CRCT scores good (check) good grades (check). What about truly learning??? Atlmom has it right, when says….parents want to thrown their children to free education and then say it’s good enough!

Dr. John Trotter

June 28th, 2011
10:49 am

May I sum it up rather succinctly? So many of the so-called students are acting the fool, and they bring absolutely NO MOTIVATION TO LEARN to school. Period. Let’s let ole Arne Duncan and Michelle Rhee teach at Columbia High School in DeKalb or Morrow High School in Clayton or Mays High School in Atlanta. Might their tune change then?

atlmom

June 28th, 2011
10:53 am

there is so much disruption in classrooms because there are no consequences to the kids to doing that. call their parents? the little darlings are perfect, don’t you know?
Tell the principal? the teacher will get reprimanded by the principal. Bring it to the school system? no don’t do anything – that kid is revenue and besides, do you want a lawsuit?
The big problem is that schools are SO AFRAID of the kids because they represent lawsuits. that’s it. so let’s make everyone suffer because the school wants each and every dollar that the kid represents.

bob leblah

June 28th, 2011
10:58 am

Read articles around the country. Flash mobs; attacking people who just happen to be walking down a street. Hip-hop sites that promote violence and make it sound cool to protect your turf. There is no respect for anything or anyone. These are the kids that teachers are expected to get through to? Good luck! We have 11 yr olds in gangs. When you learn no respect for human beings at that age, your chances of becoming a productive part of society slim to none.

Really amazed

June 28th, 2011
11:01 am

I do believe that this is why some parents want charter schools. They can throw the wolf back to the pack along with the parent. This must be the main difference. By the way Cherokee Charter Academy along with many others was just approved via STATE DOE!!!!!

Really amazed

June 28th, 2011
11:02 am

Sorry, were just approved.

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
11:03 am

Im already quite accomplished at “eating with sticks.” Might I obtain a waiver on the chinese language arts classes?

Fedup

June 28th, 2011
11:07 am

Dr. Trotter, I stand corrected…you are right…the Chinese would not tolerate the undisciplined…perhaps they will simply financially “enslave” us.

Teacher2

June 28th, 2011
11:10 am

Good comments from peachpits and Jerry Eads! Teachers cannot solve all of society’s ills and effectively teach regardless of how many “reforms” of sole accountability suppositions, pay for performance schemes, “doing more with less” ideologies, data driven dogmas and the “reform” propaganda from the for-profit charter schools, testing companies, software companies and voucher proponents. Everyone with the exception of classroom teacher, who has daily interactions with children is somehow viewed as less knowledgeable than those behind a desk, authors of a book, professor at a college, creators of computer software and those sitting in the gold dome. True reform will only occur from the classroom up not vice versa, until then this “reform” foolishness will continue. Unfortunately, until then the children will suffer and United States will ultimately procure its consequences of a poorly educated society.

Ashley

June 28th, 2011
11:10 am

Lets have more black men in the mold of Bill Cosby, Colin Powell , Barack Obama, Denzel Washington, Herman Cain all educated men, lets have less Lil’Wayne , Chris Browns, Terrell Owens , Chad Ochinco, Lebron James the black community has enough of those images. Get rid of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton they only bring a one-sided agenda to the table. Most of the harm done in the black community is by blacks themselves….enough of the blame game. We associate black america with killings and rap and thugism but never I repeat never education, pity!

funny

June 28th, 2011
11:11 am

we got all these ppl TALKING at this conference; but the politicans in GA meet privately with Rhee; Deal even had a meeting with her??? they talk a good game but its all part of the MISDIRECTION… these ppl have an endgame in mind… and more than likely it has nothing to do with whats right for the student

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
11:17 am

“and more than likely it has nothing to do with whats right for the student”

With regard to clinton, hall, duncan, obama you certainly would be correct. All posers, lackys and windbags.

Dr. John Trotter

June 28th, 2011
11:22 am

@ funny: Follow the money. Literally.

atlmom

June 28th, 2011
11:38 am

the reality is that our education system is but a symptom of what is wrong in society. i hate to be so sweeping and sound so crazy, but it’s completely true.

catlady

June 28th, 2011
11:39 am

Everyone “knows” all about school because they all went to first grade, howmanyever decades ago. And they know that it is just exactly like they remember it! Many of those making laws never went to school with anyone who did not look just like them, and who had parents who didn’t share the same mores.

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
11:42 am

Correct atlmom. Once the causes are addressed the symptoms will disappear. However, that isnt gonna happen. This same argument will be taking place this time next year and the next and the next and the next and…

Ole Guy

June 28th, 2011
11:43 am

Talking about education is pretty much like young teens (at least young teens of earlier generations) boasting of sexual exploits, when the reality is/was that of the only exploits coming from one’s father’s National Geographic collection containing photos of third world countries’ ladies with no tops. The more daring, under the cloak of Catholic-induced guilt, would sneak dads’ Playboy stacks for “private inspection” which would, in turn, provide fuel for further imaginary adventures of salacious conquest. All this, of course, could be lumped under the heading of “ALL TALK; NO ACTION”…which is precisely where talk of education is today.

While political pontification on the importance of education is in great abundance, REAL action is, like in the minds of youth of yesteryear, purely imaginary. Great words justify great outlays of public monies, and soon-to-be-violated public trust.

Mike

June 28th, 2011
11:52 am

“We must improve those public schools. We must not pretend those children don’t exist while we are creating more choices for 2 [percent] to 3 percent of them.””

Quite honestly she is exactly on target here. Unfortunatly as long as we have the exact opposite view being held by school leaders such as Barge and others we will remain wallowing in the lower reaches. The two excellent articles linked to below by AJC writer Heather Vogle show how our county has been doing exactly what Ravich talks about and it is basically supported by Barge and others. And then Deal, who is from the same county as this is happening and is tight with this superintendent has the audacity to get up in after Ravich and tout his love for public education. Sorry, can’t swallow that one. Hipocrites all.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/the-transfer-track-on-945991.html

http://www.ajc.com/news/hall-county-students-pushed-960650.html

so much to do..so little time

June 28th, 2011
11:52 am

I have never seen a profession that literally “just hops on the bandwagon” with new initiatives time after time because some educational guru, who has been out of the classroom for decades, decides this now is IT! It’s the constant revolving door of initiatives that has teachers very tired and worn down. I never have time to learn and become proficient with a “new way” before another “new way” of doing the same thing is shoved down my throat. We are always reinventing the wheel at the expense of our children who deserve better. They preach, “What’s best for kids?”………..they just don’t practice it. All central offices should be shut down and all administrators should be told to go back to the classroom…..change, then, will indeed appear. Can’t wait to retire……..

gamom

June 28th, 2011
11:59 am

@ atlmom
you can whine all you want about disruptions but kids are kids and it is up to the school system to keep the kids engaged, provide enough supervision where everyone is safe (teachers included), and provide plenty of interventions when problems arise and provide effective classroom management which comes down to the classroom educator. There should be no more excuses. It’s either reforms are put in place or we parents get school choice and freedom from the noose around our necks telling us where we must place our children. The school to jail pipeline and corporal punishment in schools is not the answer. Make no mistake about it – corporal punishment – as in beating children with boards is quite common across Georgia schools.. I think that is shameful – PLUS since there are big gaping holes in the law – your child, my child and anyone’s child can be hit at the hands of educators in the name of discipline and they are largely civilly and criminally immune. Why should this be? Educators must be held to higher standard than that.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
11:59 am

meant to say ….. provide early interventions BEFORE problems arise

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
12:12 pm

Gamon–

How are teacher suppose to learn classroom management skills when they are not being taught as part of their degree. It is also difficult to handle the students if you send then to the principle and all they get is a slap on the wrist. Kids today are far more unruly and disrespectful than just 15 years ago. With the added pressures on teachers to make sure everyone passes the CRCT, and having a class of students that range from SPED to Gifted, any discipline issues can really affect the class.

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
12:15 pm

Gamon—

As far as school choice, That might work in the metro areas, but what about the rural areas of the state. The county that I live in only has 3 elementary, 1 middle and 1 high school. What kind of choice do my kids have? None.

Insanity

June 28th, 2011
12:19 pm

If we are going to discuss incarceration then we must recognize that the War on Drugs is a failure, imprisons a vastly disproportionate number of blacks and other people of color versus white (who are the greater users of drugs by sheer numbers), has taken trillions of dollars from the private sector, has destroyed families, and has taken away the voting rights of millions in this country.

Thankfully people are finally waking up to the reality that this war is just a tool of racial oppression, a jobs program for the prison and police industries, and a mechanism for the CIA and other government groups to fund their activities “off the books.”

The recent legislation by Barney Frank and Ron Paul to end the federal war on marijuana is a great first step. These are folks who are actually fighting for liberty.

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
12:19 pm

Gamon–

Seriously, spanking in school. It is not going on anymore, or if it is it is, it is in very remote places. I went to school when spankings took place, and there was very few issues with discipline then.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
12:21 pm

Stacy – unfortunately you are sadly mistaken. Maureen has covered this extensively and even posted the stats at one time. I was simply disgusted. It happens in a lot of places!!

MrLiberty

June 28th, 2011
12:24 pm

In the private sector if you do not like the services of a company or its products you go to its competitors for satisfaction. If there is a lack and you feel there is a market, you may even become a competitor.

In the government system there is no competition allowed. Even private schools must compete for the dollars that are left AFTER taxes have been taken. You cannot go to another government school. You cannot have your money back. You don’t even have the freedom to educated your own children in many states and must deal with oppressive regulations in many others. You certainly can’t open a competing franchise unless you have been “blessed” with a state provided license. Your only solution is the political process of begging, payoffs, rigged elections, etc.

The VOLUNTARY SECTOR

Teacher2

June 28th, 2011
12:24 pm

@GAmom Please become a teacher or at least become a substitute for at least one day and then tell us how you kept the “kids engaged, provided enough supervision where everyone is safe and provided plenty of interventions when problems arise and provided effective classroom management” after all it “comes down to the classroom educator”. Do not forget to leave out the details of how well that went with the principal and parents. I am anxiously awaiting your results.

MrLiberty

June 28th, 2011
12:28 pm

Oops, hit the enter button.

The VOLUNTARY SECTOR solves its problems in a manner that satifies all parties or allows for their solution through alternative means. Utopia? No. But everyone has a voice through their exercise of choice and personal responsibility.

The FORCED SECTOR of government must solve its problems through the political mechanism only. In fact, many are hired simply to manage the problems that must be solved, and is there any surprise that most don’t ever get solved. There is no accountability, no consequences, and the money flows and flows regardless of how upset the customers are.

Is the private solution really something that we cannot give a try to? The government method is SUCH a failure after all.

bob leblah

June 28th, 2011
12:30 pm

gamom- the paddling is a result… a result from what behavior??

gamom

June 28th, 2011
12:44 pm

no behavior deserves that!! What is wrong with folks?

Julie Worley

June 28th, 2011
12:58 pm

We live in rural Tennessee and our 3 kids attend schools in a “Paddling” School District where we are unable to protect them from overhearing the Blows as their teachers hit classmates with wooden paddles just outside class for minor infractions such as not turning in homework or horsing around, without parental consent or notification, not required by TN State Law. We made a presentation in April during “National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month” to our local school board members to Demand they Prohibit Physical Punishment of Children in our schools and the Ignored Us, no letter, no phone call! Pain as Punishment, fear, intimidation and humiliation of students is an impairment to the learning environment for all staff and students.

If school employees hit students with wooden paddles to deliberately inflict Pain as Punishment in view of the public rather than within the walls of a tax-payer funded school building it would be criminal felony assault, they’d be arrested and imprisoned as any other person be they a Parent, Babysitter, Police Officer, Lawmaker or U.S. Supreme Court Justice!

Texas Governor Perry and North Carolina Governor Perdue both signed legislation in June 2011 allowing parents to prohibit corporal punishment/paddling of their children by school employees in writing to schools.

Get the disturbing facts, search “A Violent Education”. Several thousand students who receive paddling at school must seek emergency medical treatment annually.

‎43 Louisiana school districts say educators paddled students a total of 11,520 times in 2009-10.

Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport wants to outlaw the paddle in public schools but hasn’t been able to muster enough legislative support.
Norton said she doesn’t oppose parental infliction of corporal punishment, as long as it stops short of abuse, but she believes excessive paddling can leave children traumatized and prone to later troubles.
“You have anger that’s on the inside of you,” for years, Norton said. “We’re not building leaders when we apply corporal punishment.”

Mississippi law requires that civil rights history be taught to schoolchildren annually in every grade, while violating the civil rights of those schoolchildren by “Spanking” or “Paddling” students approximately 60,000 times per year.

School paddling injuries to students put school districts at risk of lawsuits. Shockingly, several “School Paddling States” have “Teacher Immunity Laws” to protect school employees from criminal/civil action.

Violence against children in the form of Spanking and Paddling are heavily associated with the pornography industry.

Corporal/Physical Punishment is already Illegal in Schools in 31 U.S. States, most capitol cities of “School Paddling States” and Prohibited by Federal Law for use against convicted felons, murderers and child molesters, in U.S. Prisons.

Recently, the National Lt. Governors’ Association adopted a Resolution to Encourage the Elimination of Corporal/Physical Punishment in Public Schools.

In 2007 while interviewing the mother of a Mississippi student beat to the floor by a school employee for not doing his work, who fell face first and sustained injuries Montel Williams said, “The United States Supreme Court, the organization that is supposed to protect all of our civil rights and civil liberties has decided that children are so insignificant in this country that they will give the authority to a state administrator to abuse our children. So, right now, the highest court in the land in the United States of America is tantamount to complicity in child abuse. They say it’s ok to beat a child.”

Please add your voice at Unlimited Justice dot com National Campaign to End School Paddling of Children. Demand Equal Rights!

gamom

June 28th, 2011
12:59 pm

@Teacher2 – that’s not my problem. I already pay my taxes for you and all the bureaucrats to figure out. That’s what you’re getting paid to do. I already supplement my kids at home and support the teachers any way I can. My kids math is so advanced at this point, they are on their own. I can’t help them there. It’s beyond me. I volunteer for things when I can. I have done classwork several years ago, I have seen all kinds of kid behavior. Nothing surprises me. But I am not a teacher, it’s not my training. We parents send our kids to school where the professionals are supposed to know what they are doing.

amazed

June 28th, 2011
1:01 pm

Mikey D hit on a problem that is very relevant in superintendent searches. Business and political leaders tend to be Enron types (or Beverly Hall) who think they are the smartest people in the room and don’t listen (i.e. Superman). They surround themselves with people who think like them or yes men. They come to believe that anyone who thinks differently must have nefarious motives (listen to almost all the politicians these days-including our President).

As for So much’s comment, at a company I worked at the V-P joked about taking all the magazines out of the plane whenever the President flew. He’d read something and try to get everyone to implement it even it was just opposite what we were previously doing. Jumping on the latest trends is not confined to schools. Look at the ridiculous street car craze. It has to do with the shoot from the hip personalities of the leadership. American business usually succeeds in spite of top management, not because of it. Schools need superintendents who are anti-Beverly Hall (when you tell all your principals right from the start that 90% are going to be gone in 5 years-what do you expect will happen? Exactly what did happen in APS and at Enron-massive cheating to stay in favor).

What's best for kids?

June 28th, 2011
1:03 pm

@Julie Worley,
Crap! North Crolina has a Governor Perdue, too? I knew that state was going downhill.

amazed

June 28th, 2011
1:06 pm

@Just sayin’

I dont’ think critical thinking skills are necessarily being neglected. I’m pleased by what my child is getting. I do agree way too much time is devoted to standardized testing (four weeks last year). But teaching to the test is not the fault of the testing. Its the fault of teachers who do that and administrations who encourage that.

Any good idea can be implemented badly. The problem isn’t the idea.

catlady

June 28th, 2011
1:22 pm

gamom–things my BS, MS, MS, and PhD degrees did not prepare me for ( a very brief list): Walking into the anteroom of the restroom to discover a 5 year old boy fornicating with a hole in the wall, having children masterbate in class and asking for a parent’s help to solve the problem, a child coming to school with a handprint bruise on her face, a kid stab another FIVE TIMES with a fork and it be dismissed as “an accident,” explaining to a little girl, in Spanish, that she wasn’t dying, that she had “become a woman,”then calling and explaining it to her mother, hearing a boy tell the class that his mama got “praignant” at 14 but her mama made her “kill the baby,” teaching the grandchild of a kid I taught in kindergarten, dealing with a kid who had been in 3 foster homes in a year, each time believing she was about to be adopted, hearing screams from the bathroom, and walking in to find a child had passed a foot long worm segment into the toilet, having a boy ask me if I was “on the rag,”
….shall I go on? Cause I haven’t gotten to the academic stuff yet, nor the stuff from supervisors.

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
1:41 pm

“you can whine all you want about disruptions but kids are kids and it is up to the school system to keep the kids engaged, provide enough supervision where everyone is safe (teachers included), and provide plenty of interventions when problems arise and provide effective classroom management which comes down to the classroom educator.”

LOL…thats funny. Perhaps handing out $20 bills to these poor children on a daily basis and this will keep them engaged? For about 10 minutes. You loath those who would bring discipline to the classroom yet give the parents a free pass on their lack on doing even the basics. Spend more money you say. Look no further than APS and Bev Hall who should be tossed into prison.

Just more excuse making and hen house rabble.

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
1:44 pm

“That’s what you’re getting paid to do. I already supplement my kids at home and support the teachers any way I can. My kids math is so advanced at this point, they are on their own.”

As stated days ago…these are usually the types who provide zero discipline to their children and whose children are never the problem.

The answer to most problems or problem with most problems, educational or otherwise, lies not further than a look in the mirror.

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
1:49 pm

All in all its really no matter.

Bottomline. Either parents take responsbilty and act a parents, not friends, or one day their precious cargo will be staring at a very long prison sentence. At that point, all the excuse making will have long since fallen by the wayside as little johnny or susie is now an adult and WILL face the consequences for their actions and lack of actions by said parents.

THE END.

Title1Educator

June 28th, 2011
1:55 pm

@peachpits “Positive change will come when we all agree that we are fighting the same fight and not each other.” Amen

Teacher2

June 28th, 2011
2:14 pm

@GAmom ‘that’s not my problem. I already pay my taxes for you and all the bureaucrats to figure out. That’s what you’re getting paid to do…. I can’t help them there. It’s beyond me…. But I am not a teacher, it’s not my training. We parents send our kids to school where the professionals are supposed to know what they are doing.”

Wow, those were just the highlights! I noticed that with all your wonderful suggestions that you are not willing to subject yourself to your own solutions; after all it is not your job! I will restate it again become a teacher or at least become a substitute for one day. Let us see how you would handle the “disruptions” because “kids are kids” with no real authority to stop or correct the problem. I also noticed that you think teachers should be held to a “higher standard” that the parents. Why? Could the reason be that “it is not your problem” or “that’s not what you get paid to do”? The responsibility is not solely dependent on the “professionals”. Your solutions describe a mix of an entertainer and warden not necessarily a teacher.

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
2:21 pm

Parents should be held accountable for the actions of their children at school. If parents had more control and took more responsibility at home for the child there would be no issues at school. When I was in school, if I got a spanking at school you better believe that I got one when I got home also. I was never beaten as a child, but receiver 1000’s of spankings. As an adult, I think my parents for all of the spankings that I received, because they were deserved. I see people who I went to school with who had parents that let them get away with everything and did not punish them. Sadly, many are in prison now. So I am glad for my parents spanking me when I misbehaved at home and at school. So if parents would control their kids at home, there would be fewer problems at school and ultimately the prisons would have fewer inmates.

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
2:22 pm

I thank may parents—sorry

gamom

June 28th, 2011
2:31 pm

Spanking in this day and age does not make compliant kids – but more angry ones. Read the new information out there. This has been studied completely and thoroughly for well over 20 years. Smacking a kid – who has absentee parents, or are abused at home, or who are playing 10 hours of shoot em up video games is a disasterous mix for the 21st century. No longer are our children just subject to a spank by an educator – but violence on TV, all kinds of media and in games, plus the degradation of decent neighborhoods taken over by thugs. REally, spanking? What a medeival attitude. Surely we can do better than that . And for you Teacher 2 – I am responsible for my children. That is my job. I do it well and thoroughly – 3 kids who are well adjusted, who know the boundaries and do get consequences when I know it is necessary and not arbitrarily applied by a 3rd party. BTW – it has been proven that all the beating in Georgia schools – is more likely to occur on minority children and EVEN KIDS WITH DISABILITIES. What a sad state of affairs. Now as a parent I do my job, teachers need to do theirs. And if there is a problem, I want to be called at the first hint of it, not 3 months down the road. When parents are treated with respect, when their kids are treated with respect, you will get respect. Keep your hands off the kids, no educator has the right to do such.

Incredulous

June 28th, 2011
2:39 pm

@gamom Please, please, please? Cease and desist from your efforts at hijacking this discussion. As Dolly Parton said, ” Put down the cross, someone needs to build a house.” In addition: the psychology behind corporal punishment is sound. If there are no internal controls on behavior( norms and social mores, you know church?), then society at large takes control( law enforcement), to force appropriate behaviors. It may not be your child that is paddled, but as a parent, I want assurances that my children are safe from poor behavior and not subject to the whims of a maudlin parent such as yourself.

Tonya C.

June 28th, 2011
2:41 pm

Dr No:

At your last comment: THEEND.COM

Make excuses now, pay bail later or plan funerals later.

In the end, Mikey D. summed it up. The people who make the decisions have no interest in hearing all sides of the issue, just the ones that that support what they already think. The people at the heart of these issues, the teachers and students, have little to no control over the REAL REFORM that needs to take place to improve outcomes. Throwing money at the problem won’t solve it. It would need to be a change in the way society perceives education and individual households (parenting is a LARGE piece of this pie).

Tonya C.

June 28th, 2011
2:43 pm

Incredulous:

This is her modus operandi in any discussion on reform. It all goes back to corporal punishment. Because the breakdown of the American family, the rise in single parenthood, the poverty rate and welfare state, breakdown of REAL communities (just to name a few) are not at all important…

Incredulous

June 28th, 2011
2:47 pm

Tonya C., I was reading this board with interest. I think we tend to blame someone else, anyone else, out of habit. I want to believe that we have a voice in determining the outcome of education, but I am starting to have my doubts. It’s been said before, but “follow the money”.

What's best for kids?

June 28th, 2011
2:52 pm

@gamom,
We do know what we are doing, and sometimes we KNOW that all a kid needs is a kick the pants. I won’t do it, but I sure will hope that the parents will.

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
2:54 pm

When parents are treated with respect, when their kids are treated with respect, you will get respect.

Oh how I wish that was true, but sadly it is not. In today’s society, an educator can treat everyone with respect but when there is a problem with a student the parent and child gang up on the teacher. That is the same mentality of people who say outlaw guns and people will not kill each other. It all come down to children have no respect for anyone in authority, their parent, teachers, principles, police,etc. I am not saying in any of my post that I agree with the beating of children, but a couple of licks on their behind hasn’t ever hurt anyone. Maybe their pride. The Bible says, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” That does not advocate beating the child, but when necessary to spank them. If we all just went back to just 10 commandments and followed them everything would be fine.

motherjanegoose

June 28th, 2011
3:00 pm

“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” Bob Talbert.

I just read this and thought I would share. It may have been around for a while, not sure. Not many kids today know what counts, from all socio-economic back grounds.

What's best for kids?

June 28th, 2011
3:15 pm

Truly the only people I want to be in charge of are my children; I would prefer to simply teach other people’s children. I will spank my kids, make no mistake, but I don’t want to raise more than the two that I have. When parents begin to take the responsibility for their children and let the teachers teach, the children will learn.

Dr NO

June 28th, 2011
3:21 pm

gamom

June 28th, 2011
2:31 pm

gamom. Studies make for nice wordy words, blustering and high paid power hungry egos/idiots. I deal with numbers all day and believe me one can twist/turn numbers and studies to have them reflect the needed outcome. And thats without cheaing. I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

Title1Educator

June 28th, 2011
3:21 pm

@Dr NO “The Joy of Teaching.” How silly. Teaching is a job like all other jobs and who can honestly say their job brings them joy.”

Maybe I’m part of that “less than 15%” (although I have a lot of colleagues who are part of it, too).
Let me rethink that: I think the word joy is inappropriate. Joy is transitory, but passion lingers. I’ve had joyful moments in the classroom, but my passion drew me to this career. I thought of that word often when I looked to change careers over a decade ago. I meditated and prayed for a career–not a job–where compensation wouldn’t matter, would be the “gravy”. I reflected upon the excitement I’d had as a volunteer: computer teacher, library “story time” reader, and writing coach. I resigned from my office job, taking an immediate pay cut. Every year I spend hundreds of unreimbursed dollars on my class. If I’m not taking classes during vacations, I’m pre-planning or attending conferences. None of which I complain nor boast about. Teaching for me is akin to a ministry or as Indians call it “seva”, work offered to God. One of the most challenging campuses I worked at was my first in South Central LA. Not surprisingly, most of the staff were incredibly spiritually grounded people; it wasn’t about the money for any of us.

You said: “Life is tough, jobs are tough, its tough all over.”

I don’t know many teachers whining and crying for sympathy, but nothing I did in my twenties and early 30s before becoming a teacher can compare. Everything else–from 9-5 office work to blue collar factory work–pales in comparison. Purely physical work bores me as much as rote office duties, but I’ve done both. I love the challenge and creativity of teaching, but nothing prepares you for balancing the work and legal responsibilities with bureaucratic pressures and students’ needs. How could you expect parents to verbally or physically attack you for creating discipline and procedures in your classroom? I believe, as my mentors taught me, that the job is hard and there’s always more to learn.

I will acknowledge that there are individuals in it for the money and vacation alone, which I’ve met only since returning to GA. I think the security is the biggest draw. I blame local administrators for forcing out strong, smart, innovative teachers, while retaining so many incompetent, submissive teachers.

That’s the reality I’ve seen.

AtlTaxpayer

June 28th, 2011
3:28 pm

It’s great to see how much interest this article has generated. Education is a complicated issue that stirs up a lot of emotions. A couple of things must be done better if schools are to succeed. Parents must do a better job parenting. Stop expecting teachers to raise our children. Those who think teachers must simply “engage” disruptive students have not been in a classroom recently where kids with serious problems are mainstreamed.

Those folks who run the schools (Boards of Education and School Administrators) must be held accountable by parents and taxpayers. Clayton, DeKalb, and Atlanta Public Schools are examples where those who run our school systems failed to serve the children.

Pay teachers a fair wage. No more furlough days…

Education must be overhauled to prepare students to compete globally. Your child is no longer just competing with folks in the US. Other countries are doing a much better job preparing their children educationally. We can turn this around. But first we have to admit that there is a problem in our homes and our schools.

Claude

June 28th, 2011
4:00 pm

50 years ago, brave young men and women risked their lives to integrate southern colleges. They were passionate about getting a good education. But they don’t seem to be role models for anyone now. They are heroes only to the old.

Title1Educator

June 28th, 2011
4:03 pm

Maureen, I believe that the problem isn’t that we’re talking and not listening, but rather that we’re too often having a conversation about education without all parties agreeing to study the issues in depth from all sides. Too often I feel that people are overwhelmed by personal anecdotes and nostalgia rather than seeing the big picture and modern realities for all stakeholders.

@ atlmom Thank you for the reminder that public education has been in a constant state of reform. It was only in 1892 that the Committee of Ten, an NEA group of educators, was appointed to create the modern model for 12 years of education, including a 4-year secondary school for college-bound and working class students. Previously, non-collegiate students ended with common school (grades 1-8) for work, if they even finished. The Committee also favored the creation of a “liberal” education (including foreign language instruction) in addition to a classical education (more focus on Latin, Greek and philosophy). I still remember being amazed when I read that Laura Ingalls Wilder of the “Little House on the Prairie” series married and became the teacher soon after she finished 8th grade.

@DagnyT I also was most powerfully struck by the inner city boarding schools shown in “Waiting for Superman”. Check out the POV documentary “The Boys of Baraka” to see how boarding school changed the emotional and academic life of seemingly, hopeless black boys from Baltimore.

While I have to agree with many posters that bad or absentee parents are the cause of many disruptive students’ behavior, I’m not always sure how to support such students in my instructional practice besides being calm, communicative, organized, and consistent. Sure, I’ve had those incorrigibly, disruptive students who could tell you that the root of their behavior was their home life. I think having residential institutions (a la Boystown) could be a great option. Still, I worry about systematic abuse in such homes, which happened during the first half of the 20th century. Psychologists and educators blithely categorized students as “morons,” “idiots,” “imbeciles,” etc. (often based on race and class) and many horrors followed.

Finally, I think the most important voices missing from the conversation are the students. Since I began teaching in South Central LA, I’ve had so many students who merely wanted to graduate, and then get to work and have a family. College education was/is the goal for some, but not all students. Is that a lack of exposure or a personal choice? If the latter is possible, why not have some option for vocational education? Even as an GATE/honor student in Buckhead, voc ed classes in woodshop and cooking gave me crucial life skills. The standards movement, while necessary, along with NCLB, has made schools so rigid that today’s kids really miss out. Charter schools, which should be established to give educators and families an option to save curriculum casualties, have become a tool for middle-classed families to create faux private academies.

Logic

June 28th, 2011
4:22 pm

Can someone please fix the link on the News page that says “Get Schoolded” or however it is spelled????

Scolded is definitely what APS and DCSS needs, but I would like to think that our fine editors and columnists can spell.

the prof

June 28th, 2011
4:39 pm

Argosy……………….hahahahahahahahaha………..

Ole Guy

June 28th, 2011
5:36 pm

When you don’t agree with an arguement, the easiest recourse, particularly for the lazy, uninitiated, and plain ole stupid, is to pull the race card; start yelling “hate, hate, discrimination”! The plain fact of the matter is that, contrary to political grandstanding, education is a privilege; not a right. Those who refuse to get with the program…race/mental composition immaterial…should be denied access to publically-funded education, PLAIN AND SIMPLE…OVER AND OUT!

www.honeyfern.org

June 28th, 2011
5:37 pm

No one is listening. It is politics and money and power, pure and simple. Massive change needs to happen, and we continue to place a band-aid over a sucking chest wound. I left to stay sane, and other swho can are leaving, too. No one is listening on a large scale, and it is all about soundbites and speaking fees.

I am truly heartbroken over the status of public education. I believed in its premise and promise, but both of those have been ground into dust, right along with our students. Until we stop blaming someone else and don’t take personal responsibility, for whatever our role is, nothing will change.

No one is listening.

Maureen Downey

June 28th, 2011
6:03 pm

@Logic, Just found the link that you cite. It is being fixed now. Thanks, Maureen

Orlando

June 28th, 2011
6:28 pm

Like a few other posters I recently viewed Waiting for Superman. I thought it did a skillful job of isolating THE #1 problem with education today. In case you’ve not seen it, the problem is TEACHERS’ UNIONS.

ATL Teacher

June 28th, 2011
6:29 pm

I don’t think so. Public schools may have changed for the worse. I read all the posts and checked out suggested links. (I really liked the one from the Huffington Post.) It makes me wonder if the exponential growth of Charter Schools is correlated to NCLB. Interesting?

bob leblah

June 28th, 2011
6:30 pm

No the problem is parenting. It doesn’t matter how well-planned, intelligent etc a curriculum is. If kids don’t want to learn or better yet understand that its important to learn, they won’t.

Apparently...

June 28th, 2011
6:54 pm

Things are not getting better in Clayco; obviously the majority of the board and the superintendent don’t want to listen about education issues. This from the local Clayton paper:

In a work session that followed the called meeting, on Monday, board members mentioned their concerns with the way some members of the community conducted themselves during the public input sessions, particularly at the June 6 budget hearings.

They pointed out various conduct issues, including signs calling for Heatley’s resignation, an extremely boisterous crowd, and community members blocking the middle isle of the meeting room. Some board members suggested that a code of conduct should be enforced, to keep the crowd under control.

Heatley suggested to the board that fire code requirements be enforced to keep the audience from blocking aisles and causing a potential safety hazard.

But some board members disagreed, arguing that too much regulation of how community members could express themselves might be a violation of their right to freedom of speech.

Jerry Eads

June 28th, 2011
7:49 pm

So much to work with, but I’ll just pick @Orlando: Huh. Teachers unions, hm? Wonder what the problem is in Georgia then, given we don’t have unions? It’s a “right to work” state. What the DATA show (NAEP, for example) is that almost all of those states that keep us 49th or 50th are in fact union states. Wonder what that means? Aside from the little detail that “Superman” was a grossly unethical misrepresentation of the facts, and MANY of the quotes were taken out of context so they SOUNDED like they supported their points. Rove and Cheney would be proud.

@Apparently, and many others: Clayco would seem to be another example that reminds us that whatever the solutions (that’s with an “s” – there are NO silver bullets, including “charters”) are, the simple status quo isn’t it. The Gwinnetts and Fairfaxes (VA) of the world work pretty well but there sure are some dismal failures. “Charters” aren’t going to fix that problem (or the inner city one) – or even escape them.

Jerry Eads

June 28th, 2011
8:05 pm

@Title I, keep your eyes peeled for a poster @Cherokee student. Thoughtful posts; hope we hear more from him/her, and hopefully we’ll see more. That doesn’t by any stretch solve your accurate observation that students are listened to even less than teachers, but it would be nice for them to also join us here.

I saw the chuckle about Argosy but didn’t see the post. I won’t speak about Argosy per se, but there were dozens of ‘mail order’ institutions that were shut out of the teacher degree mill recently by the Professional Standards Commission. When the policy was instituted years ago to tie pay raises to advanced degrees, the only place you could GET an advanced degree was from a real college. As with the private charter companies (not to mention the voucher gambit) for K-12, there were folks that smelled easy profit, and the less you put out in teaching the bigger was the profit margin. MANY non-teaching degrees are common and equally valueless, but there was a fixed immutable “perk” that drew many into their jaws. The REALLY sad part is that those people frequently are deluded to believe that’s what REAL graduate education is. Those are the ones who wear their “Dr.” on their sleeve.

Nikole

June 28th, 2011
8:34 pm

@ Orlando—There are NO unions in GA. If we had one, perhaps teachers would be more willing to teach in a way that they know is right and wouldn’t have to put up with disruptive students. If you actually research, you will find that union states tend to do better on national measures and unions even have procedures to HELP get rid of ineffective teachers. They offer and mentor and a specialized professional development program and if you still can’t cut the mustard, they help escort you to the door.

Nikole

June 28th, 2011
8:35 pm

offer *a mentor

William Casey

June 28th, 2011
8:43 pm

Nobody seems to want to get down to the “nuts and bolts” of improving individual schools, so I’ll try. Ideas are supported by specific experiences from my 31 years in public and private schools. I’ll limit myself to high schools since that is my experience. Most of them cost little or no money.

PROBLEM 1: The principal of any large (1,000+ students) public school has a job in which it is almost impossible to achieve excellence. Bob Burke at Chattahoochee in the ‘90’s was an excellent manager. Pete Zervakos at Northview ‘01-09 was a good manager and inspirational leader. Neither could truly supervise instruction which is the school’s core function. This was covered up by both school’s demographics.

SOLUTION 1: Divide the job into MANAGEMENT PRINCIPAL and INSTRUCTIONAL PRINCIPAL with the two forming a team of absolute equals. It worked very well for the German Army 1870-1914 (I‘m a history guy.) Split the difference in pay between today’s Principal and Assistant Principal. Giving instructional leadership to an AP seldom works. “Management priorities” almost always trump instructional necessities.

PROBLEM 2: Teacher evaluation is a joke and it will get worse with the test-drive “value-added” model. My evaluations many years at CHS & NHS consisted of one twenty-minute observation by people who didn’t even understand my subject area. They weren’t stupid. They simply didn’t have experience in my discipline or how to teach it.

SOLUTION 2: Teacher evaluation must be much more intense and done by teams of people from outside the school. I won’t bore you with the hundreds of school politics/prejudices stories I’ve encountered. I will say that I watched two excellent social science teachers run out of Northview by a Department Chairman who hated men (no, I wasn’t one of them.) Expensive? Somewhat because of the increased number of observations required (at least ten full classes in a year) mitigated somewhat by the fact that every teacher wouldn’t need to be evaluated every year. Could also be reduced by recruiting retired teachers such as myself for whom teaching was a “calling” and who would do this at nominal cost. This would have to be organized along SACS lines or too many Principals would staff it with cronies as happens too often now with retiree re-hires.

PROBLEM 3: Discipline and orderly classrooms.

SOLUTION 3: Nothing will solve all such problems but this would certainly help. Restore In-School Suspension Programs to their roots in the 1970’s when retired Marine Corps Captain Boyd Morley and I piloted the program at Cobb County’s Pebblebrook HS. We designed and implemented a program that amounted to a “halfway house” in which the adolescents had to EARN their way back into the school. It was intense without being abusive. This would cost almost nothing since schools already have ISS teachers. Properly training the ISS teachers would be the only cost. Alas, over the past twenty years the program has largely degenerated into a glorified study hall and holding pen. We tried to modify behavior. All this would take is the moral courage then Assistant Principal Ralph Williams showed back then.

There’s LOTS more but the point is that these school-specific solutions are what’s needed rather than the hazy “cosmic reform” efforts I’ve witnessed for the past forty years. If this bores you, you’re part of the problem. These are all things that any school could do. B*tching and moaning about bad parents or social ills doesn’t help.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
8:52 pm

Seeing – that I am such a maudlin parent that does nothing according to some of you, how many of YOU have actually written to your lawmakers on the issue of Educators beating children in Georgia Schools and continue to have no accountability on that issue. I will say it again- it’s almost as if all of you are just o.k. as long as it doesn’t happen to YOUR kids. Well guess what – suppose one of your kids marries one of those kids who was brought up in a district that was beating their kids as a matter of discipline. And they turn around and become a spouse beater. Maybe THEN, you’ll see the law should have been changed long ago. Not only can any of the educators in Georgia beat a child while in the school house – They are are immune, civilly and criminally. Don’t beleive me? Look it up on lexis-nexis – it’s all in black and white. Very simple to read . No I’m not hijacking the thread. It is relevant to the school to prison pipeline. You treat kids like robots and prisoners, you will breed children who become angry, disengaged and it leads to the drop out rate – particularly here in Georgia. Our numbers are far less than stellar on the grad rates. Beating kids is leading to this problem. Hence, leading to the school to prison pipeline. Yeah yeah yea you all will say I am making assumptions and extrapolating way too far. But if its your kid that becomes one of those stats – you’d be howling at the moon.

Laurie

June 28th, 2011
9:12 pm

eacher&mom

June 28th, 2011
8:12 am
More food for thought:
http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/poor.htm

Thanks for this link, Teacher and Mom. I hadn’t seen that essay of Kohn’s. Great one.

Laurie

June 28th, 2011
9:16 pm

Dr. Trotter said: “Do you think for even one mili-second (is this a word?) that the Chinese would countenance ANY defiance from the children in their schools?”

And, um, what the Chinese do is supposed to an argument IN FAVOR of any change in American schools? Funny you should say that….

“The average American high school is excellent preparation for the real world … if you live in a totalitarian society.” -Alfie Kohn

That may not be true in all American schools, but read the above Kohn article for descriptions of typical model in the kinds of schools discussed in Maureen’s blog post.

Laurie

June 28th, 2011
9:17 pm

@Title1Educator: Thank you. That’s all. I hope your students and their parents appreciate you.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
9:20 pm

To Title1educator and William Casey – Thank you so much for your thoughtful and inciteful posts. It’s just so easy to point fingers at parents all the time on these blogs. It’s been going on forever. It’s as if we parents are the only problem ALL the time and that simply is not true. This is 2011, we need thoughtful and inciteful leadership to conquer complex issues in education. There are kids who don’t even know where their next meal is coming from, or who have parents who are drug addicts and don’t give a darn. What is supposed to be done with them? Throw them away? Put ‘em in institution, or simply funnel them to the juvenile justice system? I say teachers are stop gap to help these kids, to get them tuned in to the help they need. To get these kids properly assessed and identified if they have a learning difference. Not everyone learns the same way, not everyone behaves the same way. We can do better.

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
9:22 pm

Gamom—

I think beat and beating is a little over the top. I have done some research and seen that spankings, not beatings, still happen in some parts of the state. If my child becomes a distraction in class and is being disrespectful and all other discipline actions have failed, I would give full permission for my child to have his tail spanked. When he got home he would get another spanking following a stern lecture.

BILL...TIRED OF THE MESS.

June 28th, 2011
9:28 pm

THANKS MR. CASEY! DR, TROTTER HAS ALSO BEEN HAMMERING AT DISCIPLINE FOR YEARS…EVEN ON THIS BLOG! HE IS RIGHT!!

gamom

June 28th, 2011
9:36 pm

OMGoodness Stacy, If your child is injured, you’d have no recourse. Thousands of parents have sent their kids to the doctor after these “spankings”. I just call it hitting because that’s what it is. Let’s not modify our perception to use a nice word like spanking. It’s hitting plain and simple. Hitting School districts attract lazy and incompetent educators. Attracts the worst of the worst. These are people who hold degrees in higher education. From where did they learn this other than tradition. No college of education teaches this to upcoming educators. NONE, NADA ZIP. I am in no way suggesting there should be no discipline. Not at all. There should be order, should be discipline, but what we have here is a real problem. Students with disabilities are getting hit, struck, paddled, beaten – whatever YOU wanna call it far more often than average kids. Do you think that’s right? I suggest YOU call upon the state Board of Ed and get the document that Maureen has about the stats (largely under-reported because the data is not accurately entered or recorded in many cases) and read Impairing Education thoroughly. I don’t ever want my kids in that type of environment. YOu know how many parents have been complaining about this?! You have no idea of what you speak. Read the report ‘Impairing Education’ – google it! Many of the kids cited in that report are from GEORGIA. Again – immunity if the child is injured. Think about that.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
9:53 pm

BTW – I counted 90 counties out of 159 as using this barbaric practice.

Incredulous

June 28th, 2011
10:02 pm

@gamom, Please, please, please!? again, your tone is so strident and your view so irrational as to deny you any crediblity. The numbers you cite accurately the percentage of students within the schools. 11.7% of the state of Georgia’s population is recorded as disabled. That number also holds true within the schools. There is no epidemic of children being beaten in public schools. As a paddler and a paddlee( if that is a word), I can personally attest to the efficacy of paddling on incorrigible students. It works! Paddling is typically reserved as a CHOICE punishment in lieu of OSS. A SPED student is no more likely or less likely to engage in disruptive behavior than any other student. You conveniently use scarce data to attempt to convince readers otherwise. Are you kidding?

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
10:04 pm

gamom–

If the spanking is properly done than there should be no possible injury that could occur. I was spanked in school probably 50 times with no issues. I spank my kids when they are really bad or have repeatedly done the same thing and no other discipline has worked. I do not enjoy spanking my kids, but I do it because I love them and want them to grow into respectful hardworking productive adults. There are time that I even go and cry after spanking them. All kids are different, and they all react to different punishments. For me, I was very stubborn, I could stand in the corner all day, didn’t care if I had things taken away from me, tune people out if they were fusing at me, but the only thing that I responded to was spanking. My parents never beat me and I have the utmost respect for them now. I deserved every spanking that I ever got and I am a better person for it today.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:05 pm

@incredulous – where do you teach?

Incredulous

June 28th, 2011
10:08 pm

@gamom, Have you ever?

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
10:11 pm

gamom–

Where did you find the info on the counties. I have friends that teach in 5 North Georgia counties and none of them paddle. I find it odd that I could live in the only area of the state that doesn’t do it. There is a county in Tennessee just across the line from me where they do still paddle. I was talking to one of my former teachers who is now teaching in there and was told that they have far fewer discipline issue than the county they taught at in Georgia. The only difference is paddling.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:11 pm

stacy – there are no standards for this practice as to how not to injure, so why allow this?! Do you all really believe what your writing?! Or just like to give a different opinion. INcredulous – If you really are an educator – please answer – where did you learn this? What college did you attend? Or do you people just do it, because you believe in ‘tradition’ or the anecdote that it worked for you. Like I said before, beating students is for dumb and lazy educators in my view. If you can’t figure out a way to educate and relate to the kid, please don’t teach! Again, what county do you teach in – I don’t want to ever move there! And I can’t believe my tax dollars continue to support this barbarism, where it’s not even allowed in prisons, foster care, nursing home, or any other institution. But it’s just A- OK to hit kids in school. unbelievable. I don’t want my children within 100 yards of any school that allows this. I don’t want them in that environment. I would never give permission as a parent for a school to do such to my kids.

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
10:19 pm

Colleges only briefly cover classroom management and how to handle disciplinary issues.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:25 pm

The info on each county is readily available from the Georgia State Board of Ed. All you have to do is ask for it. There are many districts that don’t paddle (I count 69 out of 159 districts reporting) and they don’t have behavior issues stacey. Mine is one of them. We have one of the best performing districts (if you are looking at only crct, and sat scoring, etc. But all around I will have to say, I am very pleased that my district does not paddle, and we don’t have the any terrible god awful generalized behavior issues. Of course there are always kids that have issues, but these seem to be minimal. I assure you Stacy, a paddling district does not have better behavior. I lived it back in the day, we had incorrigible kids who continually got paddled way back when – didn’t change them for the better at all. Title 1 schools and Title 1 teachers should not even have paddling on the books too in my view.

Incredulous

June 28th, 2011
10:26 pm

So let me understand you. Your numbers are unsupported, anyone that disagrees with you is dumb and lazy, and you firmly believe that paddling as a consequence is barbaric. If a child were to tease and abuse a dog and the dog bit the child, which would you blame? Two things come to mind: talking with you, is like clapping with one hand, and somewhere a village is missing you.

Tonya C.

June 28th, 2011
10:26 pm

William Casey:

I agree with you recommendations. But number three….fat chance. My spouse works in an alternative school environment where kids are allowed to ‘work out’ their anger issues by destroying school property, assaulting teachers, and threatening students. Enforcing real discipline WILL require a reset in the mindset of many of these parents and a resolution to the ’social ills’ you minimize. I’m being honest here (although I wish I were making it up).

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:28 pm

There was a hearing on this whole issue in Washington D.C.

Tonya C.

June 28th, 2011
10:29 pm

Incredulous:

I warned you. I think most here can respect intelligent discussion and even countering points of view, but gamom loves to take things to the extreme. Any of us that believe in corporal punishment should be shot and fed to wolves, so-to-speak (according to her).

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
10:29 pm

Like I said before, beating students is for dumb and lazy educators in my view. If you can’t figure out a way to educate and relate to the kid, please don’t teach!

With that advice, there would be no teachers left. When you have 150 students a day, it is impossible to relate to every one of them, no matter how hard you may try. I admit that there are bad teacher who only teach for the summer off, but there are many more who are passionate about what they do and care for every single student who comes into their classroom, even the one who sits there and no matter how hard you try does nothing.

Worried in Cobb

June 28th, 2011
10:32 pm

What has caused the so called slide of an American Education. What has changed in the last few decades to cause the slide. Are teachers these days doing a worse job? Are students not living up to their end of the deal? Are parents not preparing their children as much as they used too? What is the biggest difference?

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:32 pm

Quote from “Impairing Education”:
“August 10, 2009

“In this 70-page report, the ACLU and Human Rights Watch found that students with disabilities made up 18.8 percent of students who suffered corporal punishment at school during the 2006-2007 school year, although they constituted just 13.7 percent of the total nationwide student population. At least 41,972 students with disabilities were subjected to corporal punishment in US schools during that year. These numbers probably undercount the actual rate of physical discipline, since not all instances are reported or recorded.”

That’s a quote from only 1 of many many reports. I don’t have a clue as to whether the stats for 2009 in Georgia is accurately reported. Some counties have reported over 1000 incidents for 1 school year. The report is available from the GA DOE.

Incredulous

June 28th, 2011
10:37 pm

@gamom, citing the ACLU and the Human Rights Watch won’t attract too many adherents. This is, after all, a conservative state that supports the death penalty and doesn’t give the ACLU the light of day. Perhaps you should consider relocating to Holland.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:40 pm

@incredulous – New Mexico just signed a ban on it by a Republican Governor. So I don’t get your reasoning. Believe it or not, I would categorize myself as leaning right of center. And I have talked to lawmakers who were under the impression that this was not happening in the state of Georgia. Unfortunately, no one here has had the backbone to introduce a ban measure, but I believe it’s coming within the next year or two. Currently Louisiana and North Carolina have taken up the issue as well.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:42 pm

BTW the National Association of School Nurses has a Strong Position statement against it as well, as do many many professional organizations of educators and healthcare professional organizations

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:46 pm

Here is an article regarding a Ban just instituted in a private Catholic School in New Orleans – Bravo to them!
http://www.nola.com/religion/index.ssf/2011/06/new_josephite_leader_reasserts.html

Incredulous

June 28th, 2011
10:49 pm

@gamom. That legislators would claim no knowledge of the activity comes as no surprise. When was the last time your representative spent a day in your schools? Other than stopping corporal punishment, what specific and detailed discipline plan do you suggest? What specifc discipline method works for your family? Do you, or have you spanked your own children? Please answer my dog bite scenario.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
10:56 pm

Incredulous – can you answer my questions as to where you teach. No of course I don’t hit my kids. Parenting is hard work that takes brain power, not brawn power. And frankly, I’m a bit disturbed that anyone would condone hitting kids on blogposts. I find it odd and troubling. But that’s just me. You know what works for my family? Consistency and real world consequences. And we change it up now and then. You make a mess, you clean it up. Get it? A couple of times making them eat humble pie is always a nice touch – like writing a detailed letter of apology and having them write out what choice they would make next time. Of course, as a parent, my responsibility is to know what is appropriate and what is not, shouldn’t teachers be expected to do the same? I am not sure how to respond to your dog scenario. Not enough detail there.

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
10:58 pm

I am glad that you are in a good district Gamom. it is great for your kids to be in such a great system, but I am going to guess that you are in a high socioeconomic district, where most kids have 2 parents at home that encourage them to do their very best. I do not think that spanking in schools is the best case option, but it worked back when I was in school in my county. My daughter just completed 5th grade and there was a student in her class that was 14 years old who was just waiting until he turn 16 to drop out. He bullied all of the kids and was a major disruption daily in class. His parents would not return calls from the school and even told the school on one occasion that they didn’t care what he done because he was going to work in his dad’s shop when he drops out. How is a teacher supposed to deal with a situation like that while trying to help the other students to succeed?

gamom

June 28th, 2011
11:05 pm

Aaaah bullying, the ever present problem in schools. It’s a shame, really. That’s where I think schools need to implement a bully prevention program, not just do a training and that’s it, but really embrace and implement one. It works. Most of these programs are available by grants. School districts just need to apply. Mine did. At the request of parents. Stacy – you said yourself that classroom management is barely touched on in progress. I think you just named a legitimate problem that should be addressed. I’m not saying that paddling didn’t have its place back in the maybe 50’s and 60’s. But highly inappropriate now. I think we can do better than that.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
11:08 pm

Stacy – you said yourself that classroom management is barely touched on in progress. – meant to say ‘in college’. My brain and fingers are not cooperating at this late hour – sorry

Stacy

June 28th, 2011
11:19 pm

I understand. That is how a teacher feels after hours of dealing with students who do not want to be there, and do not care if they learn anything and with parents who feel the same way. All they care about is that the “day care” is free.

Incredulous

June 28th, 2011
11:23 pm

@gamom, am I to assume that you don’t have a solution to discipline problem in our schools? I find it troubling and odd that you would be so arrogant as to ascert your parenting over my own and other parents as well. What I find most disturbing is your complete disregard of other people’s opinions. Please submit your detailed discipline plan that is both fair and effective. Feel free to cut and paste from any school system you choose. As a result of NCLB, schools are limited to the days a student can be assigned OSS ( resulting from attendence requirements). What to do with the incorrigible ones is the conundrum. The behaviors that you fail to mention are the very ones that limit the educational experience of the remainder of students. If your child’s teacher shamed them rather than writing up the infraction, what would be your response? If your child were to be assaulted or bullied in school, what advice would you give your child on how to respond? Would you advocate that they defend themselves? Would you tell them to go to the teacher, or the counselor? I can’t believe that you are at all familiar with education. Remember that private schools have the luxury of dismissing students that fail to follow the code of conduct. This is more or less what happens in the public domain, courtesy of the judicial system, when the same incorrigibles fail to play by the rules when they reach 18. In some cases, sooner. I’d rather give them a painful reminder and a second chance than send them home, where we can’t help, or ignore the behavior and have the remainder of the student body suffer the consequences or run the risk of litigation resulting from the parents of students that were harmed because the school failed to act.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
11:26 pm

Well, I’m only speaking from a parent perspective – yeah – kids can be a real pain, but you do what you gotta do as a parent. Nurses have to deal with drug addicts who keep overdosing, they don’t up and quit, – they do what they do, because they love what they do. Or with non-compliant patients who refuse to take their insulin and not eat candy bars. Should we all just throw up our hands and say fuggetaboutit? I don’t think so.
To your point incredulous about whether I taught – if you count me volunteering in the classroom for reading groups I don’t know . I also have been reading lately on Restorative Justice – I don’t know if this model can be applied in schools, but some of the things I have read makes total sense, such as mediation, restitution and community service. I think that I have read of a few schools using these models rather than the one size fits all of ISS and OSS, etc. or corporal punishment (which is an abject failure on the part of the school and system of course)

gamom

June 28th, 2011
11:29 pm

So incredulous – does your school have a bully prevention program, like Olweus?

gamom

June 28th, 2011
11:33 pm

BTW I guess you can say I have had my child be one of the incorrigible ones. She had a hearing deficit for a while, rather severe one, which neither I or the teacher picked up, Consequently she either acted out or appeared to ignore instruction. The problem was SHE COULD NOT HEAR. It was up to me to figure out the problem. Nobody else did. So glad she wasn’t in a district that paddled. She would have probably end up getting spanked for something she couldn’t help. You see my point incredulous. My perspective is a very valid one, just different than yours.

Incredulous

June 28th, 2011
11:43 pm

@gamom, I am very, very glad your child’s disability was discovered. Please elaborate. Hearing and visual are one of the 1st issues explored when a student is having problems. Most, but not all, audio/visual dysfunction is picked up very early, typically no later than the 1st half of kindergarten. Screenings are routine and can be completed if not by the school, then the public health department, or your family physician. Did none of her teacher’s suggest that she be examined? As for paddling her; I don’t think we’re discussing the same behaviors, unless hers included strikiing out at other students or the teacher.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
11:50 pm

Nobody suggested I get her checked for that at the school, but of course I worked with my family physician, The problem took some time to get worked out and resolved. And if a child is acting out in a physical manner, like striking out at others, what are you TEACHING then by paddling such a child. The acting out has got to have a cause and needs to be investigated, and the child does not need manhandling by an adult or authority figure. That is not the answer. Perhaps the child is hungry, perhaps the child has a hidden disability like autism. Acting out can be a common problem in autism. Paddling an undiagosed autistic is not going to get anyone anywhere, except maybe more aggression. I do have friends who have children with Autism, I have been around these children. They often cannot express themselves properly. Maybe they have something going on at home. And this is the only way a child can express themselves. There is something not right with the child. Teaching them should never include hitting them, no? Why am I so wrong here. Please elaborate.

gamom

June 28th, 2011
11:54 pm

Or maybe the child only strikes out because That is what they know from a domestic violence situation. They see mom or dad hit each other to resolve problems, so they mimic what they see. So how then is hitting them or paddling them going to help the situation? How does this logic apply.

Ima Teacher

June 28th, 2011
11:59 pm

Jerry Eads is right on! Gerald Bracey’s “Setting the Record Straight” should be REQUIRED reading of every teacher and parent in America. Don’t buy the rhetoric advanced by the so-callled “school reformers” and the writers (uh, lawyers) of NCLB. It’s not the dire picture they paint. Dr. Trotter is also correct. Lack of discipline in our schools is our #1 problem. Why? Because we are an individualistic society, not a collectivist society like China and the other Asian countries that are “ahead of us.” American children are taught by their parents & society that they are the center of the universe; in China, it’s the group that’s important. Children there would never do anything in class that would be disruptive or harmful to the group’s learning–they would “lose face” and bring shame to their family. Teachers are also revered in China–seen almost as gods. BIG difference from our society, don’t you think? Add to the mix, that many of our children are raising themselves. Mom & Dad are too busy working or going out to spend time with their children. If nobody tells me what to do at home, why in the world would I listen to anyone at school?? In China, multiple generations live together–there is always a family member, usually grandparents, to take care of the children. BTW, Bracey shows in his book that the US ranks 13th in the world–not that bad really, when there are hundreds of countries listed. Read his book!! You can get it on Amazon.

Stop saying teachers “get the summers off.” We get June & July off, period. Most start back to school around Aug. 3rd or 4th. Those eight weeks are just long enough to recover physically and mentally before we go back in the trenches. And many teachers are going to workshops, doing planning, going in early to get their room ready for August, etc. etc. during our “vacation.” Stop bashing teachers–most are doing all they can and then some to teach YOUR children.

ATL Teacher

June 29th, 2011
12:00 am

Going of on this tangent is proof that everyone is TALKING. Are you listening? This sounds ridiculous. Discipline is just one example of what educators and teachers disagree on. We will never fix anything if we continue in this manner. Fact: Most Asian countries have few discipline problems yet we want to compare and try to outbeat their results so I do agree with other posters that discipline seems to be a major ingredient. Let’s stop fussing, look at the facts, and DO SOMETHING.

Incredulous

June 29th, 2011
12:08 am

@gamom, teachers do look for root causes. Really. I won’t make the leap to teaching an autistic child with corporal punishment. I agree. That would be akin to kicking a bird dog on point. However, I wasn’t discussing autism or similar disabilities. I am pointing out that there are many, many students that lack discipline and that paddling has it’s place as a deterrence, in lieu of removal from school. Under current mainstreaming models, ALL children are placed in the same room, resulting in all those little differences magnifying one another. As a result of placement, and not classroom management, modern classrooms can resemble rush hour at a fast food restaurant. Unfortunately, there are always outliers that manufacturer a disability either for benefits or as a ” get out of jail free” card to play whenever they are caught. I suggest that we establish a judicial arm that penalizes parents that fail to render aid and discipline to their children. We could establish a family court that metes out penalties from fines to jail time when the students act inappropriately. Couple the court with mandatory parenting classes. Once all casual circumstances are identified and we are certain that the behaviors result from either bad parenting or bad kids, we could let the consequences roll. Recurring breeches would be met with harsher penalties. What do you think?

gamom

June 29th, 2011
12:11 am

Incredulous – the screenings offered at the school are just screenings. A lot of things are missed plus it does not account for conditions that may wax or wane in severity. So while my kid did get an initial screening – it did not pick up on the issue. I don’t want to become like China or Asia. But I do want my children educated and prepared for the real world. Asian countries have an extremely high suicide rate too. I am all for year round school and school choice. I think kids lose too much over those summer weeks, and they would be better served by going all year with intermittent breaks throughout the year. But I’m not sure that would be a very popular suggestion among educators.

Ima Teacher

June 29th, 2011
12:15 am

Gamom, I agree that teachers should not paddle students for any reason. Your idea of having them write a letter of apology or write what choice they would make next time is good, except for one tiny problem. That’s “humiliating” the student and will also “make them hate writing,” according to most principals I’ve come across. Not allowed. Can’t make them stand or sit in the corner either (see the first reason above). In fact, there is very little that a teacher can do anymore about students who won’t cooperate. Even if you asked them to write something, and they told you to “Go #&%@ yourself” What would you do? Send them to the office? The administrators don’t like that–makes them think you can’t control your class. Call their parents? And get cursed out or threatened by them?? Are you getting the picture? Go teach in a middle or high school for one week, then come back and give us your wisdom.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
12:17 am

Incredulous – I see that you would like to see schools have more power into parents lives, and be bigger and badder. That is not a conservative tenet whatsoever. School choice is. I want the federal dollars to follow my kid. I pay into the system, I should be able to choose. And I think you might be missing my point, THERE are many kids in the mainstream who may be autistic, who may have a bad home life, may have violence in their home… you never know which one that is if you’re using paddling and using that throughout the school career, when you could have used another way that was not detrimental in the longterm. While hitting a kid might work for that instant, what are you teaching any child in the long term? Nothing. Incorrigible or not, nobody deserves to be hit. Otherwise they’d be doing it in nursing homes, in prisons, in juvenile justice detention centers – but guess what – they don’t. The only place its done is in schools still. Sad. Just because it was acceptable in the 1950’s doesn’t mean its the right thing to do now. How about a bully prevention program or restorative justice?

Incredulous

June 29th, 2011
12:25 am

@gamom. You can’t fall for every new age ideal that come into the light. Somewhere, someone is making money on the QVC anti bullying. discipline program that the system buys. Ma’am, we can’t afford to do things your way. I don’t want to pay for your mistakes.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
12:25 am

To imateacher – yeah I can see that happening. of course what I do at home, maybe different than what is feasible in school. What about restorative justice, community service, Saturday School? (remember the Breakfast Club ;) I can see if writing is overused a kid could hate writing. Of course, these days I don’t see a lot of writing going on, more stuff seems to be done via computer than anything, so their argument may be moot these days. I think you can use any one thing and it can be overused and even abused. I know what works for one certainly doesn’t work for the other either. I like the idea of community service (of course if approved by a parent as well), like cleaning up a classroom. Whatever happened to those days? A kid is learning absolutely nothing from losing instruction time with OSS, perhaps its even re-inforcing the behavior you want to correct. What better way to get out of responsibility than with OSS? Let’s see hitting them creates more aggression, and OSS might even reinforce the bad behavior – what about really investigating what the heck is going on with the kid, and get some interventions in place. I know, it’s a lot to ask, but I think something better must be done.

Ima Teacher

June 29th, 2011
12:26 am

Gamom, many teachers DO like year-round school–cheaper to travel on the off-seasons. But of those that are actually doing it, I have heard from many that the kids forget over each break just like they do in the summer, so you feel like you are constantly starting over all year. And the data on year-round school has not shown that it increases test scores, either. Parents with students in multiple levels (at different schools) may not have all of their children off at the same time, making it difficult for working parents to take care of the ones that are off. In other words, their children might be on different “tracks” with some in school and some on break–a working parent’s nightmare!

gamom

June 29th, 2011
12:32 am

Incredulous – I have seen the Anti Bullying program Work. Apparently, everything I suggest is disregarded by you. How about being part of the solution and not part of the problem. I am part of the solution, I have been at the school and volunteered. I am involved where I can be. I wish I can do more, Unfortunately I cannot at this time. But believe me I do give back when I can. I want to see ALL kids succeed, not just my own. And the way I see it from these blogs, its not the kids with the problem. They need to be taught how to be successful in all aspects of life. How we treat our minors is a reflection of our society. Are they disrespectful? You betchya! And so was I back in the day. But I had darn good teachers who I looked up to and respected, I can’t tell you how much I was inspired by a select few. The ones I had the most respect for would never lay a hand on any kid – whether they were incorrigible or not. But I have also seen those that need to move on and get another job too.

Stacy

June 29th, 2011
12:37 am

Well said Ima Teacher. Another reason that Asian countries and other parts of the world are ahead of us is because we require all children to go to school. In many other countries, only the best are allowed to continue their education. Gamom– I don’t agree with Autistic children being spanked, and I only think that spanking should be a last result for regular Ed kids who are constant behavior problems. I am sorry that your daughter’s issue was not caught by the teacher, but as Incredulous said ” modern classrooms can resemble rush hour at a fast food restaurant” I was not diagnosed until the last semester of my senior in high school with dyslexia, so I can understand your frustration. How is school choice suppose to work? What if there is only 1 school in your district? Are students in that situation discriminated against because they don’t have a choice. Who is considered a good teacher, one who teaches in the best district and has the best scores where no child fails the CRCT, or a teacher who has ELL students, students below the poverty line, single and no parent homes, low socioeconomic, and a community that does not support their school, but only 10% fail the CRCT? Which is the best teacher?

Ima Teacher

June 29th, 2011
12:37 am

Saturday school?? Who’s going to run it? Who’s going to pay for it? Answer: no one. Can’t force a child to do manual labor or community service either. Not even having them pick up paper around the schools or take out trash. Not allowed!! Punishment of that sort is left up to the parents. My solution would simply be to send them home after 3 referrals for disruptive behavior, and they don’t get back in without a parent conference with the teacher and principal. The second time they get sent home, mom and/or dad can put them in private school or alternative school. Incidently, this won’t ever happen either. The last thing the police and society want is for a bunch of delinquents to be running around all day and getting into trouble. A principal actually said this to me as a reason why more students aren’t suspended! So……don’t you want to be a teacher now?? : )

NewMinority

June 29th, 2011
12:41 am

A trip down memory lane…..

“On the Hudson MRS Design Team, William Bennett served as chairman with Dennis Doyle, Chester Finn, Jr., Pierre du Pont IV and Lamar Alexander (former Education Secretary under George Bush). Chester Finn, author of AMERICA 2000 with Lamar Alexander, also sits on the National Education Goals Panel for GOALS 2000. Chester Finn and DIANE RAVITCH are co-directors of the Thomas Fordham Foundation’s Educational Excellence Network, which works with Hudson Institute, and also direct the Education Policy Institute (EPI), bringing together GOALS 2000 players with Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Reform.”

More on the Hudson Institute:
http://watch.pair.com/Hudson.html

Ima Teacher

June 29th, 2011
12:45 am

Well said Stacy! It’s time we stop treating the education of children like we are making widgets. The one-size-fits-all approach of NCLB needs to GO! One test score does not an educated child make. And 100% of U.S. students are supposed to pass (or meet the arbitrarily set “standards”) by 2014? When donkeys fly!

Ima Teacher

June 29th, 2011
12:50 am

Well done NewMinority–you’ve named in one paragraph almost all of the people responsible for screwing up education!! Read Gerald Bracey’s book–”Setting the Record Straight.”

Ima Teacher

June 29th, 2011
1:05 am

The elitist philosophy of the Hudson Institute was expressed by SCANS committee and CFR member, Thomas Sticht, in the following statement:

“Many companies have moved operations to places with cheap, relatively poorly educated labor. What may be crucial, they say is dependability of a labor force and how well it can be managed and trained not its general educational level, although a small cadre of highly educated creative people are essential to innovation and growth.”–from their website (see above).

Great. Who gets to decided whose children get to be in that small cadre of highly educated creative people? Who gets to decide which children get to be “managed and trained?” The NewMinority??

gamom

June 29th, 2011
1:38 am

@Imateacher – they do Saturday school in TX, and I know for a fact they were doing Saturday school in my own district couple years ago. I don’t know if it is continuing. But apparently there are districts who have been able to continue this even in these hard economic times. It sounds to me like a lot of people put the walls up at suggestions – you don’t know if it would work until and unless it is tried. If a parent/community signs off on community service (as long as there is supervision), what is the problem. If it is presented to the community and it is studied (perhaps start a task force with parents and teachers as members), you’d get the ball rolling. I know that’s more work, but oh well! If Georgia can allow educators to hit kids, they sure can allow community service. Schools are supposed to allow parents to be involved – not just in the PTA to raise money, but in policy making as well

gamom

June 29th, 2011
1:46 am

Again I am asking – how about Restorative Justice – What do you say Incredulous? BTW, where did you say you teach?
Here is info on Restorative Justice – there are schools implementing it. Maybe the schools that don’t have it ought to reach out to the Denver Public Schools and ask them how they are doing…
http://www.restorativejustice.org/editions/2008/september08/denverschools

Middle School Teacher

June 29th, 2011
9:05 am

William Casey: I cannot believe my eyes. As I was reading the many inputs to this discussion, I was talking with my spouse, saying that I thought one of the solutions to all the problems would be to have an administrative principal and instructional principal. The very next input I read was “yours.” I was amazed that you had the exact recommendation. Maybe someone will read and listen.

Stacy

June 29th, 2011
9:43 am

Gamom–

How does Saturday school work? How many days a year do they go? Is it still 180 but the year is shorter, or do they go an additional 27 days? In these economic times where some districts are only going 160 and 170 days, how could they afford to go longer? If it was the additional days, the cost would be in the incredible. Gas for buses, addition pay for the teachers, office and cafeteria workers, and electricity just to name a few. That would also put the teachers over 40 hours a week (although they all surpass that now). Would they get time and a half for that? The added expense would bankrupt the already struggling state.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
10:10 am

@Stacy – I am referring to Sat school as only being used as a part of a comprehensive discipline plan, so the need would have to be determined at the individual school. It does not cost that much, if an aide or sub is used for it. Maybe a once a month thing, but that would have to be determined at the individual school

gamom

June 29th, 2011
10:12 am

And I do agree that it would make sense to have an instructional principal and an administrative principal, but to be cost effective, the pay for each would have to be lowered.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
10:37 am

If folks are so concerned about discipline or school climate as I prefer to call it, why not attend a local school council meeting and make your concerns known? That’s really a good way to effect change at the individual school level.

Darren Beck

June 29th, 2011
11:03 am

All due respect to Dr. Ravitch, but her oversimplification regarding the impact of the American Education system shows signs of selective memory. There has never really been a single system in this nation. With each reform effort, there has been something that has lingered, thus changing, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse our overall system. And the cold, hard truth is that a system combining 19th century education and 20th century management is hardly what 21st century students need to be truly successful. I find it the height of academic and political hypocrisy that instead of laying out an action plan, all she and other status quo protectors do–supported by the Georgia State Supreme Court–is berate and denigrate charter schools. Where are the actual plans that support real, powerful student improvement and achievement? They don’t have anything other than invective and negativity. America faces hard issues not the least of which is a staggering drop out rate and a shrinking graduation rate and ever weaker follow through regarding students entering college or vocational programs who actually finish. The last thing we can do as a country is wring our hands and hope things clear up on their own. We’ve all got to roll up our sleeves and get to work. The kids will do the heaviest lifting, but we ALL have to change the direction we are going.

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
11:48 am

gamom, Saturdays school does not work. I’ve run it at my current school and only 20% of kids show up while the other 80% end up getting ISS which ends up crowding ISS and only making the situation worse. When a student is assigned Saturday school their parents are called to give them a heads up and still we are missing 80% of our kids. Do you have any other ideas for discipline?

Ronin

June 29th, 2011
12:19 pm

It appears that the issue has turned to lack of discipline and punishment by spanking.
While spanking may be effective in certain situation, it does not solve the problem.

Many of the disgruntled children come from families with little or no support and they don’t want to be at school. The mandatory education law is, in my opinion, like trying to drag a a horse to the well to drink. It just won’t work.

In dealing with middle to high school kids, you need to separate them into two groups, those that want to learn and advance and those that are doing their time.

Focus on the advancement group, with few distractions, the learning process for the student and teacher will be much easier. As far as the “challenged group”, set basic math, reading and writing goals. I mean basic. Then give them the choice, when you can pass the basic test, you are free to stop attending alternative school. Go to work at Wendy’s or any other fast food place, any place you can get a job. There will always be people that will aspire to get by. The alternative is, leave school without passing the basic test, you forfeit your right to any type of public assistance. NONE. You are on your own, This would be school true school choice.

The other issues would work themselves out.

As far as the Charter schools, it’s worth a shot.

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
12:28 pm

Ronin, great idea about the two tracks, however, many people believe that you will hurt one groups feelings. Plus, you’ll be labeling kids and that is also wrong is a lot of peoples eyes.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
12:30 pm

Saturday school – of course you’ll have some no shows. I am not buying that it is 80% – how do YOU calculate that? What I am suggesting is only part and parcel of a COMPREHENSIVE all around school climate plan. Nothing will work if there is only 1 or 2 options. I think we need to change the conversation away from punitive punishment to addressing school climate as a whole. To Worried in Cobb – the hearing in D.C. on Corporal punishment this past spring – revealed many school districts who implemented comprehensive plans that did work. Go and watch the video tape – I invite anyone to watch the hearing – because there were good examples of what worked and what didn’t.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
12:34 pm

This Youtube is for Incredulous – Please pay attention to what the mother says who has a son with diagnosed Schizophrenia.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jWnaA1C-SY

Bottom line is – educators need to stop hitting kids here in Georgia. New Mexico banned corporal punishment in schools just a month or two ago. It’s time GA does the same.

Ronin

June 29th, 2011
12:48 pm

@worried in Cobb, you’re correct. The idea would be labeled by some as divisive or some would play the race card. The truth is, you can be the best teacher in the world, but you can’t teach kids that don’t want to learn. Trying to make everyone “equal” and “not left behind” is killing the public/government school system.

I’ve been to third world countries and seen the poverty and conditions that people live in, yet, for the most part, they’re happy. The family unit is more cohesive, they have less, but are still happy.

If children saw how most other people in the world lived, they might realize how lucky they are to live here. The key is, to give them a choice, not dictate to them what they are going to do. Life is full of choices and you learn from the good and the bad.

The other myth that needs to be dismissed is that everyone needs to go to college.

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
1:03 pm

gamon, considering I ran it for several years before we switched it to improve our percentage I saw the numbers. After school had been in session for a month or so we were getting about 120 signed up with only getting about 25 show up. You do the math and tell me that’s not pretty dang close.

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
1:07 pm

Ronin, I agree. I would like to see two tracks set up for kids. One that prepares kids for college and one that prepares them for a trade. Every year I seen numerous kids who just want to be a mechanic or electrician drop out because they don’t want to learn all the other stuff (which some of it is needed)

gamom

June 29th, 2011
1:25 pm

@worried – hopefully you conferenced with those kids and parents at some point. :)

d

June 29th, 2011
1:31 pm

@gamom … I can’t say it is as high as 80% of students who don’t show up for Saturday school, but if you’re looking at incentives, what is the incentive for any student to show up at Saturday school? More often than not, the punishment for skipping Saturday school is out of school suspension, so students don’t have to come on the extra day and then receive extra time off (and for those who somewhat care about their academics, the ability to make up the work). Woohoo…. free holiday.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
1:40 pm

I’m still trying to find out if these students were conferenced with parents at some point before they did not show up.

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
1:44 pm

gamon,

If you would have read my entire first post addressed to you, you would have seen that every time a student was assigned Saturday school their parents were called. I’m starting to think you’re just a troll to elicit responses.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
2:56 pm

And a phone call is not the same as a conference. I did see your response. I believe a conference is a meeting of all parties. A phone call can easily be forgotten about. Do a conference, put it all in writing, have all parties sign an agreement, then let us all know how it goes..:)

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
3:03 pm

gamom,

Yep, you’re a troll. Have you never heard of a conference call? There is a function called speaker phone that allows everyone to hear. And for the record, the student and administrator sign the sheet agreeing to the punishment. Just think about what you want to happen. You want to have 120 face to face meetings a week. It’s not feasible.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
3:05 pm

Then that’s the problem! If you don’t have a parents signature too, what do you expect to accomplish?

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
3:06 pm

gamom

Yep, you’re a troll. Have you ever heard of a conference call? And there is a feature on the phone that allows everyone to hear what is being said. Just listen to yourself, you want 120 face to face meetings a week. It’s not feasible. It’s hard enough getting parents on the phone but you want them to come in and sit down. What do you suggest if the parent can’t make it or just flat out refuses?

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
3:12 pm

Sorry for the double post.

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
3:14 pm

gamom

I’m done feeding the troll.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
3:22 pm

Yeah I guess I am a troll for offering a parent perspective. Way to go – If u don’t agree with a parent, then call them a troll. Have a good day Worried. I hope the next school year goes smooth for you, I really do. I am telling you what I think as a parent. I want to be called, I want to be conferenced (as in face to face) – I expect that courtesy because these are MY kids your talking about. And they are important to me. A phone call to me doesn’t seem so urgent or so important in a lot of folks’ minds. I want to see what my child signed and agreed to in writing. I don’t want my child signing anything unless I know about it. Full Disclosure – in writing and face to face. That’s me.

Incredulous

June 29th, 2011
3:28 pm

@gamom, based on the content of your frequent responses, I have come to the conclusion that you are neither a mom or in anyway involved with education. Tonya C., I should have listened,

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
3:30 pm

gamom,

I’m an idiot for responding, however, the face to face meeting is what “you” want. That does not mean every other parent wants it that way. If you want a conference instead, fine, we always set them up when a parent wants them. But most just want a phone call and don’t want a face to face meeting. And again you skirt around what I ask. How do you suggest we have 120 face to face meetings a week?

gamom

June 29th, 2011
3:42 pm

split the responsibility and delegate, that’s what good leaders do. – just a suggestion. let’s not get our pants in a bunch. Incredulous, u never did answer any of my questions either. Now I’m not even a mom. I’ve got 3 kids, I have had all kinds of experiences with each of my kids between good, bad and mediocre with regard to educators. I have spoken several times in front of my school board. I have attended conferences at school, occasionally have attended school council meetings, have written to lawmakers on several pressing education issues (school choice, the special ed voucher program and of course, the glaring ridiculous problem of educators still believing hitting kids in a school house is an acceptable and legitimate form of discipline – which it is not. BTW incredulous – please listen and watch the youtube I posted, please pay attention to what the mom of a schizophrenic young man had to say about the issue. Sometimes behavior is an indication of an illness that has not been diagnosed – and that is where the problem of spanking comes in. That is why kids with disabilities are being smacked in a disproportionate higher rate than the general population. As I said, I have first hand experience in that, my child’s hearing deficit was not determined by a general screening, it took a long time to resolve. If my kid was in a hitting school, chances are she could have been struck and I’m glad my district does not recognize spanking as a legitimate form of discipline whatsoever. They will fire folks who try that trick, thankfully.

Incredulous

June 29th, 2011
3:46 pm

@worried in cobb…. this works for me ” I will not feed the troll”, “I will not feed the troll”. repeat as many times as necessary, until the desire to respond with reason and logic passes.

Worried in Cobb

June 29th, 2011
3:47 pm

gamom

Good thing you aren’t in education then. We have 5 administrators and you’re asking them to all do 24 meetings a week on top of all their other duties. Way to think this thing out.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
3:50 pm

Have a nice day incredulous. My guess is, some of the bloggers here would rather parents not be involved as much as I am. They don’t want people at school board meetings, they don’t want people to write lawmakers, heck they really don’t like anyone pointing out the obvious to them. That’s the problem.

Ronin

June 29th, 2011
3:56 pm

Worried in Cobb, as to your 1:07 post. That’s it, we need good electricians and auto mechanics too.
As for the “other stuff”, that’s why I say BASIC, to the degree that they can function in society.
If they can pass the test at 14, they’re done. It’s a waste of time and funds to have someone in an alternative school, who does not want to be there. That’s why I offer the suggestion of giving them an “educated choice”. k-12 should offer technical training starting in 8th grade. Have the same type of mechanical classes that Lanier Tech offers on a two year program. The problem is, that cuts into a Tech schools business model and costs them money. Still, it’s better to train people at public expense in k-12, than to have them drop out with no market skills.

Incredulous

June 29th, 2011
3:57 pm

@gamom, last time! I applaud your efforts, obviously unappreciated by the rest of us, to rid the state of corporal punishment. I suggest that you offer your prodigious communication skill set to the national setting and work as an advocate alongside Michelle Reed and Arne Duncan. I know that you’ve been hiding your own stellar education and remarkable resume. Dang! I didn’t repeat the mantra enough.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
4:07 pm

incredulous – you’ve made me laugh today. Thank you. I spoke to a state board of ed member about the issue after I attended a hearing on restraint and seclusion and the adoption of the new rule last year on Restraint and Seclusion. When I pointed out the shear number of children getting struck still in Georgia, they were incredulous. It’s up to the lawmakers though. A ban will happen within the next year or two – mark my words (I’m being hopeful here). Why am I passionate about this issue – because it was the norm in the schools when I was coming up. It was bad then, it’s bad now. It was always the same kids getting hit back then – it never changed anything! I was simply shocked that this was still going on! I simply did not know until I moved here from another state that outlawed it way back in the 80’s!

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
4:26 pm

What’s so wrong about corporal punishment? It’s been my experience that most kids who get it are well deserving of it.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
4:31 pm

it’s unacceptable for a myriad of reasons, too many to list. As well as ineffective, that’s been proven.

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
5:10 pm

On a case by case basis it works. I’ll bet that schools that have it are better discipline than those that don’t use it.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
5:22 pm

from where do you get your assertion? It does not work. Please don’t tell me your a teacher.

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
5:27 pm

I have worked in several schools as a teacher and the ones who allowed it had better discipline. The students were on task because they feared the punishment.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
5:37 pm

Where do teachers get the assumption that kids learn better under the specter of fear? Cite me one peer- reviewed study to support your assertion Cliff. Where do schools get these supposed ‘paddles’. WTHeck???????? You know there was a hearing on this very issue a while back. An educator tried to bring in a paddle to a state capitol – apparently he had to hide it in a box, cuz it was considered a weapon. It’s the same kids getting hit, over and over – therefore if it worked it wouldn’t happen but one time. Well guess what Cliff – there is not even one college of education that trains teachers on this ‘paddling’ crap. It’s sick. Demented and disturbing.!!!!!! Bring it on if you wanna debate – keep it clean though, because this subject brings out the worst in people.

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
6:00 pm

It’s not an assumption. I have seen it with m own eyes. The first two schools I was at had tons of discipline problems and no paddles. The school I am currently at has tons of paddles and no discpline problems. The only difference are paddles. I have first hand experience, you have “studies”. Mine trumps yours.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
6:00 pm

Taken from the Center for Effective Discipline – this is a just a few professional organizations that oppose hitting kids in school …

National Association for State Departments of Education
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Association for the Education of Young Children
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Association of School Nurses
National Association of School Psychologists
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Association of Social Workers
National Association for State Boards of Education
National Council of Teachers of English
National Education Association
National Foster Parents Association
National Indian Education Association
National Mental Health Association
National Organization for Women
National Parent Teachers Association
National Women’s Political Caucus
Prevent Child Abuse America
Society for Adolescent Medicine
Unitarian Universalist General Assembly
United Methodist Church General Assembly

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
6:11 pm

gamom

June 29th, 2011
6:12 pm

one last one just came this year : The National Association of Lieutenant Governors issued a strong resolution against it and supports laws to ban it.

Parents – here’s a warning to you! Know the laws in Georgia. put it in writing that You don’t want anyone to lay a hand on your kids in a school. don’t let 3rd parties raise your kids. Never give permission to someone else to hit your kid. They are not trained, there are no standards, no one ever answers where they get these wooden boards from (God only knows). I am appealing to Parents right now, not teachers. Because they are the ones with this mindset – not parents. Never give permission to allow this EVER and work to change the laws. See I believe this is being done because educators are only using anecdotes, whereas the studies show something very different. The stats show something different. And it is being done because we parents have been asleep at the wheel, allowing them to have full immunity for any accountability. SHAME ON US. The stats are available to any taxpayer in the state of georgia from the State DOE. Look up your own district and see how many times this is really happening – it can be done and start asking questions and urge your school boards to bring the system into the 21st century. I am done talking to people on these blogs who think its o.k. to hit kids. It’s not. Not Ever in a school. Protect your children! They are not safe

Incredulous

June 29th, 2011
6:19 pm

Cliff, don’t waste your fingers. She? has been obsfucating the argument for awhile. Look carefully at her very limited position and sources. She? has pulled the basis for her position from a variety of sites that cater to fear and overall social irresponsibility.
Cliff, corporal punishment is effective on a select number of students. Part of the schtick to her argument is to continue funding and increase programs specifically to avoid any real solutions to classroom discipline. Citing one or two case studies involving very polarizing subjects to further whatever agenda feels right. The method is part and parcel for several leading news/entertainment giants. In order to get attention, they depend on sensationalism. If people insist on looking behind the curtains, they change the subject. When it’s all said an done, no credibility is no credibility. I think that’s one of the key issues in education today.

Incredulous

June 29th, 2011
6:22 pm

@gamom …And when your argument fails, divide your audience( I am a parent also ), and threaten and shame them into compliance. No one is buying what you’re selling.

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
6:29 pm

You sound like someone who was paddled as a student and now you hate teachers and think you could do a better job. Here is a hint, if most parents would do there job at home I wouldn’t have to use my paddle.

Ronin

June 29th, 2011
7:32 pm

@incredulous, 6:19 that’s pretty much it. I can conduct a study or poll to produce any result I want.
While I’m not a fan of paddling (I think the parent should be the one to handle that) I would agree that it’s effective in with some students.
Cliff, that’s correct, if parents would discipline their children, there would be far fewer issues at school.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
7:38 pm

Total load of crap and more excuses. The best schools in America don’t hit any kid at any time.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
7:53 pm

Ronin

June 29th, 2011
7:57 pm

@gamom: 6:12, “I am done talking to people on these blogs who think its o.k. to hit kids.”
FIBBER.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
7:58 pm

ronin – u got me. I am not talking to them – I really dont think either of them are teachers really.

Ronin

June 29th, 2011
8:00 pm

gamom, if you have this much time on your hands, why don’t you home school your three kids?
It can we a tremendously rewarding experience.

Stacy

June 29th, 2011
8:03 pm

Gamon–

If all parents were as involved as you are we would not be having this discussion. The problem is that you are in the minority, maybe 10% of parents are as involved. Teacher would never have to worry about your kids not doing what they are told, and if there was a problem all it would take is a call and conference. A teachers dream to have a classroom full of your kids. Imagine the amount of learning that would go on in that class. Everyone would be on task and the teacher could spend all their extra time coming up with unique and fascinating lessons to enhance the learning. Sadly, we do not live in a society where that is possible, probably not even in a private school. I applaud you for being a great parent, but you are few and far between so all the issues that you have addresses in this blog would be correct in a perfect society. As far as your question of where teachers get their paddles, I don’t know about them, but I made the one that I use on my two kids.

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
9:18 pm

Stacy

Preach on sista. I agree 100%. It still amazes me that someone like gamom thinks she knows more about the classroom than actual teachers. We don’t go in the private sector and assume we can fix their jobs.

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
9:20 pm

gamom

You bet I am a teacher. A dang good one at that.

gamom

June 29th, 2011
9:28 pm

gamom

June 29th, 2011
9:33 pm

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
9:36 pm

Enter your comments here

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
9:43 pm

gamom

Can you state your own case instead posting links?

gamom

June 29th, 2011
9:49 pm

A parent testifies in Washington DC on what happened to her child:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWv1penj3AM

People opposed to these dangerous abusive practices will no longer be silent. Join the fight. Contact your lawmakers in Georgia.

Cliff Claven

June 29th, 2011
9:56 pm

So that’s a no?

gamom

June 29th, 2011
10:01 pm

Dekalb Oldtimer

June 29th, 2011
11:44 pm

After reading all 5 of these posts, I am more convinced than ever that all of this nonsense going on in our much maligned public schools can be blamed on………..TA-DA….CARL RANSOM ROGERS et al …..the “self esteem” gurus.

Dekalb Oldtimer

June 29th, 2011
11:44 pm

OOPS…that would be 5 PAGES of the posts.

Robert Penland

June 30th, 2011
6:07 am

Enter your comments here

Robert Penland

June 30th, 2011
6:11 am

get non_ citizens out of our schools. they and their culture dumb us down.

Really?

June 30th, 2011
9:05 am

gamom, re: your feelings about face to face conferences as opposed to phone calls. I had a face to face, after which parent reviewed, and then signed conference form. Additionally, a copy was xeroxed for her to take from the meeting. (There was another grade level member there also present at the conference. We do conferences with the homeroom teacher and one other teacher present as a rule.) At some point after the conference, parent feigned ignorance about child’s difficulty, denied she had been at a conference, and denied that she signed the conference form when it was shown to her. So who signed it, an impersonator, LOL

William Casey

June 30th, 2011
10:03 am

@gamom: Allow me to establish a REAL In-School Suspension program at your school and there will never be a need to hit a kid. Work and remediation will occur. The catch, of course, is that if the “student” can’t earn his way back into regular school, I send him/her home and it’s YOUR problem for awhile which is as it should be. There is no way I’m allowing 5% of the students to deprive the other 95% of their education.

Ole Guy

June 30th, 2011
10:18 am

Case, you’re a retired Marine D.I. Am I right?

Ole Guy

June 30th, 2011
10:55 am

Claven/Ga Mom, your views on corporal punishment seem somewhat short on execution. There are two basic components of any form of punishment; if you’re going to “take the wind out of someone’s sails” by way of any type of punishment, the dynamics of the punishment don’t start and stop with a “swing of the club”. It is paramount that the punisher “places the wind back into the sails” of the punished. If the punished is left with the notion that he/she has been punished merely for the sake of punishment, much time has been wasted; much damage has been inflicted, and no positive result can be achieved.

This transformation need not take place on any given schedule, but over time, the kid needs the opportunity to understand the objective(s) of the punishment; this responsibility falls squarly on the punisher.

I firmly believe in punishment, both corporal and the more subtle forms of psychological readjustment, but these cannot be successfully executed by merely “swinging the club”…and that, I feel, is where people, opposed to corporal punishment, misunderstand the true remediation value of corporal punishment.

I am sure there are many ole farts out there who, like yours truly, were the recipients of some rather (seemingly) harsh modes of punishment. As we matured, we came to fully understand…and appreciate…the methods our elders employed. These, of course, were times completely devoid of the strictures of political correctness; completely devoid of the “self esteem” movement where such esteem was the product of facing and enduring challenge (often grudgingly), and, in the end, knowing that “YOU EARNED IT”.

Granted, in an era where self esteem is almost considered a birthright; where “achievement” is, all-too-often, the result of entitlement borne of simple desire rather than doged determination…the corporal punishment, that we ole farts knew, may be as alien to a younger generation as water is to oil…perhaps there can never be a successful combining of these character-tempering methods and the psyche of today’s youth.

Another Math Teacher

June 30th, 2011
2:47 pm

gamom:

“No I’m not hijacking the thread.”

Yes, you are. Stop it.

j4a

June 30th, 2011
2:52 pm

I would like to elaborate on a post stating that reformers provide fodder for the naive and gullible and stir hate- mongering against teachers. I completely disagree with this opinion. Just because a person takes into consideration a reformers theory does not make one gullible and naive. I see it as being open minded to others point of view.
A handful ( minority) of teachers ( if they really are teachers) on this blog are doing an excellent job of setting the tone for teacher hate mongering by themselves, even the naive and gullible can see this.
Teachers(?) are blogging and blaming their lack of education on how to deal with childhood behaviors in school on parents. May I suggest that you request professional development with your school district, because you are an embarrassment to your profession. I am a parent who has had extensive training in PBIS, ABA, Verbal Behavior etc. and I cringe when I see some of the uneducated advocating hitting children to change their behaviors. Do you think you can knock sense into kids? Sounds to me like your taking the easy way out from your lack of knowledge.
The statement most made by teachers on here as to the cause of disruptive children (in school) is lack of parental involvement. I have seen several parent’s blogging their opinions on here and these parent’s are called trolls, and vehemently attacked by some authoritarian know it all teachers. If you know so much or know the cause of, why are our schools in the shape they are now? Never mind don’t answer that question, I already know what your answers are… NCLB, testing of students, administrators, dead beat parents, students etc. everyone except the teachers are the problem and cause of our education system failure.
I suggested, many months ago, that we model our failing schools on the successful schools in our nation. Guess this would be to simple a solution to consider.

j4a

June 30th, 2011
3:12 pm

May I suggest you watch the documentary filmed in 2009 titled- ” The War on Kids”? This is very eye opening as to the current state of public education in the US. Why aren’t the very children enrolled in the public schools allowed to have input into decision making? Oh, I forgot, children haven’t any rights if they are enrolled in public schools.

Stacy

June 30th, 2011
3:29 pm

J4a–

I am not a teacher, but I am a parent and very involved in my child’s school. The whole issue with parents being the problem is the truth. I will admit that there are some bad teachers, but as a whole most are very good at what they do but have to deal with too many distractions in class to truly teach like they can. When a parent does not teach their child to have respect for their elders, and gives in to any demands of the child, that child becomes spoiled and thinks that the world revolves around them. I know many teachers who work in many different counties in the state as well as other states. Teacher are taught how to be teachers, they are there because they hope to guide their student in an adventure called learning. This does not work very well when students misbehave and disrupt the class. If the students respected the teachers and their peers they would not be so disruptive. Also when parents do not instill the value of education to their children, the child has no respect for the process. So these points are the fault of the parent, but it is not all the parents fault. The society that we live in today has caused a great deal of issues for the education system. Teachers are stuck in a situation to where testing is the only thing that maters, but how does one test a year determine the success of a child, it can not. The overall progress that has been made by that child for day one and everyday following is what should truly matter. This society put to much emphasis on political correctness, and self esteem. Giving a child a 70 on a paper he didn’t even do just because you want the child to feel good about himself is just crap, and it happens all over the country. Ultimately, the problem with education is not just the teachers or the parents, or testing, but all of them combined. One will not function properly without the other doing their job. Also basing pay on the students performance is the craziest thing ever that our government has come up with. Seriously, how can you compare any 2 children on what they have learned? Two kids could sit in a classroom under the same teacher at the same time, 1 might not get it at all. Is that the teachers fault? If you think that it is, How do you suggest that the teacher adjusts? BTW, there are 30 people in the class, 5 classes a day, and according to the state a certain amount of material has to be covered by test day.

j4a

June 30th, 2011
4:42 pm

@ Stacey, I am so glad to hear a teacher who states that this is a combined issue and doesn’t play into the blame game. I have stated numerous times that the persons directly involved in educating children ( teacher’s and parent’s) and of course with the child’s best interest at heart should be the final decision makers. Teacher’s are the ” receivers” in education and should play a major role in the decision making. Don’t believe education can be reformed, it is too far gone at this point, more bandaids will not help. Need to research and find when the downward spiral began, what changed?
We as a people need to unite and remove all government control ( fed and state) of our schools, take our schools back, oh but there is the issue of funding that keeps these authorities in charge.

gamom

June 30th, 2011
5:06 pm

Stacy – I must ask – have you had any exposure with children with disabilities, or chronic illness or mental illness. It is the attitude of people like you that leads to discrimination. Blame blame blame the child. Have you ever volunteered in inner city? Have you ever helped a needy child or the abject poor. You can’t just keep blaming the kids. They often are victims of circumstance. It is what it is. Children act out oftentimes due to a need not being met. And if a child has poor language skills you’ve got a double whammy, or perhaps a sensory issue. I do hope you are not volunteering in the classroom until you get exposed to children of all kinds and learn empathy. What we have evident on these blogs is a constant theme of lack of empathy. You know where kids get that from? The adults! Children act out, it has nothing to do with people leaning toward self esteem concerns. They’ve acted out for millenia, but people like to exaggerate their positions on these blogs for effect. The truth of the matter is, most of these kids would benefit from an early intervention, better health care in general, an earlier diagnosis of whatever ails them, and a schoolhouse that that offers respect and dignity no matter what.

j4a

June 30th, 2011
5:17 pm

I agree that basing teacher pay on student performance is ludicrous. The norm referenced tests are completely subjective. Who decides what’s normal, because what is normal for one individual may not be normal for another individual? As long as majority rules apply to all individuals the minority doesn’t stand a snowballs chance in h:!! of succeeding in any facet of education. There are bad people in all professions, not just teachers(: I have a child who will be in fourth grade next year, he scored 98 NPR on ITBS in third grade and has excelled on all CRCt’s. Reading at a seventh grade level. My child gets so bored in school ( very well mannered, loves his school and teachers) because he is not challenged. Why are all children taught at the same level of the lowest achieving child in class. We tried the gifted program and it is a joke. My child made a very adult :) observation of his classroom this year, he said, ” mom I noticed only the really smart kids and the very bad kids get attention from the teacher and the middle kids get nothing.” During summers I have to teach and prepare my child for the preceding school years curriculum. I graduated in 78 and can not believe how our education system has gone downhill! Something needs to before our educational institutions fall into the abyss. I have always stressed the importance of education to my children and support our teachers.

stacy

June 30th, 2011
5:38 pm

j4a—
I agree that taking education away from the gov’t would be the best thing posible. People how have never been in a classroom for extended periods of time show not be making the laws that govern how those schools run, teachers teach, and how a child learns.

Gamom—
I have had a lot of experience with children with disabilities, I myself have two disabilities along with coming from a very poor family. Also my uncle who was mentally retarded lived with us most of my early life. The only reason that I made it through school is because I had wonderful teachers and parents that cared and taught me right from wrong. If i did my work, it was graded for correctness, if I did not do it I got what I deserved, a 0. If I was good I was rewarded, if bad punished. I have never helped out in an inner city school but I have great compassion for all people no matter their background. I have never blamed the kids, it is the parents that are the problem, and it is not the childs fault, but the child has to live by the rules set forth reguardless of their upbringing.. A child that is raised in a abusive home must rise above the situation, if they grow up and do the same they have not learned anything. Not all parents are bad, many are very good and their childern are usually the best behaived. If their parents hold the accountable for their actions they mostly behave. These post just come aut generalized. I commented you in an earlier post and discussed how much better it would be if all parents were like you. Teachers would have an easier job teaching the kids and would have more time to differentiate their instruction to increase the learning potential for all students. I agree that early intervention is a key and I agree that a schoolhouse that offers respect and dignity is esential, but that respect and dignity should include all persons who have a stake in the school, including parents and students.

stacy

June 30th, 2011
5:48 pm

j4a—

I totally agree that education has gone down hill. I believe that the major issue with this has to do with all the government restraints that have been place on teachers. The gov’t is too involved with education, and we all know that anything the gov’t is in control of doesn’t run well. That is why private schools are more successful, they don’t have to answer to the state, they have their own guidelines and their teachers are free to teach, not worring about a test. NCLB has grouped all kids together with only a select few being placed in Gifted which as you said can be a joke. My 2nd grader is in the same situation, he gets in trouble in school because he is bored. Also if you go back and read my origional post on page one you can also see the issues of the college education of middle school teachers.

j4a

June 30th, 2011
5:56 pm

Special education is a complete failure. I know schools that have classrooms that half of the children have a disability ( autism, ADHD, EBD etc) and the class runs as smooth as silk. Do you know why? These classes have co- teachers ( reg. ed teacher and spec. Ed teacher ) and guess what? It works. I know there are some children w/o disability who are disruptive, but a spec Ed teacher should know how to diffuse or control the situation w/o resorting to violence. The reg Ed teacher can continue with business as normal with the rest of the children. If I were a regular Ed teacher I would educate myself( on behavioral intervention, PBIS, ABA, verbal behavior etc) as autism alone is increasing at such a great rate that the chances of you having a child with a disability in your classroom are great. Don’t wait for your admin. or psychologist or counselor to help you, do this for your self. I was skeptical before I began my study of behavioral interventions.

j4a

June 30th, 2011
6:20 pm

I know your not a public school teacher, but as far as I’m concerned parents are the first teacher and will provide lifelong learning experiences for their children. My posts were made in the hopes that some of the public school teachers on here will see this situation from a parents perspective.

j4a

June 30th, 2011
6:27 pm

This is not a duplicate
As I was saying… I know your not a public school teacher but I believe parents are the first teacher and will provide life long learning experiences for their child. I am hoping some of the teacher bloggers will read our blogs and see this situation from a parental point of view.

j4a

June 30th, 2011
6:28 pm

Was a duplicate:( sorry!

gamom

June 30th, 2011
6:40 pm

Stacy, sorry if I came off sounding kind of shrill. I think there are some ‘absentee’ parents, but not as bad as some of these bloggers like to make it sound. Some parents are just making it or are working 2/3 jobs, so one might assume they are absentee, but really they are just trying to put food on the table. I think the economy has taken a toll on a lot of people, so many just are not making ends meet. If a parent has to choose between conferencing at a school or going to work to their second job to get basics need met, like food and housing – do you also fault the parent? There are so many situations out there – and what I get concerned about is the generalized attitude that comes from people who say they are educators on these blogs (I still don’t think they are, because I don’t know of a single good educator who would get on a blog page and condone hitting a child with a paddle or use physical force to get their point across. The fact still remains that because of budget cuts everyone’s frustration levels are up – and I think that is a dangerous combination to give an educator that kind of power to physically discipline a kid. At what age does it stop. It’s even going on at the high school level. Do people really believe it is acceptable to hit a high school age kid. I sure hope not. However a parent raises their child at home is their business, but educators, who may be frustrated need not be hitting kids at all. Remember I said some districts are reporting in data incidents in the thousands. I think teh number has grown actually, so its not as rare as one might think.

stacy

June 30th, 2011
7:17 pm

Gamom–

I agree that the current economic situation has caused some parents to seem absent, but the fact is that there are parents that are not in that situation who will tell teachers that they don’t care what their child does or how they behave. They are going to drop out as soon as they turn 16 and work in there fathers garage and work on cars. Parents like that are what I am talking about. Where I live that is a major issue. Every school in my county and several around are all Title 1 schools. I do not condone anyone HITTING a child, and paddlings do not take place where I live and hasn’t in nearly 25 years, however I do spank my kids when need be. I don’t do it to get my point across, it is a consequence for their actions that they are well aware of before hand. Paddling is not my first line of punishment, and I only have to do it maybe once a month. I have never done it in anger nor have I ever hurt them. I base this punishment on the Bible (Proverbs) and how I turned out from the same upbringing. My wife on the other hand was never spanked, but as an adult now she wishes that her parents had been more strick on her, and had been more supportive of her education.

stacy

June 30th, 2011
7:22 pm

Gamom— I think there are some ‘absentee’ parents, but not as bad as some of these bloggers like to make it sound.

It doesn’t take many absent parents to have a kid that becomes a discipline issue in class. One disruptive child can cause 29 others of precious learning time that can not be recovered. Even if the child is only mildly dispurtive they can affect a child trying to learn if that child has a learning disability.

Paddy O

June 30th, 2011
8:03 pm

how has feminism altered the perception of child rearing?

Paddy O

June 30th, 2011
8:06 pm

stacy – the FEDERAL government is too involved in education. Reason? It would appear to be to increase teacher salaries. Does this lead to better educated students? It does not appear to be a direct correlation here in GA.

stacy

June 30th, 2011
8:42 pm

Paddy O—

The Federal Gov’t does not pay teacher salary. They are to involved by NCLB, which has impossible goals to reach. These laws cause the states to pass other laws as to how a teacher is supposed to teach and what they consider to be learning (Standardized testing). Passing one test a year has no barring on whether or not a child is educated, and teachers are still underpaid for the amount of schooling that is involved compared to other professions that require the same amount of school.

gamom

June 30th, 2011
8:46 pm

The Federal Gov’t gives millions of dollars to Title 1 schools. Millions

gamom

June 30th, 2011
8:46 pm

There also is IDEA moneys given to schools – also federal dollars

gamom

June 30th, 2011
9:04 pm

not sure where the Bible falls into child rearing either

stacy

June 30th, 2011
11:54 pm

Gamom—

Really didn’t think that you would have a clue about the Bible by some of your responses.

gamom

July 1st, 2011
9:25 am

I know about the Bible, just not how it applies to this discussion. Raised Catholic here, Catechism was a big part of my childhood

gamom

July 1st, 2011
9:44 am

You know — some guy named Jesus, who said love one another, etc; spoke against violence, never advocated hitting anyone.. hmmmm?

Yes Excuses

July 1st, 2011
9:13 pm

Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Ole Guy

July 2nd, 2011
3:24 pm

The year…1963. Bruce was a weird sort of a kid, made straight A’s in the most-demanding courses, yet couldn’t control his class behavior. The teacher, after repeated warnings, would paddle him till his butt probably took on the appearance of two Jap Flags (there goes my sensitivity award). He would simply smile both during and after the paddlings, return to his desk and continue his antics. He was a helluva guy, likeable and such, but his classroom behavior was certainly not in accordance with maintaining a good learning environment.
Under today’s system, Bruce would probably have been deemed in need of special education status. Under such placement, he probably never would have come close to classes in trig, physics, and the like. Had special education status, in those “simple” years, been confered as (seemingly) passivly as it appears to be today, Bruce would probably have been compelled to fill his days with “fingerpainting-type courses” which would have prepared him for little..

As it turned out, Bruce was an Honor Graduate, went to the Ivy Leagues, graduated with honors, gained a Commission and, weeks after arriving in Viet Nam, was killed.

Why do I recount this sad story? Simply…just as with so-called “normal” students, are we subjecting special education students to academic challenges of ultimate mediocrity? Are these kids capable of far more challenge than the educational system is prepared to offer? Already, the (so-called) normal kids enter the post-high school world woefully ill-prepared. Are there any tracking mechanisms in place to see just where these special ed kids go? Like my friend, Bruce, are they really capable of a helluva lot more than we dare envision?

j4a

July 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

Ole guy, you are correct about children placed in special edu classes. They are taught to very low expectations. My preschool child had an IEP and the goals are set very low, such as goal to wear a hat at 50 %, cross street safely 50% , say his ABC’s at 50% ( for non verbal child). I removed my child from school and worked with him and he learned all ABC’s, labeled all animals and sounds, the growth in the two months during the summer was astronomical. The reason for this cognitive growth is because I actually taught and worked with him. In Georgia, special education is a room where special needs children are sent. I would love to post my three year old ( then) child’s psychoeducational evaluation and the IEP’s made for him up until I removed from kindergarten for all to see. Would also like to post the picture of my 3 year old passive child in mechanical restraints taken by the teacher and used on the picture board.

Cliff Claven

July 4th, 2011
9:49 pm

Ole Guy, I am an Interrelated Special Ed teacher and I can only speak from my own experiences. I have taught kids who have taken honors classes (however, in a different subject than I teach). My point is they have been properly placed. Just because they are in a special ed class does not limit what they can do or where they are placed. Often times, when they reached an acceptable level and they student and parents feel comfortable they are removed from Special Education classes altogether.

Cliff Claven

July 4th, 2011
9:55 pm

j4a, you have to start somewhere and then manage the goals. If they can hit 80-100% right off the bat why would they need the goal. We start at 50% and see where they go. Usually it’s a little lower or higher. If in the next 6 weeks they succeed and hit, say, 70%, we’ll raise the level up to 80% for a goal.

And special education is not just a room where they put the kids. As a matter of fact, they have pretty much gotten rid of small group classes altogether. It has many levels and many different umbrellas.