Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Saturday, 17 March 2012

What Next?

I received this article last week from a friend just as I was about to attempt to compile a list of my own. Thanks Joe!

Our overburdened Schools

By Jamie Robert Vollmer

America's public schools can be traced back to 1647.Massachusetts Puritans assumed that families and churches bore the major responsibility for raising children, but they established schools to teach basic reading, writing, and arithmetic and to cultivate values. Science and geography were added later, but the curriculum remained focused for 260 years. Then, at the beginning of the 20th century, society started assigning additional responsibilities to the schools—a trend that has accelerated ever since:
From 1900 to 1910, we added nutrition, immunization, and health to the list of school responsibilities.
Then, between 1910 and 1930, we added the practical arts; physical education, including organized athletics; vocational education, including home economics and agricultural education; and school transportation.

In the 1940s, we added:
* Business education
* Art and music
* Speech and drama Half-day kindergarten. School lunch programs also appeared. We take this for granted today, but it was a significant step for schools to take on the job of feeding America's children one-third of their daily meals.
In the 1950s, we added: an Expanded science and math education
* Safety education
* Driver's education
* Foreign language requirements were strengthened, and sex education was introduced.

In the 1960s, we added:
*Advanced Placement programs m Head Start
* Title I
* Adult education
*Consumer education
* Career education
* Peace, leisure, and recreation education.

In the 1970s, we added:
* Special education
* Title IX programs
* Drug and alcohol abuse education
* Par
ent education
*Behavior adjustment classes
*Character education
* Environmental education
*Women's studies
* African-American history.
* School breakfast programs also were instituted, which means that some schools now feed children two of their three daily meals. Sadly, these are the only decent meals some children receive.
* Prime Start
* Full-day kindergarten
* Preschool programs for at-risk children
* After-school programs * Alternative education
* Stranger/danger education
* Anti-smoking education
* Sexual abuse prevention education.
* Health and psychological services also were expanded, and child abuse monitoring became a legal requirement for all teachers.

In the 1980s, we added.
* Keyboarding and computer education
* Global education
* Ethnic education
* Multicultural/nonsexist education
* English as a Second Language/ bilingual education
* Teen pregnancy awareness * Hispanic heritage education
*Early childhood education

In the 1990s, we added:
* Conflict resolution and peer mediation HIV AIDS education
*CPR training *Death education * Expanded computer and Internet education
* Inclusion
* Tech prep and school-to-work programs
* Gang education
* Bus safety, bicycle safety, gun safety, and water safety education.

In the first years of the 21st century we have superimposed on our overburdened schools a new layer of high:-stakes, politically charged, standardized tests. And in most states we have not added a single, to the school calendar in five decades. All of these added responsibilities have merit, but the schools cannot take all of them on alone. School boards must facilitate conversations in their communities to answer two essential questions: What do we want our children to know and be able to do -when they graduate? And how can our schools and our entire community be organized to make sure all children reach those goals? The bottom line: Schools cannot raise America's children.

Jamie Robert Vollmer (, a former business executive and attorney, is a motivational speaker and consultant on increasing community support for public schools.


Let me add some of  the latest burdens to be placed upon the back of New Jersey Public Schools.
The first,of course, is the anti-bully legislation (an unfunded mandate, of course) which requires schools to make in many cases extremely subjective determinations and then act upon them. Failure to do so can result in severe consequences for administrators and/or teachers.

"Administrators who do not investigate reported incidents of bullying would be disciplined, while students who bully could be suspended or expelled. School employees would also be required to report all incidents they learn of, whether they took place in or outside of school."-

I would guess, based on the preceding unlined phrase, that even idle, teenage gossip, overheard in a classroom or hallway must be reported? 
So it seems that teachers must be constantly vigilant to overhear any and all utterances that might suggest bullying or else be held liable.
Additionally, an article recently appeared in the daily paper, indicating that the schools may be required to discipline students for out-of-school inappropriate behaviors?
I wonder how the parents of these children will respond. Will it be like the response which occurred at Wayne Hills  when the disciplining of the misbehaving football team was attempted?
I really have no problem with the intent of all these programs and their dictates but I certainly do question the continual burdening of the schools and then the deafening cries that schools are not doing their job!

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