The Facts and Myths Of Early Childhood Education And What They Mean For America’s Education Future And Needed Goals

Yes we understand the benefits of early learning can last all the way into 8th grade, can help those in impoverished areas build a foundation that lifts them out of that poverty later in life, and yes we understand every other developed nation does it at little or no cost to parents sans detrimental waiting lists and exorbitant fees. But at what cost to other aspects of a child’s life, national social structures that could easily be turned against the populous; at least if America tries too hard to imitate the rest of the world.

A much bigger conversation than American parents who remember when kindergarten was learning your ABC’s, counting to 10, working to 100, learning your colors, cut and paste, plenty of playtime and it was usually only half day; not knowing all of these things already in prep for the first day of kindergarten, parents genuinely wondering what teachers are planning to teach their child, further put off by reading workshops and journals, writing workshops and journals, structure, structure, structure for kids who a year before would have been considered toddlers. Older Americans alive right now who can remember when there was no kindergarten let alone pre-school it was first grade at age 6 and exactly where the country was able to take itself when that was the case; link below demonstrating the drastic difference between the first year of school for a child in 1954 and not just 2019 but the mid 80’s when many of today’s parents began school, provided picture, despite the dubiousness of the source, the obvious bent of their argument, illustrating change too many swear hasn’t happened in over a half century. Routinely not asked about are the failures in these other western world countries who have universal pre-school programs, those who don’t achieve the expected higher test scores, don’t perform well on international testing, who don’t get the top jobs and experience wowing career success even without their standardized testing being evaluated for the job they applied to, what factors into them not getting a job when their scores are good and part of the consideration process. Talked about but increasingly ignored here in favor of more classroom material, chasing those elusive test scores, achievement benchmarks so we can ‘compete in a global economy,’ the downsides, the effect on 2 and 3 year olds in learning focused daycares or bona fide preschools so early, too much structured learning too soon interfering with the natural learning processes in a child’s brain when put into a healthy enriching environment for a toddler perfectly achieved at home or in a childcare facility where there is plenty of play, time outdoors and fun activities to keep them engaged. Reminiscent of the European psychologist/child development specialist’s response to Amy Chua’s controversial Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother supposedly undertaking Chinese parenting in America, saying he always gets the American question, how can we speed this, academic milestones, prowess, achievements, accomplishments up; blog and author drawing an identical parallel with Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing up Bébé giving her thoughts on French parenting while raising her children there as an American only showing where Chua and her depiction of Chinese parenting was hyper focused on academics, French parents are equally hyper focused on manners and socialization, independence bordering on mild neglect. Contextualizing these books and perspective with the pre-school push in America, politicians like Mayor and presidential candidate, now dropped out of the 2020 race, Bill de Blasio saying all of America’s eggs pertaining to our future needs to be in early education is the negative effect had on society; where France, Germany, Canada ‘all the rest of the western world who already has universal pre-school,’ even places like China who use pre-school as built in government daycare, view universal pre-school as a positive norm, allowing parents, in for example France, to put their children in pre-school, return to work, Germany’s elongated kindergarten does the same giving independence to parents, it creates heightened hesitance in American parents unsure about the national homogeny in what is termed as best for children seen in these countries, those who vehemently don’t agree seeing it as pushing too much too soon, backed up by experts in multiple countries in nations like the UK who categorize play as a child’s work and the things children develop without early formal education benefiting them in the long haul. Where pre-school just is in listed other countries, throughout America it feeds into American parent’s anxiety about their child/children’s development, it feeds into the pressures parents feel to get their kids not solely into pre-school for the academic benefits, the head start on attending the best colleges, the competition to get their children into elite elementary, middle and secondary schools on their way to name recognized universities, but pushes them to force their children toward significant milestones so they can attend programs like title 1 head start, local pre-school programs parents pay for yet are not part of the posh cut throat push and shove competition occurring among sacrificing middle class, financially secure upper middle class to wealthy parents who have no issues with affordability for their child’s before college education. Followers of the TLC show OutDaughtered will recall when the quints were being enrolled in the daycare pre-school prep their older sister attended, chosen in a family tradition for the fun and enrichment experience it gave her, their mother shocked that, though she was starting them early as 1 and a half years old, they all had to be walking before attending, a problem since one wasn’t walking well yet; while their reasoning for such a stipulation is readily understood(so they don’t get trampled by older children in their class) it feeds the hamster wheel rat race parents are suddenly put on because they desire the best for their children. Here exacerbated by the quints early birth and early medical struggles, worries about their development based on them being a multiple birth coming with significant risks but remaining the top options for couples experiencing fertility difficulties, an added impetus to enroll them and gain professional opinions on where they are, do they need interventions; it hit both parents so hard one couldn’t attend because the effected child was Hazel who had previously been diagnosed with an eye condition, endured an eye surgery to correct it before her second birthday, her parents thinking now this. And while they eventually came around to the sane perspective of they aren’t all going to do things at the same time, they are individuals correlating do you want them all getting their period at the same time, it’s one more unnecessary battle brought about by the thirst to educate kids early, keep test score numbers up and our fixation on competitiveness, one more stress for parents who don’t need any more regardless how many, how few children you have. At another juncture the Busby parents were pressured again to complete the quints potty training not because they were tired of changing diapers, because diapers are expensive, especially in their case times 5 at once, they were physically developed enough in motor skills to take their diapers off, take each other’s diapers off creating a mess, but because they were advancing to the last pre-school class permitting diapers, of course complicated by having 5 all at the same stage of potty training. But again, it being less about the quints bodily development, their showing signs they are ready to potty train, understand what that is versus the pre-k information on shapes, colors and numbers they had presented to them, rather due to the setup of the pre-school classes; the potty training stipulation fairly universal and common across western world pre-schools regardless of country, excluding children who naturally train later between 3-5 causing parents to think something might be wrong with their child, possibly spelling excessive punishment, borderline abuse for a child who isn’t potty training on the artificial schedule pushed on society by pre-school. Pre-school expectations and skills sometimes clashing with your own household rules, the first of my friend’s children to attend pre-school for the short time he did was taught to pour his own drink as well as use an open cup; the former of which my friend did not allow with 3 kids and constant spills, training them on the latter as they showed an ability to do so and/or before going to kindergarten knowing they would be confronted with it. We’ve all seen the America’s Funniest Home Videos of toddler kids pouring juice and the whole container ends up nearly everywhere but the sippy cup, the little girl trying to put milk on her bowl of cereal and the whole gallon of milk ends up anywhere but in the bowl and when you are poor you can’t afford that waste never mind the mess, hints the rule; my friend didn’t want her 3 year old copying his 5 year old brother, hints how she runs her house, variations that function for your family socially disallowed in the country homogeny seen elsewhere in the rest of the world. Expectations putting kids in boxes before they’ve even entered standard education avid watchers of a different set of multiples garnering national attention via a program on the identical channel Jon and Kate Plus 8 chronicling the Gosselin children will remember before the drama of the parents’ divorce, custody issues, accusations thrown back and forth between the couple, there was the episode scene with the sextuplets practicing using scissors Kate commenting they apparently learned to cut too late according to their school independent them attending pre-k at 5 owing to their preemie status starting kindergarten at 6; what do you mean learn to cut too late, a ridiculous statement under the circumstances, the fact they were placed in a pre-k class despite their age. It reminds me of what happened with my friend’s second child, who was put on the waiting list for pre-school shortly after birth post her oldest child’s later placement on the waiting list only for his name to come up as he was attending the summer school for incoming kindergartners; only for 1- the evaluation to be inadequately conducted, screener unable to get him to perform necessary tasks, where his mother came in and got him to do nearly everything asked, 2- his name to then come up at 2 and a half initially told they would help him complete potty training, at which juncture she gather her paperwork to enroll him only to get to the end of the process finding out he has to be fully potty trained. 2 years later fully potty trained for a solid year at age 4 had him reevaluated only for the screener this round to complain he can’t manipulate scissors disregarding his obviously hyper nature clearly on display and his mother’s explanation she wasn’t going to hand him scissors, even the child intended safety scissors, with his newborn, crawling to barely 2 year old brother around and his strongly suspected ADHD (diagnosis confirmed and medication begun at age 5 before going to kindergarten shortly before age 6 per his August birthday) ; finally screener telling his mother he wasn’t ready for pre-school unwilling to be specific as to why, though the distinct impression was he didn’t inherently already know things pre-school was designed to teach him, mother having to get forcefully insistent for him to be waitlisted and only the intervention of his assigned area school principal’s, who had seem him when his mother picked up his older brother, knowing he would need help to assimilate into the school environment, push to have him placed in a class got him the month and a half of pre-school he received. Prime example of the buck passing blog and author have detailed before in several education pieces from various aspects and angles; the pre-school didn’t do enough/child didn’t have access to pre-school- kindergarten teacher’s hands are tied, k-5 didn’t do enough to teach the child, middle school teachers can’t, middle school didn’t meet sometimes select teacher’s expectations- high school can’t bridge that big a gap, colleges putting in remediation classes for the sake of their bottom line based on test scores not even measuring knowledge accumulation, information the student has but speed processing and do they understand how the test works; commitment to teaching the child thrown out the window in the bureaucracy subset created, the profit motive industry of equally early learning and standardized testing. The Busby quints illustrating another headache for parents and for educators: where to place young students who excel in pre-school Riley skipping pre-k and going directly to kindergarten she’s so advanced, parents who will face a serious decision next year on whether to send her to first grade or kindergarten in their local school versus the paid pre-school they’ve been in; on the flipside you see Riley on camera saying she wishes her sisters were in her class, you see classroom behavior indicating nervousness suggesting maybe it wasn’t the best idea, while she was academically ready perhaps she wasn’t socially ready. In the long term where does that leave her, ready for college at 17 when she may not be mature enough for it, will she continue to skip grades exploding the problem exponentially, straining her parents to find enrichment activities to curb misbehavior they keep seeing usually instigated by her; certainly her and her sisters will be separated probably no more than 2 in a class as has been done with previous multiples depending on size of school where they live, but is now the time to force that separation especially based on the behavior observed when that happened? We saw this played out on fictional TV years before with the quickly turned classic sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond where one of the twin boys was on par in pre-school and the other not, parents faced with splitting the twins up or not, ultimately deciding to follow the teacher suggestion to leave them both in pre-school another year being they were slightly younger than their classmates, correctly pinpointing Michael’s ‘problem’ as common immaturity not a learning disability, developmental delay, neurological condition i.e. autism, behavioral issue like ADHD; conversely you have the kids for whatever reason considered behind in kindergarten perplexing parents to no end when their teachers don’t appear to know how to do more than review concepts they were ‘supposed’ to learn in pre-school whether they’ve been there or not. As enticing as universal childcare/pre-school is to people trying to work to survive and afford a safe place to leave their child while they do so, poorer parents who fundamentally understand the opportunity pre-school is at least intended to represent to disadvantaged students who don’t have access to the same things their wealthy, wholly middle class peers do, major practicality hurdles exist too well beyond political will and dollars to devote to it; we now have childcare desserts in expanding pockets of the country hampering employers who want to hire, parents who need work but have nowhere licensed to send their children, immovable logistics of how long it would take to build, staff and open for operation the number of facilities to constitute either universal childcare or pre-school under the needed strict standards. Beyond the those realities of implementing universal childcare and pre-school from a sheer availability of facilities aspect are the quality problems with existing facilities in operation; whether it’s the danger posed by religious based daycares and pre-school’s exempt from regulations that result in thousands of killed and injured kids or the seeming lack of regulation even under the current licensing system, job requirements for employees, owners and operators of childcare facilities nationwide still leading us to horrific scenes, from the daycare ‘fight club’ effected children’s parents want actions taken against the administrators who taught children to fight ‘as a stress reliever when the heat went out’ (investigating department of health and human services only mandating retraining) or the glut of videos showing staggering instances of abuse in daycares and pre-school everywhere from the 4 year old shoved down the stairs to a girl who had and adult fist repeatedly slammed down on her hand for refusing to stop playing with her hair and write the word the worker/owner desired she write, when that didn’t work she resorted to shaking the 4 year old, parents who felt utterly betrayed treating the provider as family, multiplying insult to injury her older brother then disclosed to his parents she did the same thing to him never saying anything. The Texas daycare worker arrested for restraining and medicating children without cause, the 3 year old thrown across her classroom necessitating forehead stiches and 3 days in hospital observation, video only seen when the child’s injury didn’t match what the school was saying about how it happened, parents demanding it be viewed; operator firing the teacher while investigators found a second incident and a different worker whose nails punctured a child’s arm she grabbed it so hard, also fired. But you don’t have a policy to view video when a child is hurt at school to the point of needing to call an ambulance, worker 1 lying saying the child fell, unknown what worker 2 used to excuse their treatment of a toddler? Children instead of being engaged and enriched throughout daycares and pre-schools subjected to being bitten by fellow attendees while workers ignore the problem, subjected to beatings by workers, even molestation by bus aides taking children out of car seats while there are teachers who don’t want video in the classroom, students using phones and other recording devices to document teacher lectures for absorption of classroom material to chronicling teacher inappropriate behavior, even suspending students for recording wrongdoing claiming they violated the law on teacher privacy they shouldn’t and don’t have in the public space of a classroom. My friend worked in a daycare facility in the early 2000’s where one new worker she swore was on drugs had a habit of yelling at, scaring and shoving kids, walked in for shift one night looked around said I don’t need this shit and walked out never to be seen again, another worker ‘volunteer’ relative of the owner slapped her year and a half old son for crying too much during what turned out to be an asthma attack, never left in a room with that person again, at another time had to shove a coworker out of the way to aide a choking child as the coworker froze with no clue what to do caused by food improperly cut down for a toddler, questioned by the owner; lingering, question you don’t mandate workers be or get CPR and first aide certified, directly after hire, hire people appropriately experienced or be willing to train workers you bring onboard, welcome to the maze of American childcare. Universal child care and pre-school not synonymous with early intervention services for children with physical disabilities, developmental and neurological diagnoses, children experiencing marked milestone misses prompting therapies and specialized schooling to try and eliminate, children standard pre-schools are unlikely to enroll; a significant shortage those type facilities as well. Universal childcare and pre-school that isn’t diagnosing delays and conditions like autism any faster; national pushes from autism awareness organizations doing exactly that, crafting pocket programs nationwide to solve this problem. Parents of color, parents of students who are black or brown in particular housing a whole different set of concerns about pre-school and early education, such parents who rightfully say they won’t dump their children into the school to prison pipeline before they absolutely must knowing what we know about the inherent racial biases existing in education, white teachers/staff who believe the black/brown student requires harsher punishment and it will take longer to resolve than white students for the same identical infraction; probably how police ended up called to a school to handle the 5 year old having a temper tantrum rather than their parent, a reoccurring pattern going back at least a decade. Disproportionate suspensions and expulsions that too start as early as pre-school arguably for the child acting their respective age; we all remember when 2 of the Gosselin children, a little older, were suspended then removed from their private school post their parents’ divorce, yes one of them ended up at a residential school addressing his needs but the other received counseling and life went on. Late last month saw 2 Florida students age 6 arrested, handcuffed and put in the back of a police car, even had their mugshot taken, one attending a demonized charter school, also the one with sleep apnea strongly suspected as the reason behind her tantrum; charges dropped when the police chief discovered what had transpired subsequently firing the officer for his blatant violation of protocol needing supervisor approval to arrest a juvenile under 12, despite that policy almost 3,000 children between 5-12 found themselves arrested under similar circumstances during the 2017-2018 documentation year alone. Often called lesser incidents have no less a negative effect on a child’s educational experience, their attitude toward the school environment, teachers and authority many are quick to say they refuse to respect so deserve what they get, though who can blame them might be a better question; whether it was the pre-school teacher who wrote a note about the black student’s ‘smelly’ coconut oil (which doesn’t have a smell) laced hair for scalp moisture, or the soccer coach barring a pre-teen player unless she took out her hair beads, ignorant it takes an hour to do so and is a way of managing what white people regularly refer to has unruly hair. School dress code policies written to directly target black and brown students for natural hairstyles, traditional young child styles for ethic children happening still in 2019 as a staff member in a Georgia school colored in with a sharpie the zigzag styled into a boys close cut hair; it and standard braids on a black girl pictured on a poster as inappropriate, illustrating more bias. Or the grandmother of a little black boy with preferred long hair who was told by school officials she could either cut his hair, pin it up in extensive braids or put him in a dress and when asked he would respond he was a girl (oddity of oddities if he were transgender his hair choice would be protected); school dress code reading no pony tails, rat tails, duck tails, male buns, puffballs on boys, no hairstyle longer than t-shirt collar length, guardian responding his hair should be left alone as a non-issue because it has nothing to do with learning. Part and parcel for the kinds of things both kids and parents have to put up with, teachers are told by bosses to enforce like the boy who had the logo for the Miami heat (that’s a professional basketball team for those who don’t follow sports) shaved into his head by his father, a barber, only for the school to tell him it was gang related and a counselor to shave his head even after a conversation with his father who planned to fix it after school, boy appearing Latino; commenters quick to point out the potential danger of unsanitary equipment, the absurdity of a licensed barber familiar with relevant health codes giving his permission, what the school says happened, to shave his head right then and there. Recalling it was the little native American boy who missed his first day of kindergarten because he was told he needed to cut his hair, mother having to prove his heritage before he was permitted to attend school sans alteration of something sacred to his people though there was a significant native American population in the area, another not allowed to put the eagle feather signifying his accomplishment among his people on his high school graduation tassel, adjacent battles going on right up until graduation season spring 2019; students repeatedly told they can’t place native beads, feathers and other native American symbols on graduation caps they get to keep post ceremony. Remembering it was a little black girl, kindergarten, kicked in the head for using the bathroom during nap time, it was a little black girl, first grade, who had her shoes thrown in the trash for fiddling with them too much, a little black girl, different state’s first grade, who had one of her braids cut and threatened to have the rest sheered if she didn’t stop playing with her hair, a little black girl 7 who was already placed in a specialized classroom for children who need emotional support who had her front baby teeth yanked out for chewing on her own shirt and a little black boy who was suspended from the chalkboard of his special needs classroom for behavioral issues by his belt for so called misbehavior. Children of color the last to be diagnosed with conditions like autism versus white students, researchers trying to close the gap in testable genetics to uncover the secrets of autism to better treatments, someday a possible cure by compiling DNA of varied ethnic sufferers. Racist instances that follow into higher grades from the elementary school teachers who dressed up for a Halloween party as Mexicans and border wall, teachers punishing students for speaking their native tongues, a teacher who tried to lower the grade of a student who sat out the pledge of allegiance to protest treatment of native Americans, native American herself, the high school teacher fired after posting tweets on twitter thinking she was doing president Trump’s bidding and communicating directly with him about the large number of suspected illegal students in her school, breaking federal law while she was at it because it is illegal to ask a student’s immigration status or report them, their family members to immigration authorities, said teacher housing a history of racist comments going back years. The boy told he had to cut his dreads if he wanted to compete in a school wrestling match independent passing the pre-match check, referee who has a history of racial incidents; the black female high school swimmer who was originally disqualified from a meet she won with the best time because a spectator, probable parent, complained about the skin she showed wearing her school provided swim suite uniform saying they could see butt cheek touching butt cheek, another taking a picture of the teen not related to them to prove the inappropriateness of her outfit. Disqualification overturned when it went viral, people quickly concluding the decision was based on her fuller figure owing to her being African American and possibly the wrong size of outfit provided to her, the irrefutable fact that said outfits ride up during exercise; yet rather than focusing on her time, her positive achievement certain people fixated on her clothing, a perfect stranger creepily taking a photo of the teen to prove their point missing the eww factor entirely. Sure we can have a conversation about the revealing, subjective nature of swimsuits, gymnastics leotards, other sexualizing uniform sportswear but this isn’t how you do it and you certainly don’t punish the athlete for donning a provided uniform. Worth asking too if they are being sexualized by such skimpy outfits or if we are sexualizing them by attributing to their outfits connotations they haven’t thought of, aren’t entering their head as they want to participate in a sport, don’t want different, more clothing hampering their movement, performance? It was the pre-teen black girl held down on the playground while white students cut her dreads tipping point in persistent bullying unnoticed by fellow students or teachers doubtlessly brought on by our current political climate and a president who makes fun of people with disabilities, makes racist remarks and excuses for racism, racist violence, homophobia and transphobia; young though these kids are probably aware of the headlines made by teachers engaged in the actions listed here and more, possibly even seeing teachers at their school do a few of these things sending the message it’s ok; now is likely the worst time to talk universal childcare and pre-school, when it was actress best known for her comedy role in Fresh off the Boat and her and starring in the movie hit Crazy Rich Asians Constance Wu who recounted in an interview being hauled before a panel of her middle school teachers when one of them believed her guilty of plagiarism for a creative piece she had turned in as an assignment, only one of the panel, her drama teacher, believing she had done the work herself. And, because she was the child of immigrants they never knew what she endured, her feeling she needed to protect them lest they be viewed as uneducated, stupid due to their accents; perhaps paramount to the theme of this article, the impact she relates it had on her going so far as to call that teacher up and tell her she did indeed write the paper and said teacher was wrong to say she hadn’t after years of therapy. Wu played down in the interview, the lasting effect on her that wasn’t positive but negative; conversely we all have that story about the one teacher who made a profound difference in our lives believing in us, suggesting we try out for the school play, take this class or simply being interested in who we were as human beings, listening when other adults wouldn’t. Absolutely that’s a process we want to start as early as possible for kids whose home lives are not ideal, parents who work long hours, work nights, but it’s a 60/40 ratio toward the negative which one a child will experience. Of course the solutions to the things detailed in this paragraph is improving daycares to remove workers who are abusive, improve pre-schools to do the same, weeding out in both cases people with blatantly raciest tendencies, clearly visible ignorance and intolerance that has no place in any educational environment never mind forming the youngest minds of the next generation. But until we do enact sweeping changes, at least present parents with options within a universal pre-k setting essentially shutting down schools who do these negative things by virtue of non-enrollment, disappearing attendance, how dare we, popular presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren suggest parents put their child/children into that any sooner than they have to; childless persons like blog and author, concerned about what happens to themselves and larger society when persons exposed to that discrimination, abuse, general dysfunction are turned out into the world, not call them out for a horribly bad idea if you don’t address those problems first?

https://theconversation.com/kindergartners-get-little-time-to-play-why-does-it-matter-57093

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/old-kindergarten-requirements-suggest-todays-classrooms-are-too-much-too-soon

https://www.salon.com/2016/04/16/religious_exemptions_kill_church_day_care_deaths_and_injuries_show_the_dangers_of_expanding_the_privileges_into_law/

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/texas-childcare-provider-arrested-restricting-medicating-children-2-year-old-suffered-trauma-says-grandmother-001026486.html

http://www.salon.com/2017/09/03/dont-tape-our-teachers-why-surreptitious-recording-in-the-classroom-isnt-ok/

https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/4/5/17199810/school-discipline-race-racism-gao

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kate-gosselins-children-alexis-collin-expelled-from-school-after-hurting-adult_n_796898

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/teachers-note-complaining-about-oil-in-a-students-hair-sparks-outrage-185330489.html

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/9-old-sidelined-soccer-game-hair-beads-003804297–abc-news-parenting.html?pt=5/

https://news.yahoo.com/school-workers-used-sharpie-color-132343529.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/idaho-elementary-teachers-dressed-mexicans-160127722.html

Affordable childcare and national funding for universal pre-school as an option for all parents who want their children to attend doesn’t absolve those working with young children from being able to effectively handle situations common with said children, case in point k-5 bus drivers who can’t manage seating squabbles, sibling scuffles that erupt on your bus or came with them that morning/afternoon as they are getting on/off; and no, that does not translate into doling out bus tickets to kindergarteners, first graders shoving each other over a seat versus injecting conflict resolution, demonstrating what they need to do instead. On the contrary drivers regularly hand out bus tickets like candy needlessly separating students from vital parts of their education when parents don’t have an alternative way to transport their child to school. Plus we are a little over a month and a half into the school year and are confronted with a headline making story: yet one more drunk bus driver endangering the life of children, resigning when caught and charged with DUI after a student on that bus arrived home and bravely called 9-1-1 to report her actions, retrieved video backing up his suspicions; another driver elsewhere across the country and an aide randomly throwing kids off their bus, at least one as young as 6, dumping them at an intersection roughly a mile from their intended stop. Why, they broke the no eating rule sharing a bag of chips, threatened that if they didn’t get off the bus police would be called; instead of oh let’s think a minute, confiscating the bag of chips and giving it back to them when they got off, giving them a ticket for breaking a rule and letting the school decide punishment, the way it’s been done since kids have been bussed to school, having the rules posted so kids can see them with symbols for kids who can’t read yet, going over the rules the first week of school so the kids know, but leaving a 6 year old on the side of the road is the apex of unacceptable, hints their expedient firing. This January reported a 5 year old left on his school bus for 7 hours only discovered when the driver returned to work for her afternoon route; worse ignoring student warnings he was still onboard, the child reminder system installed but not working leaving him there scared and in the cold for hours, parents not notified of their essentially missing child because attendance was taken after the automatic absence call was answering machine/voicemail delivered to parents. Breakdown, after breakdown, after breakdown of systems and policies meant to protect children; a month prior saw a similar situation and a different 5 year old boy in a totally unrelated state again left on the bus also having fallen asleep on the way to school only he was able to figure out how to open the bus’s door, managed to flag down another bus driver who was able to get him to safety; news anchor correct the latter child was put in several levels of danger depending on a complete stranger to help him, headed to an after school program where neither the driver nor program operator did the mandatory safety checks or noticed one of their charges wasn’t there, didn’t get off with the group. A month before that a patrol officer doing a maintenance check on a different state’s bus found a preschooler sleeping in the bus video showing it completely dark outside, child having missed his stop and left there for over an hour until by happenstance spotted via an alert worker, video showing the lack of final checks before drivers and aides leave busses. Last spring video released showing the continued abuse of a 9 year old with autism by his bus aide and driver including the aide punching him, driver threatening to thrown him out the window head first, calling him a monster, he often the only student on the bus and any unruly or distracting behavior easily attributed to the aide’s manhandling of him, overreacting to him randomly stomping his foot on the floor, 3 months of video compiled but no school or bus company personnel screening them for instances like this, boy unable to tell his mother what happened only suddenly showing a reluctance to go to school, making comments he’s scared; bus aide countering First Student’s advertisement of a robust special needs training program saying it was 2 days and covered nothing about managing special need students’ issues. All cases fired the latter 2 receiving community service for disorderly conduct and 30 days in jail for misdemeanor battery, criminal punishments for driver and bus aide respectively. Over the summer 2019 police reported an autistic teen left in a hot van 4 hours failing to disembark at a special needs adult daycare program, van presumably parked in a lot under the blazing sun, driver fired and charged with child abuse and endangerment; but, it begs the question, how do you miss a human being the size of a teenager when unloading a van, how have you been on the job 9 years and let this happen? And rejoining the current calendar school year a driver who brought a gun into a school, apparently in the driver’s purse, purse found by a student and turned in to the front office, gun and bullets found by one of the 2 persons; incredibly dangerous being an understatement, what if it had been younger or more immature students who found it and began playing with it, seeing the caliber of drivers depicted, it isn’t much of a leap to think one might yank it out, waving it around in an attempt to get children to behave, regular readers will remember the substitute teacher who threatened to leave classroom doors unlocked possibly letting in a school shooter to gain their compliance, threat voiced to a room of 3rd graders, surely they have a policy not firearms on busses transporting children, they did for having one on school grounds what found the driver arrested and charged. Parents well within their rights to say no way to letting their preschooler as young as 2 be put on one of these buses to early learning opportunities no matter how beneficial, which has to be questioned when you have kindergarten age kids falling asleep on the way to/from school and they are at the correct age to begin classes (but all day pre-school produces this positive test result!!) and driving them to and from school, if at all humanly possible, when they do enter standard k-12 education. Again the goal should be fixing these, shouldn’t be problems at all, yet until we do, that needs to be the focus before universal childcare/pre-school; indicating k-5 school shouldn’t start before 10 AM period, maybe since the cargo school bus drivers are carrying is so precious training for drivers should be more than a 2 hour course (comment by another diver caught not checking for children when completing a route) testing for temperament and child management skills if driving pre-k though elementary age students to weed out people careless, absent minded, suffering the throes of old age enough to leave your gun on a school bus, to disregard checks mandated by your job or, training or no, failing to understand manhandling a child with a disability is wrong to the point of not doing so. Tracking the headlines of ‘bad’ behavior by students in after school bus lines, noting their age pre-k to 3rd grade you would think schools would change how they do bus lines or eliminate them entirely, rather we the public get video of a child being paddled for their bad behavior by a couple of obnoxious old ladies supported by a shrinking percentage of the citizenry who shrugs their shoulders recalling the things they endured in childhood, calling it the remedy for so called ‘out of control’ children, calling it what he gets for running around, kicking and spitting on a teacher; kid learning absolutely nothing from not singularly the arcane methodology but the implementation of the so called punishment, apart from the fact, in his mind, adults are mean. Instead of concluding suspending him from the bus for one day would get the point across to a 5 year old and revamping the bus line to allow them to move, comprehension giving them more recess would provide a holistic solution to the problem not come down like a hammer or a giant, insanely oversized paddle on a single kid. Regardless an evolving perception, the proliferation of it, professional grade childcare and universal pre-school, doesn’t absolve kindergarten teachers especially, of the responsibility to be able to teach students, for whom entry level education concepts are not a review. It doesn’t, never has and never will in the future, universal pre-k or no universal pre-k, negate the need for said teachers to appropriately handle children at that age level independent their educational experience or lack thereof. Because all encompassing availability has yet to translate into 100% attendance for at least 1 year prior to the start of formal education, the 40% even in Germany where there is universal pre-school amounting to elongated kindergarten, at minimal cost to parents who still don’t attend, for a variety of reasons. Children with medical conditions for whom the goal is to have them physically stable enough to go to kindergarten beside their peers sans bulky equipment or endless medications to be taken during the school day, compromising fragile immune systems where run of the mill illnesses for everyone else could mean death for them; children whom the goal is to mainstream by kindergarten cochlear implants for deaf children comes to mind looking at the documentary raising Ryland, which is about letting a transgender child transition also by kindergarten, dealt as well with his deafness and the goal to mainstream him by that benchmark fortunately exceeding it by a wide margin. Instead much of the violence seen in daycares and preschools carries over into particularly the k-3 grades, like video of a teacher pulling a child out of a library shelf roughly by her shirt then purposefully kicking her when she didn’t immediately get up and come with her; video implication this is how that teacher thought you should handle a young child being introduced to school environments, that particular school who didn’t want to leave the library? Or the little boy, 6, who was grabbed by the face slammed into the wall then dragged back into the bathroom for a berating tirade, the first half of which found on school surveillance, the latter half corroborated by school lunch ladies who heard the verbal lecture it was so loud; his horrible crime, either playing in the bathroom or running back and forth to the bathroom thinking it was a game, parents never informed of his ‘misbehavior to correct it only belatedly informed about what happened to their son when the teacher was suspended for 10 days. More than avoiding the needless counterproductive berating of young children for talking too much, accusing them of making bad decisions, disappointing the whole class for age appropriate mistakes/difficulties (one of them who when transferred to a new school received an award for good behavior during the school day; showing not singularly the subjective nature of different schools, classrooms, teachers and staff, but the difference between a competent, capable teacher and a stressed out yelling mess, having nothing to do with school conditions and low pay instead spotlighting ineptitude, people who don’t possess the mindset or temperament to handle children), never hiring staff incredulous they have to actually teach children a-la the teacher fired for social media posts saying if one more parent told her it was her job to teach their child it was gunna be popo time (in other words the police would be involved for violence she inflicted on the child or the parent, rage she took out on school property), goes without saying guarding against accruing racists on staff prone to comments provided, discrimination of students based on where they are from, what their first language is. Grounding teachers in the fundamental basics of how to approach each level of child, pre-k-5, middle and high school, primary group discussed in this paragraph being pre-k to 5, speak to them to get them to want to do what you ask, motivate them to obey you from a positive perspective of wanting to avoid disappointing you, wanting to show you what they can do as opposed to negatively fearing punishment, loss of privilege at school (recess/fieldtrip, detention) or at home in no TV, videogames, something else they enjoy. Conversely we know the first half of the Every Opportunity link below is how teachers normally talk to students like an annoying inconvenience having caused intense irritation just by their existence, before ever adding in anything close to behavior problems, quirks a child may need to overcome; that was a video about literacy and how the adults throughout children’s lives can help them assimilate words by talking and interacting with them on their level and how that doesn’t happen when you treat them like the first half of the video. Preventing run of the mill practical things to come out of the changes to the educational environment so called experts swear we haven’t made, like if a child’s Mohawk, any hairstyle is such a distraction how boring must you be, if your response to a friend shaving her head in support of her classmate/friend with cancer is to punish her with suspension for violating a school policy born out of ‘preventing distractions’ instead of taking 5 minutes for the teacher or the supportive student to explain their action, let the remaining students feel her head, the head of the cancer stricken student if she’s ok with that and it’s safe for her they do that, you have more problems in your school/class than ‘distractions,’ if you can think of no better solution than throwing kids shoes in the trash and cutting students hair to hold their attention then the problem is you not them. There is endless literature out there on how to teach fidgety children successfully in the classroom the problem is teachers aren’t using it or aren’t being let use it by overbearing administrations stuck in the mentality of 50 years ago; instead they banned fidget spinners designed specifically for children with conditions like ADHD but useful to any squirmy child needing to demonstrate focus to their teacher, because ill-educated adults didn’t know what they were for and saw them as a distraction. Standing, whether using a standing desk or not, while learning in the classroom has also shown to improve focus, attention span and grades as well as cutting discipline problems, theory being it allows them to move more without getting in trouble; still teachers in the below video had to get used to the movement coming from standing desks. Independent current hot classroom trends, popular management techniques there are plenty of ways to incorporate movement and learning- inside the classroom hopscotch and math, indoor bowling and vocabulary, embracing computer games that give supplementary teaching on these things for students who gravitate to it, we’ve all seen commercial for ABC Mouse, rather than being insecure about your future if you employ such teaching tools. Regarding slightly older students if you are resorting to yanking chairs out from under them, dumping pencil shavings in their mouth because they had their chair leaned back on 2 legs and their moth open, are shoving paper towels in a kids mouth in order to get them to pay attention you need to drastically change how you run your classroom or leave teaching altogether; independent the massive safety concerns associated with those actions, the fact 2 aides had to pull the ‘teacher’ off the special needs student in the last case she charged justifiably with aggravated child abuse, your problem isn’t their disrespect, their apathy toward learning, but your soporific approach, be engaging and they will engage you in return, acknowledge and empathize this particular portion of curriculum is dry and they are more likely to bear with you. The ragging on my friend’s 3rd child experienced regarding his messy handwriting in first grade despite him being a beginning writer who hadn’t had pre-school as evident by his start of year kindergarten assessment and confirmed by his mother, who could have barely passed kindergarten and still passed; better for boys to send them to the next grade with support than be held back to prevent boredom induced behavior problems when their weakness is confined to a single subject. A child who to this day is unenthusiastic about writing, by 4th grade placed on an IEP (individual education plan) to address the illegibility of his writing probably stemming from a mild fine motor skills issue. Another of her children’s kindergarten teachers who in response to a comment, observation my friend made remarked she was running out of things to teach her class (with a month or 2 left in the school term) not wanting to get them too far ahead into the next year’s curriculum while being unsure if she could pass my friend’s son due to his perceived lack of grasping concepts; instead of (assuming her assessment of where her class stood was accurate, hard to believe in and of itself) like any seasoned teacher, forgoing the sometimes overly simplistic categories good and bad, who would craft fun enriching activities for the students who were performing at or above expectations spending their time shoring up the students who were struggling, working individually with each student on their weak points for the remainder of the year satisfying the no new material conundrum absent wasting months on the calendar school year analysts kvetch is too short anyway. Teachers, regardless grade level, who can correctly ascertain and articulate student’s difficulties, the drastic difference between telling a first, second grade parent their child can’t write and requesting the practice their penmanship so their writing is wholly legible; the former what my friend was told about her second son- who was developing a trimmer in his hand due to the medication he takes for ADHD explained in greater detail in paragraph 5- also seen in anyone taking a variety of psychiatric medications, the difference between telling a parent their middle school child has low reading comprehension versus has a low vocabulary as evidenced by his constant asking said teacher what does this word means, what that word means while reading; important when it comes to crafting a solution to eliminating his ‘learning deficit,’ meaningful vocabulary lessons that will allow him to make correlations between things he already knows and new words. His teacher instead teaching him how to use the dictionary to look up words he didn’t know or understand (seeming to resolve the problem to her satisfaction); reminiscent of the scenes in Ramona and Beezus where Ramona askes frustrated who made her teacher queen of words, throughout the movie her sister, parents and teacher all when confronted with her deliberate misspelling of words in an attempt to be creative, repeatedly asking for other words that mean the same as the simpler ones she knows respond by telling her she can’t do that in the former instance and giving her words in the latter, even going so far as to say if she tried to get along with her older and younger sister, applied herself in school, spelling words the way she was taught, doing what the teacher (played by a very straight laced, uptight Sandra Oh) asked without thinking her mean and unreasonable, they will consider letting her have her own room. Never once explaining to her why we have a uniform spelling system so everyone understands what word you’re trying to use and what you are saying, never once showing her a kid dictionary, a kid thesaurus so she can learn new words and find different words for what she wants to communicate. When my friend’s 4th grader was IEPed for his handwriting they began to describe behaviors he was exhibiting as well as his low grades on classroom tests; my friend immediately asking does he do this, this and this including freak out when he hears the words, test, quiz or exam to which they all indicated yes, she exclaims test anxiety proceeding to school them on how to handle it having suffered it herself. Options like taking him into another room, avoiding the words test, quiz or exam for now, telling him rather it’s a paper he needs to complete on his own; hold that up against the Busby quints pre-school teacher who diagnosed Parker with test anxiety based on her test answers versus the information she had seen Parker volunteer going down the hallway or in a different setting on colors, shapes, numbers, 2/3 letter words, days of the week, talking to her parents about strategies to give her that confidence so she doesn’t fall further and further behind not only her sisters but standard learning benchmarks and her ability to articulate what she knows. Returning to my friend’s now 5th grade son whose test scores immediately improved under his IEP allowing him to pass to the next grade, they have removed the reading help they initiated for him finally comprehending he is a picky reader not an incapable one; yet imagine if his 1st grade teacher had approached his mother about his handwriting from the standpoint of a possible motor skills issue, as something to watch as he goes into the second grade, suggested testing, larger pencils or pencil grips to mitigate the problem, fun handwriting practice exercises printable from online or books that could be purchased as Christmas/birthday gifts, stressing the importance of practice rather than simplistically harping on his messy handwriting as if he were doing it on purpose to annoy his teacher, the help he would have received, how much better his handwriting would be and the specializations he wouldn’t still need bound for middle school next year. Teachers knowing the difference between a reluctant, picky reader and a deficient struggling one her now 5th grade son was given individual education parameters for reading because his teachers couldn’t differentiate between these two things; he also has a stigmatism in both eyes, wears glasses exempting recess and gym class, resulting in burring after prolonged reading, just like his mother, probably why he prefers comic books, shorter books, ‘below grade level’ material. Homework has been a long contentious subject in many households from parents who believe young children have too much of it, parents daunted by the aide they are asked to give with assignments, large projects long before they were going viral calling out the utter dysfunction of common core worksheets overcomplicating basic concepts for confused children and their parents; teachers in beginning grades gaining national attention when they pledged a no homework policy for their classroom sending notices home to parents the only homework they would be doing is unfinished classwork from the day. Teachers obviously on to something if my friend’s 5th grader is anything to go by flat out refusing to do the sudden on-slot of work given to him in designated homework packets; but the thing that stood out to me when I casually asked how her kids liked school this year was the battle she had getting him to do the packet math work versus the fun page he’d gotten from somewhere, same grade level work, difference, he could color the fun one when finished. Highlighting maybe all homework should be fun oriented worksheets and projects children, especially in k-5, are more willing to do instead of boring forced paper pencil work kids instinctually detest; getting away from this mindset we have subsequently seen when it comes to integrating technology into the classroom ‘we have to bring them up to our[the adult] level, not go down to theirs,’ to quote a famous TV psychologist, how’s that working for you; proof is in the pudding, test scores are crap, attendance and graduation rates less than on par never mind information retention throughout k-12 education forget into adulthood. So maybe we need to start thinking differently that no it isn’t about whose on whose level but in primary grades it matters that they learn the given material their alphabet, their numbers, grade level vocabulary, geography, planets in the solar system, history, rudimentary functions of government, how it was formed, famous explorers. Going again to competence and classroom management of young children, the times my friend has had to teach teachers how to teach or supplement their shoddy methodology, for instance explaining counting money is just like adding or subtracting something that within minutes had the boy she functioned as a live in nanny for able to do his homework independently. Using real money over fake representations for standard dollar and coin amounts can make a difference for struggling, generalized learning delay students as it did for my friend and her son both grappling with learning that practical skill. Tricks like drawing lines down columns of 3 plus digit numbers so students can keep track of which numbers line up with which; granted this was a method taught to her to compensate for her own learning delay she passed on to her oldest son who does have a mild learning delay mirroring hers yet blog and author repeatedly ask this relevant question in educational discussion pieces if not part of the visual tools in the corresponding grade’s math book as an aide why isn’t it in every grade level appropriate teacher’s repertoire to give students as a help until they are better practiced at the skill? Another time she walked into the boy she functioned as a live in nanny for’s classroom to see what they were working on get a feel for way he was struggling to see the teacher attempting to help a student improve their reading upset the kids guessed from the picture the word their teacher was trying to get them to sound out was houses not homes my friend informing the teacher sometimes you have to tell them the word and they remember it, which seemed to work as the child continued to read and no longer stumbled when they reencountered it at least during the reading session. Her own experiences with bad teachers throughout her own school career the middle school too laid out in other works on this blog; however, the highlights include, science teacher who tried to use tabloids as a teaching tool, not in terms of publications to be wary of, inaccuracies printed purporting to be fact with a scientific bent but using them akin to a textbook, another in a horticulture class who would see her coughing, eyes watering and never once thought to ask if she had allergies, if she had ever been tested for a plant, flower allergy instead never failing to rag on her for not reading her text assignments in class optioning to do them at home where her eyes didn’t water. Recording her history teacher in the process of getting lecture notes spend his class time talking about lacrosse, his medical issues and every topic but the history he was supposed to be teaching eventually getting him in trouble with his boss based on presented audio evidence; teaming up with a friend in her child development high school elective to date and copy each other’s homework to prevent their teacher throwing it in the trash, teacher caught and reprimanded both ‘educators’ lasting only 2 years in their respective jobs. Remember the teacher using slack chat to degrade his students while speaking with other teachers, particularly the student who obviously a learning disability (easily likened to a comment about Donald Trump’s mental health using a sports analogy about an injured football player and not needing to be a medical doctor to see he had a broken leg, thus you don’t need to be a psychological professional to see there is something wrong with the president in that arena; you wouldn’t have needed to be a learning specialist or a teacher per se to note what the student was exhibiting was a learning disability even if you didn’t know its exact name) but he still called stupid for guessing the spelling of author and activist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ name (Tonahese quotes) as if his name were as basic as John Smith worse using their names so that everyone knows exactly who he’s talking about; no this isn’t going to turn into a debate on using social media, digital type tools, not the least of which because slack chat, despite its name, is for work communications, it is meant to be a conversation about the caliber of teachers allowed to gain and keep licensing when he’s working on a weekly basis with this student to overcome whatever her problem is but is saying that behind her back minus ever contacting her parents and asking if she has ever been diagnosed with any type of learning problem, has ever been evaluated for one, if she’s struggling that much suggesting she be moved to their special ed. program, a public or specialty school for those services, that she be so evaluated and placed on an IEP so that all her teachers including him no how to better help her succeed and graduate. Worse it what it did to this student’s self-worth and self-confidence to have thought she found a mentor, a teacher who was willing to help her where she was, get to where she needed to be, developing the kind of personal relationship that can make a real difference in student’s lives then to find out that isn’t true; parents continuing to automatically take the side of the teacher and assume their child is exaggerating, prone to teem melodrama. Frankly absurd too is that this student made it to 16 sophomore in high school as of 2016 and had not been evaluated, diagnosed with as much as a generalized learning delay, was not on an IEP, was depending solely on s teacher’s willingness to provide extra help to do well in at minimum his class if not the bulk of her classes. Problems that could have and should have been diagnosed and a management plan crafted then implemented by the time she matriculated out of elementary school, honestly by no later than 3rd grade; that had she been in preschool would have likely been in pre-school (we truthfully don’t know she wasn’t) would have been downplayed as her being young, adopting a wait and see approach unto her getting to formal ed. and being written off as she clearly was. Major missing factor having nothing to do with universal childcare and pre-k having mechanisms to help students when their parents reject special ed. placements and refuse IEP’s, my friend who was in a special ed. program for roughly a year but pulled by her mother part of why her dyslexia wasn’t caught and marginally dealt with until high school herself. But that is because a teacher got inquisitive about her struggles and went digging through her school records to come to a logical conclusion going on to tell all her of her teachers facilitating my friend being able to graduate.

https://de-de.facebook.com/salon/videos/salon-talks-is-german-parenting-superior/10155636012301519/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/teacher-suspended-after-pouring-pencil-shavings-in-students-mouth-report-says/

https://www.salon.com/2016/06/27/ousted_teachers_get_a_lesson_dont_badmouth_your_kids/

Quality childcare and universal access to pre-school won’t solve the fundamental structural problems in the classroom and outside it stretching to administrative policies and practices just piling on to American education issues; both only exacerbated by the race bias, the assumptions about students based on where they live in the city/school district, bias against boys for fidgeting. Naps, rest periods in all day kindergarten that last only 30 minutes leading to kids who either get in trouble for refusing to lay down already having outgrown their nap or grumpy for afternoon activities precursor to those headline making temper tantrum episodes. How much of doing well in kindergarten is less about mastering beginning academic concepts and is more of a popularity contest between the teacher and your child, even the teacher and you the parent, how well your child demonstrates social skills like getting along with others, showing respect for others, for the teacher, following directions, staying on task, task persistence, working independently, continuous research showing kindergarten is rigged for girls because they excel at these soft skills earlier garnering higher marks and elevated options from their instructors. The mother in the pre-school benefits last until 8th grade video failing to notice the biggest difference between her children apart from the older one’s pre-school attendance is gender, that the struggling child is a boy, the exceling child a girl; or that her being in honors English versus advanced math in 8th grade means she must show some natural talent in the subject, either literary analysis or writing, to reach so far so fast. Gender equality in education about ensuring both genders have equal opportunities to learn, the same challenging curriculum and standards unseparated by the biological characteristics of male/female, not denying the physiological differences between boys and girls and what we know about how they each learn best ideally tailoring instructions assignments accordingly. As children get older (any grade kindergarten and before high school), pacing of curriculum routinely frustrates students where the first half of k-5 is essentially review and they are rushing the latter half to fit in required grade level bench marks, bright students are bored and struggling students do well in the first half of the year while the latter half they can barely keep up or can’t at all leading to being held back a grade; detrimental for boys who then are left academically essentially between grades and prone to behavior problems, teachers often overcompensating for so called summer lag, the skills/knowledge they lose during 3 month summer breaks. Phenomenon not just in America but in the UK as well born out in the number of male students not eligible or interested in applying to universities there going back to the gender bias they experience during their formative years of education. School on the whole again rigged for girls with pencil/paper test regurgitation to demonstrate knowledge; research showing girls write better than boys jury out on why, if it comes down to gender brain wiring or classroom instruction methods, researchers still attempting to devise ways to close the gap. Homework until recently beginning roughly in the second grade frustrating kids, their parents and causing them to hate school and by extension learning causing homework burnout before it was ever really necessary as an education enhancement tool. My friend’s first child whose kindergarten year was the 2005-2006 academic year faced a teacher trying to get the class to write sentences, her having to remind his teacher writing sentences was a first grade skill and an end of first grade skill at that according to curriculum standards as late as 2014, by the time her 3rd child entered kindergarten during the 2014-2015 school year writing sentences was on their beginning of the year assessment as something new added only to be removed by the time her entering kindergartener took his this year 2019. The woman in the Salon piece below seems naive about a lot of things not least of which is ‘how deeply rooted and systemic the [America’s education] problems are,’ or at least not in the way she thinks; this blog and author making no excuses for the teacher arrogance and apathy she exposes, the administrative nightmare she details of 4 principals in 4 years at one child’s school, a resigning of all middle school principals the opening year she returned to the U.S., the possibly pushed out superintendent due to an error resulting in a millions of dollars shortfall for the school district and that effect on both ‘already lackluster teacher performance’ ultimately hurting students in the longer run than k-12, even college education, the poor communication between teachers district wide never mind with parents, exactly how much advocacy parents are expected to do for their children to secure them the best possible education, the fact grades and grading standards are not uniform classroom to classroom, forget district wide and teachers are left in the dark about what fellow teachers are using, but they are comparatively easy fixes to the overall morass of ‘education’s failure in America.’ Yet there are plenty of reasons to question her account of her children’s reentry into the American education system after spending most of their lives abroad; firstly she has a lot of nerve laundry listing the teacher’s failings when she appears media illiterate herself believing Niche.com, or GreatSchools.org, any .anything were adequate places to review school rankings and form her decision about where her children would attend school. She learned the hard way not to fall for the country’s test score mania boiling success down to numbers and little else; lessons it would behoove us all to learn, that rankings and test scores don’t tell the whole story: that “all data that contribute to any school rankings need to be pulled apart to consider all the variables. One way to understand this is to say that children’s academic performance needs to be looked at holistically and not as a single data point—for example, how much of their score is based on inschool learning versus what the students are absorbing from their educated parents, tutors, summer programs, and peers; extracurriculars; library books; and the like. Sadly, these assessments do not give teachers timely qualitative feedback to understand what makes each child tick, to be able to motivate that child, and to develop a safe, strong, and trusting relationship with her. For actual actionable growth, it’s not the numeric score that matters so much as the explanation,” items to be filed under dah! [Sic.] She again comes off as incredibly gullible believing everything people tell her even when it was meant to be interpreted as sarcasm, such as the fellow parent who told her “you expected the school to teach your child math;” made clear even by the muddled piece is the problem wasn’t that her children weren’t being taught math, they were exceedingly bad at teaching it, but that 2 of her sons were in the wrong math class, that her son’s elementary school had no math placement for him having surpassed 5th grade concepts, moreover that the commenting parent didn’t literally mean they didn’t expect their child to be taught math at school. Storyteller blatantly unfamiliar with exaggeration demonstrated in the meeting she attended where a teacher blurted out that the middle school kids he teaches come in so smart already knowing what he is prescribed to teach them ‘they get an A off the bat’ when she instinctively blurts then raise your standards, talking about how bored they will be, expediently moved on to the next topic to avoid a shouting match at a parent teacher council meeting where he was one voice; hard to believe they would be that proficient across all 6 or 7 classes he teaches in whatever subject or that he really is giving them A’s without assessing skill, hints calling it exaggeration, another word exasperation with her one sentence answer to a multi variable ‘problem.’ This mother next puts exorbitant faith in teachers/school staff to know what is best for her child, over she herself as their mother; unhealthy even in other countries, dimes to doughnuts who merely have their own educational shortfalls, where teachers are called sensei, undergo rigorous training and are envied as better by American onlookers, evidenced in part by the statistics of those males attending UK post-secondary education and the reason why there aren’t more of them; additionally she was only abroad for roughly a decade, is an American citizen most likely educated in American schools, so why is she so blindsided by the pettiness of teachers, the situations that make school a miserable place to be having nothing to do with either safety or learning performance? Her incredulousness at the treatment of her obviously gifted kid’s not being placed in a math class 2 grade levels above is starkly unwarranted considering he came from a foreign school system not easily correlating to the setup here, her highlighting their trepidation was based on his lack of translatable track record; contrast her experience with that of a principal shadowing a student placed in high school remedial classes for his grade level because of his test scores when she can clearly see he is capable at minimum in the math class footage shown via PBS, remedial status barring him from access to electives he would like to take French, wood and metal working. Never mind the research proven fact teaching algebra before high school is a bad idea because if they teach it on the current mathematical track they are introducing specific concepts involving parts of the brain known to naturally plateau during middle school, more current articles backing up earlier analysis of data, high schools systematically removing algebra II from their graduation requirements and there have been decades long calls to remove it entirely from diploma mandates, move trickling to community colleges and universities; the latter prompts the question why, chiefly, not the assumption math is too hard and Americans can’t do it, but the tremendous potential we are wasting barring people from high school diplomas to go on to cooking school, CNA, home health aide certification, to drive a truck, car mechanics who aren’t using algebra, construction workers whose math level is well below algebra, barring people from simple medial work, a J.O. B. because they have to check the box as a past traditional education age adult saying they don’t have a high school diploma. Subsequently barring people seeking degrees in totally unrelated to math fields, perfectly satisfying, needed careers, undergraduate degrees in math divergent fields for want of algebra they won’t use in daily life or on the job. Worth asking is her approach to getting him placed in a different class, did she suggest he take tests from the class where she wanted him placed used by the teachers instructing those classes and if he did well he continued if not he went back, was there an option/possibility of him sitting a state standardized test in that subject to see how well he did, where his score would place him since the issue was no U.S. metric grade/skill evaluation; or, is it what the tone strongly implies she demanded and demanded without presenting solutions, articulating what would satisfy her other than the sudden announcement he was moved to a different class. Her aghast response relating to what her 7th grade middle schooler would be learning, or not learning was her point, in English, only reading 3 books and grading 3 essays all year long may seem accurately outraging until you remember 7th grade, perhaps look at the goals to be taught over the year, the grammar and vocabulary still being given to students in addition to the books and essays, left out the size/length of essays to be generated; not said is if they would be spending so much time on those 3 books because they intended to teach in depth literary analysis on a much higher level, teaching them the level of academic writing commiserate with their grade much higher than the last, encompassing more complexity it takes time to teach. Personally I remember the big vocabulary project that was a significant portion of 8th grade along with variations on book reports, I recall how much time was spent on crafting the academic device known as the 5 paragraph essay in 9th grade, did about the same amount of books in junior English a huge portion of spring semester spent on the research paper that was to be 40% of our grade; continuing, she made no mention of how student/teachers would be spending their class time, other things teachers would be responsible for grading but didn’t hesitate to emphasize the workings behind such ‘low expectations’ is it’s too time consuming for teachers despite having 125 total students across 6 or 7 daily classes, lesson planning, faculty meetings, collaboration and training teachers are mandated to attend properly contextualizing her implication these particular teachers are merely lazy. Somehow we get the glaring impression she couldn’t handle that much grading and the demands of a middle school teaching job; further why shouldn’t students be able to choose whatever they want to read during/for free reading (also something not articulated how much time over the year would be spent on free reading and how would it’s value to students be assessed, how would progress be tracked), lone thing to contest there is reading same book more than once in such a short time. On one hand she bemoans a lack of support for students coming in new to the 7th grade, assuming from her tone that is the start of middle school, not just pertaining to her own children’s situation coming from another country, oblivious to maybe why the teachers had ‘such low expectations’ was because students went from k-5/6 classrooms to 5 or 6 teachers they suddenly have to please, giving them homework, them having to keep track of it all; most of us remember that classic Everybody Loves Raymond episode where their oldest Ally is in 5th grade and Ray becomes concerned about the amount of homework, going on to give an impassioned speech to the school about how the amount of homework he had as a kid made him hate learning and spend most of his time avoiding the work; wanting his daughter to instead be excited about learning, feeling she had 10 times the work he did. She references the parents in poorer neighborhoods who don’t have the time or knowhow to advocate for their kids the way she has hers failing to remember the kids who go home to long lists of chores, watching siblings until parents get home from work, some right there in the school district, in her sons’ schools, part of the poor element in every American city who will be lucky they can complete the work assigned as designed let alone more. Yet all she heard through her bias filter of ‘you’re not giving them enough work because you don’t want to grade the work produced’ is how lazy teachers are; no references to what her children would have been learning were they still attending school in Tokyo or London 2 previous places they had lived, no examinations of her children’s friends and how ‘dumb’ American kids seem compared to those in either country, no relayed comments from her children about their fellow classmates who appeared stupid to them or who genuinely struggled with things they found easy, them curious as to why. Also the only complaints were centered around math and English, apparently an excerpt from her book, no mentions of issues with science, computer/technology concepts, social studies/history, missing art or music class, too much emphasis on Phys-ed.; honestly would she rather be the parent trying to get her kid into an elite Japanese cram school in kindergarten (we’re guessing not where they were living when either of her kids mentioned in the piece began formal schooling), proving the push to get kids to be this or that isn’t limited to America, this second woman who has an active 5 year old boy, nothing wrong with him other than he doesn’t fit into their robotic environment? At the end of the day she parent 1, solidly upper middle class, remarking on her means versus parents in poorer neighborhoods talked about what fellow Palo Alto parents were doing to bridge the gap between what the school was/wasn’t doing and their needs via tutoring, after school programs and parent given homework, but not what she was providing her children in those terms, financial realties while they are comfortably stable they don’t possess the funds to do what many other parents were doing, cultivating an explanation as to why she participated in the article, allowed that specific excerpt to be used to create the Salon writing. Her, matching the education, ambition of the area, implication working no more than 40 hours a week, if working at all, providing outline details on her husband’s job, not her own, noting she is ahead of parents with less time to devote to advocating for their children and who have less knowledge of the process, left her children there, not merely for the remainder of the academic year but beyond. She did not take them out of that district and enroll them in an adjacent one, she didn’t remove them to private school though she considered it when looking at her options before returning to the U.S. permanently, for her 5th grade son with the very pregnant teacher at the start of the year for whom there was no permanent substitute and he underwent 5 teacher changes by the close of that academic term she didn’t push to have her son placed in another 5th grade class with another teacher (knowing they had to have at least 2 teachers per grade with the exception of maybe kindergarten) put in another district school not experiencing the problem. Was upset at the math opportunities for both her sons but what their wasn’t a math club they could join, spent one sentence saying she successfully lobbied to have her second child placed in an appropriate math class upon entering middle school incorrectly stating had she not he would have learned no math that year; wrong, he would have been taught grade level math. She what, didn’t try to have them tested and placed in a gifted program, find community outlets, home projects they could do to be challenged in math or anything else they liked, did well in; probably what the Finns do spending less time in the classroom than Americans, 15 minute breaks for 45 minutes of learning, no homework until high school and second highest international test scores. Outside enrichment the path 2 parents took for their arguably genius level children for the sake of their normal social development one giving the 2 bothers the basement with some simple rules, not burning the house down, he went on to create a cheap test for cancer, the other family’s child was a whiz with numbers before he was out of diapers and could do many things but not tie his shoes yet so went to school as normal, was tested for their gifted program, whether he was ever placed, but spends his time building Rube Goldberg machines in his living room and was a well-adjusted 11 year old when NBC News caught up with him. Circling back around to the first Salon.com talked about parent, her children are, educated guess, white and she has at least 2 boys out of 3 children so she didn’t run afoul of the administrative staff who spend their time believing their job is to police clothing on their interpretation of morality; manifesting in Photoshop-ing yearbook pictures for bra straps with sundresses in sweltering August heat, affirmation tattoos and neck lines even Fox news was surprised warranted editing in their eyes, tossing girls out of class for their shorts, their skirts, arbitrarily enforcing worthless dress codes forget the creepy how described by students instilling humiliation not deeper self-respect, a good rule of thumb not to wear objectionable clothing, missing the bigger picture of teaching boys self-control over telling girls to cover up, wrongly assuming male students are the only ones who can be distracted in that way. Clothing wars whether it’s viewed by school staff as too skimpy, sexualized, too gangster in the case of baggy pants, which has landed teens in the local jail trying to get them to comply with a needless school policy, clothes that are viewed by school authority as ratty, frumpy never realizing, to quote the poem phone poet Spiro in the poem titled Report Card “I’m poor you putz,” school administrators who think they are improving their student’s lives not only banning current fashion trends whole hog for them, but banning parents dropping off their kids at school daily, dropping them off/picking them up from activities, dropping off items at school, coming for a parent teacher conference from wearing pajamas and hair curlers to get your kid to 6AM band practice, keeping in mind that’s not when you had to get up but be there, to get an in trouble child or attend a parent teacher conference. Her shocked, thinly vailed denigration of parents dropping off children in Google T-shirts and flip flops versus Shanghai Birkin-toting moms and the PTA moms in Tokyo (no information on what they were wearing) tells us her kids won’t be caught dead in anything objectionable, likely agrees with the strictures; he kids currently attending school, as mentioned, are likely all boys, they don’t attend a charter school so she knows nothing about the one forcing menstruating girls to bleed through their clothes for lack of adequate bathroom breaks, whose solution was to amend the dress code to allow said girls to tie sweatshirts around their waist hiding the humiliating evidence, teachers who quit after realizing they had been conditioned to ignore students being perp walked out of school for minor infractions, commenting panel noting the grooming of kids for medial labor or prison system survival while serving mostly students of color. One guesses she either makes her children’s lunch to send with them or has never forgotten her children’s lunch money so hasn’t encountered lunch shaming in the form of need lunch money stamps on her child’s hand or arm, had staff throw their food in the trash given to them by a kind lunch lady; Palo Alto cares just enough about perception not to do what other schools have done, firing lunch ladies who fed crying small children without money including one whose parent squared the account the following day, willing to pay for a student who couldn’t afford it’s meal, or the Pennsylvania school who threatened parents of students who owed lunch debt with child protective services, then when the story went viral and a wealthy business person offered to pay it off in full initially turned them down; proving it wasn’t about the dollars owed to the school but punishing poor parents. Her children didn’t have ‘enough homework’ so we can infer never left it or supplies like their notebook, writing utensil in their locker or at home, there are plenty of pens and pencils at home so her kids weren’t burdened with ferreting them back and forth to complete assignments; thus she is unaware of the willful defiance suspension policy used in California schools until 2015 suspending students for forgetting those things calling it defiance, not bad memory or poverty not having them to begin with, just this year voting to continue the policy removal to 8th grade and add talking back to a teacher as something off the list of permitted suspension eligible offenses, not to be confused with no removal from the classroom or no discipline simply no suspension, long term removal from educational instruction. She’s likely both whole and healthy plus her children are older so her child isn’t going to face the shaming one first grader did for arriving late to school in the morning, isolated and shamed at lunch for his lateness due to his mother’s osteoporosis and accompanying morning pain making it difficult to get moving first thing out of bed, combined with car troubles for a parent driving him to school, hard to imagine why listing things already laid out; him too young to begin getting up to an alarm clock, solely responsible for himself in getting ready for school balancing the psychological effect of too much responsibility on boys leading to chronic immaturity needing therapy to resolve. Policy changed when the heart tugging photo went viral. A drop in the bucket of structural malfunctions; lastly in this segment, we seriously need to talk as a nation about what people are and aren’t doing with all this math, all this supposedly better education understanding Takata, infamous for their deadly airbags, is a company out of Japan though it was their Mexico subsidiary causing the problem; Takata executives more interested in saving face, their honor according to culture, than saving lives, preventing further death. Comprehending Japanese businesses were the owners of minimum one of the polluting plants in cancer alley in Louisiana, they couldn’t do it on their own soil thanks to stronger laws so they moved it to a country where they could, and when a man whose neighborhood and future health were continuously impacted went to their country to confront them he was denied his chance to speak; ending the progressive narrative other westernized nations do better on climate, social issues, human rights in terms of pollution exc. Japan who resumed commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years in 2019 encompassing 2 species on the endangered list; when the GOP and Donald Trump started doing the same thing with our endangered species at least there was pushback, aren’t they supposed to be more educated and by extension better? But the biggest example that greater education and an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) doesn’t necessarily translate into better society, greater problem solving of vast public issues, systemic problems has to be the Fukushima nuclear power plant that A- it was built on an island prone to earthquakes at all, in a country that’s justifiably more prepared than America to deal with disasters on the whole and especially as it pertains to nuclear operated facilities, still triggering the tsunami that devastated so much, destroying the plant and endangering not just local persons but the planet; B- their plan to deal with the destroyed plant not only in terms of the years long cleanup but their ideas to manage radioactive material contaminated water-dump it into the surrounding ocean because they are running out of containers for it. Paralleling the BP oil spill on our gulf coast and officials who expected solutions for plugging then stopping the leak on par with NASA not a junior high science fair; by contrast, America is shutting down 3 mile Island and no more nuclear facilities are being built, to say nothing of their original building was in the 1970’s before accidents like the Island or Chernobyl. These are the people who endured the Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that’s what you’ve got, local citizens worried out how it will impact fishing prospects, how about the global contamination of the ocean and the wildlife therein, the devastation to the ecosystem and food chain that will impact humans possibly, on the extreme end, our eventual extinction. The last person to talk about making nuclear power safer was Bill Gates in 2013; for all the emphasis on STEM, people like Neil deGrasse Tyson advocating the benefits of higher math and science on human brain development, the science whizzes in elementary school or the genius level kids who found small colleges to attend commiserate with their intellect versus those who stayed in regular school until natural graduation you don’t hear anyone talking about how to neutralize radioactive materials like the waste from nuclear power plants, the results of nuclear fission, so they aren’t deadly, neutralization of nuclear weapons. And what has that greater education done for Japanese society, not much, there are entities where you can rent a family, friends, time with pets because no one has time to do things like date and forge their own due to crushing work requirements reinforced be cultural norms, the shame of violating those norms, they suffer repeating rashes of suicides from continuous overwork the island nation can hardly afford considering their country is upside down on age demographics having more older persons than younger people to take jobs, care for the aged to the point some have called the nation dying, such death by overwork so common it has a name, in their native language, part of their obsession with vending machines they don’t have the people power to staff shops with a lone worker never mind a restaurant. World over is the understandable clamor about climate change, getting industrialized nations off fossil fuels via electric and battery operated cars while at the very same time Samsung is achieving headlines for the defective batteries in their Galaxy phones, a company out of South Korea though the batteries causing the potentially deadly issue were manufactured in China, Samsung who won the ire of consumers when they stopped firmware updates for their Blu-ray players after just 3 years independent the sizable price tag, who just announced they will stop producing 4k ultra Blu-ray players. Speaking of China, in addition to the blanket comments by the author of the reference link below making the case for removing algebra from k-12 graduation requirements here, about the math successes of select other countries and the reality they are cultivated under repressive regimes, the documented cheating done by China on the PISA (program for international student assessment) tests only including those educated in wealthy areas, the documented evidence of their intellectual property disputes with other global industries compounded by either the vagueness of US/China trade deals that allowed access to American intellectual property or their outright theft of it; they were in the fact they were caught cheating on a benchmark test for their 5G phone proving they have to cheat to compete, get ahead. China whose economy achieves the numbers it does and the perceived success attributed to them due to currency manipulation while there are the Chinese young people pushing back against the exhaustive work culture known as 9-9-6 (working for 9AM to 9PM 6 days a week) though the government caps standard work weeks at 40 hours, limits overtime too there remains a cultural expectation to subject yourself to such grueling hours; they also need incentives to get young people together and making families to avoid their own demographic problem stemming from the one child policy meaning more males than females in society by the 10’s of millions hints the overnight love train attempting to get uninterested young people to mingle. Keeping in mind South Korea and China’s advancement into the 5G market potentially overtaking the U.S. is a matter of national priority and commitment in the first country and government control of every aspect of business and national direction in the other and the race has yet to be won by any entity.

https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/06/stop-penalizing-boys-for-not-being-able-to-sit-still-at-school/276976/

https://www.salon.com/2019/09/07/our-worst-year-yet-in-the-best-ranked-school-district/

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/15/my-5-year-olds-elite-japanese-cram-school-kindergarten-exam-prep-is-a-mothers-test-too/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/for-educators-pushing-eighth-grade-algebra-an-f-in-brain-science/2011/05/25/gIQAFuVyGI_story.html

https://www.deseret.com/2013/4/9/20517621/new-research-says-the-push-to-have-students-take-algebra-by-8th-grade-has-hurt-not-helped-students

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180710185359.htm

https://www.record-eagle.com/news/local_news/legislation-proposed-to-drop-algebra-as-graduation-requirement/article_5b786758-5ac5-5fc2-b068-28e8935eaa77.html

https://www.npr.org/2017/07/19/538092649/say-goodbye-to-x-y-should-community-colleges-abolish-algebra

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/09/you-dont-have-to-be-good-at-math-to-learn-to-code/403342/

https://www.insider.com/school-days-how-does-the-us-compare-2018-8

https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2012/01/school-bans-uggs-blames-them-for-contraband-gadgets.html

http://www.latimes.com/sdut-la-unified-teachers-suspension-ban-creating-2015nov07-story.html

https://www.kcra.com/article/school-suspensions-ban-california/28973323#

Early learning doesn’t remove the societal reaction when we hear headline making stories coming out of schools and classrooms about the violent, arcane thing a teacher has done to a student, shocking incidents taking place on k-12 school campuses between students and school resource officers or between students and their peers; the go to response is how bad kids are today, how lacking they are in discipline, respect for each other but particularly authority; people who when they saw the substitute teacher in a video waving the belt from his own pants around striking students, causing them to cower and run over a supposed fight, the remnants of which cannot be seen, the mess and chaos initiated by his actions not theirs was to comment on how short the video was, the standard rhetoric about bad kids calling him a ‘hero’ and them getting a taste of the ‘old days.’ Citizens who simultaneously deem themselves civilized, even if portions of society are viewed less so in their eyes, but who also think theirs or their fellow commenters ‘solution’ for the 7th graders who taunted their bus monitor should include maiming, castration, setting on fire, the death threats their respective families received was what they deserved, not the community service they had to complete, not the anti-bullying class they had to enroll in or the alternative school they were sent to, the swift consequences dealt to them and the lack of excuses made for them by their assumed indulgent parents; those parents rather speaking out about the violence threatened by the public. Believed righteous public seeing the problem as solely the students’ behavior not the school who hired a person where multi-directional cameras would have been more effective on all levels, if they had to hire a person, hiring a different personality less likely to attract such bullying, better handle it if it occurred. The biggest sin of the video showing that school’s South Carolina resource officer throwing a female student across the classroom in the process of removing her was her initial misbehavior of being on her phone in class; viewers who believe the problem with the 2 officers who manhandled a 16 year old high school student was the fact she was being thrown out of class for being on her phone, disrespecting the teacher by not leaving and that you’re there to learn not mess around on social media. Not the blatant overreaction to a minor classroom issue where the students weren’t substantially disruptive, bringing the resource officer into either case at all, student one sitting quietly just on her phone, as opposed to ignoring the student’s phone use and engaging/teaching students who want to learn, calling the parent after class/the school day to discuss observed behavior, how distracting it is to your teaching, giving her a detention; once calling the resource officer in, teacher one just standing there watching the violence while it was a fellow classmate who stood up and asked if the roughness was necessary, others shocked into stillness by the disturbing nature of what was happening. Ignored in public responses on the incident, his nickname as officer slam, his habit of being excessively violent with students sans provocation or the fact, despite public debate, his boss commented in a press conference videoed action made him want to throw up and the officer was fired. Student 2 only becoming ‘disruptive’ when asked to leave further only ‘fighting back’ after she was randomly tackled and shoved down the stairs, ‘came up swinging and kicking’ after one officer stepped on her leg with her on the floor, at another point stepping on her crotch, totally comprehensible self-defense causing her to ultimately be tased when she refused to lay there and take it; officers then lying about the student’s actions, reveal of the entire video supporting the student and her father’s, who stood helplessly by as officers did this to avoid his own arrest, account of what transpired. Pending discipline and charges for aggravated battery against her for biting, kicking and spitting on them, things they alleged started the physical portions of the altercation, resulting in her tasing, dropped when video at the beginning shows her doing none of those things, them just violently hauling her down the stairs; the boy thrown over a science table and choked by a teacher’s aide had already been in juvenile court facing sentencing for strong armed robbery and before the teacher got physical he attempted to kick him in the shin, not to mention he shouldn’t have been ‘having words’ with his teacher as described by witnesses, teachers who are to be all exhausted and given the utmost respect no matter what, so good on the aide for giving this young thug a beat down; forget he was criminally charged and only avoided potential jail time via a plea deal pleading guilty to a lesser charge. Same thing with the titled behavioral specialist caught on school surveillance camera choking a 13 year old student to the point of lifting him off the ground at one juncture, his reasoning: the student kept walking out of class and finally told the specialist to go fuck himself before walking out the last time; only for his lawyer to sound eerily like the police officers’ union defending Daniel Pantaleo saying it wasn’t a chokehold used on Eric Garner but a seatbelt maneuver, specialist’s lawyer saying he grabbed the student’s chin to lead him back into the classroom, next going on a diatribe about how far out of line kids are today and therefore believing his client did nothing wrong. Except his is a behavioral specialist brought in to deal with difficult kids, the ‘punishment’ he doled out didn’t fit the crime as the student used his words, no matter how distasteful, and the teacher used unprovoked physical violence instead of saying no matter how many times you walk out of class, say that and whatever else to me, the work will still be here. Noting it as a possible diversion to discovery of a low reading or math level, fear he will be laughed at; teachers today have a disturbing pattern of not only violence across the board with no reason against small children to older ones but no clue about their student’s lives, hardships they face and possess less desire to learn those things than the students do to absorb academic concepts. Recall the parent in the paragraph above saying standardized tests gave no real time data on what makes a child tick, what motivates that child, key insights teachers need and need to be on the lookout for to make their jobs run more smoothly but are essential to handling troubled, difficult ones; and Daniel Pantaleo got fired, it took 5 years and far too much legal wrangling but he got fired for actions that killed someone. It could have easily had an identical ending for that student or life altering injury, say to the student’s neck; forgotten somewhere along the way, nowhere in the law does it say you must be perfect to avoid excessive abuse by police or other authority, including teachers, why school’s/districts have polices against putting your hands on students like that, even back in the day when paddling’s were administered they were done in a controlled environment, ask yourself does that look controlled to you, like the adult is in control of himself, the situation? Dispelling another misconception in the comments on the specialist, whatever charges he faced likely were not brought by the parents of the student but rather were a product of the police being alerted to the video, parallel to how the choking teacher’s aide came to be facing charges, a direct counter to the parent commenter who said instead they would shake the teacher’s hand; tactics that in reality don’t serve as an example, a deterrent, scare kids straight, quite the opposite, according to research teaches them to fear the minor infraction, why black people are ‘always found running from the police,’ because they were subjected to adult authority doing such things to them, graduating to resource officers then the actual police out in the world, both students African American. Learning based child care and licensed pre-school don’t mitigate future behavioral issues, acclimate the child to the educational environment better/sooner it just starts the vicious cycle of negatives depicted above much earlier. Of utmost concern to the on-looking public should be the lying and blatant ass covering demonstrated by workers, school personnel from the pre-k teacher who lied and said the child fell when she was thrown into a self, to the kindergarten teacher who lied when confronted by the parent about the red mark on her daughters arm blaming it on how tightly she had wedged herself into the bookcase not the kick she gave the child or the rough grabbing of the child’s shirt to remove her from the shelf, not in the amount of force needed to extract her from where she was but body language indicating an attempt to be threatening, show her frustration to get the child to comply. The bus aide and driver charged for abusing the boy with autism seen on video her admitting what she’d done that day was wrong, conspiring with the driver to craft a bus ticket calling him violent, driver seeming to agree. A now made public lawsuit by a parent stemming from a March 2019 incident where school officials drug her son repeatedly around the hallway, out of the school building into the cold and left him there with no coat, then called 9-1-1 to report him missing in part because they didn’t like his continuous reporting of bullying, commenters saying how he fought the school staff (seen on video removing him or standing around watching it happen) not to be unceremoniously dumped into the cold or whatever horror he had conjured in his mind they would do to him with little or no explanation supports school assertions he was the bully, another saying we, the public, weren’t getting the whole story; yet the only ‘whole story’ we need to see is him being hauled out of his school with no coat, not to a police vehicle transported to juvenile detention for wrong doing, not to a waiting ambulance in a desperate attempt to save his life after an accident, something bad happened at school, instead to punish him for being an outsider new to the area, as much as his classmates did to silence his sticking up for other students if he saw something he thought was wrong. Worse while 2-3 staff members just stand there watching it happen, not intervening, questioning what is going on; assumed is there is a record of the referenced to 9-1-1 call, it would be foolish for the family’s lawyer to lie, not investigate the validity of their claim about the call, before speaking about it to the media. That is all we need to know, even if he was a bully like all the other cases pointed out in other works on this blog, there was a process for dealing with him, a proper way to see him disciplined, removed from the school short or long term; if you hear the HLN interview with his mother you find out he’s in counseling not because it turns out he was the bully and needs help but because of what they did, mentioning it regularly and is enrolled in a different charter school happy and experiencing no problems. Older viewers utterly missing the point of the warning sounded by the teacher about clear the room orders for violently disruptive students, not hearing the education experts who point to increased enrollment, no increases in staff, a lack of support staff in schools like nurses, social workers and mental health professionals or what the interviewed teacher was pleading for public awareness and more support for teaches not mentioning parenting, problem parents, parents in denial about the seriousness of their child’s problems or a desire to return to corporal punishment; equal number of watchers apparently oblivious to teachers strikes across the country asking for many of the identical resources for themselves and more importantly their students defaulting to: “I went to school in the 60s and 70s and this never happened. Our parents and the teachers would stick their foot up our butts. Now teachers can’t discipline these over medicated little monsters. Their parents who can’t control them think they are precious little angels and leave it up to the schools and doctors to raise their children.” “Bring the paddle/corporeal punishment into the school again…it worked before…WHAPP!” “Why is it when there was a mom and dad in the home and discipline you didnt have these problems? I grew up in the 60s and early 70s. Kids were not medicated with drugs. They sat in their seats and the teachers were able to teach. The kids were able to learn. Most of these kids are coming from broken homes, dysfunctional homes. No discipline, violence fed into their minds through TV and videos. Alot of absentee fathers. No church attendance. What do we expect? America reaping what its sown. Oh, and not to mention that mothers are out working all the time. Kids shuffled off to daycare or with who knows who babysitting them. Our children suffer and then society suffers. Teachers cant teach in these environments. I know a schoolteacher who told me she has to do everything but stand on her head to get their attention. I said, how do they learn anything? She replied, I dont know. So sad. That mother who said she knows her son is a good kid. What? A kid that stabs their teacher with a knife is not a good kid. He has some major issues. Wakeup mom!” Never mind 7 year olds don’t stab their teachers with pencils (it was a pencil NOT a knife) due to indulgent parenting, more likely psychological or neurological problems like autism, ADHD, ODD, intermittent explosive disorder regularly tied to brain damage, mood disorders (surprise, surprise the student who did that referred to by the nightly news reporter as special needs, hint the smiling parent ‘ignorant about her son’ is embarrassed by his behavior, does understand it’s wrong but also understands her child is a good kid WITH A DIAGNOSIS, in the process of being treated for that diagnosis, which like learning is an ongoing endeavor throughout their life). Further that child is now 10 meaning he is behind several grades or this was roughly 3 years ago several things could have changed including natural maturity, medication, better diagnosis, added therapy. Again never mind schools were barred from using physical restraint when kids with special needs, with medical and mental health diagnoses started dying from the restraining bags, holds exc.; a good move on the law’s part judging by what children who had been subject to it said about it making them more angry, violent and resentful of the authority over them, plus a school in Pennsylvania represents a model of not using those things and the kids not harming their teachers because they have been trained how to deescalate, are taking the time to address the child’s issue concerned with a positive outcome not the time it took to get there, profile done in 2012. She, the teacher, also fundamentally misunderstands the purpose of clear the room orders, they are not to facilitate learning or protect property but the safety of everyone, especially other students, one sane commenter asking how she was body checked by a 7 year old; interesting, why she was wearing a whistle the one child she mentioned could yank on unless she was in a special needs classroom, where students like this should be, and shouldn’t have been wearing things that dangle for an upset student to grab, why additionally mentioned by the expert was increased teacher training. That being said, people’s forever reference to the 1960’s is like President Trump’s make America great again slogan and the counter argument presented: what great part of America are you talking about the 1950’s that held a segregated south and African Americans treated as less than humans almost 100 years after the emancipation proclamation, the 1960’s where while fighting for their basic civil rights they had dogs and fire hoses turned on them, were subject to beatings for simple civil disobedience non-violent protest, those same 60’s where the women’s movement had yet to take hold still barring women from some workplaces and paying them far less than today where we are still fighting for pay equality in the places they were ‘graciously’ permitted to work at all; the 1960’s and other talked about decades in education where dunce caps were placed on children with learning difficulties, even medical texts referred to Downs Syndrome as Mongolian idiot until the 1980’s, children with everything from Tourette syndrome to ADHD taken off to the principal’s office and paddled only to do whatever got the paddled again. They are right you didn’t see kids like the ones discussed because children with Downs and autism were institutionalized as opposed to being in a loving home, educationally mainstreamed, others were expelled from school and became, in the extreme, the serial killers who plagued the 30 year span between the 1950’ and the 1980’s, became homeless ne’er-do-wells mentioned vaguely on TV as a scourge on the country, fodder for politicians when announcing punitive programs; too many removed from school, shoved in closets at home, victims eventually turning up dead from beatings administered as ‘discipline’ for bad behavior, amateur exorcisms and other dangerous ‘remedies.’ And spanking, beating, whooping, different, varying provocative words for the same thing, doesn’t treat, manage or cure autism, doesn’t treat manage or cure ADHD, ODD or intermittent explosive disorder, doesn’t treat, manage or cure mental health diagnoses we have heard of like bipolar disorder, doesn’t provide needed help for less ‘dangerous’ students who are merely disruptive because they are in food insecure homes and therefore hungry causing focus issues, aggression, crankiness, their family is going through foreclosure, living in a pay by the week motel, parents are going through a divorce, they recently moved and are the new kid in a new place, are being bullied by students, being physically/sexually, mentally abused at home, or don’t we remember the classmate testimonial of one of the Turpin children? Rendering a final verdict against blaming fatherless homes, working mothers, Ritalin, Adderall and vaccinations, commenters fixating on the boy in the clear the room video looked like a girl suggesting his mother was trying to make him feminine or was letting him ‘choose his gender’ (a disparagement of transgender children who know early on their identity doesn’t match their body, or assuming a boy who prefers long hair is automatically transgender) and that was somehow making him violent, is Liza Long famous for writing the blog ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’ about the arduous task of getting her clearly mentally ill son help which news story after news story demonstrates isn’t as easy as commenters want to distill it down to, trying that doesn’t accrue results as the Sandy Hook report detailed about fragmented mental health services available in Massachusetts, Long herself highlighting in her state to access some programs children have to have acquired a criminal record, who during the filming of the PBS special on those like her son, spoke about a call she’d gotten that week or the week before from his school, “the call she never gets” saying he had turned in all his work, controlled his temper. Indicating starkly it had nothing to do with parenting styles for children with no medical, psychological or neurological dysfunctions, it had nothing to do with it being a fatherless home (who wasn’t discussed but it isn’t highly unpredictable to conclude when he started having problems dad split), she also talked about the PSR therapy (psycho social rehabilitation) helping children with mental health and disorders like autism function in society, social situations, the therapies children need in concert with medications; the fact that she got so many responses from others identifying themselves as a parent of a Lanza type child, a child like Lanza or were in the past, was the teacher or therapist of a Lanza child tells us this isn’t new, just more talked about, just more diagnosed in some form by doctors. I have often told the story of my friend and her kids with diagnoses, the fight to get them necessary help; plus, tell us this Salon author is wrong in the descriptions of the mindset behind spanking in homes or at school when those same people advocating it when pressed can also recount times they were spanked for things they didn’t do, for situations they weren’t permitted to explain which would have removed the threat of the spanking altogether, accused of talking back and spanked for stating basic fact, paddled in school by administrators who merely don’t like you, don’t like your family, believe you white trash, coming from the wrong side of the tracks or insert dubious excuse here and a thousand other arbitrary and capricious reasons besides. “It was one of those moments when the cowardice of the conservative movement was laid bare. Unable to defend conservative views, even to a small child, the crowd hooted and hollered for the use of brute force. While Cruz used the word “respect”, what he was not asking for was respect. This was all about extracting unearned deference with the threat of violence. Does anything better illustrate the toxicity of conservative ideology better than the enthusiasm for beating children?”…That’s because spanking has a symbolic value to the right, one that is far too precious to give way to mundane concerns about efficacy and human decency. Spanking appeals because it is about asserting authority. The spanker is in charge not because they are in the right or because they have earned that authority, but because they are bigger and might makes right. It doesn’t even matter that spanking doesn’t work. The assertion of authoritarian power is all that matters. The moment at the Cruz campaign really crystallized this. The reason given for why the child should be quiet while Cruz is speaking isn’t because of basic good manners or respect for democratic systems. No, the reason is that Cruz is an adult and the protester is a child, and therefore the child owes deference. The adult can be a screaming moron who is spewing nonsense, but the child is expected to just sit there and take it, not because of any legitimate reason, but under the threat of violence.” Nor is it among the black community the influence of slavery rather the influence of previous generations and the insinuation, regardless race, your soft if you’re not spanking, beating, whooping your kid, independent if they need it or not, are well behaved without it, the wussification of America from the lack of spanking. Once more prove this student’s, or recently matriculated out of k-12 education, person’s perspective on the teen thrown over that table’s assessment of teacher attitudes wrong , tell us it doesn’t accurately describe not only teachers today but teachers in the reverenced decades particularly for the current crop of parents who were 80’s kids, some 90’s kids who dealt with their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s raised teachers and parents who were the first to start policing student’s wardrobes after they fought and won the right to wear casual clothes, hauled into the principal’s office for violence after dumping a bowel of yogurt on a fellow student’s head enacting real life scenes from The Breakfast Club essentially ragging on kids for still having hopes and dreams a principal called out because he got into the profession for summers off and realized to late teaching/ administrating is work; Marty McFly in Back to the Future hassled by his teacher/principle he was just like his father ‘wouldn’t amount to nothing:’ “These people are OBSESSED with the concept of respect, and yet have no idea where kids this age are in their psychological development. They want to say “jump” and expect the kids to say “how high” without a pause. They want teenagers to have the social reasoning skills of an adult in their 30s, but the subservient and childish attitude of a kid in a “teacher-pleaser” grade (6, 7, 8, and 9 year olds). They’ve got this idea of “good, disciplined” teenagers marching in formation and chanting “yes sir.” But bro, that’s not how teenagers and preteens act. Even the most well-behaved, properly raised teenager is going to be a pain sometimes, because developmentally, they’re supposed to be questioning everything and challenging authority. But these so-called adults in their lives are, again, OBSESSED with feeling “respected,” and feel entitled to “respect” (though what they mean is “unquestioning subservience”), and therefore, feel entitled to fly into a violent rage when a teenager is “argumentative.” Or “defiant.” Or “didn’t listen.” You see how in none of these videos is the child actually being violent or dangerous. They’re doing things like sassing back, raising their voice, or silently refusing to do something the first or second time they’re asked. Which contradicts the fantasy these people have who went into education or law enforcement to “get respect” from a less powerful group.” [Sic] Those who think the rip and redo policy in a New York charter school combined with the frustrated tirade of the teacher is merely discipline, they (the students) have to learn, implication that’s the only way they can learn; part and parcel to the people who think the way to fix America’s lagging performance is to bring back nuns smacking kids knuckles relentlessly if they make a grammatical mistake, if they ‘can’t’ do math, works for foreign languages too, forgetting the testimonials of students who survived such school environments describing their appalled response to nuns who later came up to them in adulthood saying how proud they were of ‘their boys,’ infuriated they would call them that after the physical abuse they subjected students to. Citizens who believe similar things are likely in part responsible for the systematic removal of phonics from classrooms in favor of whole language and other means of teaching reading, kindergarten teachers who believe they are only there to foster of love of reading, teach sight words, not teach the beginnings of English’s sound system as phonics does; members of the public predictably unable to tell the difference between hooked on phonics the home reading program that was over promising to utterly useless against it’s wild claims, versus the phonics taught in k-5 classrooms which analyzers of reading strategies noted whole language doesn’t work without said phonetic elements. Final proof in the pudding when Arkansas parents of dyslexic students fought and won revamping of teaching strategy and training to re-input phonics along with dyslexia screenings their total reading scores state wide shot up; how you actually fix low reading and spelling deficiencies. But you still find the parents commenting on news segments surrounding education, articles on educational trends, outcome data, whining “their daughter was in 5th grade and still spelled things phonetically,” others whining still more that students need to start out learning how words are spelled, that this is the way words are spelled absent phonics elements; blog and author question, considering the historical fact languages are mostly spoken first and written second, writing relatively new in the history of the English language, why wouldn’t the basis for spelling, especially in English, with that information, be phonetic, noting all the problems people testify to having in learning elements of reading and spelling, the common mistakes that keep repeating themselves has anyone contemplated the problem isn’t the stupidity of the populous, the terribleness of teaching rather the language itself as engineered by people attempting to make it something it never was, bent on keeping it the way it is at all costs? Worth asking is why these people are so hell bent on respecting authority, as they characterize it, when we see on video in equal measure adults being unquestionably abusive, the teacher’s aide arrested after video found of them beating a student with special needs one of multiple dozen; the mother who claims her son now suffers brain damage after an attack by a bully surveillance camera showing at least one adult staff member blithely walk by not to go call police, not to go get someone heftier to pull the bully off, but doing nothing. Proving realities on 2 fronts that bully so out of control because he was grieving a brother he recently lost; another point of fact, young people’s marked absence of respect is based on the actions of persons in question, not an inherent hate for authority, not a lack of training from birth to obey, though it’s worth saying such hate often comes from seeing what authority does, how corrupt and inconsistent it regularly is; do we really want to give respect to individuals think listed in paragraph one, racists prone to ranting when it’s a teacher like the one who told a room full of Latino students to speak American, are we so clueless to the consequences of these faux shows of respect that lead to the scull facture of a 13 year old by a Trump supporter upset he didn’t remove his hat during the national anthem at a sporting event? Situations trickling into the classroom in the form of the substitute teacher who manhandled a kid for not participating in the pledge of allegiance (student’s legal right as decided in a 1940’s court decision) another student who was arrested for refusing to stand or the pledge, neither teacher nor officer educated enough to know that was illegal, the teacher now suspended for a racist rant doled out in the school parking lot over a finder bender is worthy of unending respect, really? Illustrating aforementioned adults don’t have an answer when the authority they so warship is corrupt, why they can’t get their minds around how the police treat communities of color and that those communities have indeed been telling the truth for decades, the don’t have an antidote for what to do when the authority they’ve allowed to supplant their critical thinking skills is totally unworthy like the high school football coach fired for stealing from a student’s wallet. They don’t have the slightest outline resenting a course of action when the authority they blindly follow is factually wrong, take climate activist Greta Thunberg she’s fundamentally right by every metric, including exactly how she’s going about garnering the world’s attention away from failing world leaders conjuring eternal fantasies of economic growth as ecosystem are dying we, are facing mass extinction events to paraphrase her speech to the UN; bluntly we ignore her at our own peril still there remains a science teacher who was suspended after an attack on Thunberg saying he wouldn’t attend her rally because he lacked a sniper rifle. He teaches science and thinks that way; here is the caliber of teacher who deserves unwavering respect, seriously? Novel idea that if we dealt with the issues raised in paragraph 2, teachers upped their game providing engaging content and exercises for students, teachers so hungry for their idea of respect might get it, if they gave half of what they expected to receive it. But they aren’t looking for the mutual respect as fellow human beings, they aren’t looking for a slightly higher respect owing to their greater years on this planet and a healthy adult/child respect, they are looking for unearned deference based on you are a child I am an adult meaning I wield unquestionable power over you, their title teacher, police officer meaning I can tell you what to do and you must immediately obey before you can fully understand the instructions, regardless their actions or displayed ineptitude at their job, whether commands makes sense, in extreme cases are illegal; neither are they looking for solutions to problems in the classroom or society, they are looking for a twin set of concepts the unquestioning subservice the quoted comment unveiled behind the word respect coupled with rationalizations toward seeking violent retribution when they don’t get their idea of ‘respect,’ when they aren’t immediately given that deference. Yet we are sending our kids out daily with the old paradigms thinking they still work, judging news reports we see on instances taking place as if those paradigms haven’t and shouldn’t have drastically shifted. It would never occur to these supposed adults the control they say they want from kids in the classroom is actually not the kind of control we want, a control that needs constant management and rigid restrictions that it still doesn’t achieve, but self-control which takes longer to instill and more time invested by the adults in their lives, time they ultimately, don’t want to, not to be confused with can’t, provide. Or that if we stopped the micromanagement of things like hair, clothes, fidgeting, stopped being triggered by things we, the adults see as a distraction, we would be pleasantly surprised by the self-control students are capable and willing to exhibit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb0m7xsq6F4

http://fox6now.com/2017/03/08/former-teachers-aide-fired-after-altercation-with-student-files-federal-lawsuit-against-mps/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhYeMr8lghA

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/02/us/chicago-school-bullying-lawsuit/index.html

https://www.salon.com/2017/03/25/ill-bust-you-in-the-head-till-the-white-meat-shows-stand-up-comedy-black-families-and-corporal-punishment/

http://www.salon.com/2016/05/03/cruzs_spanking_fetish_ted_cruzs_authoritarian_streak_comes_out_when_he_urges_spanking_a_child_to_silence_dissent/

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/ny-new-mexico-football-coach-arrested-money-students-wallet-20191010-ssdrrb34qfaxxocfzx3nsxryci-story.html

Directly related to the previous paragraph, increasing the percentages of children in pre-school does not detract from the necessity for concrete best practices maximizing the educations of those students with special needs, various physical disabilities, developmental delays, learning disabilities, who have behavioral diagnoses ADHD, ODD, intermittent explosive disorder, who suffer from neurological disorders like autism, who grapple with mental illness which should include mainstreaming them when and wherever possible, right down to those children, students who are simply difficult to reach, to motivate, to convince to try, to convince you, their teacher/principal are not their enemy. And does have the potential, as pointed out, not singularly for early diagnosis and intervention benefiting the child in the long run, but rather detrimentally labeling kids even earlier who may well end up misdiagnosed, placed unneeded medication due to a teachers/multiple school officials’ subjective view on their behavior; consequences of those unneeded medications often worse than the original perceived disorder. One of the key reasons the public at large believes conditions like ADHD (the ‘alphabet soup of disorders’) to be made up, merely the product of too lax, bad parenting is because of over diagnosis by doctors still learning the evolving information about the disorders, children pushed to them by overwrought teachers wanting them on medication so they are easier to manage in larger and larger regular classrooms, expecting, especially boys, to sit there like little drones or robots not moving unless told, acting captivated by boring, soporific classroom instruction. For those whom their diagnosis and medication are as correct as modern method and medicine can provide, there are still supports critically lacking, striking teachers walked off the job across the country for more social workers to help struggling families, mental health professionals, counselors in school, screenings for a myriad of mental health ailments and neurological problems because, contrary to the commenter in the clear the room order video who wondered when schools became diagnostic centers for mental health or relevant paraphrase, kids pre-k to 5 come in exhibiting symptoms but have yet to receive a diagnosis, have little or no access to healthcare/mental health services aspect of healthcare; older children prone to conditions like depression, reaching manifestation ages for recognized serious mental health disorders bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, crippling anxiety, substance abuse, trauma from sexual assault, surviving school shootings, ailments teachers know student X likely suffers from that is getting no help, home lives where school counseling can help students cope. My aunt and uncle often took in 2 of their grandchildren randomly because the father (their son was an alcoholic) and the mother (their daughter in law before the divorce) frequently on drugs would enroll them in school, provide for their needs only for mom to show up and take them in the middle of the night fearing them taking the children for good, they would go visit their mom come back sans their coat or shoes; and yes my aunt and uncle after years of this back and forth tug of war took steps to sue for and won legal custody of those 2 grandchildren, but school counselors early identified them as vulnerable and in need of that support while my aunt filled those counselors in on the backstory helping them deal with the upheaval and testify to the judge about where they would like to live when that step came along. My friend’s first 2 children have said types of diagnoses and she continuously fights with the local school system to get what they need; from the outset with her oldest there were issues in part with the 30 minute rest period in kindergarten, transitioning between activities, by the end of his kindergarten year his teacher suggested an evaluation for ADHD, found instead, a mild generalized learning delay. He was also held back and evaluated for an IEP (individual education plan) including the calm time routine used at home they specifically asked for on how to control him then sporadically followed through on claiming by 1st grade they didn’t have time to use; second grade fast became a nightmare when a new principal had obviously never hard on an IEP, autism (which his mother suspected him to have but the local neurological center who diagnosis his developmental delay refused to test him chalking his outbursts up to immaturity tied to the delay) and like multiple staff couldn’t follow basic directions in handling a meltdown: do not get too close when upset, do not talk to him while upset rather let him go to a safe place and come to you when calm (how she got ‘nearly kicked in the head minus taking Karate), the difference between follow and chase- follow keeping eyes on him and trying to talk him back to class rather than chasing and grabbing him owing to his claustrophobia. Going several rounds with the operator of elementary school’s variation on detention for pre-k to 3rd grade who turned out to be completely ignorant about conditions like autism despite the 1 in 150 boys being diagnosed in 2014, whose response when told of his mother’s suspicion and suggestion they try things known to work with those suffering the disorder, was he speaks as if you have to be non-verbal to be autistic, not true, never mind his low vocabulary understanding, his documented low verbal IQ; confrontation culminating when he had a meltdown and that operator put him in a chokehold of sorts leaving a red mark on his neck, her allowed to leave at the end of that year. 3rd grade finally saw an aide put with him but she was an all-around classroom assistant for the grade level not a trained para professional only for her to call the police on him after a meltdown where he ran around the school knocking over outdoor planters alleging she feared for her life, later asserting she wanted him to receive more help, though he was first on a list for a new program bringing mental health doctors to the schools to ease bottle neck and waitlists happening across the country with a shortage of pediatric psychiatrists/psychologists and counselors, the former capable of prescribing medication; that doctor after spending 2 hours with her and her son diagnosed him with autism put him on ADHD and mood stabilizing medication and things started to get slightly better, ADHD medication removed upon mother’s reporting of behavior and understanding his behavior at the appointment was nervousness. Infuriating for his mother was when informed of the doctor’s findings school staff responded with we thought so we just needed an official diagnosis; so they had suspected for quite some time not using techniques known to work with kids who have autism? Her son spending the latter half of now 3rd grade at the specialty school, that doctor’s diagnosis taken back to the local neurological center who not only conformed his autistic diagnosis but found a mood disorder meaning he can’t regulate his mood changes; what those below the ages to be tested for bipolar are diagnosed with pending that age threshold strongly leaning toward he is bipolar as well, now almost 15 acting as his aunt did diagnosed in adulthood, functioning fairly well at the specialty school. Her second son is appropriately diagnosed ADHD on the severe end of that diagnostic spectrum, exhibiting every possible symptom associated with the disorder at some time in his short life, problems seen before he entered school, medicated before kindergarten, on a cocktail of medications to approach normalcy, to provide a floor of impulse control to impose discipline and remotely have it stick; k-2 sent to a positive behavior reinforcement program half day, his neighborhood school the other half. Transferred to a different school in the district for a specific program they had where he did well for 2 years until they discontinued it in 5th grade sans informing his mother, his educational team; still she was able to reason with the principal that instead of sending him home, suspending him if he ran from class, hid around the school as was his habit minus an aide with him, to put him in ISD with classwork curbing his running entirely. We both had hoped that middle school would be a fresh start for him with new teachers in a new environment, no one looking at him and going oh you’re so and so, I’ve talked to teachers in X grades, I know about you (a situation that developed with her oldest son when she went to his elementary school to drop off his asthma inhaler only for her to indicate who it was for and the nurse to respond oh you mean the trouble maker) that flew out the window in less than a week after school started when he continued his pattern of running off and all around the school, allegedly trying to hit and kick his teacher, did succeed at spitting on them earning him a single day suspension probably in deference to his IEP, his placement in that specific middle school’s special ed. program selected by his educational team transitioning from elementary to middle school. Only for him to do it again the next day he was returned to class and when his mother suggested instead of suspending him for the remainder of the week, sending him home, to do what worked in elementary school to curb undesirable behavior, putting him in ISD (in school detention) with work sending him the message he can’t engage in X behavior just to get sent home, he is going to stay at school period; the principal having none of it entire reason he was suspended either time was because he spit, categorized as violence, mandating an automatic suspension though he has no chronic illness that would make his spit especially dangerous or toxic. Going a step further than his suspension to send a juvenile officer to her home to arrest her son for the spitting incident a step too far for a child brand new to middle school, been their less than a month, was in a special ed. classroom and on an IEP (turns out they weren’t following since they didn’t have an aide with him as dictated by his plan, had him sitting by the door also indicated as a no, no both by his plan and basic common sense for a student who has a tendency to wander off and around the school), showed the officer his medications at which point the officer himself was wondering why he had been sent there, electing not to arrest him or take any actions believing the parent had done everything they can, he was under the proper medical/doctor’s care an appointment pending there too. Boy telling his mother he did what he did on day 2 incident 2 to get sent home, confirming her suspicions and her suggested mitigation of his behavior; ultimately calling an emergency IEP meeting to address the issues. Blog and author can hear the chorus now of people thinking well good he has to learn he can’t do things like that, spitting is an assault, he should be thankful it’s juvenile justice not adult jail, others seeing his ethnicity would be inclined to say he should thank goodness he’s white or he might have been beat up or seriously injured either by the teacher or police stemming from his behavior; except he’s 12 and the people dealing with him are supposed to be trained educators, one working in special ed. and this is how they approach disciplinary issues, going too far and taking it out of the school disciplinary structure over spit with all the extenuating circumstances surrounding this student? A student who went to the get to know your school orientation for incoming 6th graders with no problems, went through 3 days of school whose only problem was wandering off easily chalked up to being lost; it was the following Monday he suddenly ‘attacked’ the teacher and the only person asking the critical question what did that teacher do on that day to set him off so badly he reacted that aggressively, not prone to such unprovoked aggression since first grade when a mood stabilizer was added to his medication regiment, a student who was fine at home showing zero sign his medication for ADHD needed adjustment, no aggression shown against his 4 brothers or his parents, is his mother and by association of our friendship me once I heard? Ratcheting it up several notches his parents found out roughly a month later the teacher turned around when the officer opted not to do anything and pressed charges, parent notified via paperwork from juvenile services mandating their appearance with their son for a meeting with a juvenile officer and if they don’t attend it would have to proceed to court; when she called to reschedule the date seeing they had placed it on a day they both work and at a time when her other 4 would be home from school were met with threats and pushback about deadlines at which point she informed them when this happened, that they knew nothing of the charges and they’ve had nearly a month, they can set a date to have it dealt with that’s reasonable, an argument she won date set end of the month. No one saying: wait a minute, you have a special ed. teacher so inept at their job days into the school year they’ve prompted a student to violence just to get away from them and they are still employed? The emergency IEP meeting called, because it was done during school hours with her school-age children occupied in class it lacked key players in solving the problems that had arisen, his teacher was teaching class and the aide they finally had put with him was fulfilling other parts of her job since her son was at the meeting having gotten in trouble throughout the week from his second suspension return and the time of the meeting running from his aide when he was allowed a physical exercise time out hoping to curb the behavior (how that’s possible seeing as they had someone with them, speaking to one thing, the incompetence of staff), threw a stick at a teacher he didn’t even know, left at school because no one could get hold of his parents because her government cellphone had run out of minutes, despite them being given dad’s cellphone which still had minutes and the work phone complete with the days and hours his parent(s) could be found there. Though his throwing of the stick could have been the approach of an adult he didn’t know, didn’t know as school staff being new there who from his perspective either randomly started asking questions or randomly started telling him what to do to which he wouldn’t and didn’t respond well to possibly going back to an incident overt the summer where he was with his mother and brothers, primary mode of transportation their feet, had some creepy person following them around their neighborhood scaring everyone; again no one bothering to ask critical questions of why, his mother caught up the moment had forgotten the potential correlation until I reminded her. Most upsetting was their attitude about him, not that this was no longer elementary school, he is 12 years old and must have better self-management (legitimate questions about why doesn’t he) time the teacher spends managing him, redirecting his behavior is either more time than students with greater difficulties or detracting from the attention they need; it’s we’re not dealing with this, if it involves lifting an extra finger or thinking outside the box it’s an automatic no, we don’t care if he’s successful in our educational environment or anyone’s, we have no idea of or don’t accept the correlation between lacking school success and criminality, caring in the vein of their own self-interest- they don’t want to be victim to the violence visited on them in 10-15 years when they come looking for revenge, end up stealing from you, their colleagues former student nearly kills them during a home invasion or as a mentally ill person on the street. Their ‘solution’ even more convoluted was and detrimental than the disruptions he was ‘causing,’ since he and his brother would end up sharing a classroom at the specialty school for children with severe mental health, autism and behavioral problems, known for fighting if so much as put on the same bus; since her older son had graduated the special program to the point of being mainstreamed into a normal middle school’s special ed. program he would go the specially school in the morning, afternoons in the middle school until he fully transitioned to the middle school all day in roughly a month or 2, her second child would attend the specialty school half days noon to end of day until the older child’s full transition was implemented then go full day at the specially school all day where he can earn his way back into mainstream school by controlling his behavior specific ways. Only for problems to gravitate to the bus where he got into an altercation with another student, when according to school staff he refused to get his hands off the other person’s seat and spit on the girl and was suspended for the day; however, interesting tidbit, he mentioned the girl’s name and his brother spoke up he too had had run ins with this person as well. Another juncture saw him threaten the driver he was going to get a gun and shoot him because the driver wouldn’t let him sit with a friend. Mother suggesting in incident 1 that problem person X be placed on a different bus keeping in mind these are 2 kids with different diagnoses, drastically opposing personalities and they both don’t like someone; indecent 2 prompted a school investigation where the parents told them truthfully there are no firearms at home, only a BB gun for self-protection he has no access to, no other access to weapons, suspended for the remainder of the week, matter dropped. Again we can hear the chorus of he did what, no wonder he’s in trouble and you better control that little psychopath, get it some help, understood he can’t do that particularly in this day and age; but once more not investigated is if what the boy said is true about his reason for saying it, is why A- the driver was telling him where he could and couldn’t sit when the challenge with this particular kid is getting him to stay seated while the bus is moving; what better way that a friend to talk Pokémon with or whatever they chose, because had the seat simply been full he would have been irritated, sat somewhere else and tried again the next day. B- why did he say something so drastic, graphic and dangerous knowing he had no means to follow through, no real desire too either, speculation being to get the over the top adult to stop what they were doing, the needless nagging, needling and micromanagement going to a second question; who else had wound him up all day, driving him crazy to have one more thing push him over the edge to saying that? Other aspects, my friend isn’t going to harshly punish her children with diagnoses or without for their behavior if the school isn’t going to work to solve the other half of the equation when it comes to whatever problem. A 3rd time he did nothing wrong but missed his bus going home subsequently walking to his aunt’s house, who lived on that side of town; school’s response not inspiring confidence in their practices, nonchalantly saying she was sorry that happened failing to understand the danger for a heat sensitive asthmatic kid it still being high 80’s to 90 degrees at the time, what could have happened even to a 12 year old who knew aunt’s exact address but maybe not the exact way there, what if aunt had not been home to answer her door, call his mother and her boyfriend, who has a car, able to drive him home; what could have happened had he been developmentally delayed and wandered off, gotten lost, why his mother was livid and happy to see him leave the standard middle school. Same response to the special ed. teacher generated when the older brother attended the middle school classroom within a week cussing at his teacher, who a week later elaborated on his profanity when told he needed to be more respectful, him stating no I don’t because you keep pushing it; his phase for the needling, nagging often done to middle school students about largely irrelevant things, further reinforcing the teacher doesn’t need to be anywhere near students at all let alone ones with varying special needs. Not merely is child 2 clearly in the wrong program for his needs, the principal is the wrong person to oversee a school housing any special ed. program for students with either developmental delays or behavioral problems if she can’t understand the nuances of the things that go with such a position; she is one of these earning their stripes, typical 50’s, 60’s 70’s born individuals terrified to make or defend a decision who wants to do what’s done regularly today point to page 1,005 in the school handbook say here’s what he did, here’s the prescribed punishment, closing the book considering the conversation over, nuance/circumstance be damned. Adding to what could easily be called discrimination the older brother has had minor meltdowns, the mentioned cussing issue but he was doing so well according to the transition parameters of his IEP he had hours added to his day at the standard school facing zero suspensions/disciplinary actions seemingly because he is coming in from the specialty school and his younger brother wasn’t. Not one person thinking instead of giving him less hours in school, causing him to be less adapted to the rigors of middle school as the year progresses, into next year that the greater solution was to try him out at one of the other 5 middle schools in town chaperoned by a qualified aide, wherever he did best is where he attended permanently, since he was in a special ed. classroom for behavioral reasons not academic ones; speaking of which, no one thought to spend the lest 2-4 weeks of 5th grade sending him over to the middle school to get him acclimated, set up a meet and greet for him and his mother, the parent who primarily handles school related things with is soon to be teacher (she never met and had a conversation with her except in passing when asked to retrieve him one day all discipline handled through the principal) tell her what to look for with him, hit the bullet points of his IEP, no one so much as floated the idea of him attending the regular middle school summer school program for that acclimation over the extended school year option for students on an IEP. On the school side it’s as if they had no idea what he needed and he came in there with none of the prescribed supports, it’s obvious neither the teacher nor the principal had read his IEP, had any interest in reading it as opposed to being the teacher collecting all the IEPs of the students slated to be in your class, reviewing them then making decisions on seating not setting next to each other or at the same table diagnoses known to clash, paying attention to stipulations like not seating a runner by the door; things I would do and I don’t teach, if you don’t have access to those documents in the prep days leading up to the start of school there’s the problem and teachers should have and fight that access. Just like when my friend’s oldest was held back in kindergarten as opposed to being placed on an IEP and sent to the next grade with those supports (an IEP it took half the following academic year to design and implement) it was done that way even though he was enrolled in the summer school program to reinforce his academics, prevent summer lag and have a constructive place for him to be, there were no staff there to do the evaluation, both her children detailed here are in the extended school year summer school to avoid the blanket 3 strikes you’re out parameters employed in regular school necessitated because there are no aides available to go with them. My friend’s experience sadly typical on all levels dealing with doctors, law enforcement and school personnel mirroring the link below from Salon by Princess Bryant describing the help no one wanted to give her brother, the duel diagnosis he had and the teachers who never tried to understand him unto him getting killed; then suddenly people wanting justice for him, her grappling with what that means when only his family cared about him to begin with, how his life would have been drastically different if the adults around him had tired with him, how alive he would be if someone had invested just a little more time, a fraction more effort. In addition to the dyslexia video above there is the one after this paragraph on deciphering the disorder which amounts to a differing brain perspective and that over 50% of one Louisiana maximum security prison’s evaluated inmates had dyslexia hitherto undiagnosed, untreated, unmanaged, going through school with diminish confidence, no self-esteem, not graduating high school or barely graduating then we wonder how they ended up in a life of crime or blame them 1,000% for that life of crime. Crime they the school system perpetuate when they charge 8 year old boys with 3 felonies after he ran away from school, was apprehended by searching police and kicked the mirror out of the police car, damaging the window forget he was at a specially school for children with behavioral issues or how they lost him but police would not permit the teacher who found him to ride with him back to school or that the exorbitant charges came from the local persecutor not police who would have likely done no more bill the family for cost of repairs. Gavin Grimm the transgender student who started a firestorm suing for his right to use the gender identity corresponding bathroom of his choice after the state enacted a discriminatory policy who spoke to Salon on a different occasion about the kids who bulled him who fell through the cracks from day one, being in classes with academic bad kids and trouble makers whom he noticed were intelligent, had potential and had simply been given up on by an educational system who won’t deal with anything not in their cookie cutter. Bullies that were often subjected to abuse and other horrors at home no one noticed and school administrators who didn’t want to know how to correct the problem or implement both zero tolerance policies and support for the bullied to solve the root of their problems. A worker at my local pharmacy in the course of conversations while I waited for rides and talked about my friend spoke about her son and the difficulties he had because teachers weren’t interested in teaching him using things he was interested in to counter his disabilities, leading her to the point of saying my son doesn’t have a learning disability you have a teaching disability systematically convincing him he couldn’t do things but with his mother’s encouragement went into mechanics for large trucks and is a thriving productive adult. To that end, screening for learning disabilities starting in kindergarten, monitoring for signs of dyslexia specifically from first grade on, trying techniques that work with various disabilities on struggling kid’s diagnosis or no definitive diagnosis, including strategies for managing those with autism, mental health challenges and increased one on one attention for falling behind learners. Addressing behavior problems and so called violence exclusively, putting qualified aides with students who need them not ruling out those who walk, talk and look normal, training and education for all staff on signs of learning disabilities, neurological delays like autism and mental health disorders to avoid the comments by the aide on my friend’s oldest son. Common sense de-escalation and non-provoking of students across all educational spaces but centered on those with special needs, cussing who cares, clothing are you wearing clothes move on, hiring teachers again across the board but non-negotiable in specialized classrooms that can manage special ed. students, firing ones like the current crop teaching my friend’s sons, recruiting administrative personnel who can provide parallel support to good managing teachers in a specifically tailored environment for children who are different, who don’t fit the norm and probably never will. Making your case for placing a child into a specialty school for those with specific issues or behavioral problems versus simply putting them in a different school within the district beyond it sounding like it too often did to my friend whatever it took to get her children out of their hair; one of the chief reasons my friend was initially resistant to her oldest attending the specialty school was how far it was away from her home, not having a car, and what would happen if she needed to retrieve him as she has multiple times at his district assigned school, fears completely justified when he had such a problem and police were brought in to transport him home then tried to take action through juvenile justice, thankfully the final arbiter chose nothing more than talking to him once hearing the long history of trying to get him help, school staff who wouldn’t follow his education plan, that he was in the city school meant for his issues. My friend didn’t want her second child there because of his tendency to wander off due to the woods surrounding the school and his body temperature regulation issues where in the cold if he got lost he could reasonably die, in the height of summer heat could succumb to dehydration, heat stroke, in either weather extreme have an asthma attack; she agreed because it was the best option available. Once in a school like that, improving parent/staff communication cutting off instances listed here encountered by my friend and preventing more serious issues, her having to challenge them for giving her oldest drastically below grade level work, parent teacher conferences done in elementary and middle school relegated to the phone due to the all-day it would take to get there and back via the city bus; him saying at the start of the current school year they were transitioning him to a standard middle school finally saying it’s great you’ve achieved that but I need paperwork to that effect something to legitimize what you/they are saying, she ultimately got that at the IEP meeting for his younger brother and deciding on where and how to place him but that isn’t where she should have had to get it. Regular progress reports and updates should be the norm especially on things of such significance, the fact that both her children and many others there take medication, doctors depending on supplemental reports from the school to help determine any adjustments to mood stabilizers other psychiatric medicines, ADHD treatments. Not involving law enforcement unless students are injured or suspected of significant criminality (no, not the possible theft of dollar amounts equating to lunch money) there was no reason for my friend’s oldest son’s teacher to call police and her claim she feared for her life was ludicrous to all who heard it not just me and his mother, her second son’s middle school teacher should not have honestly been able to press charges for spit based on her posting in a special ed. classroom and the presence of an IEP, his documented in school records doctor directed consumption of medication, regarding her oldest once at the desired school the cop brought in to transport him home should have taken no further action as he was under doctor care, medicated, on an IEP. Working with children and their families not against them and doing what works because it works no matter how far against your personal paradigm it goes, fact my friend’s oldest son’s kindergarten teacher was a first year educator when she had him in her class it was periphery staff music, gym teachers and the principal asking his mother how to handle him, in elementary school they rotated her second child to a different 1st grade classroom and immediately his behavior improved and he eventually stayed in that classroom the remainder of the year; to that end maybe it’s time to contemplate paring complementary student and teacher personalities rather than randomly dumping children and a teacher in a classroom and expecting them to learn whether it’s a special needs setting or not based on how our job as parents and educators is to prepare our child for the road, meaning life, not prepare the road for the child, how it gives them the skills to handle, get along with people they don’t like or whatever cliché people want to use ignoring the power dynamic that exists almost nowhere else, paying attention when nearly every student doesn’t want anything to do with teacher X. Things eventually settling down for her second child and sure she could have ‘beat his ass’ for his actions, done the same with her older son for cussing, for the bad day that he had prompting a call from both schools promptly informing them he is sick currently on anti-biotics for bronchitis, of his autism, his claustrophobia and to stop sticking him in this ‘time out’ corner you have and that what they were dealing with was what she dealt at home all the time, telling them it’s likely someone (an adult) pissed him off and won’t own up to doing so; he did fine the next day supporting her bad day theory and her approach. Things calmed down with her other child possibly because they removed the problem student he got into it with on the bus onto a different bus as his mother suggested, the driver hasn’t made any more honestly boneheaded declarations about who her son is and is not allowed to sit with and life has gone on.

https://www.salon.com/2018/06/23/what-is-justice-for-my-brother-his-life-didnt-matter-to-the-state-until-he-was-murdered/

https://www.salon.com/2017/11/12/trans-teen-wants-to-fix-the-education-system-that-failed-him_partner/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/10/15/labor-shortage-more-jobs-than-people-looking-them-most-states/3974954002/

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/jobs-careers/virtual-interview-tips-1.aspx#slide=1

https://www.salon.com/2018/01/01/who-would-pay-26000-to-work-in-a-chicken-plant_partner/

It, emphasis on universal childcare and pre-school toward giving every child the building blocks of good education and the foundations of a solid well playing job in adulthood, doesn’t solve the problem of the fact most young people don’t believe college to be worth it or the 25% of colleges analyzers say are doomed to fail within the next decade, smaller institutions with lower and lower enrollment, the cost prohibitive nature of larger colligate institutions; wholly and apart from the difference between the middle class, upper middle class to comparatively wealthy kids whose parents could afford to shell out payments to the multi-billion dollar industry that is college test preparation, liaisons to navigate both parent and student through the lengthy and subjective admissions process totally divorced from the cheating scandal revelations that just keep getting worse and worse. It doesn’t touch on anything to do with the irrefutable fact standardized testing determining, in part, college admissions has been rigged for decades with racist motivations to keep out black applicants, that historically black colleges and the acceptance they give to black students, the history taught there that is validation of their essence, their being and many of the experiences had people chalk up to other things than racism and implicit bias in all of our institutions are now facing a funding crisis taking the chance at wiping out individualized education and unique opportunities that have allowed African Americans to thrive despite slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, redlining, racist wealth disparities. It doesn’t solve the problem after admissions, after getting in the increasing reason students drop out even when they’ve achieved a full scholarship is a campus where few or no students are like them, share similar experiences usually lower middle class, poor students or the fundamental reality that getting a degree in ‘something other than liberal arts’ exclusive niche market degrees in ‘outdoor tour guide’ but should be serviceable, employable degrees is no reasonable guarantee to a foot in the door forget a job. It doesn’t subtract from the reality certificate colleges are leaving students unable to get jobs, parallel to the for profit colleges churning out worthless degrees and false promises to get bodies in seats, student monies or financial aid dollars leaving them with worthless pieces of paper and mountains of debt the government refuses to provide any relief for even after shutting down particularly egregious for profit schools; and with the impending failure of up to 25% of colligate institutions filling that gap will be various kinds of online learning no vouching for quality. Or on the flip side choosing a college major based primarily on how much starting an annual salaries are for that job not whether you have any inherent skill in navel architecture and marine engineering the academic subjects underpinning that field, the same with electrical engineering, don’t have the scientific acumen for genetics, pharmaceutical sciences or nuclear engineering; one of the drawbacks to unlikely presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s suggestion to bring tech jobs to the rustbelt, it’s not that it isn’t a good idea, that it isn’t a good transition for factory workers and machinists used to technical aspects in the workplace but what happens to people in already struggling areas who don’t have any talent in those areas and are still forced from the community of their formative years to find meaningful employment suited to their talents compounding the decline of parts of the country. It won’t stop the elevation of degrees happening in the employment world meaning the growing trend of calling a 4 year undergraduate degree the new high school diploma, the number of employers insisting job seekers hold master’s degrees to be considered for anything not considered employment world entry level as opposed to field specific entry level, students who chose to remain in education thanks to economic forecast or feel they need that master’s to gain a leg up; frankly one of the hidden problems of free public/in state college is what happens when that’s not enough for more than doctors and lawyers, teachers and social workers but everyone, to get a job that doesn’t involve the words ‘do you want fries with that’ you need masters level education? Nor does universal childcare/pre-school, debt free 4 year college change employer attitudes expecting everyone from pre-k to 12 to do their job training for them for specifics only they can provide, in fact it increases the elevation dynamic to the point of needing more degrees/certificates to get less and less complex jobs; Buzz60 an online video news site recently did a segment on younger generations and their aversion to talking on the phone, preferring text, e-mail and other electronic forms to the point employers now have to train employees in basic phone skills, the rudimentary ability to talk on the phone. Lost is that they always had to, or should have been, providing that training because while past generations may have been fluent in the conversational mechanics of casual exchanges with friends, relatives over the phone, may have taken a few messages for their parents when not home, can make appointments with their doctor or handled the call setting up their interview for such and such job, that’s a far cry from business phone etiquette that you don’t pick up by osmosis rather relevant job experience/training that always has been and should remain the employer’s responsibility. I was one of those people who needed basic help with that because I was an early 80’s 90’s kid who didn’t talk on the phone to friends frequently in my youth and didn’t have the overwhelming urge to. Next neither mitigates the increasing experience and unrelated skills employers want to even review their credentials for hiring, a giant leap from actually hiring a person, job listings that either remain endlessly vacant or enquiring applicants are told there is no position, it has been filled. How much of getting a job in our credential obsessed culture still depends on whose name you can drop, answering behavioral analysis and personality questions to the subjective satisfaction of the interviewer not job related questions about how you would do X, how you would handle Y, your off the cuff strategy for managing Z likely to be encountered in the position. Bias in the workplace when it comes to women in leadership positions, when it comes to women in certain felids remember #ilooklikeanengineer, the pay gap exposed in Hollywood via the Sony hack just the tip of a much larger iceberg far beyond tinsel town, work cultures in tech making women, minorities, mothers, LGBT persons uncomfortable; when states and cities have to pass laws against discriminating against people in employment for their natural hair/ethnic hairstyle, California recently doing so following in the footsteps of New York City. When your ‘old’ e-mail account from Hotmail and Yahoo supposedly signaling your outdated technology not in the post Edward Snowden age having found out that home assistant gadgets Echo, Alexa, Suri are listening to you, there are people on the other end purportedly checking quality people aren’t interested handing over their phone numbers for a G-mail or other Google account, you are instead using ISP provided e-mail form CenturyLink, Socket or Mediacom; interviews that could now be conducted by text excluding many older workers who don’t know how or will embarrass themselves, younger people who have been economically disadvantaged all their lives, limited or no access to smartphones. The latest in a long line of malignant merging of technology and employers to the detriment of workers in new ways, also common, the virtual or video interview spanning across all fields of employment surpassing tech not only forcing people who want a listed job to have webcam technology in their possession they may not have, but the tips for performing well exude wealth and privilege whether it’s getting a good microphone, webcams are now standard on laptops but that assumes you have one or comparable desktop, warnings about background and avoiding the bedroom ignores one bedroom and studio apartments, outlet set ups that may mean the bedroom is the only place where your computer can be well set up, quiet enough in a multi-bedroom apartment, college off-campus housing, how many people have roommates in order to make ends meet, live apart from their parents basement; no one asking what right then employers have to judge an unmade bed, crooked pictures on a wall (maybe that’s why they are searching out a new job to find a better place to live) a Victoria Secret poster on the wall of a straight, single male, seriously. However, the advice to avoid the bedroom was the least expensive of the tips given to Bankrate in 2014 including investing a home office, trifold backgrounds and seamless paper to cover windows and divert from the ‘prison picture’ look of all white/too much light; as if people seeking employment, looking for work to earn money with which to care for themselves, their family have extra funds to follow their advice- not happening, as out of touch as the groups blaming millennials for the downfall of entire industries. Yes Elizabeth Warren wants to model American internships after what they do in Germany, good luck getting employers to play along if we can’t get them to provide training basics one commenter on a news video discussing the so called skills gap put it this way, soon you will have to train yourself to run the fry station at McDonald’s. When as this blog has repeatedly reported innovative solutions floated by 2020’s presidential candidates including universal childcare and pre-school doesn’t change the reality we do a poor job of saying this is employment for which you can get paid money and it’s twin adequately informing young people at the correct times of the skills needed to garner in demand jobs often sitting vacant, why there are pockets of more jobs than persons to fill them in certain areas of the country. A looming problem if we ever do move to a federal jobs guarantee al-la what Bernie Sanders wants to implement if you can’t convince employers to pick up the ball absent adding laws difficult to enforce then it will fall flat, already employers worried about employee performance under such a system if they can’t be fired; similarly who will fulfill the training and retaining for these jobs and the average amount of times over their working age years Americans are pushed to change jobs, why Yang has floated his universal basic income concept for every American adult because he comprehends the unreliable nature of adult job training and retraining programs details expounded on by blog and author over the decade including their own failed experiences with both it and job placement. Candidate Andrew Yang again talks extensively about automation and the huge swath of jobs it is going to zap from the American economy in the coming years that we aren’t prepared for, hints his universal basic income; blog and author would like to talk about something else, the automation we don’t have but desperately need to couple with human labor to do jobs sorely needed, for example we have robots that can make facial expressions (granted helping children with autism), complete simple tasks (being perfected to deliver food and packages, replace humans for simple assembly line tasks) even slated to take the place of human caregivers for people with disabilities in the coming decades, one that will fold your laundry, increasing varieties than can do hated chores, complementing the ones that can play chess, win at Jeopardy and solve a Rubik’s Cube far faster than any human is the robot who challenges parking tickets or the one that can function as a lawyer, a new model that can do gymnastics; but, not those to aide farmworkers in picking vegetables and fruits sans devastating musculoskeletal damage and repetitive stress injuries, clean up dirty jobs people won’t take because they go home filthy daily, are exposed to horrendous smells, unhealthy exposure to heat and cold, inhaling dangerous chemicals posing long term negative effects on health, the poultry plant where people were losing nails doing the work, denied bathroom breaks to the point of wearing diapers. Yet we wonder how blue collar work got such a bad rap even as trade schools make a comeback, one major area lacking employees is construction blamed on less skilled immigrants, hurricane damage in relevant areas, a lack of interest in blue collar work by young people forgetting the bodily damage, joint destruction accompanying the occupation and health conscious late millennials and gen Z are rightfully having none of it particularly when they know they can’t count on safety nets like social security when they are forced to retire earlier than the retirement ages of their parents and grandparents as the government has simultaneously been raising the retirement age for this coming of age generation supposedly based on longer lifespans and medical advancements independent the decline in American lifespan. As alluded to there are relatively simple fixes to the smaller and larger issues enumerated here, top on the list is for employers to stop expecting everyone else to do their job training for them, that college, vocation and trade schools are a substitute for fundamental basics about your workspace as rudimentary as where to put your completed paperwork, when meetings are, where to get needed ID badges, business/employer e-mail setup. Closing achievement gaps pertaining to work and it’s correlation to k-12 basic education means more career oriented electives in classrooms, placing middle school and high school electives on a pass fail system with one on one consultations with teachers on individual student’s aptitude for a given trade, task or field, more job shadowing and internship type experiences for students available at the minimum working age for young people in each state so they have a better understanding of their options gonging into high school and upon high school graduation deciding on college, trade school or certification for their intended career path. Aptitude testing and personality mapping/matching for jobs as a precursor to both ideas, available to every student who wants it or who is unsure about what they wish to do with their life approaching their last 2 years of high school; opportunities like the school who paired students with entrepreneurs providing them tools on how to run a business, so those with a talent can take that into their own venture in the future, because the businesses invited were start-ups their side by side work with students gives them a graduating potential work pool to draw from and a new twist on job training for students. Repairing the structural mess that is America’s education pot holes if you will, honestly begins with calling out the adult mindset on school and education that it is not a gauntlet you get a social badge of honor for surviving from bullies who went from stealing lunch money when our parents and grandparents were in school to inflicting serious bodily injury, in rare cases death, from fights gone horribly wrong, escalating to school shootings; nuns shouldn’t have been whacking knuckles, yet in their defense they knew no better we do, why rip and redo is an elevated kind of wrong. Shifting public perception to understand the second half of the every opportunity video shown here should be the standard norm for how elementary school children are treated, all children really but beginning there, and the first half becomes the abhorrent, unacceptable situation in need of remedying. We hated soporific, boring teachers best exemplified by Ben Stein in Farris Bueller or Walter White in the pilot episode of Breaking Bad, as sympathetic as people find him later, teen viewers will doubtlessly identify with the burnt out teacher angry and resentful at the world his prowess in science has only lead him to a low pay high school teaching job finding ways to take it out on his students gruffly breaking up 2 lovebirds in his class; interesting then is why our response to bad teaching is I survived so should you, welcome to the harshness of the world it can’t be changed instead of elevating good teachers to the public consciousness as this is the standard and publically outing bad teachers as not worthy of the job and the reverence that comes with it. Teachers truthfully while striking for the supports in staffing they need to do their job and effectively help students, Chicago teachers highlighting homeless students exacerbated by a lack of rent control, rate regulations making it so teachers themselves can’t afford to live where they teach and don’t have the option to go elsewhere let alone students, why social workers have become a fabric of schools today, need to also call out the medical community; for everything from their stated inability to provide the most generalized profile of a school or mass shooter to their clueless, bumbling in the dark approach to treating children like Liza Long’s ‘Michael,’ to the shortage of pediatric/adolescent psych beds and services for children and their parents actively attempting to get them help, the horrendously long waiting lists for outpatient appointments, counseling and diagnostics exacerbating the clear the room problem. Also mental health and behavior diagnosis education for teachers along with the3 public namely centering on if the child is suspected to have either, is formally diagnosed it is a chronic condition requiring lifelong management the same way you would a juvenile diabetic; meaning there are no quick fixes, even with teachers pushing ADHD medications, it’s not as simple as shove a pill down their throat, the old school go back to paddling them and extreme punishments at home, Ms. Lon’s comment about what happens when you don’t do the boot camp thing instead giving kids hope…oh. My friend’s oldest child wasn’t a trouble maker he was a kid with 3 diagnoses only one of them, arguably the least of his issues, the developmental delay had been found; to this day despite his autism diagnosis he hasn’t had the benefit of ABA therapy, the local counseling center correctly said they couldn’t help him because at that time his diagnosis was autism and developmental delay not strictly mental health and the local neurological center would be better equipped to help him at least in theory. In reality she constantly has to play musical doctors because of their policy on missed appointments combined with 5 kids, an ailing husband, her youngest child a toddler, doctors who left their respective practices, institutions, those remaining on staff lackluster in managing his case, the last doctor making positive headway she had to transfer him away from when the city bus changed routes and it would have forced them to spend all day on a bus there and back plus walk half a mile rain or shine, mother and kids asthmatic, no. The behavioral health center in town he was affiliated with did well until his worker retired or moved elsewhere and the new one was an absolute flake who couldn’t get anything right so much as the proper paperwork to see him during school hours, in light of that his mother withdrawing him finding the psych services and medication on the whole more effective. Calling out the medical community again when it comes to my friend’s second son’s ADHD and the ridiculous turnaround time for appointments to adjust meds when he is documented severe and shouldn’t be getting in trouble for things beyond his control; and update, his meeting with juvenile services over the charges pressed by his middle school teacher yielded no consequences for him as the officer was unimpressed with the school’s not following his IEP, the principal’s handling of the situation based on his diagnosis, medication and education plan, equally unimpressed with the teacher’s reaction based on all those factors. The 2012 profiled Pennsylvania school serving as a model for all schools in managing student behavior, special needs or not, over the iron fists of control and authority above all else; intertwining with that policies based on safety and minimal order needed to function not what teachers, administrators don’t like in terms of your outfit, hair, things they don’t understand fidget spinners being the least; common sense that a Hello Kitty bubble gun is not a weapon, not the chain on a Tweety change purse a threat and not what the handbook meant when they sought to ban chains that can be used as a weapon, threatening to make someone disappear a-la the magic of the Lord of the Rings does not merit a suspension neither do shirts with laser guns from Star Wars, figures from Duck Dynasty, former/current presidents, exercising your right to not stand for the pledge or national anthem, participating in non-violent civil disobedience; in deference to this is not anymore 1954 and things for children are not always ideal at home or at school, schools who added calm rooms to help students learn to cope with trauma, school who traded punishments for support, motivation to do better willing to champion small victories and except that it may take all year to see a significant difference, virtually eliminating much of what makes students so prone to outbursts and lashing out. An elementary school who went from over 200 suspensions to 16 in one year with a team approach serving all students’ needs, staff in the calm room program see students progress and change positively. Seriously looking at how and where you can mainstream special needs kids in an inclusive environment the way the kindergartener with a hearing deficit did, having an aide with her and putting her with hearing students who took the ball from there asking questions of her and the aide to learn enough sign enabling them to carry on 5-6 year old conversations; parents fully aware their daughter may later need the supports of a school for the deaf, but for now she is gaining something more powerful normalcy and friends despite her challenges. Yes increasing teacher pay would stop the mass exodus of teachers from the profession now working in factory work, regularly working 2 jobs to make ends meet, fleeing to other adjacent states offering more money, but what we should be far more concerned about are the ones that stay in the profession who shouldn’t have been let into it in the first place, who never should have gotten past the student teaching phase of their training. We have psychological screening we’re not using on police, that does partially work with the military weeding out extreme and dangerous people unfit for service, to that end temperament testing for teachers/daycare workers ensuring individuals with violent, cruel tendencies toward children don’t get the job, those who are racist, bigoted, discriminatory aren’t exposed to kids; ironic we can temperament test a Chihuahua but don’t think to do so with persons charged with carrying for our most precious commodity children. Adjacently testing the waters of mindset of potential teachers both in the student teacher training phase and for your specific school; moving away from educators’ who got into the profession to gain respect as exhibited in the discussed comment, who wish to lord power over weaker, smaller persons to get revenge on the world for what was done to them driven by the blatant cruelty in the Ted Cruz rally example, whose approach is sit down, shut up, pay attention to me, exalt me because my title is teacher and actively choosing the ones, even being cautious of ones who want to impart their own knowledge rather than instill a thirst for knowledge and a means to obtain it in their students. It’s time to support schools, administrators and teachers who opt for innovative techniques in equal parts instruction and motivation, instructors willing to embrace technology as a teaching tool or anything that allows students to absorb given material; biggest credential apart from certifications is people who care and are invested in the job as something bigger than themselves, bigger than a paycheck, employment. Contrast the bus driver who when one of her disabled students didn’t get on the bus one morning who went inquiring about her, learning she had a chronic life shortening condition, even inviting her to her wedding to the ones who can’t even be bothered to make sure all their charges are off the bus, the bus driver who cared so much about his students he gave them small gifts periodically to show he valued them to the bus aide and driver abusing that autistic boy; it’s not about the rarity of the wedding invite or the monetary expenditure, it’s about these kids will never be left alone on their bus, dumped off at an intersection for breaking a minor rule, endangered by a haphazardly forgotten, by their driver, gun in their purse because they are alert and invested in their job enough to notice the children on their bus, see who did and didn’t get off, remember who got on in the morning. The bus driver who didn’t hesitate to shout a little girl back onto her bus in the face of an out of control car mimicking city bus drivers who when confronted with toddler and young children seen wandering at odd times of night weren’t oblivious, didn’t simply ignore them but stopped to render aide making sure these little ones got to safety. Good teachers putting to shame the mediocre, bad ones it isn’t just the educators embodying the definition of above and beyond by adopting a foster child who was their student, giving say a kidney to a student or their sick parent after being altered to the problem prompted them to explore organ donation discovering they were a match, it’s the much simpler things, the way of taking attendance that makes students feel valued, like their teacher is familiar with the 21st century and what might appeal to students, teachers who notice when they are absent, the teacher who carried a disabled student on her class’ hiking fieldtrip regardless her not being one of his students rather a decent human being who could do something so he did. No good teacher is going to put soap in a child’s mouth for cursing (not even at them but merely using foul language) because they know it’s ineffective, counterproductive and dangerous without having to be told; less dramatically, if you have to stand on your head to keep your students attention you either need to change what you’re doing or get out. Fostering this nationally, also trying teachers out with differing age groups of kids to see who they connect with best, pre-k, k-5, middle school, high school, a specific grade anywhere along that spectrum; so that we don’t have teachers who can’t stand little kids but can trach well surrounded by pre- adolescents all day, those who have the knack for teaching small kids stuck with middle schoolers, not afraid to say when a teaching candidate should pursue their masters or doctorate to teach at the college or adult learning level. Added to coupling teacher and student personalities in a complementary way reinstating teaching to the 3 learning styles auditory, visual and kinesthetic (those who learn and process information best by doing, experiencing things, manipulating objects) perhaps time to consider a 4th dynamic to learning styles is which classroom environment do they flourish in the traditional classroom of pencil/paper notetaking and visuals where applicable, one of a mixed variety combining traditional methods and technology elements chalkboards and overhead projectors replaced with smartboards, textbooks swapped out for i-pads or one that has wholly gone over to technology, each student using their own Chromebook doing individualized learning, even on the same task, individualized pacing and the teacher in the middle directing it all. Play based learning for children in pre-k through 3rd grade what kindergarten was like in the 80’s gradually working them toward more traditional/technological methods. Putting some finality to the arguments of the woman in paragraph 3 bettering outcomes doesn’t mean more time in the classroom, more days added to the school year piling onto graduation requirements, it means laser focusing the time in the classroom you have as teachers in districts going to 4 day weeks automatically found themselves doing to adjust, it means doing what blog and author frequently talk about addressing the content arguments about what’s missing from classrooms today isn’t more information but context, correlation and relevance to the content already given. Recall she wrote a book not organized a campaign in Palo Alto get her community to pay attention to the next election of school board members, superintendents (where elected directly by the public in that district) or being politically savvy about the mayors, governors exc. elected who will eventually appoint those named entities. She wrote a book bemoaning how much advocacy she had to do for her children, they were being conditioned to do for themselves among numerous issues highlighting the absurdity teachers don’t know what fellow teachers are using for grading standards/metrics within the school forget the district itself; rather than investigating the validity of the blurting teacher’s claim, and if true, becoming an activist to change the law saying all public schools in the state must use the same standards/ metrics for determining grades meaning an A statewide is the same throughout the public school arena and on down the grading scale, the same criteria used in all schools to assign a letter grade perhaps an argument for mastery in Pre-k and k-5, letter grades beginning in middle school/junior high through high school. Blog and author believing they were uniform statewide if not nationally arguing for that kind of common core over the controversial policy. Putting school administrators, principals, superintendents on up front 5 year contracts unless they are being fired for cause, crafting procedural back up plans for replacements in the interest of a cause firing or a semi-permanent substitute in the case of the pregnant teacher; schoolboard guidelines pertaining to hiring insisting on job related questions be asked and interviewees judged by who produces the best answer, perhaps having top 2-5 candidates shadow the sitting person in their job, the person who handles the job the best on top of fitting in well with staff or being willing to confront glaring issues gets the job. All things that shouldn’t be radical or new, rather the way things are and kept so because they work.

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About Natasha Sapp

Proclaiming an edgy voice of reason to America,while bringing back the common sense to social issues.

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