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Here is a copy of Markell’s State of the State speech. i wanted to take his speech and break it down, piece by piece, and analyze it.

Bear with me. If your are following along or wrote this speech, I am only concerning myself with the part under the headline: A Great Economy Demands Great Schools

The impetus seems to be on: providing a world class education…. That sounds great and when I heard it first, I cheered it on. But now if you pressed me I couldn’t define it. How does one determine a world class level for education? Especially nations where many different languages are spoken? Some nations require many languages in their curriculum. They succeed but at a cost to high math scores. Some nations do well on math scores. They fail on creativity and ethics. We will soon be competing with the world for jobs. So do we model our education on Finland? On India? On China? or do we stick with Belgium, Netherlands, England, France and Switzerland? Or do we use the methods of Brazil?

Anyone who has traveled globally knows exactly what I’m talking about. There are so many methods being used across the globe, that using the term “world class education”, could describe situations different as the interior of Mali and downtown Sydney….

So then before beginning, we must ask for a clearer definition of “world class”…

Moving on.

Let’s make this about the children, not the adults. For my part, I speak on this issue not only as a governor, but as a father. When it comes to decisions about education, our kids deserve our total focus and commitment.

Now here is the biggest bone of contention right now. Based on feedback from a) parents, b) teachers, c) administrators, and d) students, these new changes we are undertaking are not helping children. They are putting them further behind.

Now I don’t mean to be nasty or put anyone down. There was a lot of evidence presented to us that implied a “get tough” attitude on poor schools improved test scores. But instead, the reality was not what we were told. One of the great examples that led to this program being rolled out nationwide, was the success of Atlanta’s inner city. We were told a miracle had taken place. Inner city children were rapidly learning. Alas, .. we were fooled, there was just widespread cheating going on. They didn’t learn anything after all.

Michelle Rhee has been campaigning for cracking down on inner city schools. But allegations of cheating occurred during her reign as controller of DC’s schools. Test scores that climbed magnificently, while the children have no idea how to do the problems when the meet them again in the next grade.

Texas was the granddaddy of them all. The great scores of Texas’s inner city youth, so great they compelled the “leave no child behind ” mandate across America (look at Texas we were told), whose many parts were reincorporated into Race to The Top.– all those great scores were faked. Texas dropped on knowledge vis a vis with other states despite higher test scores. We were given false results and the whole nation pursued a program that did not work the first time, or the second….

It appears that none of these programs actually do what is wanted: which is to help the children.

And what does work? Human relationships. A love bond between teacher and student. A teacher teaches her best because that is what she was born to do. A child learns his best, because he wants the teacher to be proud of them.

Can we put that into an institutionalized setting? I don’t know. But I think most baby boomers had that growing up. So, it can be done, but how to return to that setting in todays modern time, will take some experimentation…

Moving on.

Built upon four cornerstones that stand on their own:

• Improving student readiness by holding them to high standards.

• Effectively using student data to drive classroom results.

• Ensuring teacher quality.

• Turning around persistently low-performing schools.

Holding students to higher standards. The worst possible thing one can do to a child, is force him to give up. Raising standards without raising the curve, does exactly that. An A student who strives to keep up his grade average, gives up when all he gets are C’s. What’s the point. A C student who dutifully studies to keep a passing grade, gives up when all he gets are F’s… In both cases they were doing all they could do. Society considers them good students. But the same test they took last year, is now graded higher. If one got a 5 at a score of 900, now it takes 950 to get the same. If one got a 3 at the score of 750, now it takes an 800 to achieve the same….
This in no way helps students. All it does is demoralize those who get shuffled downward by the curb.

We just had Delaware Women fall out of the final 16. We are all proud. But what if we arbitrarily changed the rules? What if we said, the final 8 will be determined not by whom was beaten by whom, but by the total number of baskets their team shot across the entire tournament. Suddenly a team that scored in the 80’s instead of the 50’s, goes forward, even though they’d been beaten in the first round by a team with fewer tournament points. Suddenly Delaware’s great run means very little. We are a loser like everyone else. “Oh, you should have tried harder to make baskets” they all say. I wonder who returns back to their home court with their heads high. I wonder who tries harder the next year. I wonder which teams recruit only guards with very high three point kill rates?

Higher standards do not work. They just mean fewer people can reach them. The do nothing for the top few elite who will be above 950 anyways. They ruin lives for everyone else… Higher standards on tests hurt our children. There is nothing wrong with what we are teaching now. The problem is that we are not teaching what we are teaching well enough so those on the bottom get it. Teaching even more, will do nothing to elevate the bottom. It will do nothing to put more into the top. All it will do, is make children think they are failures and give up….

Second. Using student data to drive classroom results. There have been cartoons this year showing students taking tests and the administrators joking that firing the teachers and just testing every school day could save them money. There is some sense to using technology to help students. However, theoretically, if tests are given 2 hours each day, how much instruction does that bite into? 10 hours a week? 40 hours a month? 360 hours a year? That last total is the equivalent at a 6 hour day, of 60 days spent taking tests. Remember, we are only talking about 2 hours a day, which in High School, is pretty accurate. Under which scenario does one learn new things better? During instruction? Or taking tests… ummm a? b? c? or d? On the other hand, the new software integrating parents, students, and teachers on the same page as grades get posted on a daily basis, is a godsend. Putting parents into the mix is rather helpful in creating a positive learning experience for each child.

Third. Ensuring teacher quality. This is a noble goal. But one of the great mysteries of Ancient Greece was that the Spartans who were rigorously disciplined and toughened to the highest order, almost always lost to the Athenians who were dilettantes in comparison. Imposing structure erases creativity. There is a tendency among government types to make all state employees into solders. That means drill Sergent techniques; it means battlefield toughening. In a military application, those techniques are necessary because in battle the mind gets blown; training has to take over. The only equivalent in a class room to such an experience, is if a student puts a gun to a teacher’s head… Our techniques are jeopardizing the sole proven tactic of transferring knowledge. A positive bond between teacher and student…. an understanding that success depends solely on the amount of knowledge downloaded from one to the other.

Here is where our education is facing its biggest problem… We are using the wrong tests to determine if a teacher should stay or go. We are putting teachers into a spot where they must cheat or fail. Since all up the ladder are accountable for the results that teacher brings, they do not insist with too much effort, that cheating does not occur. The best way to have a measurment of a student’s progress, is to remove teacher accountability from the testing. If a teacher keeps her job anyways, she does not have to cheat to get good results. Our results are accurate as to what a student knows or does not know. Of course, once we know exactly what a student does not know, we can rectify it.

Getting rid of all standardized testing is not the answer. Removing job safety concerns from these tests, is the answer. Ontario has done this. The tests are tools, opening a window into the soul of each child, and a teacher can then, fill in the blanks that got missed somewhere down the line…. Ontario, is probably the best in North America, to show real growth in their children across the board.

Turning around low performing schools. This is easy to do… Logically, focus on what works. A loving teacher and student relationship. To achieve that in a higher need school, you need more teachers. The ideal number would be eleven students for one teacher. If using the test scores, we were able to group students based off their scores into groups of eleven, so the average deviation between scores was 50 or 100 points, great headway could be made. For example in a grade of two hundred twenty students, twenty teachers would be needed. Using the bell curve the lowest eleven would be in one class, the second lowest eleven in another, as well as the highest eleven in another class, the second highest eleven in another, and so on. Those in the middle on the cusp of the curve, would probably be within one or two points of each other. But the beauty is that classes would be homogenized around their standard ability. A teacher wouldn’t be answering a top students question, when the person right next to him, had no clue what was even asked. They also wouldn’t cover a basic idea, thirty times until the student gets it, boring the top student next to him into giving up….

Testing is not the answer. Testing is a tool. Teachers are the answer. Teachers are not tools….

A student who can barely read or do math, does not need to be guessing at a physics problem far above his level. Likewise, for a physics student to answer a question of what is 2 +2 =__, is equally a wasted effort…. And this is where we err. Thinking that tests and corporate programs we buy into, can make that low performing student, suddenly get excited by a physics problem far above his grade level, and suddenly decided to become a math whiz. Reality fails to work that way….

Moving on.

But it is not enough to set high standards. Our students have to meet them. To do so, Delaware will use its rich data system and new assessment to support decision-making in the classroom. Good use of the data will make teachers and schools more effective. Parents and students will be able to use this information to demand that schools deliver.

Exactly what I said. But don’t use it to get rid of teachers or all we will get is teaching to the test and more cheating. The kids will learn how to take tests; not learn anything about the subject matter.

To that end, we will work with our institutions of higher education to establish teacher residency programs. We will develop a pipeline for strong principals by establishing leadership preparation programs. And we must better compensate teachers who produce results in our most challenging schools.

This sounds good and I find no fault with it’s aims. However your compensation packages are not effective. Being corporate hounds, monetary incentives are the first motivator one thinks of. I did the same. However, interaction with teachers, students and parents, has led me to believe there are better rewards. Teachers did not sign up to teach as a career for money. In public schools, I don’t think you can find one who is there to get rich. Talk to any teacher, and once they trust you, you understand they are there because they love to teach… THAT is what moves them. THAT is what moved each of our mentors that stick out from our early educational days. They love to teach. So the best way to motivate teachers is not with compensation, but, in making them teach even better by giving them more resources than they have now.

And the best way to get teachers to teach better is to limit their classes to 11 students… Whoever can achieve that goal first, will be the top educator in the world. Business will flock to that location just to absorb the talent of that labor pool…

If we are serious about education, we need to invest in more teachers, more schools, more infrastructure, and get our class sizes down to 11 students per teacher….

Only then, when every student doesn’t want to let either their peers or their teacher down, will we begin the resurrection of our educational system.

But, some people still don’t get it.

“We are requiring that new teachers show appropriate levels of student growth before receiving tenure. In addition, we have adopted a robust evaluation system under which teachers whose students do not show satisfactory levels of growth cannot be rated “effective.” Teachers whose students do show satisfactory levels of growth cannot be rated “ineffective.” We will also improve teacher preparation programs by linking teacher performance to the schools from which they graduated.”

It is still all about the test. This has to change….

But having world class schools does not alone ensure that all our children will get a world-class education. For that, we need an increase in parent’s engagement with their children’s education.

Parents need to realize the tests are hurting their kids. Across America this season, as tests are being rolled out in state after state, it is the parents who vote, who are asking their legislators the tough question. How does this test help my kid? When asked, the legislators agree with them that tests don’t.

Education has gotten worse since we went to standardized testing. Parents in Delaware need to increase their engagement with Delaware’s legislators and appeal to Governor Markell with their concerns.

My concern started because a little girl who loved English last year, who is in Common Core this year, says this year she has learned absolutely nothing… Nothing new.

When you think of the great United States of America and all the hopes, dreams, and visions it once held…. that is just so sad. So sad.

Kilroy lambasted the Caesar Rodney attempt to stir up sentiment towards Charter Schools in rural Smyrna Delaware.

The News Journal played along too, here.

The meeting was attended by the following.

  • Jim Hoseley, the Caesar Rodney Institute’s director of the Center for Excellence in Education.
  • Priest of St. Polycarp Roman Catholic Church.
  • A woman in the middle of the room wearing a purple knit hat.
  • “Honey Bun”.
  • The Rev. Thomas Flowers.
  • One woman in the crowd who wondered aloud “where are the black people” as she looked around at a crowd of white faces.
  • Mike Matthews, a Red Clay Consolidated special education teacher and union supporter,
  • And one man who blurted out,  “Does he also believe in Santa Claus?”

Which would leave 25 others also down there, with the backdrop of the room filled with American flags and images of Jesus….

One would assume, except for Mike Matthews, that all those in attendance were people unfamiliar with education, period. Most of us would probably call them gullible.

Delaware Today magazine was then taken to the woodshed by Mr. Hosely of the Caesar Rodney Institute because it did not include charters with its public school rankings report. Instead, Delaware Today magazine charter schools were ranked in another issue of the magazine that was dedicated to private schools.

(The obvious reason it did so, was because Charter Schools are run like private schools and not, like public schools. Obviously missing the logic that if they were run like Public schools,and funded by the public school system, they might as well be Public Schools. That they are run like a Private School, is the whole point of charter schools…)

Next, the Caesar Rodney spokesperson bashed Markell because his state of the state did not mention vouchers. There are those who “philosophical” believe that there should be more of a “free-market” approach to our schools because this will push students to higher rates of achievement.

Governor Markell’s Delaware’s public schools have been failing minority students at a higher rate than their white peers, Hosley said.

This is where the lady looked around and said,” Where are all the BLACK PEOPLE!

In the past, black people is a group that the Caesar Rodney Institute hasn’t often found strong support among this community — earlier there was insulting criticism of brown-skinned people’s reasoning on there strong support for President Barack Obama.

Unfortunately, there were quite a few things that Mr. Hoseley of the Caesar Rodney Institute, failed to mention….

He failed to mention:

States that are in a hurry to expand charter schools should proceed with caution. The evidence of success is not all that ample.

Advocates of Charter Schools who “philosophically” believe in the “Free market system” cheer when they see a charter school closes… “See, that’s what we are talking about!  Yeah, Baby!  It failed.  Shut ‘er down!  The market system works.  If it succeeded and had done well, it would have prospered. Now that it is closed, it can’t destroy any more children.  The free market system works.  Woo Hoo!!! “…..

When asked, they could provide no answer of what to do with those children who were now,  unable to go to school…..

State Senator Tony DeLuca is “Making special interests play by the same rules as our hardworking families.

When you think of Tony DeLuca, the first thing that comes to your mind of course is that you automatically think of someone holding special interests accountable.

Accountability…. It means different things to different people. To Tony DeLuca, it has always meant playing by the same rules as our hard working families…..

For example, Tony has been the open government leader in the Delaware General Assembly. demonstrated by bringing up reform bill after reform bill to be voted upon by the senate. State Senator Tony DeLuca is making our government more transparent and damn it, .. he is also making special interests more accountable.

Because of Tony DeLuca, and only because of Tony DeLuca and his single handed effort with both hands behind his back, the legislative process is open now, for the very first time, to citizens…. Tony DeLuca modernized state government with information available on the Internet; and now, because of Tony DeLuca, all lobbyists are required to let the public know within five days who they represent and who they are lobbying for on each and every bill.

After all, Tony DeLuca…. He’s one of US…..

Tony’s commitment to accountability is clear. Check the facts:

1)SB212, 6/13/12; SB235, 6/12/12; SB50,4/12/11, HB5, 4/7/11; HB 1 16/2/09.
2) SB185, 5/2/12 “Governor, lawmakers, intorduce lobby reform bill ” Dover Post 3/29/12

SB 165 Supported by Common Cause.

Delaware should consider itself lucky to have as fine a man in the Delaware State Senate, as it has in Tony DeLuca.

Is this. They take money away from other schools…

The idea of charter schools is Republican at best. You take a school, make it excel, and parents will want to send their kids there. You then close other schools that fail…

The problem that was never addressed, was what then do we do with all those students who for whatever reason, can’t get into a charter school.

The answer provided by the Charter School Program, is that we consolidate them into even more problematic, even more underfunded, and even more unstructured environments where if they couldn’t learn before, they certainly can’t learn now….

There is a maxim in both business and the military. You are only as good as your weakest point. The same could be said for dykes around New Orleans. Having a real strong dyke on the wealthiest side of the city, does little when the water comes in from behind, because you forgot to account for a barrier on the poor side of the city.

That’s the problem with Charter Schools…..

Some Charter schools do well. But a lot do no better than public. Charter Schools get to pick their students. If Charter schools had to accept special needs students as do public schools, they would be forced to close…

What Charter Schools do provide, is a haven for parents to send kids so they will not be infested with ghetto values. Pencader School of Business was founded on these principles by Principal Dave Jones. There was no ghetto value along the shore of the Delaware River, overlooking New Jersey.

Some Charter Schools do well. Some Public Schools do well. What both have in common, is a principal who has autonomy to run his school… No DoE’s. No mandates by Dover. None of the normal bullshit that politics has laid at the feet of those just trying to help today’s youth make it in tomorrow’s world.

Another common factor, is that successful schools have community involvement. The community looks up to the schools with respect, and the schools look out to the community with respect. When the community and schools are in line and working off the same page, they are successful; whether private, charter, or public, makes little difference.

It is apparent after reviewing the literature covering both sides of the Charter issue, that the successes on both extremes, have these common values. Good leadership and community support.

It appears current society’s focus needs to re-establish those two cores. Good leadership and community support.

The Department of Education needs to bug out of student’s learning.

The answer to education is simple.

You need a great reward for graduating students to make learning worthwhile. My generation was motivated by the fact that we would one day be paid based on how well we achieved academically. That was a lie. Today’s children know it by 2nd grade.

Second, you need a great reward for educators and principals to achieve the impossible. People rise to the occasion presented. A simple $20,000 bonus if every child in your class, simply met objectives, with $1000 minus off for each of those that did not, would certainly fix education in one year.

Third, you need to give principals autonomy. Their bonus should be $200,000. Then, you rank each principal on the percentage of teachers he has, who received the full $20,000 bonuses…… IF his salary is dependent on how many of his teachers get their full bonuses, his primary goal, will be to work with every teacher for that endeavor. Not as is currently proscribed, working against them…

If every student, every teacher, every principal is working diligently for the same goal, you will not need a Department of Education. You will not need Governmental Interference.

You will need structure (prisons) for lost causes. You will need school transportation funding. You will need upkeep on buildings. You will need new technology. You will need investment in music, art, and drama. You will need investment in sports.

School defines who we are. Cutting down our options, diminishes our future potential.

Mankind can do extraordinary things. We have, when the needs have arisen, done so… Just this tiny bit of money, placed in the right investment category, can change the entire scenario of a failed school district, into a thriving one.

Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

I find it odd to see in a paper two stories side by side… Both have local connections.

The first is our Wilmington Bishop’s insistence on giving the Vice President-elect the sacrament, despite other bishops, including the one from Scranton, calling for banning the Vice President of the United States from ever receiving the Holy Wafer…

The second is another lawsuit aimed directly at a former Wilmington priest who abused a 10 year old, contributing to his death, and was spirited away to another state where he was found in bed with other children he was responsible for overseeing…

I know these are isolated events… but if ever Jesus’s admonition that the log from one’s own eye, must be removed before taking the speck out of another’s… applied to any real world event, it would apply to this one…

We are talking about the future Vice President of the United States… Dissing him is dissing America… That America is the same country that has gone to war… not for land but to free other countries under tyranny, and once defeating the enemy, has quietly packed up, and returned home…  These rogue bishops are embarassing the Catholic Church and quite possibly refanning the fears of non Catholics against practicing Catholics; those same fears which existed for over two hundred years until finally John F. Kennedy’s election put them to rest in 1960.  Through the normal actions of that man, rural Americans learned that Catholics were not freaks…  Unfortunately, today’s headlines make one wonder if it has begun again.

Catholics should take heart… God is not dead; he has just left the hierarchy of the American Catholic Church…. apparently at least in several of our nation’s bishop’s parishes….  I would encourage Catholics to visit other denominations to see if they find another church with enjoyable people… Once they are outside the closed mentality that cloisters the Catholic belief,… they may find that real people still believe in a real God… Trust me. God is real… although if one was an American Catholic living today, and victim of either of these unprovoked actions representing the Church as a whole, I can understand why one would be sincerely skeptical…

The Church is right to be against abortion.  Abortion is a moral issue… Likewise our government which is responsible to its citizens, and overwhelmingly, our citizens say abortion should remain as it is today, is certainly within its rights to preserve abortion’s legality… If the Catholic Church is to work effectively against future abortions, then it needs to do so on a personal basis… not an electoral one…   When every young mother faces that decision, the Catholic Church, as large as it is, can be an asset to her decision making process… not a hindrance in the form of a tyrant and hideous ogre…  Most Catholic women facing this unpleasant decision, resent its overbearing male presence, a presence based on ” because I said so” and on stupidity, and not on love and understanding… The Catholic Church has the moral duty to offer an alternative… It does not have the duty to demand obedience and burn those at the stake it deems unrepentant….  We are no longer primitive; those days are gone..

If the Catholic Church wishes to remain viable, it needs to address the problem of how it is perceived by others.  As most fools do not understand when they are being made fun of, the Catholic Church seems carelessly dimissive of any criticism… Instead, it would be a good idea, to directly address the Church’s inconsistencies,  to recognize them as being given by God himself, and to work with God to opportunitize those events to make a better world.

The Church will not be righted by changing what has worked well for it over thousands of years… Comparatively most other denominations are younglings… Instead, the Church will be righted by returning to its basics… love and caring for its neighbors and those less fortunate…  That even means loving him whom one considers to be a sinner, as well as those one holds up as saints…

Fortunately, i believe the Pope is on the right track.. I was impressed by his audiences this past summer. So too is our own bishop here in Wilmington…

But to protest an elected official of the world’s economic savior and deny him the sacrament… meanwhile coddling a pedophile by moving him from place to place, and dismissing the trail of ruined lives as a necessary liability…. is….well…. you tell me….what’s your opinion?

Do we hate our children?

Perhaps we are too busy, perhaps we mean well, perhaps we are too selfish for our own good. But after being party to a round table discussion led by current high and middle school students, and listening to them discussing relationships with teachers, spread over 5 different school systems, I was amazed at the consistency of the patterns, I was impressed by some of their attempts to adapt to a topsy turvy world, and was deeply saddened because schools were run differently back when I had to attend.

We led the discussion with an open ended question. How does one maintain their ethics, morals, and values while doing a day at school……..We had one group from a Christian school, and their response, was “we split ourselves off from the mainstream.” That is how they (their parents) chose to keep their value system intact. Those at public schools said they associate only with those like themselves, and do not mix with those who held morality in less than high esteem.

They were two phases of the same current. Their defensive mechanism was to separate themselves from others. When asked an open ended question where we asked them to describe how they felt they fit in with the rest of students in their school. (we asked for percentages), none of those percentages given, were over ten percent.. Their answers imply that the average student, trying to be a good citizen, feels that more than ninety percent of the student body are morally different from themselves. For purposes of contrast, in my day, we felt that we were part of the ninety percent that was moral. Trouble makers made up less than ten percent…

What caused this flip flop, “where evil rules, and goodness drools”? The kids had no answer. In fact they were shocked that the morality percentage of our generation’s educational process was the exact opposite of theirs!

But the animated argument really took off when someone brought up the fact that the teachers were less moral than some of the students.

Before I get into the discussion that followed, one should note that every school has got to get their students to abide by the “rules.” Education cannot exist in anarchy. But in listening to these kids talk to each other, I could not help but think that as a society we have moved our focus away from making learning a priority, to making behavior control each and every school’s prime directive.

Of course, this was coming from kids. But it was still unsettling to hear the tactics used in Guantanamo, being used in 5 of our schools existing right hear in Delaware. (No, the issue of water-boarding did not come up.)

Over and over and over I heard stories of teachers trying to prove how tough they could be. It was as if appearing like Himmler enhanced ones career path better far better then teaching did. (So what if the morons learned nothing. We sure as hell broke their spirit.)

Something, seriously wrong, seems to be at play in our school systems. It is as if we (teachers, parents, society) are telling our kids, “We don’t care what you learn. That is on you. But you better not twitch one iota while sitting at attention, or I will suspend your ass.”. In other words, the entire modus operandi of our school systems has shifted to get children to toe the line…..and away from getting them to enjoy learning.

One major difference today, from our time, is that in the “old” days we toed the line naturally without screaming and yelling. Perhaps we were pre-programed, perhaps it never occurred to us to disobey. I don’t know. We did not have discipline problems, nor did we have Draconian rules we were required to follow. We had a handbook which we never read and surprisingly everything worked out fine…..Classes started when they were supposed to, and proceeded without interruptions.

It was against this background that we heard the student’s stories. We heard how they only had four minutes to change classes, and constantly received infractions for not making it on time. The geography of the campus was stacked against the students. Four minutes? 240 seconds? Is everyone running a school crazy? Comparing notes afterwards, the previous generation sitting in on the conversation, had an average of 10 minutes between classes. No wonder we were never late.

We heard stories of teachers, in all five schools, who wanted to begin teaching students in class a minute before the bell rang, even though the hand book specifies that the bell is the deciding factor. We heard stories of students receiving infractions, and being sent to the office, before the bell had even rung. We heard of stories of being late, receiving infractions, which ultimately lead up Saturday detention costing $20 dollars. We heard of one student that had to shell out $200 dollars for what seemed like us, like innocently caused infractions that were beyond his capacity to fix.

As the students continued, we learned that in schools with uniforms, authorities go overboard with infractions. Much time and effort is used to force compliance. So much effort in fact, that the uniform code becomes like tax law, overburdened and therefore unclear and hard to maintain, eventually losing credibility with both students and parents, and breaking down.. Can’t wear hoop ear-rings……..But 3 days later no one says anything. Can’t wear basketball shoes. 3 days later the focus is on something else. In all schools, the students avidly expressed that teachers when dealing with them one on one, treated a student as a second class citizens. The philosophy currently embedded in our schools, it appears, has borrowed much from our both prison and psychiatric care systems. It has become necessary to ontain the inmates.

We often hear complaints that today’s students do not respect authority figures. After hearing what we heard, I would not respect any of those people mistakenly placed in positions of authority, either. I thought that people in authority were supposed to be wise. People in authority were supposed to use common sense. People in authority were supposed to use their brains, to weigh the pros and cons, and make calculated decisions. People in authority, were supposed to give us an environment that was conducive to our interests…They were not hired to intimidate us, they were not hired to demoralize us, they were not employed to break us down. Imagine yourself? If you have been dressed down in front of your peers by a drill sergeant, how could you quit fuming long enough to learn the intricacies of algebra only minutes later? It is impossible. You can’t.

And that in essence, is why our schools are failing. Of course the teachers , the administrators, the unions, the school boards, the Secretary of Education will offer multitudes of excuses….But what they offer, are just that….Excuses do little to promote an conducive environment where learning is encouraged……….

The harsh regime prevails;

The quest for knowledge fails.