Thursday, June 05, 2008

School Chaos - Blame it all on the Teachers? I Think Not

How did our PUBLIC schools reach this condition? Almost all of us have foolishly participated in this mess? We elected weak school board members. They made poor decisions in hiring administrators, the unions made it next to impossible to fire a teacher, the ACLU and slick attorneys took on any case knowing it would be cheaper for the school to settle than go through the lengthy, costly court process, parents who weren't "parents" at all, liberal teacher colleges turning out liberal teachers, and an apathetic community.

Add curriculum's that fail to reach the interest of those 50% of kids nationwide that drop out before their senior year. Our belief in equal opportunity for everyone and the belief that this false "equality" will guarantee equal outcomes for all.

And we want to spend $35 million for libraries that most school kids don't even use at their own schools? They are too busy posing naked on Youtube or some type of questionable Internet to learn how to apply their brains to any serious matter for longer than 10 minutes. As to learning how to develop a work ethic? They ask, what's your definition of work?

I'm not saying everyone and everything is guilty. We fortunately have enough good in all things including kids to carry the rest of the non-learners along but only so far when we lose them all together. But we are becoming a socialistic country where minorities have a better chance of screwing up our school systems (and other systems)than the majority.

From the Rochester [NY] Democrat and Chronicle, Wednesday, June 4, 2008. *************************
Teachers cannot teach if students refuse to learn

By Latoya Manon [Guest essayist]

Seemingly, many people who are not teachers think they could do a
better job than most teachers.

Everyone has gone to school and has had teachers, so how hard could
it be to teach? Well, I would like to give you an opportunity to walk
in our shoes by posing some questions that we teachers often deal

# What would you do if all you have ever wanted to do is teach, but
you find yourself doing mostly test prep?

# What would you do if you had to dip into your personal budget to
buy school supplies for students who refused to come to class with
those supplies? Never mind that their brand-new shoes probably cost
more than your entire outfit.

# What would you do if you had planned a wonderful lesson, but more
than half of your class failed to show up for no particular reason at
all? Do you teach that lesson to those in class and then teach it
over and over so the other kids get caught up? (Remember, you don't
want to leave anyone behind.)

# What would do if you held after-school and/or Saturday extra-help
sessions and no one showed up even after you called homes, sent
letters and offered extra credit for those attending? Remember, you
have to get as many students as you can to pass the Regents exams or
New York state will say you're an ineffective teacher.

# What would you do if you had a student on the verge of dropping out
or refusing to do any work because he felt that his teacher didn't
care about him, and refused to see that his lack of effort and his
disrespect for people and rules were actually the issue? "My teacher
doesn't like me" was an unacceptable excuse for failure in my home.

# What would you do if sports became more important to your students
than reading, writing or thinking?

# What would you do if you called parents to notify them of their
child's belligerent behavior and they responded, "Well, you must have
done something to him because Sam doesn't just cuss people out for no

# What would you do if parents told you not to call them anymore
about their children, or even hung up on you?

# How do you teach pupils who want to learn while making sure that
you don't leave behind those who don't want to learn?

# How do you teach students to be respectful and responsible adults
and positive contributors to society when bureaucracy has made it
acceptable to be less than that? You can't hold students accountable
for lost books, missed assignments or bad behavior because, as some
would say, "They are poor; they don't know any better."

# What would you do if a student often slept in your class because
she had to watch siblings or her own children all night, or maybe
just hung out and went to bed very late? Remember, detention is not
an option because students may play a sport after school or they
might have more important things to do than stay for detention.

# What would you do if you knew students were graduating without
being ready for college or having any alternative plan?

# What would you do if a student threatened you with bodily harm but
suspension was no longer an option because the district was trying to
keep a lid on suspension numbers?

# What would you do if you wanted to spend time with your family but
you had to plan lessons, grade papers, assist in school events, etc.?
Your day doesn't end when the bell rings.

Many of you may have the answers to these questions - and I challenge
the community, corporations and parents to take a more active role in
the schools and in the lives of children and young adult students.
Everyone has something to offer that may change the life of a child
or young adult.

I am a graduate of the City School District where I now teach, and I
am also a parent of a ninth-grader in the CSD - and it is obvious
that something has gone terribly wrong. Our kids are learning how to
shortchange themselves from a flawed system that refuses to make them
accountable and promotes mediocrity. How can we expect young people
to become productive contributors to society if we refuse to give
them the basic tools they need?

Parenting doesn't stop once your child goes to school. However, the
sad part is that even if the community, schools and parents work
together, if the student refuses to see that he or she has to take an
active role in learning, then change will be difficult. Whether they
believe it or not, students have to be vested in their own education.
They have to want to learn and to better themselves.
Manon is a teacher in the City School District.
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

1 comment:

dd said...

You comment "the unions made it next to impossible to fire a teacher" and then spend the rest of the post going into great detail about how we can't blame it all on the teachers. I think your natural anti-union bias is showing through. To what extent do you blame unions for protecting incompetent teachers? If you think it is a significant problem, then how can you continue with the rest of the post. If its not a significant problem, why mention it. I agree with you that the state of education today is not the teachers' fault. Its not the teachers, the unions, the parents, the school boards, the ACLU, slick attorneys, or anybody else who is to "blame" for the condition of our public schools. The only real problem with our schools is the antiquated way they are funded. I think you might agree that funding schools primarily through property taxes is responsible for the inequities that exist in our education system today. Also, although you managed not to mention "illegal" immigration as a cause of problems in public education, you couldn't resist mentioning "minorities" What is about conservatives and the need to "blame" the minorities for all the problems in the world? Finally, take a look at this article, which makes the point that complaining about youth of today is not a new hobby. See, Today’s youth are always the worst,