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Schools are not responsible for raising children - The Galveston County Daily News: Letters To Editor

October 25, 2016

Schools are not responsible for raising children

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • IHOG posted at 11:01 am on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    IHOG Posts: 2486

    Having been interested in this subject for many years I have concluded it has nothing to do with skin color.
    Home life, single parenting and ethnic culture are the main factors. A culture that abandens children it fathers may be the most important feature.
    It leads to a cultural poverty no school can overcome. Producing individuals who will fail in or out of school.
    A culture has no chance when failure is encouraged and supported by peers.

  • IHOG posted at 11:13 am on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    IHOG Posts: 2486

    Universal school choice might be the best way to deal with the problem of disruptave students.
    There should be schools for students from weak or disfunctional families.
    Nothing is dumber than mixing at risk children with eager to learn students and expecting both to succede.

  • kevjlang posted at 11:52 am on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    IHOG, reading between the lines, your statements could indicate that you believe in a segregated education system. Perhaps not along color lines, but along other demographic lines. While I can see your point, I can also see some benefit in letting kids work in an environment where they can interact with peers that might might inspire them to work harder, learn from each other, and perhaps help lift them up a notch or two. Certainly, when a student gets to be too disruptive to fit into a constructive environment, there needs to be flexibility to find an environment where the disruptive can learn to succeed, but I'm strongly oppose to denying kids the opportunity to recognize the relative talents--across the board--of their peers, and learn how to integrate those talents into a productive whole. You know, kind of like we have to do on the job, or within our families, every day.

  • Jbgood posted at 1:13 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    Jbgood Posts: 2471

    Mr. Lang, while I cannot disagree with you 100%, I cannot disagree with Mr. Miller either! If a kid does not possess the wherewithal to learn, and is hell-bent on being so disruptive, causing other students to not be able to exert/explore their full potential to advance,...then somebody will have to go! Either the students causing the disruption/upheaval, or the students possessing the inclination to be a success in America! ( A local school district can attest to this! ).
    This is why most school districts have alternative schools, so as to group misbehaving, riotous students together,..minimizing the damage they perpetuate to the whole. Is that segregation? Yes,...it is good segregation!! When a student flees from one school district to another for a better opportunity,...that's segregation too!
    They separated themselves away from something holding them back.
    When one takes into consideration, that society has evolved to the point of thinking like Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue, and Dr. Spock concerning, child discipline,...where a parent can go to prison for "WHUPPIN" their own child,....and I heard one of the three call spanking a child "BARBARIC".. then,...well there you have it.
    In fact most folks of today think, deep down inside it is the duty OF THE VILLAGE to help raise their children, and to provide for them too, in some ways.
    Is society to blame in some ways? Yes! I have observed the "SYSTEM".....pity-patty-around the handling of juveniles for crimes they caused,...and acted repeatedly un- responsibly . What happened was, the culprits or suspects, began to form or acquire habits, because of the way they thought,.....their feelings,...and their actions,....to the point they were not able to constrain their misbehavior or contain their ability to adjust to adulthood at the penal code age of responsibility for an adult! So, therefore Big George .."Up Off In The Big House"....continually receives an abundance of friends, ever-flowing into his domain by the same "SYSTEM" that refused to act responsibly before the juvenile turned seventeen. I cannot blame the system fully,...for, no system, school district, or organization is bad!! It is those who organize and operates them who poisons the well for lack of integrity, character, and values critical to humanity.
    I just wonder if I'm making sense here? Probably not. What does an Old Plow Boy from West Texas knows about such things?

  • IHOG posted at 2:30 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    IHOG Posts: 2486

    My suggestion is that schools should not be permited to decide what school envirnment a student is required to cope with.
    It's more likely to produce good results if the student or parent makes the choice.
    Let them choose schools with a cultural norm they are comfortable with.
    Trying to fit within a culture they aren't comfortable with is guaranteed to slow or end their developement.
    The Afro, Latin or European cultures are distracting for members of other cultures.

  • kevjlang posted at 2:42 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    JBG, I think that we probably all agree that when we're dealing with the extreme cases, it's going to be difficult for any school system or a society at large to deal with it. However, between the extremes, there's a huge middle ground. We have to be really careful to not try to do too much cherry-picking, or to be too prompt to make those selections. Let's make sure that that really smart kid really can't learn anything useful from their less intelligent peers. Let's make sure that disruptive kid isn't just having a hard time adjusting to a bad home situation. Let's make sure that outstanding athlete really can't learn how to add and subtract 2-digit decimal numbers, or perhaps appreciate a good poem or novel.

    I certainly don't think that we must never weed out the ones that can't adapt, and that we can't adapt to. I'm just saying that we mustn't be too quick to sort everyone into nice neat and tidy bundles because we're too lazy, inflexible, or unimaginative to try to figure out how to make use of their talents or figure out what makes them tick.

  • IHOG posted at 3:09 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    IHOG Posts: 2486

    What you call segregation I call protecting them from "one size for all" of our present public school system.

  • IHOG posted at 3:19 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    IHOG Posts: 2486

    When prisons were or are expected to "reform" they are the equivelent to segregated schools with forced attendence.
    Recividence should be rated as "dropping out" of unsuitable schools.
    With a right school for the right student we might need fewer prisons.

  • carlosrponce posted at 3:48 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    At the beginning of the school year, each student is given a handbook with expectations, rules and consequences. The handbook is the same for all students; no separate rules with regard to gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or family stability. To take these into account would be tantamount to discrimination. There is a form to be filled out by the parent or guardian that assures the school that they have gone over the handbook with the child. If the parent or guardian has a problem with any aspect of the handbook, THEN is the time to address it with the teacher or administration. It is the parents' or guardians' fault if they merely sign the form without reading the handbook. Blaming a child's gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or family stability does not hold up if the rules and consequences are clear and the parent or guardian has signed that they have read and understand them.
    Now each child has their own "learning style". God bless the teacher who can reach the majority of the class the first time through a lesson. For the student that doesn't get it there is "re-teaching". For ESL, 504, or students with special needs there is usually an aide to help them out.
    Despite all this, students still misbehave. The rules must be enforced. If a rule were enforced against your child but not against another for the same exact infraction, you would call "foul".
    If you want your child to succeed in school start with a strong family structure. In the television series "Kung Fu" a young Kwai Chang Caine was presented with a map of the world cut up into small pieces. Given the task of reassembling the map, he did it quicker than the other students. The Shaolin Master asked how he managed to do it . "On back of the map was a picture of a family. When I assembled the family, the whole world fell in place."

  • kevjlang posted at 4:23 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    With each kid given, supposedly, the right school for "his kind", where is the peer pressure to learn the extent to which society needs us to conform? Where are the students that have the ability to exchange alternate perspectives of the problem that these problem kids have a difficult time understanding?

    As I acknowledged, there are limits. We just have to be careful that we don't demonstrate that the easy way out is the right way way out of every situation. A kid that's having a little trouble "getting it" isn't necessarily a kid that will never "get it".

    Breaking a rule is something that needs to be dealt with. However, long-term or permanent "segregation" is not a one-size solution. For some kids, that may be the only option that will make sense. However, we also must step up to the challenge that this is a short-term hurdle that may be an enlightening experience for the individuals directly involved, and also those that witness the transformation. Just because that caterpillar doesn't transform into a beautiful butterfly when something thinks he/she should, doesn't mean the kid is destined to be a pesky, creepy, crawly problem forever. Likewise, the smart, well-behaved kids may have a few bad moments later on.

    Yes, there is a great need for order. However, perfect order is neither obtainable nor desirable in all cases.

  • Jbgood posted at 5:48 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    Jbgood Posts: 2471

    Mr. Lang, much of the "order taught" you are referring to should already be instilled and taught to kids from the cradle to the point they enter into the school system. The school teachers, staff,and administrators are not there to reteach what a kid should have been taught from their infancy. This is the problem we are having now! This is one of the biggest reasons there are schools who are able to comply with state TEA benchmarks, standards and requirements and then there are others, whose main focus is not on educating kids,but just supplying jobs in the communities in which they live. ( money ).
    We know there will never be a world problem free, or a utopian society, but there should always exist order in schools, in homes, communities, or anywhere else for that matter or there WILL EXIST CHAOS!
    I said earlier,...the massive exodus of students leaving from one local school district is commonly blamed on it's focusing on sports instead of academics. Well that is true, to a certain degree, BUT... the real reason, or as I like to say THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEMS which were visible above ground, but not underneath,...was the lack of discipline and enforcements of the policies Mr. Ponce outlined earlier! Lack of discipline was what actually bought that district to it's knees. Everything else followed that! Most people evaluating that district will pass over that, but I know what I'm talking about. So a few frustrated parents decided to move their children, then a few more, and a few more until there was a mass exodus.
    I also want to refer to the "Kung Fu" TV series to prove a point the same as Mr. Ponce did.
    Mr. Miller mention the word segregation, and I backed him up, saying all segregation was not bad. Listen now to the same characters that Mr. Ponce mentioned having a different conversation enforcing segregation:
    Background information:
    Master Khan played by Phillip Ahn sent two young Kung Fu priest disciples to another mission with a bag of money to deliver there and then return the next day. After the two boys traveled well into the day until evening, they came upon an old man feigning to be hurt and hungry. However he was actually a robber, who swindled them out of their money.
    Well the two boys had no alternative but to return back, and go home to the Shaolin Temple where they lived, and where they were being trained the secrets, arts, and mastery of being a KUNG FU Priest. Training like that takes years in order to learn different levels of disciplines, along with corresponding physical trainings in order to master every level of requirements.
    The next morning, Master Khn,...head priest of the Shaolin Temple, summoned both trainees to stand before him, and asked the first boy, who I will call, Master Chin.
    Master Khn: "Master Chin what did you learn from your experience?"
    Master Chin: "I learned never to trust ANYBODY!"
    Master Khn: 'Master Kwai Chang Caine,.what did you learn from your experience?"
    Master Caine: "Master, I learned to always expect the unexpected!"
    Master Khu: "Master Chin, you will pack your belongings and leave this temple!"
    Master Chin: "Master,...when shall ...I return?"
    Master Khn: "Never to return again!" Then he nonchalantly turned and walked away.
    They do the same thing at West Point,...the Naval Academy...and the Air Force Academy! You are REQUIRED and demonstrate discipline!
    They did the same thing at an NCO school before I went to Vietnam! It was a privilege to go to that school to obtain rank,...in order to lead. Those who were not fit to lead in battle were quickly disqualified and sent back to being a private, being told every move to make! Those who were, went on to a measure of privilege and authority having competed against others for those rights.
    Those who do not have any intentions or inclinations to learn in school, should find a trade, or be segregated, away from those who do want to learn,...and we will just have to agree to disagree on this point. I do respect your opinion, and if I were one of those you are talking about giving all the breaks to,....I would really respect your views concerning this.


  • kevjlang posted at 7:26 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Very little of the world today is fully accommodating of people that want to stick to their familial or cultural norms. I guess if you have the means to live out your life without integrating with people that are different than you, I guess you should go for it. However, the vast majority of us need to make adjustments in some parts of our lives in order to at least reach a level of subsistence, if not our full potential.

    Have it your way may work for the most part at Burger King, but for the rest of us, there are some compromises that we have to make. And, I'm not sure that completely excludes any demographic of our society.

  • kevjlang posted at 7:41 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    As I recall, I was a child once. Also, as I recall, I wasn't necessarily the same child when my parents dropped me off for school as I was when I was at school. I don't think I was all that unusual, either. There very well may have been times when I was far enough into the fringe to be in that pool that IHOG thinks should be compartmentalized. After a couple of rough years in school, I was probably still a different child at school than at home, but the challenge at school was more of keeping me educationally challenged, while at home, I was perhaps more of the disciplinary challenge.

    If you are the same child today as you were when you were in grade school, middle school, high school, young adulthood, and through to today, I envy you, and I pity you. For you never had to endure some of the lows that most of us endure, nor did you get to experience the highs we've also endured, and mostly, you haven't experienced all the different growth stimuli.

    I do not question that signs of trouble require action. I heavily dispute the notion that the first sign of trouble requires the kids to be put into some kind of specialized environment.

    Kids that are extremely intelligent do not need to be put into a special school designed to keep them socially inept. Kids that are developmentally challenged to not need a special school designed to ensure they stay that way, and develop no talents. Kids with behavioral issues do not, as a "rule", need to be put into "alternative" schools with other delinquents so they can perfect their acts. At the extremes, perhaps you put kids into remedial situations. However, you don't do it just because you merely don't want teachers or other students to make acknowledge that some people are different, but may require a little bit of help in recognizing their full scope of challenges.

  • carlosrponce posted at 8:03 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    For some students, structured learning holds them down, keeps them from expanding their horizons and thinking "outside the box". For other students, a lack of structured learning leads to off-task behavior, no learning, and mischief. Therein lies the problem with public education and the need for school choice. One size does not fit all but the law says it must. We need school vouchers.

  • Jbgood posted at 11:57 pm on Sat, Mar 22, 2014.

    Jbgood Posts: 2471

    Mr. Lang, lets get this point cleared up, and I will let this be my last word on the matter, because I forgot you don't seem to want to agree to disagree. Let me throw this at you. Don't feel sorry for me as to how I was bought up, because looking back at it, I would not change a thing even with the all the hardships my family had to endure. It really motivated me, and made me more determined than ever to be a success.
    Another point is, I did not need to coexist with a bunch of rule braking, foul mouth,...foolish, *^% *&^ peers in order to teach me that I should be on my best behavior, while trying to make something of myself,..in order to pull myself out of poverty, and a less than way of life. I want to be clear about that.
    Another point is when I walked to school,...because I did not get dropped off like you, nor did I catch a bus,.... and after I arrived there, I was the same individual I was when I left home,...and how I was raised to be.. by my parents. They instructed me on what would happen if my conduct was not to their liking.
    Now, as to the growth stimuli you mentioned,.... I only required that brown razor "strop" my father kept around for use on his sons when they dared to disobey or if they acquired the nerve to act the fool at school or anywhere else for that matter. That was my stimuli,...and it was all I needed or required. That kind of stimuli does not exist today because society has evolved as they say. So now you are telling me bad behavior is needed in order to develop good behavior?
    Well The Word of God says different, so somebody is not telling the truth and I'm not about to pick you, Oprah Winfrey, Donahue, or Dr. Spock over God. I hope you will forgive me. ( I Corinthians 15:33 ).
    Basically what God is saying is, bad company will cause BAD CHARACTER. I'm done. The last word is yours,..go for it.

  • kevjlang posted at 3:03 pm on Sun, Mar 23, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Where did you get the idea that I got dropped off to school? I had to walk to school. No snow, no big hills, and, for the most part, no major intersections, but I did have many walks to school that were near to or further than a mile.

    JBG and carlosrponce seem to want to put me in the box that says that everyone must go through public schools, and the public schools have to deal with every variety of kid that comes along. As long as you think that's what I'm stating, I guess there's no further that this discussion can go.

    The big picture is that the REAL WORLD does not afford us the luxury of going off into our own little corners in order to think, study, and learn everything the way we want to. Somewhere along the line, we need to learn how to perform in a variety of different settings, most of which we wouldn't label as "optimal". Public schools have a history of successfully educating a vast cross-section of American students. The recent struggles have far less to do with the nature of public education, but rather the way some of the current generation of educators and administrators have changed it.

    I'm not one that favors "cut and run" in order to avoid solving a problem. Apparently, there are those that that feel that cutting and running are the best option. I'm not going to waver from my desire to solve problems, so, I think this is the time where we agree to disagree, because I'm not going to change the minds of the cut-and -runners.

  • Jbgood posted at 6:19 pm on Sun, Mar 23, 2014.

    Jbgood Posts: 2471

    Mr. Lang. I apologize for responding to your post when I've already said I was done. However, I just had to answer one of your question you asked in your last post. After that,...I will honor what I said.
    Mr. Lang at 3:03 pm Sunday 23rd:
    "Where did you get the idea that I got dropped off to school?"
    Mr. Lang here is WHERE I GOT IT FROM!
    Mr. Lang at 7:41 pm Saturday 22nd:
    "As I recall, I was a child once. Also, as I recall, I wasn't necessarily the same child when my parents dropped me off for school as I was when I was at school."
    I hope that answers your question! I got my information about you FROM WHAT YOU POSTED on this forum!!!!!!!!!!! Were you telling the truth about that or not?
    Hey,....everything is cool,...see down the road on another thread maybe.

  • sverige1 posted at 6:57 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    Well, sakes alive...miss a weekend and you really miss out on a debate! I shall start by 1st addressing what the original writer of this letter said. I concur that it is the family that bears the brunt of students' desire to learn and their foundation for behavior that portends to learning.

    As much as children spend their hours at school, let us not forget that they spend many more hours away from school environment. If child is allowed to roam the streets, glom on to families at late night hours for late-night celebrations of more adult-appropriate venues, or if child is not encouraged at home to study or learn more about the world, then the child will have a much harder time at school. Furthermore, if child is not disciplined between "right and wrong" by at least one significiant other, then he/she is at an extreme deficit for learning preparations.

    In my 2nd paragraph, I tried to illustrate how such readiness foundation is necessary for child to function at an institution called "school". We hear about it all the time: Little Conrad and missy Ernestine are constantly out of their seats. Ernestine has a big mouth, argues with teachers, flirts with the boys, and has dreadful fights with her female counterparts because Ernestine was never taught respect at home. She's the "consentida" of the family - spoiled rotten. Last night (a school night) she was out late with extended family, after her cousin's Quincenera celebrations, and they were at the Dot Coffee Shop until 3 in the AM. Her aunt (20 years old) "raises" her, as dad left Mommy 6 years ago, and Mommy works the the 2AM-10AM shift at the Beachcomber Inn as a motel room sheet cleaner/folder.

    Little Conrad only lives with both Mommy and Daddy, but Daddy is an alcoholic who drives up to one of the refineries and also has an "odd" work shift - 11PM-7AM. He comes home at 7:30 AM often cranky, ready for bed. He yells at Conrad and his 4 siblings for being too loud, as they have been up since 6:30, watching early morning TV because Mommy says "they aren't interested in having breakfast". Of course, Mommy is spineless and never learned to instill routines into the childrens' day. The children "run the show", and here's a perfect example as to why Conrad is a "pill" when he goes to school

    It will only get worse for Little Ernestine and Conrad when they get older. By the time Conrad becomes a teen, he will join a gang (yet be a follower). However, he will have already beaten up his Mom because she "nags" him from time to time. Mom doesn't have the gumption to call the sheriff and she and Dad won't take him to any professional treatment per school's suggestions. Ernestine will be a pregnant teen because she learned from an early age that to get the most attention, a girl can have a baby, be excused from school responsibilities, and be showered with baby gifts and a celebration for her "accomplishment".

    This is what's happened to our society. And, it starts at home. The schools have to find ways to overcome these all-to-often scenarios.

  • sverige1 posted at 7:23 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    Now, I shall address some poster comments:

    First, I must concur with the notion that an individual must eventually adjust himself/herself to the cards that are dealt to him/her. That is, if your parent has sent you to a public institution that holds 1,000 or more other students, then you ought to be able to find a way to navigate through the system and pass your classes.

    Heaven knows that schools do more today than they ever did before to offer tutorials (before, during, after school), activities, free/reduced lunch, and array of programs to help child find his/her talent(s). The problem, I believe, is the lack of home foundation where child learns to discover the world (outside of himself/herself).

    We hear almost every day of, let's say, a child protege who can play Chopin as a 1st grader. He/she very likely had a mom/dad (or guardian) who already has taught child that one must do something other than socialize, other than watch TV or play video games. Mom/Dad has set bedtime guidelines, and has directed friends/family to leave family alone after 9PM (unless there's an emergency).

    There exist students with up to 3 years of being new to our country. They deserve a special program to get up to speed with the English language. Again, they need HOME support. Mom/dad/guardian needs to also learn English and set a good example for their children. TV should be turned off, with total immersion in English at designated times, and a desire to keep their native language since studies have proven that bilingual individuals indeed have more developed brain gray matter and a better grasp of verbal language in general. This is one exception to the "one size fits all" concept. Bilingual/ESL/ELL (whatever they call it today) is necessary...but only up to 3 years.

    The other exception to the "one size fits" all are the special needs children who (through testing) have been designated to have a problem grasping verbal/written English speaking/writing skills. Or, who have a proven deficiency in grasping and transferring math skills. Again, these are exceptions. There is no excuse for saying "Oh, my child can't learn as well". There still are tutorials at school and mom/dad turning of TV and video games at home and encouraging child to learn.

    As for JBG's stance regarding the adversity of coexisting with foul-mouthed classmates and the like: Unfortunately, our society has evolved to a state of being where what was considered "profane" in our generation(s) is now acceptable daily discourse in the schools. In the family environment, we still can be "old school", but we must understand that schools have a much bigger battle than students' spoken word and "potty mouth". Exceptions to this are, of course, when the words are spoken to teachers in disrepect or if the language is used in the midst of aggression toward another student.

    No one has really addressed another issue: attendance. That is yet another problem our society has to confront. It has been all too easy for a parent to think that it's "OK" that child miss out on school for whichever made-up reasons there are to not go to classes. My suggestion to any family is to find a designated family member (it can be strong uncle, aunt, grandparent) to wake child up when it's time to go to school. Escort him/her to the bathroom to wash up, to the kitchen to have a breakfast bar and orange juice. Accompany him/her to the bus stop or drive student to school. Or, walk with him/her. Then, ask the school if you can sit in his/her first couple of classes. Always let child know that you will come in on him/her during school at any time to make sure child is staying in school.

    You can be a good "parent" whether your child goes to a small school or a large public school.

  • bvresident posted at 7:57 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    bvresident Posts: 1763

    That's funny JB!. You must have made an "A" in Reading and Comprehension.

  • Bigjim posted at 8:34 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    Bigjim Posts: 1321

    So what do we do? Its all starts at home. Do the parents make education number one. If not, this is the first step to a life of struggle. Do the parents work with the child, by using flash cards and other learning tools. Is the child given educational work at home each day or do they just watch TV .If they are involved in sports do you as parents require them to spend as much time on learning at home as the amount spent on sports? Does the child use the library and read a book a week more than required at school? Do they work on math at home? If the parent can’t help the child because they can’t do the tasks that the child is working on the parents need to get help in getting up to speed so they can help the child. Do they have a partnership with the teachers so the parents know when the child is having trouble. Do the parents know the parts of education the child is having problems with and help child with the problems. Is the child working on science projects at home? Are they required to write essays at home? Also don’t forget math spelling and the rest of the parts of education. Success of child is in the parents hands, and if parents fail, they fail at the most important job they have.

  • sverige1 posted at 9:12 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    Response to Bigjim posted at 8:34 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014:

    And there lies the problem. The schools do everything possible to counteract the lack of home support - from all the things you just delineated.

    My contention is that size does not matter. Many big schools have the resources and organizational know-how to make things possible for students to be successful. The notion that a school is "too big" is preposterous. Sooner or later, a child will have to navigate through a big world. Let's think...Houston area has over 5 million people. We can't escape from a society that sometimes treats us as a number.

  • carlosrponce posted at 9:35 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    Bigjim, you have given some good examples of how a parent can help but you must start at the beginning. A well -structured family where the child feels self and secure is a good start. A traditional family where the child is the genetic offspring of both parents is best but no guarantee of success. Likewise, a non-traditional family does not automatically foreshadow trouble ahead. Both types must work toward a nurturing environment. I was saddened when I went to a restaurant and saw a father trying to communicate with his children. The teenagers would not put away their cell phones. They kept texting their friends. Rule 1: Set aside time to communicate one on one verbally with each child. Know what is going on in their lives, what is important to them, where their values are. Otherwise you are just raising strangers in the same house. Rule 2: Raise them to set aside "No Tech" time in their lives. No cell phones, no video games, no computers, no television, no mp3 players. Tech is useful in education, in communicating with parents, etc but there is so much they are missing. Rule 3: Get the kids out of the house in non-organized sports, just running around, having fun. Playing tag, catch, sand-lot sports without the fancy gear, uniforms, and refs. just having fun. That's where kids learn about life and making their own decisions.

  • Bigjim posted at 10:35 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    Bigjim Posts: 1321

    What percent of parents you deal with care?

  • carlosrponce posted at 11:42 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    Small percentage. It is sad to attend a school function. The students want to see their teachers but are not surprised when their parents do not show. However, it is this group (the no shows) of "parents" who complain the most that the schools aren't doing their job.[sad]

  • sverige1 posted at 11:56 am on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    Well, JBJ...it simply could have been that Mr. Lang was speaking the figurative "when my parents dropped me off to school". Each time I said "goodbye" to my mom, I was going off to school. But, she didn't drop me off. She was on her chair knitting. But, in her conscience, I imagine she was "dropping me off".

    I might add that in no way do I advocate any school throwing their hands up in the air, absolving their responsibility to educate just because a big percentage of the children come in the building not properly equipped to learn.

    A school is not a bar. There is no sign that says "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." Now, the severe discipline cases indeed get carted off to alternative schools and so forth, but those are even rarer exceptions these days. Nowadays, it's "in school suspension", where a child does awful things, yet stays in school in an all-day detention room. I think all that is done so that the child still goes to school and doesn't take advantage of the "free day" of being suspended.

    Now, I propose that these "in school suspensions" be more of a workforce day of activity. Children can go do some community service, under a teacher's direction. They can help clean at soup kitchens, pick up trash along the highways. Perhaps take a trip to the county jails and see what a life of incarceration (even if temporary) can be. Staying in a school classroom staring at the wall and having lunch delivered on a tray doesn't seem to deter some kids from their dastardly acts. At least, in the room, they're somewhat absolved from the regular classroom, even though I've heard teachers try to give them assignments. But, that's not the same thing as being in the real class. I imagine very few assignments get properly done. They need a day of labor, or perhaps speakers to come in and discuss with them the life of a deadbeat. Perhaps the speech will bore them into wanting to stay in world history class and hear the teacher drone on istead about the Byzantines fighting the Moors.

  • kevjlang posted at 2:58 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I sit corrected. I think the last time my parents dropped me off to school was when I was in Kindergarten. What I meant to say was that I was not always the same child at school as I was at home. Heck, on most days, I wasn't the same child as I was the day before.

    Don't know who it was at the keyboard that typed the "dropped off" part. When I was in grade school, a bunch of us walked together. We only lived a few blocks from school then. By Jr. High and HS, almost no one was dropped off by their parents--what self-respecting kid wanted to be seen with their parents at that age :-)

    Thanks for the attempt at covering up for me, sverige1. Pure brain cramp is what it was. Even those of us that try to track the middle ground have those once (or twice, or more) in awhile.

  • kevjlang posted at 2:59 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I'll take an F today in writing comprehension :-)

  • kevjlang posted at 3:05 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    On one hand, you advocate putting kids into an environment optimized for the way they learn. On the other hand, you're giving hard-fast rules on how they should learn.

    I agree that tech toys and the like should be monitored, but if they aren't interfering in the child's learning and dedication to studies, then I don't see a hard-fast need to deny them their toys. What you find distracting may, in fact, be a positive stimulus to someone else. Now, at some point, the kids that don't find toys and games to be distractions still need to also get comfortable in other settings, but which setting gives them their initial comfort zone, who's to say?

  • kevjlang posted at 3:08 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    If, by small percentage, you mean way less than half, that's a problem that vouchers won't resolve. We have a dire need for the majority of our students to do well, and, if that means the vast majority need parents that care, we have to find out how to make those parents care before we try to blame the educational system.

  • carlosrponce posted at 3:34 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    If only a "handful" of parents apply for the vouchers, then the public schools won't notice the drop in ADA and loss in dollars per student that go with it. If we can help a "handful" of students by using vouchers, I'm all for it. I don't understand your "Frank Sinatra" attitude-"All, or nothing at all..." There is no single fix to our schools. If vouchers will help some, I'm all for it! When it comes to education reform, one size does not fit all. There are 4,329,841 students in public schools in Texas currently. Let's say only 10% will apply for vouchers. Aren't over 400,000 students worth the effort?

  • sverige1 posted at 4:18 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    I also think a relevant question to ask is how did we posters here and the people we know as friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances successfully attain achievement through school and the life of the working world?

    I venture to say that the answer to the aforementioned question lies in our ability to achieve the goal of accomplishing something (school) and then finding something within that realm to broaden our interests so that we can become productive. What (if it's not always parental units) instills these desires to achieve? I say that it is one's own development of interests along with at least one other person who has offered encouragement to succeed, as opposed to discouragement to fail.

    Do teachers encourage? You bet. Did it matter what institution the child was attending as he/she gradually obtained success? No. We have prodigies and experts who came from big places like Academy of Enterprise in Queens, NY just as much as we have stellar products from rural Minnesota.

    Did mom and dad (or guardian) do so much to receive the credit for turning out a child to become a successful adult? Maybe, maybe not. The bottom line is that, in my theory, there has to have been an individual and/or some type of influence that the child remembered. Such influence inspired him/her to flourish in his/her field. There is no set ingredients in making an upstanding citizen. It's not like following the recipe to a tee so that the cake doesn't "fall". It's not as though we follow the directions so that the rice (child) that cooks doesn't become sticky or to al diente to taste.

  • kevjlang posted at 5:12 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I wish I knew where you get the idea that I'm "All, or nothing at all".

    I'm also interested in what happens to 3.9 million students. I'm not willing to throw them away because we won't fix the problem.

  • kevjlang posted at 5:22 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    In my case, my parents cared whether I ddi well or not, but they didn't have the time to enforce it. For me, I had a certain amount of competitive drive within my peer group that motivated me to do well. Perhaps if I didn't have peers that cared or teachers that cared, I might have turned into one of those students that some think should just be put into the dust bin.

    If some had their way, those peers that influenced me to do well very likely would have wound up in some private school somewhere, and I would have have been left to find another inspiration to do well. I'd like to think that I would have taken that challenge, and perhaps been the one the helped pull others into the study, learn, and do well category. However, what's the guarantee?

    I just don't think we should ignore students in some of the bubble areas in an attempt to think we're making it better for others. We're dealing with shades of gray. I don't think we should be trying to paint arbitrary lines designating black and white when such lines don't naturally exist.

  • carlosrponce posted at 5:51 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    When you you state "that's a problem that vouchers won't resolve" you come across as someone who is not willing to try vouchers. Maybe I'm mistaken. If so I'll apologize. As for the 3.9 million other students, some districts with homogeneous student populations of stable strong family structure types do work. My nephew who teaches math in Clements High School in Fort Bend ISD says they have little problems since most of their students are of Asian origin - a strong family culture that holds education and teachers in high esteem. Students from broken homes often need a school with rigid rules, a school where uniforms are required. That's why most of these kids wind up in gangs. There are strict rules, "colors" you can and cannot wear, and a hierarchy of rank and consequences but a "brotherhood" that replaces what we would call family.

  • sverige1 posted at 6:34 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    Response to carlosrponce posted at 5:51 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014:

    I think you hit a very salient point in regard to "family" either being gangs or the healthy school environment and/or the immediate home family. I believe that in one of those 3 entities lies where a child will gravitate. That is, he/she chooses which "family" to be part of. That's why if "immediate home family" is not up to par in its nurturing, then the child will likely fall into the gang/unhealthy "family" - thus find negative reinforcement.

    The 3rd "family" is the school environment which (contrary to many folks' stance) IS a family that can conceivably replace the failed immediate home family and hopefully overshadow and take precedence over the gang family.

    However, I've noticed some exceptions. In gang studies, there often are the gang leaders who are intelligent and actually do academically well. However, these few "leaders" are the exception to the rule. Though not members of gangs, Klebold and Harris from the Columbine school shootings were intelligent kids who misdirected their successes toward destruction and mayhem. The two brothers, responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings - similar situation. They used their "smarts" and ingenuity for evil.

  • kevjlang posted at 7:54 pm on Mon, Mar 24, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I'm definitely not against all forms of vouchers. I'm sure that if we got a bunch of working minds together, and got everyone to check their personal and political biases at the door, we'd find that there are a set of issues/problems/questions that would be an ideal fit for vouchers. However, if the net result of a voucher system is that we send off everyone that that learns relatively easily into another form of school system, leaving public schools with nothing but the difficult to impossible students, with no role models in their peer group, then I'm not sure we'd get the educational results we'd like.

    In cases where it's clear that there's little symbiotic value to having certain students in the classroom, vouchers or other alternatives probably make sense. However, just because a student is learning faster than the school can teach him doesn't mean that the student can't help tutor his classmates, or in some other way teach the school how better to teach him.

    I certainly hope that the education that goes on in our public school classrooms is a two-way street. I don't want to believe that it's turned so bad over the last 4 decades that everyone is of the mind that no one can teach or be taught anything. Everyday should be a learning experience for both teachers and students. If it's not, the system is in major disrepair.

  • carlosrponce posted at 6:51 am on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    You are under the assumption that a role model will make the rest "toe the line". It depends on the school. If the vast majority of the school are high achievers and from "good homes" then the difficult students will conform seeking a role model so they will fit in. If on the other hand you have a heterogeneous blend of students, they will find their clique and reinforce their own behavior, good or bad, making fun of the other cliques. The high achievers are called nerds, dweebs, geeks, poindexters. The athletes: jocks (used as a derogatory). The good girls: homegurlz, pollyannas. Look at the movie "Grease". Student Council member and cheerleader -Patty Simcox, a good role model but made fun of. Eugene Felnic-always made fun of, yet in the original play "Grease" goes on to become a multimillionaire. Tom Chisum -shown as a stereotypical jock, few lines in the movie, looked down upon by the "cool" kids.

  • sverige1 posted at 1:06 pm on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    Response to carlosrponce posted at 6:51 am on Tue, Mar 25, 2014:

    "Grease" was a movie that generally perplexed me. I can't imagine a school, even in the 50s, being so lilting. Even the teachers were so attractive, with Connie Stevens (wowzie) and dreamy Tab Hunter. Or, was that Grease 2? Either way, Grease 2 had better songs and better choreography.

    Now, "The Breakfast Club" in a certain way drove home to me the challenges a big school faces. What that group, however, the only real achiever was the "nerd" Brian, who was sure to be an engineer. The rest - whose to say who ultimately will succed or not? I've actually met some folks who had a daughter who was "gifted" in middle school, yet by high school she was wrought with so many mental issues that she needed to be institutionalized.

    So, my question is: Does it really make a difference if one attends a school on a voucher or if he/she is a product of the public school system? I really think people take too much stock into these alternative forms of educating children, with "campus of choice", "vouchers", "home schooling" and such. The setting ultimately, IMHO, makes very little difference.

  • kevjlang posted at 3:21 pm on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Therein lies the challenge of society as a whole. That is not something we can solve by ignoring it or kicking the can down the road. If we can't figure out how to at least soften those lines within the school system, how can we ever think that the rest of society will figure it out? If we build a school system that thinks you can avoid the situation by just distributing those clicques en masse to their own schools, how is that going to benefit us later on? Do we just see if we can keep everyone segregated for life and never try to integrate? What about the kids that find their way into various clicques, either at one time, or serially? Isn't that an opportunity we want our kids to have?

  • carlosrponce posted at 3:50 pm on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    sverige, Grease 2 had Connie Stevens and Tab Hunter.
    Suppose You come from a family that does not want to hear the f-word uttered from Grade 1 on up? Suppose you want your your children to learn more than what is on the state -mandated test? Vouchers, home schooling, and campus of choice do make a big difference. I know many a public school teacher who home school their children or have sent them to private school. I have taught many a student who are shocked when funds dry up and they have to attend public school. They are shocked by the low level of accomplishment of students their age. They are shocked by the disrespect of children their age shown to adults. They are shocked by the obscenities those their age use.

  • carlosrponce posted at 3:54 pm on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    kevjlang, as they say on my home planet c'est la vie.

  • kevjlang posted at 5:59 pm on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    The big lesson in The Breakfast Club was that, given the opportunity, this set of kids that seemingly had little in common actually found out that once the clique facades were torn down, they had a lot more in common than they ever dreamed.

    Could something like that happen in school populated mostly by voucher holders? Would a jock ever go to a school predominated by nerds? Would a perennial delinquent be admitted to a school with class princesses? Would those be good things? Certainly, there are some negatives to "cross-pollination" between the jocks and the geeks, but is there enough value in the non-negatives to consider them positive and worth having?

    I definitely think there's some value to the parochial schools, boarding schools, etc. I also think it's worth considering letting those families get some return on the taxes they're paying to public education while using private schools. What I'm not comfortable with, however, is a system where we openly reward people for all going into their own corners of the world where they don't have to associate with people different than themselves. Certainly, there must be a balance point we can achieve if we were to agree that interaction amongst the different types is valuable.

  • carlosrponce posted at 7:01 pm on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    Galveston used to have three Catholic High Schools: Kirwin (Boys), Ursuline (Girls) and Dominican(Girls). Some people feel that a lot was lost when then combined to form O' Connell, a co-educational high school.
    The movie "The Breakfast Club" was far from reality. Leaving these students unsupervised in the library was inviting trouble. The principal who was supposed to be overseeing them would have been fired. Having taught and supervised many Saturday detentions I would give this a "zero" on a reality scale. It's just a movie. Let's say it did happen. Chances are they would ignore each other outside that one occurrence to maintain their status in their subgroups.

  • kevjlang posted at 10:46 pm on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    carlosrponce, I'm sure you're right about The Breakfast Club. I believe the characters in the move even acknowledged that. However, a seed was planted. Regardless of how they acted afterward, they each had a little different perspective.

    It took us years to get to this point. It will take us years to get to a more desirable point--assuming we make the first step and persist along the way.

    Regardless of whether we go all-in with vouchers, all-in with fixes to public education, or some combination of a bunch of fix attempts, it's going to take us years to see the true effects.

  • sverige1 posted at 6:39 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    Response to carlosrponce posted at 7:01 pm on Tue, Mar 25, 2014,
    Response to kevjlang posted at 10:46 pm on Tue, Mar 25, 2014:

    I "ditto" the notion of "The Breakfast Club's" non-reality. However, I too believe that stories like that do good in causing a certain amount of awareness. And, it's my point exactly that folks need to get away from trying to shield their children from the all-in-the-mind "demons" that exist in the public.

    I can't think of any business, municipality, or entity that doesn't potentially draw in a cross-section of the public. Heck, even a retail botique on the Strand can easily bring in a "street person" who is vastly different than perhaps the young woman who is on today's floor salesperson on the calendar. If that salesperson has a background of having interactions with a wide range of people, then that salesperson is at a big advantage.

    It's good to have gone to school with homeless persons or persons of different faith and economic circumstance, to have dealt with people who aren't in your suburban/christian circle of community. A debutante can learn from working a couple of weekends at Habitat for Humanity. A jock who is a strong and regimentally trained athlete can learn the meaning behind serving in a kitchen a handful of malnutriioned persons, or serving a single mother of 3 who may never be able to give her children the lives that this jock has already lived. I'm of the belief that perhaps schools should have a course in "community study", where for a couple of class periods on alternate days the student should go out in the community and see how others live.

  • carlosrponce posted at 7:20 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6341

    Please don't throw another course into the mix. We already have enough trouble teaching the basics. We used to learn how others lived through things called "books". We learned about the poor and homeless"Oliver Twist", the orphaned, "Anne of Green Gables", the decadence of the filthy rich "The Great Gatsby" , rise from rags to riches of the early entrepreneurs, the perseverance of the inventors, Thomas Edison, etc. The kids nowadays don't crack open many books, even e-books. There is a great book put out by a local author Ernie Deats, a former Hitchcock teacher and local historian, called "The Last Karankawa". It's about an orphaned Indian boy growing up in Dickinson, Texas in 1885 and the trouble that followed when the Deats family enrolled him in school. I highly recommend it.

  • sverige1 posted at 8:00 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    sverige1 Posts: 4054

    Throwing another course is just what we need. The old ways of reading books, instead of field work, are waning. That's a good thing because one thing I regret from my Liberal Arts background was the boring lecture classes that were prevalent during those Thompson Twin days. I'd rather see paint dry than listen to a professor (expert on Eastern European history) drone on about the Nazi takeover of the Poles while constantly sparking his lighter so he could light up his cigar. Good thing most public places ban all that foolishness now.

    Sure, I'll give "The Last Karankawa" a try. Did you know Deats is a character in NCIS Los Angeles? No, cancel that: that guy's name is Deeks.