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Tag Archives: Parenting

26 – The Fast Track to Nowhere

Okay…I’m a glutton for punishment…I’m watching Hard Times at Douglass High again (Ahhh! The joy of HBO re-runs).

“No teacher will receive a proficient evaluation as long as there are a high number of failing students in their class. Whose fault is it? Certainly not the student’s.”

These words were spoken (almost verbatim) by an Assistant Principal at Douglass during a Department Head’s meeting. I don’t know how I missed that segment the first time around…maybe that was when I took the dog outside or answered a phone call.

Oh the temerity! In fact, now that I am watching this documentary for the second time, I recall hearing that very sentiment echoed by the Principal during a faculty meeting. Are these people for real?

How can a teacher be blamed for what ails each and every student…because that’s what it boils down to…she’s (the Principal) asking teachers to be responsible for students who do not attend school on a regular basis, for the parents who are unable to get their children to school on a regular basis, for students who decide to hang out in the hallway instead of come to class, for students who refuse to do their work, for students who are more concerned with gangs/drugs/the opposite sex/crime/pregnancy (take your pick)…WOW! Or more like…HELL NO! Really?

I don’t buy it. I don’t buy her concerned act anymore. The first time I watched the documentary, I was too busy “watching”…not analyzing. Anyone who says, “Grades and making up assignments are up to the teacher, but I don’t change grades…” Is announcing to me that YES, YOU DO CHANGE GRADES! In every other “normal” school I have worked, there has been a solid grading policy in place…and not even the principal adulterated that system. After I put a grade in…it was in! If you (the student) did not find my work important enough to do, then you failed and you repeated…or you PAID FOR SUMMER SCHOOL! It’s called being held ACCOUNTABLE!

Anyone ever wonder how that Fast Track deal works? What kind of message does that send, anyway? There is no Fast Track program or Blaming System in the “real world”…not for people like me. I am a law abiding, hard working, tax payer who NEVER received any Fast Track or Blaming System benefits!

My students learned how to work the system at an early age, and they will continue to work it at my expense! Whenever I have attempted to explain the importance of timeliness, integrity, responsibility…many of them remind me that they will receive a “check” and that Section 8 will cover them. They did not need to hear me extolling the importance of paying mortgage on time, a car note on time, a phone bill on time, ANYTHING on time…because it did not apply to them…they don’t see that at home…apparently, where they live, no one is being made to be held accountable for much of anything.

So, somewhere along the line the government said, “Hey, these people over here aren’t ever going to really do anything with themselves…so let’s just continue to support them (minimally)…and then maybe they will just kill each other off.” But HA! Fuck you government and taxpayers…they figured out a decade’s worth of lifetimes to live and create their own alternate reality within the current existence that the rest of the world embraces as “reality.”

Now, the government wants to penalize ALL of us by: (a) including their test tube children in the scores along with the rest of ours (NCLB), (b) doing nothing to eradicate the giant crutch they have created, (c) scaring GOOD teachers into submission of the Stepford Wives Fast Track program…everybody’s doing it…just change the grade…no one will know…who cares if those kids only read on a ninth or tenth grade level upon graduation…

I wish I had a magic wand filled with all the answers…I don’t (obviously)…but I do know crap when I see it…and I’m seeing it! I believe our education issue supersedes the realm of actual education and begins in the home and the community/society in which children are reared…maybe we do need NCLB…but for parents!

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Posted by on June 29, 2008 in Work

 

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19 -Idiocracy

MY students are the people who travel to the rich people malls and steal from them. I’m hearing their stories now and I’m incredulous and disgusted. Why am I so surprised? …Damn…I think I’m even hurt a little bit…WTFrench Toast? Maybe I wouldn’t feel so “betrayed” if it weren’t my “good” girls talking about doing it…okay…I am just going to have to focus on the end-of-the-school-year-no-more-Junkies-R-Us-High-School countdown. I have to get out of here. Coming here was a mistake. I can’t believe I actually thought I could make a difference.

There is way too much dysfunction in one place! This school should be given the title of a functional and operational Idiocracy…I swear…teaching here (and in general) has been a living testament of birth control for me…I want NO children of my own! You know, the irony is that the very people who have no business with children are the very people who end up with a gaggle of them (see the movie Idiocracy). My cousin and I were having this discussion the other day…

Although neither one of us are parents, both of us parent on a frequent basis; she is a social worker and I, a teacher. Both of us usually encounter the young, acquiescent, and self-absorbed parent who has no clue as to what DISCIPLINE looks like. Often times, the parents I encounter do not know how to be RESPONSIBLE for their child…and by responsible I mean making them come to school on time, complete their homework/projects, tell parents who their friends are, adhere to a curfew, revere adults and address them with respect, remain in “a child’s place” regardless of their age, maintain good grades and behavior, expect a post-secondary education…

I’m talking about the making of a fully functional and productive American citizen!

I once had a parent/teacher meeting…many years ago…with the parent of teen who was just beginning high school. This “young man,” within the first three months of school, had found and befriended THE WORST students of the school (gang members and overall generic brand delinquents)! I told the parent as much…in fact, I told his mother, “If you do not watch your son and the company he keeps, he will end up in jail! It’s not too late to save him!” She cried and made excuses for him. The counselor looked at me as though I had grown a third head (I guess I wasn’t supposed to be THAT honest). I call them as I see them, and my first and foremost concern is the welfare of the student…I could really give a damn about proper politics if those politics do not serve the student first! By the time I left that school, his behavior had become worse…and now, of course, I don’t know what has become of him. Patrick Welch, the young man in the following article, reminds me of the student I once taught…

Forest Hill Academy: The Children Left Behind

How can education thrive when students like him exist…but more importantly…how is a child expected to learn without the proper encouragement from his parents/guardians?

A teacher cannot be mother, father, administrator, counselor, and still have the where-with-all to teach a course subject!

A judge in Cincinnati jailed a father for not following court orders to see that his daughter attained her General Equivalency Diploma (GED). There are many people who disagree with the judge’s decision…I am not one of those people. More court judges are needed to send the message to parents that their children’s education is just THAT important! Perhaps if parents knew the possibility of imprisonment existed for poor parenting, then they would be more vigilant (and take their role more seriously) from the onset…maybe then, there would be no need for alternative schools.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2008 in Work

 

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