Problems in Public Education?

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Author: Michael J. Fox

In my proclivity of analyzes with narcissistic morons, entitled as administrators through sarcastic and cynical vision, I’ve concluded that the educational system is nothing more than a prevarication, a canard.  For those living in East Cleveland a Lie.

On Tuesday February 23, 2016 at John Marshall High School in Cleveland, OH, there was a school board meeting opened to the public! If you choose to speak, you signed up and had three minutes, monitored by a pace clock. Over a thousand teachers showed up with signs, along with students, parents, former Board Members, or anyone else. Selected speakers faced CEO Eric Gordon and the current Board of Education Members.  A few weeks earlier, Eric Gordon and his negotiation team walked away from the negotiation table on non-monetary issues.  Well, this meeting got a lot of interest in a truly well behaved forum from the audience.  Basically, everyone was ripping Gordon apart for walking away from negotiations, which he said he wouldn’t do a year ago.

One student from Jane Adams High School whom I’ll call DeJonta spoke.  He maintained his three minutes, spoke in an articulate manner, had organized thoughts and an overall good presentation.  During DeJonta’s speech, Gordon never looked at him, which I thought was disrespectful especially from School Superintendent who is supposed to represent the student body among other things.  I thought DeJonta’s speech was excellent, to the point, and without being cavalier, called Gordon a “coward” for walking away from negotiations with the teacher’s union.

In all fairness, students tend to relate with their teachers and not administrators except when a teacher is failing someone.  It becomes point on with inner city children who often have rough home lives and much of the students’ stability comes from schools and their teachers.  One would think amongst these ever so intelligent and cutting edge administrators’  that they would understand this basic principle.  Sadly “NO”, they don’t understand, nor do they get it!  What DeJonta was saying is teachers teach not administrators, secretaries, custodial staff, supervisors, or aides.  Teachers teach and students relate to teachers on that basic principle.  Students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care and care about them as person”.  

In most if not all Urban school districts, a lot of these kids grow up on the streets, around broken homes and violence.  Live among hustlers, drug dealers, drug & alcohol abusers, prostitutes and ex-cons.  They don’t automatically give up their trust to a teacher – just because your a teacher!  These kids know the “con” and have learned through intuitive sense that which is necessary for their own survival.  These kids want to know that you as a teacher are “For Real”!

The following Tuesday 3/1/16, DeJonta was called into his school’s Principals office and was literally threaten and demeaned for his speech at the Board meeting, by the schools’ Principal?  This is intimidation, bullying and at the very lest – condescension!  This kid should have been praised for his effort, time, courage, and fortitude in his presentation.  Again, he wasn’t being cavalier!

These are the same CEO and Principals who preach about being an anti-bullying school system, unless of course they’re the ones bullying!  This is how these administrators approach their jobs and their relationships with teachers, students and some parents.  If they don’t agree with whatever position you are on, or they can’t negotiate nor articulate, they bully to get their way in everything.  If not bullying, then it’s strong armed intimidation, much like Mob Operatives.

Just a side note:  Most of the people in Education today are Liberal Democrats.  And that’s exactly how Democrats negotiate. What’s even funnier, when they don’t get their way – no matter which side they’re on, they refer to their opponents as Republicans and there all Democrats?  Even during this particular Board meeting several parents stood up and proclaim they’ve voted for every tax increase over the past 30 years and have been disappointed in how the Board spends their money?  And of course called these Administrators Republicans?  DUH!

I remember a few years back when Strongsville School teachers went on strike.  This is a highly rated school district.  While the teachers were picketing, they verbally attacked parents, students and scab substitutes as they were attempting to enter the public school buildings.  I actually teach summer school in the area and have many Strongsville students in my class and know them and their parents.  Basically, the students lost a lot of respect for their teachers during that strike!  Strongsville schools have excellent students and family support structure as most of the students come from two parent homes.  They are home owners and working families and their school buildings and support staffs are excellent.  After spending nearly 20 years teaching inner city kids of Cleveland, OH., working there was actually fun and enjoyable, with zero discipline issues.  Strongsville teachers were dislocating their shoulders to pat themselves on the back” – while working in a great district with excellent students.  Most of the finest educators I’ve ever had the privileged of working with – teach in the inner city.  They’re a special breed who don’t get a fraction of the credit they deserve.  Yeah, there are bad professionals in every field and walk of life.

Teachers today deal with many different levels of interest, knowledge, preparedness, IEP’s, mainstreaming, field trips, classroom disruptions, pregnancies and many other issues that a typical American Educator faces – not to mention cyber space and social issues.  It’s not easy and extremely challenging.  Parents can be difficult viewing their child as a “perfect student”.  Administrators have become politicians and must take twice the time putting on make-up for the two faces they employ each and everyday.   A teacher must become knowledgeable in several subjects and understand the various IEP’s and drugs issues which students might be on – legal, illegal, prescriptive and over-the-counter drugs.  Autism is a big problem which comes in many forms and not always diagnosed by support professionals in the field. 

Doc Councilman Ph.D and Olympic swim coach stated at a swim clinic (1980) referencing relating to your athletes”?  Councilman replied; “it doesn’t matter what you say to them, just that you say”!  Say anything!  If your trying to get your kids fired up (pep talk) to go out and compete, tell them anything – it doesn’t have to make sense, like “put the cart in front of the horses and circle the trees…”  it doesn’t matter, the kids will become fired up just to hear you speak – and they probably won’t hear your words either!  Now, I’ve always talked with my kids, especially after that clinic.  For the girls I would notice a new swimming suit or hair style.  I’d ask the boys about their girl friends, parents, jobs what ever.  It doesn’t matter – just as long as you speak!  It’s so true and probably more so today.  That’s how teachers develop relationships with their students/athletes.  It doesn’t have to be a deep meaningful and tangible conversation.

The problems in today education start with all the lengthy details of exhaustive lesson planning, State Standards, Evaluative Techniques, National Standards, Mainstreaming along with various Administrative Edicts.  It becomes increasingly impossible to take the necessary time relating to your students.  I mentioned earlier about how kids can spot a line of crap a mile away.  They assume they’re going to class for an education. but it doesn’t seem real, so they become bored.  Students don’t understand, but what they’re seeing is indoctrination.  Students spot inconsistencies which causes confusion and that confusion creates discipline problems.  So students turn off instead of tuning in, or they’re just tuned in to their iPod/cell phones.  Recently, high School and college students had “Grief Counselors” available after this past election?  Talk about Indoctrination!

I don’t have a simple answer to a very complex question.  All I can do is point out where many of the problems lye.  Listen to your students which is not to say believe them?  Discipline, encourage, be consistent and go to their other after school games, plays, or concerts and when the opportunity strikes tell them about Jesus.  It’s not Jesus who turns people off – it’s just how He’s packaged and delivered.  Jesus said “be fishers of men” – not jump into the water and scare the fishes away.  Can’t always see what your fishing for and it’s more than throwing a line into the water.  The hook must be baited with the right kind of bait.

Remember,  we’re living in a lost world where everything is backwards and upside down.  Kids like hearing the truth as it applies to life, school,  family and friends.  Kids will give you the opening when they ask you” questions, which is not to say at every conversation.  That conversation may or may not happen. You just have to listen and God will guide you.  For Real!

 

 

 

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