But broflake is mean?
Being “mean” is only ‘wrong’ when we do it.
IMO, the real issues are 1) that the kids causing the problem can no longer be removed, and 2) the resources that used to go into putting them into another environment have been applied to something else. Due to pension issues in states across the country, taxpayers are overburdened and not inclined to spend any more because of proven mismanagement of funds schools already received.
According to my relatives who taught during the 60s and 70s, kids did not the get time-out/suspension treatment that they do today. Depending on the nature of the offense, a kid could wind up in reform school. The state is obligated to provide the education, but it doesn’t specify where that education will be given. Today too many children have no fear of consequences for bad behavior, especially if their parents never support the teachers. On top of the abusive actions committed by students, there’s also widespread cheating and truancy. The old system needs to be put back in place.
Unfortunately, I’m sure some owners/shareholders of private schools, for-profit education centers, homeschool material manufacturers, and prisons are just loving this.
Well said. (Is your name Pryzbylewski by any chance?)
Thank you so much for being a teacher. Seriously. I’ve seen how much work it is, and for teachers to put up with a challenging environment like this just doesn’t get enough thanks (or pay, for that matter).
This teacher’s testimony was very telling as to how the school environment, if left unchecked, becomes a vicious cycle – especially her story about the kid who was a kind, quiet, perfect student in 6th grade but by 8th had become a swearing, cruel truant, because that’s how kids had to act to avoid being bullied and abused.
I have family members who were driven out of the teaching field because of some specific terrible experiences, but I’m glad there are still teachers like yourself who love what they do (or did).
My older brother was a problem student. He once tried to throw an IBM Selectric typewriter at a teacher. My first meeting with any teacher always started out like, "Are you related to _______ ?"
After that, they’re amazed that we’re the same flesh and blood. Cain and Abel. Jacob and Esau.
I mean, my parents raised three other relatively decent kids, and my marriage and family therapist dad still can’t fathom why it went off the rails.
I’m amazed at this recounting of conditions at that school. It doesn’t remotely resemble my experience locally with either high-income or low-income, small or large middle schools.
How much of it is the Wisconsin effect, where schools used to be great but have been de-funded and the teachers disrespected by the state government? Walker strikes again?
Pardon, who am I being mean to? Except wholly hypothetical children. I’m mocking an idea (“let’s arm schoolteachers”) not a person. In fact, for all that this is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea, I’m betting most of the people suggesting it are doing so out of the best possible intentions. And, indeed, it’s not like we don’t protect children with firearms—sometimes very directly:
It’s just that this particular implementation of this, otherwise unobjectionable, idea is terrible for reasons I am certain I needn’t explain to you.
So, no, I don’t think I’m being mean.
But even if I was—and I guarantee I will be at some point, I can save you the vigil, hell, I’ll PM you if I notice I am—that has no bearing on my advocacy that niceness is better than meanness. After all, even if i am a jerk, that doesn’t mean I can’t occasionally have a good idea. I mean, it might be a bad idea, but that’s independent on my moral character or lack thereof.
 At the very least on occasion I am. And that’s me being as generous to myself as I can. So I can save you that vigil, too.
This exactly, I’ve seen it first hand with an LGBT kid just out of 8th grade. This kid was relentlessly bullied and sexually harassed but I was repeatedly told that the school cannot remove the offenders from the classroom (it would violate their right to an education), while my kid was removed almost on a daily basis to protect their safety. The only solution the school could offer was a hybrid home-schooling program (not an option for complicated reasons) removing my kid from school.
I feel somewhat sorry for the teachers and administrators working within that system and with the worst kids, and being harangued by angry dads like me on a weekly basis. There has to be some way to allow the larger population of kids to learn without disruption while helping the misbehaving students build skills they need to get back into mainstream education.
Here’s my contribution to this hopeless debacle: the public education system does not simply need a bit of further evolution upon it’s long, proud timeline of hundreds of years. It doesn’t need a few ‘tweaks here and there’ to keep up with modern times. It has been on the wrong track since the very beginning. It needs to be completely and totally overhauled. There is nothing that can be salvaged. Even all those years of child behavioral study must be scrapped, as it only applies within a hostile and artificial environment such as a school or prison.
Eh, so what model would replace it?
And why does the current model seem to work OK in most places?
How are private school models any different than public schools but generally don’t have the same problems to the same degrees?
I went to junior high in Wisconsin about forty years ago, and while it wasn’t an easy time for me personally–had some fistfights with the local bullies, nothing serious–whatever is going on with these kids or their school, it’s not about “well, that’s just the early teens for you.”
So… no teachers, books, lesson plans, grades, levels, classes, or course structures?
How would you suggest we teach kids without anything salvaged from the entire educational system?
Seriously! No break? Business as usual? Holy fucking shit.
One solution: break the age group in half by getting rid of middle school.
'Round hereabouts, elementary school goes to grade 8 (average student age 13). They’re expected to be role models for the little kids and often put in charge of things reflecting that.
High school starts at grade 9 (average student age 14). They’re the youngest and the seniors make it very clear they are NOT putting up with any Lord of the Flies shit from any little brats who aren’t even old enough for a learner’s permit.
Worst time I ever had with bullying during those years was in an elementary school that separated the grades into three physical wings in the building and three zones on the playground.The two other schools I went to mixed everyone together, had all-ages clubs like the choir, and gave older kids opportunities to help younger kids. Far fewer problems.
What @Boundegar joked about was aimed at the NRA. This is a little over the line for my taste, thanks. There are much better ways to mock the ideas than to joke about shooting children.
To be fair, some private schools (and charter schools) do have serious problems, especially those that are based on a for profit model. You also have problems with voucher programs that exclude some children (especially special needs kids). I’d suspect if the problem of schools more generally were studied extensively, the root of the collection of problems presented by universal education more generally would crop up among both problem private and public schools, and that we’d find out that solving that problem probably entails digging deeper in a variety of social problems that need to be solved collectively anyway.
When it comes to (some? most?) private schools having fewer problems or better-on-average outcomes than public schools, I think they mainly benefit from four things when compared to their public counterparts:
- The ability to eject problematic children back into the public school system. Fewer “low” kids holding back instruction, and fewer interruptions to everyone else’s learning.
- Smaller class sizes, on average, due to the ability for private schools to be more selective in their enrollment and more restrictive in their attendance caps. (This also tends to weed out “low” kids who aren’t problematic but would otherwise pull down the school’s test scores.)
- A more reliable (and sometimes larger-on-average) annual budget that’s based on tuition fees, which is less susceptible to interference (and/or systemically racist lack of investment) from basically every single level of government.
- Parents who are, generally, invested enough in their child’s education to literally invest in it by paying to send them to a private school (even if their engagement is simply about making sure they’re “getting their money’s worth”).
I think two and four are very important. Too many people take a hands off approach to their kids education. They leave it up 100% to the teachers, when kids need help some times, or discipline to get their stuff done, or even just general interest where they know their parents care about the grades etc.
The big perk of being private is pretty much exactly in this area: you have an admissions process; so you can keep at least the more obvious hard cases at bay; and the continued attendance of a student is at the discretion of the headmaster; so you can disinvite anyone who is causing too much trouble or just not hacking it.
Public schools have a few tricks for keeping the ‘just not hacking it’ population from showing up on standardized tests(tricks vary by state to accommodate wrinkles in local law); but even the ones that are pretty shameless about using those tactics still have to deal with the effect of the disruptively disinterested or outright feral on their classmates; since there are substantial procedural hurdles to removing them; and doing so is not inexpensive.