Teaching

From JKb over at gunfreezone, we read about this six year old kid that brought a gun to school and shot his teacher. Yeah, the young age of the kid is shocking, but what isn’t shocking is that a black student got away with multiple acts of violence. The kid is now staying with his grandmother, who blames the school and his teachers:

‘He’s progressing. He’s progressed more since he’s been at this school than all those crazy years he was in a Newport News public school system,’ he added. ‘And I guess basically what he needed was a stable environment. And he just needed to be in a loving environment.

The mother blames ADHD. The kid had a long list of violent outbursts.

When I was a teacher, one of my biggest complaints was that teachers trying to maintain control of their classrooms had to fight against the students, their administrators, and the parents. You would write a discipline referral, the kid would get a stern talking to, then sent back to class. Why? Because less discipline makes the school look better.

That’s why I was told that I would need to go to anger management after I got attacked by a student in my classroom. That’s why we teachers were told that because 30% of the student body was black, but 50% of referrals were written against black students meant that we were racists.

Department of Education

From the DoE website:

Although the Department is a relative newcomer among Cabinet-level agencies, its origins goes back to 1867, when President Andrew Johnson signed legislation creating the first Department of Education. Its main purpose was to collect information and statistics about the nation’s schools. However, due to concern that the Department would exercise too much control over local schools, the new Department was demoted to an Office of Education in 1868.

Over the years, the office remained relatively small, operating under different titles and housed in various agencies, including the U.S. Department of the Interior and the former U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare (now Health and Human Services).

Beginning in the 1950s, political and social changes resulted in expanded federal funding for education. The successful launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik in 1957 spurred nationwide concern that led to increased aid for science education programs. The 1960s saw even more expansion of federal education funding: President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” called for the creation of many programs to improve education for poor students at all levels—early childhood through postsecondary. This expansion continued in the 1970s with national efforts to help racial minorities, women, people with disabilities and non-English speaking students gain equal access to education. In October 1979, Congress passed the Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88). Created by combining offices from several federal agencies, the Department began operations in May 1980.

In the 1860s, a budget of $15,000 and four employees handled education fact-finding. By 1965, the Office of Education had more than 2,100 employees and a budget of $1.5 billion. As of mid-2010, the Department has nearly 4,300 employees and a budget of about $60 billion.

In 1868, there was concern that the DoE would exert too much control over local schools, so it was demoted to an “Office of Education” with four employees and a budget of $15,000. It was made into a cabinet level department in 1979, under Jimmy Carter. Since then, it has grown to 4,300 employees and a $60 billion budget. It now issue orders to local schools encompassing everything from curriculum to what they must serve for lunch. I would say that the fears of “too much control over local schools” was well founded.

It’s well past time to get rid of the Department of Education. There is no reason for this bloated department to make decisions for each state and how it will run its schools. You can’t say that test scores are any better or worse, because it is impossible to know. There is no way to measure performance of students in 1979 and compare it to now. Tests that were taken by students have been changed several times over the years, so that it is impossible to determine whether or not students today are any better or worse off than counterparts from other time periods.

Hiding the Truth

NBC news does a story about a teacher who had a police report filed against her because she read a book to her fifth grade students. They make it sound like this book was harmless.

“The difference is that I have that love and care for all students, not just a singular student,” she adds. “In regards to the book that was challenged in my classroom, it was a message to the LGBTQ+ community in my room and in my district that they’re ‘less than.’”

No, this book was intended to teach ten and eleven year old kids how to have gay sex. Here is some of the content of that book:

This is entirely inappropriate for children. The book claims that we teach kids about sex at ten years old. No we do not. We teach about reproduction in school, not sex. It’s done in the tenth grade for most students, the eighth grade for advanced students. I taught the class, so I know. The course is about reproduction, but makes no mention of sex. At all. We talk about sperm and egg, how they are made and how they come together to make a child. I don’t mention how the sperm gets there, nor do I give instructions on sex.

In fact, my school ordered teachers to tell students about gay sex back in 2016, and I refused.

Attacking Teachers

I was attacked in my classroom by a student once. I feel sorry for this teacher because his career, at least with that school district, is over.

While legally a child, this student is large. Larger than the teacher, yet there are many who will say that the teacher can’t defend himself because teachers can’t hit children. There are those who say that the teacher can’t take a student’s property. Still others say that the teacher should have let him use the phone. I disagree with all of those.

No matter what, the school district will likely fire or force the teacher to resign. He is now a liability, because if there is a future incident, the parents will point to this one and claim there is a pattern of violence on the part of the teacher.

In my case, I found a new job. When I got there, I resolved to not ever take anything from a student. Ever. If a kid is on the phone, whatever. Not my circus, not my monkeys. The problem with this is that the kids learn that quickly, and many of them simply don’t learn. This causes a larger issue, because kids are not allowed to fail. So they haven’t learned anything, but they eventually graduate. That’s why we have a mostly “educated” but unlearned nation.

Our schools are out of control.  

Grades Are Unfair

Colleges began eliminating entrance exams, stating that making students take exams was racist. Now, students being admitted can’t do well enough to pass the course. Will colleges reinstate entrance exams and have more rigorous barriers to entry? Of course not! If students can’t pass the course, then grades have got to go! Grades are now racist.

Of course they are. This is how we got to the point where only 19 percent of Maryland students are performing math that is appropriate for their grade level, and some schools in Baltimore have NO students who were proficient in math. When you account for reading as well, less than 5 percent of students are reading and performing arithmetic at grade level. So if Baltimore students can’t read or write, they must not be attending college, right?

Wrong. More than 43 percent of Baltimore high school graduates go on to attend college, but since they find it impossible to graduate, they will no longer receive grades of any kind. It won’t be long before a college degree is worthless, no matter what the major is.

Bathroom Breaks

This parent is upset that her child isn’t allowed to leave the classroom whenever she wants by using the claim of needing to use the bathroom. Students do this all the time. There are kids who will need to use the bathroom constantly, then will leave the classroom and wander the halls for half an hour or more. Many teachers, myself included, developed policies that were intended to keep kids in the classroom. If you don’t do so, you will find that the kids take full advantage of that, and of you.

There are some things that you hear when you are a teacher that are heard so often, they become cliché.

  • The teacher is only giving me that grade because they don’t like me
  • The teacher must have lost my homework, because I turned it in
  • I wasn’t cheating, I was using my resources
  • I need this phone to text my mom
  • I wasn’t using this phone to cheat on the test, I was texting my mom. She needs to hear from me every hour, to make sure I’m safe.
  • My kid wasn’t cheating on the test, he was texting me, you can’t tell my kid that he can’t text his mother whenever he wants to.
  • I need to go to the bathroom (before being gone for half an hour)
  • My kid should be allowed to do whatever they want.

You get the point. Kids will do anything and everything to get out of school, to get things that they shouldn’t have, etc. If you are a parent, you know how manipulative children can be. It’s a parent’s job to guide and teach their children the right way, to show them the path to becoming functional, responsible adults. Sadly, many parents fail in this duty and instead strive to be the child’s ally and friend, rather than their parent. I saw this time after time during my seven years as a teacher. It’s so tedious that it was one of the main reasons why I am no longer teaching. .

This bathroom thing is no exception to that. Let that child get hurt, and the first thing those very same parents want to know is why was their child not being supervised. It’s tiresome, and looking at this teacher’s policy in the article, it seems reasonable.

Mrs. Garrett has allegedly implemented a classroom “reward system” that allows students to earn “Garrett dollars,” which they can cash in to borrow supplies or use the bathroom, among other things. How do you earn dollars? Students can donate supplies, do extra work in the classroom, be good citizens in the classroom, etc. They can then use those dollars to buy things like a pencil or paper (which was donated by another student), bathroom trips, and other things.

It’s a great idea. It teaches the kids that work carries reward, it teaches them fairness, and helps impart a work ethic.

Instead, this parent wants to teach her child the lesson that whining and complaining is far more effective a tool to get what you want.

Sadly, that is the lesson that is learned far too often. Too many parents claim that their kid is different, their kid “would never do that,” which ties the hands of the teachers who actually DO want to do their jobs. That’s how we wind up with schools that can’t control kids, and the school becomes a discipline free for all, like this Minnesota school where parents are complaining that the violence is out of control.