What, then, has made the Nevada education system go from good to average to less than average since the 1960s when Nevada's high schools won multiple awards for being the best in the nation....The state of K-12 education in the state of Nevada is where the public - that is you out there - has allowed it to sink. Your only relationship with the education system is to ship your unprepared kids to school not with the expectation of success, but with the demand that an education system, inadequately funded, develop and/or repair children that you as a parent did not prepare for school or support while your children attended school.And so on.
Teacher Anne's response caught my attention:
I have been a teacher for 35 years. When I started teaching, the children I taught were eager to learn, respected me, and other adults, had manners, and worked hard. Now, I have children who do not do homework, who have no bedtimes, who talk back, who have little or no desire to actually get an education, and who do not understand the values of hard work or accountability.I've been thinking about classroom discipline lately.
It seems to me that all students should be entitled to attend cheerful, orderly schools.
A cheerful, orderly school should be the bare minimum.
So, assuming that kids today really are more difficult to deal (I don't doubt it), schools have to adapt. It's that simple. Teach the kids you have.
Someone else may have a better idea, but my thinking is that schools need to hire behaviorists to perform functional assessments of student behavior, create positive behavior plans for students who need them (regardless of whether those students are or are not "classified"), and then teach teachers how to use the plan -- and support teachers while they're learning.
Since Palisadesk has told us that ed schools no longer teach classroom management (which seems to be the case), it falls to public schools to provide this training, which mean teachers must have real "professional development" when it comes to classroom management. By "real" I mean a person like Mary Damer who comes into the classroom, directly instructs teachers in how to keep a group of kids on task & well mannered, and supports the teacher while he or she is mastering the skills involved.
The behaviorist should also help administrators develop a school-wide plan for hallway, restroom, and playground calm, as well as for orderly and efficient trips to the principal's office.
Basically, I think schools should forget about hiring "school psychologists" and get into the business of hiring school behaviorists. We'd all be a lot better off.
Last but not least, students whose difficulties can't be managed by one teacher heading one classroom without help should be taught in smaller classes elsewhere in the building. That classroom, too, should be cheerful and orderly -- and this I know schools can do because my two autistic children have been taught in cheerful orderly classrooms by teachers who know what they're about.
Of course, that's not what's happening. I've heard from teachers who have worked in urban schools where children with severe behavior problems were kept in classrooms on the orders of central administration. Neither the teacher nor the building principal had the authority to remove these children, who in some cases were so violent and erratic that all learning stopped and classmates lived in a chronic state of stress and fear.
Such policies -- the teacher called them "radical inclusion" -- are unethical.
Students should be entited to attend school in a cheerful and orderly environment, and the people who are responsible for creating and sustaining that cheerful and orderly environment are the grownups in charge.
Which brings me to the parents.
Yes, in the best of all possible worlds children would have two-parent families in which Mom and Dad see eye to eye and the kids go to bed on time at night.
But we don't live in the best of all possible worlds, and there are limits to what a parent can do from home to control his child's behavior at school.
Special ed parents are always dealing with this. I remember talking to a mom who was working as an aide in her developmentally disabled daughter's special needs school. The daughter had all kinds of behavior problems in addition to delays (ditto that), and every time she acted up in school the teacher would pick up the phone and telephone the mom, who was in another part of the school dealing with another child in another classroom. She'd get these calls all day long! Finally she finally told the teacher, "I am here, I'm not there. I can't do anything about my daughter's behavior over the telephone."
Of course schools should be pow-wowing with parents and working together with them on behavior issues if possible. But even when you have competent parents who are doing their best, the fact is that nobody trains parents, either, and because we parents are our own bosses, it can sometimes take a while to realize we're on the wrong track. At least, that has happened to me at various times. "The bad gets normal," as Temple says: when problems develop gradually, you don't notice them. Instead, the new bad situation becomes the new normal. The parent may not even realize there is a problem.
That can happen with kids and families, and I know it's happened to me.
The point is: the school has to be responsible for student behavior while students are at school.
Whatever it takes.