Dave Hodges, Contributor
Any parent who lets their child darken the door of a public school needs to seriously reconsider their options. No, it is not that there aren’t highly qualified and caring professionals in the education profession who truly care about the welfare of children, there are. However, the system of public education is irreparably broken and parents would be wise to take a closer look at the options that are out there.
However, let’s first take a look at increasingly dysfunctional system. Just as we see the governments of Spain and Greece using severe authoritarian methods in an attempt to preserve the status quo through the imposition of austerity, we are witnessing the same abusive leadership style from many school administrators who are increasingly turning to more authoritarian methods in order to preserve an antiquated and dying system.
Discipline With Love?
The premise behind any discipline plan should be to restore the offending child into becoming a fully functional contributing member of the classroom. In order to achieve that goal, discipline should be offered in the spirit of love and positive rehabilitation. Yet, all too often, this is not what our children are receiving. Increasingly, our children are being conditioned to accept totalitarianism complete with illogical and abusive consequences which are applied, all too often, to innocent behaviors.
Take the case of Wilson Reyes, a seven-year-old elementary school student from the Bronx who got into a tussle with a classmate over a $5 bill.
Subsequently, the school officials called police, who arrested Reyes and promptly shuffled him off to jail and allegedly handcuffed the child to a wall which was followed by a 10 hour interrogation.
A North Carolina public school strip-searched a 10-year-old boy (J.C.) in search of a $20 bill reported missing by another student, despite the fact that the boy vehemently denied possessing the money. The assistant principal, a woman, reportedly ordered the fifth grader to strip down to his underwear and she personally subjected him to an aggressive strip-search that included sticking her hands inside his underwear. The missing money was subsequently found in the school cafeteria.
Now it is even a crime to bring a two-inch toy gun to school made out of LEGOs to school. Nine-year-old Patrick Timoney was sent to the principal’s office and subsequently suspended.
An 8-year-old Taunton, MA boy who was tossed out of school in December 2009 and ordered to undergo psychological testing because his primitive looking stick-figure drawing of a crucified Christ was considered too violent by school administrators. School officials deny that this is a case of religious persecution. I wonder if the favorite symbol of Muslim Brotherhood was depicted instead, if there would have been a suspension of the child.
Brockton, MA officials were forced to pay out nearly $250,000 in legal fees and settlement costs when the mother of a 6-year-old sued after her son was suspended for sexually harassing another first-grader.
Barbara Best, director of foundation relations and special projects with the Children’s Defense Fund sums up this insanity when she stated “when a child as young as 4 is suspended, something is wrong. The suspensions of grade schoolers should be a wake-up call to school administrators that zero-tolerance discipline policies just don’t work.” These cases are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
A controversial school desegregation plan was implemented in the Little Rock, Arkansas in the 1950s, on behalf of “The Little Rock 9” as President Eisenhower sent in the Army to enforce the Supreme Court ruling which effectively desegregated the schools under the 1954 case of Brown vs. Board of Education.
Nearly 50 years later, we return to the scene of the crime as Kymberly Wimberly, a black female student at McGehee Secondary School, located southeast of Little Rock, Ark, is suing the school for discrimination. Wimberly, a straight-A student who took a challenging course load full of Advanced Placement classes, was denied the title of class Valedictorian, even though she earned the highest grade-point-average in her class.
McGehee Principal, Darrell Thompson, told Wimberly, “that he decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian,” although the white student had a lower G.P.A. Wimberly’s mother, Molly Bratton, heard school personnel saying that naming her daughter valedictorian might cause a “big mess.”
Mrs. Bratton tried to protest this unfair decision by speaking to the school board. However, Superintendent, Thomas Gathen, refused to let the mom speak at a public meeting. Gathen went on to tell the mom that she could not appeal his decision until the June 28th school board meeting even though graduation was last May 13. Martin Luther King and President Eisenhower are rolling over in their graves.
Moral Inconsistency and the Over-Reach On Social Issues Indoctrination
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Rather than simply educating our children, schools are becoming the source for moral education and the advocates for radical social policy changes.
Warren Evans is an openly bisexual student at Calvert High School, in Maryland, who was suspended for violating the school’s dress code by wearing a skirt. Mr. Evans’ says the school is discriminating against him and does not believe he violated any dress code. Despite the fact that his dress and accompanying high heeled shoes might have made me raise my eyebrows, in my view, the suspension did violate Evans’ rights.
Right up the road from Maryland, Brown University is gaining attention because their Student Health Insurance Plan will cover 14 different sexual reassignment surgery procedures starting this next August. The Director of Insurance and Purchasing Services Jeanne Hebert, confirmed this fact when she stated that “Brown tries to support all students. The coverage will be funded through renewal rates paid for next year’s student healthcare coverage. We identified this as an important benefit for students to have access to.”
In general, the total package of sexual reassignment surgeries, hormone therapy and other services can cost up to $50,000.
If Warren Evans were to attend one of the Maricopa Community College District (MCCCD) schools, in the Phoenix metropolitan area, not only could he wear a dress to class, he could have his own restroom, should he decide to engage in a gender reassignment. Throughout the 10 schools of the MCCCD system, they have installed several transgender restrooms which can only be utilized by people who have had a sex change operation. Lost in the debate is the fact that all of the restrooms which were constructed, for this special population, was done so with taxpayer money. If Mr. Evans were an athlete, beginning next year at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, in the MCCCD system, he would be entitled to his/her own locker room at their new constructed sports arena as the arena will have a male, female and transgender locker room. Your tax dollars at work.
This is not about taking sides in the gay-straight paradigm because most taxpayers don’t care what people do behind closed doors. However, this has a lot to do with schools making social and moral policy statements with taxpayer money. No new computers, no extra instructors will be hired all in favor of spending money to construct transgender restrooms.
Cut right out of the old Soviet Union “political schizophrenia” model, an uncooperative student can be imprisoned without due process. Oren Ungerleider, a PhD student at the Columbia-Juilliard, is suing the university with a claim that he was forcibly held and medicated in a psychiatric hospital for 30 days after insulting his Spanish professor, who gave him a low mark.
After his incarceration he was not allowed to return to his studies and no longer desires to play the violin. Ungerleider is claiming $10 million damages.
With all the craziness present in our K-12 schools and our post-secondary institutions, I understand why so many parents are becoming reticent at sending their children to public school. However, this is an option; Homeschooling is the fastest growing educational delivery system in the country, and the reader is only getting a sneak peak at the insanity that is driving parents to remove their children from public schools.
When I tell parents that they should be educating their children at home, so parents can transmit the values to their children that they think are important, parents often respond that they do not feel qualified to homeschool their children.
There is a viable alternative. It is now possible for a child to start in an online school in the first grade and progress all the way through their doctorate program (except for the required residency hours in a PhD program) without setting foot in a classroom. And there is some new research which is suggestive that online learners are more motivated and perform better on standardized tests.
Some parents of potential homeschooled children are concerned about social interaction with children their age. Below, I have listed a consortium of homeschooling organizations from which parents can educate themselves while they decide which direction to take their children’s education. At the end of the day, we owe it to our children to help them escape the insanity that is enveloping the public education system.
A Partial List of Home Schooling Organizations
- Home School Foundation – The Home School Foundation is the charitable arm of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and is dedicated to bringing hope and tangible help to homeschoolers in need. The Foundation is a 501c(3) charitable organization, approved by the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability), and has a variety funds which provided nearly 1 million dollars in assistance and related expenses to homeschooling families last year.
- Home School Legal Defense Association
- Institute in Basic Life Principles – Home of the ATIA homeschool program
- NATHAN – National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network – international organization for homeschoolers for people dealing with disabilities.
- The National Academy for Child Development – designs very specific home educational and therapeutic programs for infants, children and adults given the labels including; Learning Disabled, Dyslexic, Distractible, ADD, ADHD, Hyperactive, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Tourettes Syndrome, Rhetts Syndrome, Fragile X, Developmentally Delayed, PDD, Autistic, Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injured, Comatose, Retarded, Minimal Brain Dysfunction, Normal, Accelerated, and Gifted.
- NHERI – National Home Education Research Institute
Dave is an award winning psychology, statistics and research professor, a college basketball coach, a mental health counselor, a political activist and writer who has published dozens of editorials and articles in several publications such as Freedoms Phoenix, News With Views and The Arizona Republic.
The Common Sense Show features a wide variety of important topics that range from the loss of constitutional liberties, to the subsequent implementation of a police state under world governance, to exploring the limits of human potential. The primary purpose of The Common Sense Show is to provide Americans with the tools necessary to reclaim both our individual and national sovereignty.