Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Importance Of Self-Discipline

This post is in response to Larry Ferlazzo's question-of-the-week, "What impact can having more teachers of color have on our schools & what needs to be done to make it happen?" It would be an asset to have more teachers of color in our schools to serve as models for young minds. But, the remedy doesn't come easily.

It has been noted through numerous studies that a larger percentage of blacks and disadvantaged students drop out of school and never make it to college. I believe this happens for several reasons. Many African-American parents are too busy working to make ends meet, are illiterate themselves, or do not understand the value of a good education. Additionally, they may not take the time to instill in their children the important values of honesty, self-discipline, compassion, and respect that are so essential for a successful life.

Self-Discipline Is Imperative For Lifetime Success

So, we will begin with the children. If they don't have parents who are able to work with them, they should be given mentors who will support them in their learning endeavors. These mentors will serve as role models, encouraging them to do their best, and reinforcing them when they complete their assigned tasks. Self-discipline will incur as they achieve success, and they will grow to respect authority, when they realize their teachers and mentors really care about them.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Defiance In Home & School = Violent Protests

California's 2015 Bad Behavior Law allowing "willful defiance" in the public school system free of consequences is setting up our youth for future disruptive societal behavior and the potential for violent protests! By eliminating the consequences of suspension for willful defiance of a teacher or administrator in Kindergarten through Third Grade and school expulsion across all grade levels, we are telling our students disrespect of authority is "acceptable behavior" in our society!

Elbert Guillory, an older black Louisiana State Senator, accurately cites how willful defiance of authority begins in the home, extends into the schools, and is later found in the form of riots and protests in our society. He states, "Parents are not teaching respect for authority at home, and so they go to schools and there is no respect for the authority of their teachers and no consequences for their disruptions. When they get onto the streets and attempt to confront police officers, that's a losing situation every time. We have to change that!"

Defiance = Protests And Destruction!

The new educational laws in the State of California promoting "willful defiance of authority" are doing a great disservice to the youth of our great State! How can these laws be good for our children? They only encourage rebelliousness and disrespect and set the stage for destruction and pain. I agree with Senator Elbert Guillory, "We have to change this!" But, I just don't know how we will do it!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Conflict Begins: State Vs. Federal Harassment Laws

It is another "Aha Moment" as I contemplate educational New Year predictions for our "Golden State." I predict a major conflict between our new California State Education law (see my prior posts) allowing students the opportunity to be verbally abusive to their teacher and administrators free of consequences and our Federal labor law prohibiting harassment in the workplace.

"How Much Of This Am I Able To Take?"

Federal law prohibits unlawful harassment in the workplace defined as "offensive conduct that is so intolerable or pervasive that reasonable people would conclude your workplace is intimidating, hostile, or abusive."

Here is a common scenario especially seen in Grades 4th and up, where expulsion is no longer an option for willful defiance of a teacher or administrator: A student or group of students are in your face yelling obscenities at you because they are obviously not in school to learn. In fact, they do this with the intent to disrupt learning, break the teacher down, and hopefully be thrown out of class. When this conduct is "intentional, severe, recurring and/or pervasive and interferes with the teacher's ability to perform his/her job", I believe it is conducive to an intimidating, hostile, or abusive environment.

Now, don't say it can't happen, as any logical person knows fully well it is prevalent in a society of "selfies" where "respect" is no longer part of the adolescent vocabulary! But, the big question is, "How much is an educator supposed to take before Federal law supersedes our new State law and that incorrigible child receives the reprimand he/she so rightfully deserves?" 

A Respectful Class Is A Happy Class!!

The foundation of a good education is respect among teachers and students. Now that California has passed a Bad Behavior Law condoning students' willful defiance of teachers and administrators, the end result will be nothing but classroom chaos. Any good educator knows that without classroom respect, it is nearly impossible to teach and a respectful class is a happy class!

A Respectful Class Is A Happy Class!
The odds against teachers are already stacked with broken homes, poverty, peer pressure, and lack of parental guidance. Adding "outright disobedience" to the equation, the end product is destined for failure.

What will be the consequences of this willful defiance? Will students be sent to a "time out detention" room until things cool down? Our new California law states, "Schools can no longer suspend a student who willfully defies a teacher or administrator from Kindergarten through Third Grade." If this law is followed to the fullest extent, that obstinate child will inevitably end up back in the classroom with his/her peers, to the dismay of the educator who was publicly degraded.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

California School Truancy Creates Serious Problems

The State of California has been presented with a serious problem. Since "confinement in a juvenile detention facility or juvenile hall is no longer allowed as a penalty for minors who fail to obey a judge's order to attend school" with the passage of California's 2015 law, there is no longer an incentive for rebellious youth to attend school.

Statistics from the September 12, 2014 Los Angeles Times report, "Truancy rates are higher among California's low-income students" and "African American students missed 10% or more of the school year at almost four times the rate of all students." Similarly, disadvantaged students are more likely to drop out of school.

Interestingly, student truancy puts a strain on California's economy and California State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris states, "Good education policies are meaningless if students aren't at their desks." So, I question, "Why would Governor Jerry Brown sign a new truancy law that is both counter productive and not in California's best interest?

Warning: Truant Youth 

Not included in that report are the ramifications of what low income youth do when they aren't in school. I can only imagine the problems associated with minors out on the streets when they should be in school! Long-term ramifications relate those that don't graduate from high school are more likely to end up unemployed and committing crimes and state data show that 75% of California's prison inmates are high school dropouts. I guess Governor Brown didn't take this into consideration with the passage of his new law regarding truancy in the justice system!

California Encourages Disrespect Among Youth!!

With the implementation of California's new "Bad Behavior" law, school age youth will receive no repercussions for willful defiance of authority. According to the LA Times, "Schools can no longer expel students who 'willfully defy' teachers or administrators at any grade level!" This law is very dangerous for deranged youth who rebel against attending school and will go to any extent to distract others from the freedom to learn. Such students will turn their peers against the teachers, creating unrealistic views of these teachers to other students and their parents.

"She's Mean And I Won't Do What She Says!"

Now, students of all ages have the choice to willfully defy their teachers without the consequence of being transferred to a different school (expulsion) OR not attend school at all without the repercussion of being sent to juvenile hall, thanks to Governor Brown's new law stating, "Confinement in a juvenile detention facility or juvenile hall is no longer allowed as a penalty for minors who are found in contempt of court solely for failing to obey a judge's order to attend school."

Doesn't this sound much like current societal trends, allowing our nation's youth to wander about at all hours of the night while encouraging others to disrespect figures of authority such as the police? Aren't they allowed to say whatever they wish, to the point of inciting riots and protests, due to their obvious lack of respect for authority. And now, we are also condoning this in our California Public Schools! If respect isn't taught in the home by the parents or in the public school system, what does the future hold for our country's youth and the future leaders of our great nation?

Willful Defiance Now Acceptable Behavior In CA Schools!

California's new law condoning "Willful Defiance" from students towards authority across the educational system should not happen! The Los Angeles Times New Years Edition  recently published article titled, California's New Laws for 2015: How Are You Affected?" informs the public that "Schools can no longer expel students who 'willfully defy' teachers or administrators at any grade level and cannot suspend students for that misbehavior through Third Grade."

Students Now Free To Interrupt Classroom Instruction!

With California's new Bad Behavior Law, what are we now telling our students? Simply stated, any Kindergarten through Third Grade student has been given the "green light" to tell their teachers off, including eliciting profanities, and now there is nothing teachers nor administrators can do about it! 

Don't think for a moment that children of these young ages aren't capable of willfully defying their elders as I have been in the teaching profession long enough to know this isn't true! Remember, children are the "product" of their upbringing in a society where disrespect runs rampant!

The big question is, "How much is an educator able to take before he/she blows up?" I would imagine if this incorrigible child is allowed to disrupt classroom instruction and return the following day to the classroom without a "time out suspension", it will only encourage others to act the same! As the expression goes, "Monkey See, Monkey Do!" and students will emulate the actions of their peers.

California Teachers "Welcome" The New Year?

California Teachers "Welcome?" the New Year with new laws that will significantly affect their ability to teach! I was appalled to see the Los Angeles Times headlines that arrived on our doorsteps on New Years Day! California's Governor Jerry Brown, in his infinite wisdom, signed a new law with No Consequences for BAD BEHAVIOR  in our classrooms, that to me is almost Unbelievable!

California Teachers "Welcome" 2015?

California's new Education Law for 2015 reads:

"Schools can no longer EXPEL students who 'WILLFULLY DEFY' teachers or administrators at any grade level and cannot SUSPEND students for that misbehavior through Third Grade.

Furthermore, those students who choose not to go to school to raise hell with their teachers, can now enjoy the benefits of No Consequences for their decisions!

California's new Truancy Law for 2015 reads:

"Confinement in a juvenile detention facility, or juvenile hall is NO LONGER ALLOWED as a penalty for minors who are found in contempt of court solely for failing to obey a judge's order TO ATTEND SCHOOL."

Needless to say, the ramifications of these laws for educators in 2015 are endless!