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  1. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim3k View Post
    As for the child who is autistic, is there a way that the county's/state's child protective services can be brought to bear on the parents? It seems to me that a decent argument can be made that these parents are neglecting their child to his/her detriment.

    I admit I dunno what the rules are for CPS to become involved in this type of neglect, and I suspect that there are some school district political issues in taking such a step. (Who makes the complaint? Can a complaint be made by another parent? The principal? A teacher on his own? What about the teacher's union? The PTA? School nurse?) Someone must be out there.

    BTW, I wouldn't get too concerned about a suit. I expect that even if the district is operating on a tight budget, it has insurance to cover this sort of thing. Maybe the County or State would defend it as well if there is no insurance. Heck, maybe the insurance company has a loss protection expert to call upon.
    Is this really neglect? Mis-guided - absolutely. But neglect to demand a child be mainstreamed even if it isn't in the child's best learning interest?

    Every situation is different, but the autistic community looks at Temple Grandin as an inspirational example of not giving into professional educators' desires to only teach autistic kids in special ed classes.

  2. #122
    Got two more winners from the world of education

    First up... an autistic girl a grade below the one I teach at. This student is a severe case... she has wet herself in class because she does not understand she has to use the bathroom, does not really have much verbal communication, literally gets up and runs out of the room when she sees kids walking past... she cannot really read or write, and cannot really retain any information beyond a minute or two.

    Now, the teachers have LONG maintained she is clearly in the wrong environment. She is not learning any of the basic social skills that she will need going forward in life. She really should be in an autistic program where she gets one on one aid, and help with the skills she needs.

    The parents, however, have fought for YEARS to keep her in general ed where they can (she goes to a special ed classroom for reading, writing, and math; there is no special ed for science or social studies, so she comes to class for that) and have sued the school on two occasions to keep her there. Now they are getting upset because she doesn't seem to understand the social studies and science they are doing in class... that she cannot explain how clouds are formed, or how light is refracted, or how the French and Indian War helped cause the American Revolution.

    Her teacher is SO frustrated. The teacher has said, a number of times, that OBVIOUSLY she will not be able to do the social studies or science; she cannot read, she cannot focus, she cannot retain... what do they expect? Yet the parents are raising a HUGE stink over this, and so the higher-ups (the caseworker and some others) are coming in and asking questions, and even expressing some surprise at how bad things are... despite the fact that teachers have been saying for YEARS that this student is absolutely and completely in the wrong place. Now, in an attempt to please the parents, they are having the teacher, when she writes notes on the board, ALSO write notes on a single piece of paper, and then stand in front of the girl and, using a piece of paper, to mask all but one word at a time, so that the girl can write them down. Seriously? THIS is a good use of the teachers time? THIS is a good use of the STUDENTS time?! And keep in mind that the parents even fought this at first, because they were afraid that it made the girl "stand out" from her classmates... they wanted some mystical modification that would be unnoticeable. As if all of the other issues she faces don't make her stand out.

    And then the parents have complained that the classroom teacher isn't doing enough to help this girl make friends. Uhmmm... there is NOTHING this classroom teacher can do to help that. Nothing. She wets herself, she screams, she jumps up and runs around, she cannot have a conversation... the place she COULD get help with social skills would be an autistic-specialized classroom... which the parents fight against tooth and nail. What on earth are they expecting?

    *sigh*

    And then another one... my wife, an elementary school counselor, has two young African American boys who have come to her school, a predominantly white, upper upper class school. The boys were removed from their mothers care (drug use) and dad has never been in the picture; they are currently under the care of another family member.

    Now, the boys are a MESS. The older of the two (who is about 8) is wild; he curses, hits other kids, runs out of the classroom, and is disrespectful like you wouldn't believe. He speaks often of whores, drugs, sex, and a RAFT of other things no 7 or 8 year old should know about, talks about having seen being doing drugs and fighting and shooting each other, and literally curses every other word. He was taken for an outside psych eval after the caretaker fought it for a YEAR (only a threat of legal action got her to do it) who found that the child was deeply disturbed... I don't remember the term, but my wife said that it was the "youth" version of being a sociopath. His IQ tests down in the low 70s. The younger boy is heading that same way; he assaulted two different children, attacked a teacher, is no longer allowed to use the bathroom alone because he goes on the floor, and curses and behaves in a way that is REALLY having a dramatic impact on the other kids in his class.

    BOTH of these boys have had a dramatic impact on the school; the are known by EVERYONE, as they have had run-ins with a wide range of kids, from fistfights with upper grade boys to sexual harassment of second grade girls (I believe the quote was "Yo bit__hes, I'm grabbing your titties!") Other parents have complained (and now some are beginning to threaten legal action) as their eight year olds come home with these bizarre stories and repeating some of the HORRIBLE language that they are learning.

    This entire time the family member who is in charge of them has FOUGHT... TOOTH AND NAIL... to have ANYTHING done. She has claimed the school and the district are just being racist, that it is picking on them just because they are black, that they simply don't know how to treat a black child... and now, at the meeting where after a year of my wifes work the family member FINALLY came in to (apparently) sign the paperwork to get them classified as special ed so they can get some serious, individual attention and help... nope, instead she informs the school she has hired a lawyer and is suing the district for racial discrimination. Which will, of course, cost the district (which just cut all sports and art programs in the middle school and made the high school sports a pay-to-play program, and went through MASSIVE layoffs) even more money.

    Two perfect, and common, examples of waste. Two examples of parents/adults (who obviously SHOULD have a lot of say in their childrens' educations) simply making the job of the schools impossible, of expecting more than can possibly be given. So many issues, from parents and even from administrators in the schools themselves. It is so very frustrating.


    It sounds strange, but I hope these stories help folks who otherwise have no exposure to this stuff understand why schools struggle often SO mightily. These are just random snippets of stories the likes of which happen CONSTANTLY, in every school.
    Last edited by Lord Ash; 11-18-2010 at 11:46 AM.

  3. #123
    To me this seems like a problem with the system more than anything else. Obviously the parents/guardians are behaving horribly but that almost seems inevitable. You are going to get crazy parents at some point. The system should be better designed to handle these cases. If I was a parent and my child was in class with kids behaving how you describe those boys behaving then I would be throwing a fit too. I wouldn't want my child at risk of abuse from out of control kids (or learning things that kids that age should never know). The system seems to give parents too much control over where their kids are taught to the detriment of the rest of the kids.

  4. #124
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Back in the dirty Jerz
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Ash View Post
    I don't remember the term, but my wife said that it was the "youth" version of being a sociopath.
    Probably one of Oppositional Defiant Disorder and/or Conduct Disorder.

    I am not a psychologist, but I did stay at a... well I'm married to one.

    ETA: My wife is a school psychologist and I hear a lot of stories like yours. And it seems to me, from the outside looking in, that the biggest driver seems to be litigation. Parents demand what they want (either demanding way more services than the school is able to provide or else insisting that nothing is wrong and nothing should be done) and the school administrators will bend and bend and bend to try to avoid a lawsuit.
    -- DukeUsul

  5. #125
    my wife, a teacher, just sent me this - she said it sums up her frustrations pretty well:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVXhA_hs2J8
    My Quick Smells Like French Toast.

  6. #126

    Not just parents....

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeUsul View Post
    Probably one of Oppositional Defiant Disorder and/or Conduct Disorder.

    I am not a psychologist, but I did stay at a... well I'm married to one.

    ETA: My wife is a school psychologist and I hear a lot of stories like yours. And it seems to me, from the outside looking in, that the biggest driver seems to be litigation. Parents demand what they want (either demanding way more services than the school is able to provide or else insisting that nothing is wrong and nothing should be done) and the school administrators will bend and bend and bend to try to avoid a lawsuit.
    So I have had the chance to see the continuous degradation of our public schools through my mom, a junior high language arts teacher that retired this year. How bad is it? So bad that she started smoking again after quitting for over a decade.

    But it's interesting to study the attitudes of the students and parents over the years - and compare to the same attitude adjustments in college students.

    Now I am not devoid of a strategic parent intervention here and there. There were a few - questionable - parking tickets in school. Funny how fast the bursar's office took those off when mom called - even though they wouldn't even discuss that possibility with me.

    But it was in grad school when I came across a new breed of student - the "entitled" student. When having trouble in class, it was - whoop, right to the director's office - "I'm not getting what I paid for." The instructor has to change his/her ways to match my/our learning needs.

    This "I'm a customer" attitude is great when it comes to things like environment, amenities, student life, etc. - but when it gets in the way of taking responsibility for what YOUR JOB IS - go to class, study, pass tests - it's an issue.

    That sense of entitlement is why you get so many litigious situations in public schools today, whether in Wake County because of year round curricula - or in NJ from parents that refuse to have their children tested for autism.

    It's the "I'm a customer - and the customer is always right!" mentality that has removed the authority from our teachers. What's really funny is that parental extremes on both ends of the spectrum (entitlement and apathy) - together - are what will ultimately destroy the US education system.

    And make no mistake - within 10 years, our public schools (as we know them) will be gone. There are too many challenges (especially budget) to overcome for the US to continue to dumb down curriculum, pander to every whiny special interest group, and grant TOOOOO much power to parents - through the form of tort and the courts.

  7. #127
    Quote Originally Posted by steven52682 View Post
    my wife, a teacher, just sent me this - she said it sums up her frustrations pretty well:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVXhA_hs2J8
    Bwah hah hah hah! Okay, that was funny as hell... the administrator is PERFECT. It often feels like, as a classroom teacher, you are battling demanding, entitled, unrealistic parents on one side and out-of-touch administrators who say things like "Let's make sure there is lots of technology written into every part of the curriculum!" while we struggle to be able to check email regularly and have only enough working laptops for 6 kids out of the entire 6th grade.

    DukeUsul, it was conduct disorder, and one other thing which I cannot recall the name of. It always made me nervous how my wife described the kid... she said he could be very, very charming, and then INSTANTLY go into a fit and attack someone. Very unnerving.

    And yes, public education is a lot of trouble... and let's not even bring up the fact that we have about four years left to ensure that EVERY SINGLE CHILD is able to pass the state tests... tests which were redesigned in NJ because someone thought they were too easy, and then promptly half of the kids in Bergen County failed. Because NOTHING proves success like the most unrealistic goal ever conceived.

    *sigh*

    Back to report cards!
    Last edited by Lord Ash; 11-21-2010 at 09:57 AM.

  8. #128
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Back in the dirty Jerz
    Makes me want to homeschool.
    -- DukeUsul

  9. #129
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Ash View Post
    Bwah hah hah hah! Okay, that was funny as hell... the administrator is PERFECT. It often feels like, as a classroom teacher, you are battling demanding, entitled, unrealistic parents on one side and out-of-touch administrators who say things like "Let's make sure there is lots of technology written into every part of the curriculum!" while we struggle to be able to check email regularly and have only enough working laptops for 6 kids out of the entire 6th grade.

    DukeUsul, it was conduct disorder, and one other thing which I cannot recall the name of. It always made me nervous how my wife described the kid... she said he could be very, very charming, and then INSTANTLY go into a fit and attack someone. Very unnerving.

    And yes, public education is a lot of trouble... and let's not even bring up the fact that we have about four years left to ensure that EVERY SINGLE CHILD is able to pass the state tests... tests which were redesigned in NJ because someone thought they were too easy, and then promptly half of the kids in Bergen County failed. Because NOTHING proves success like the most unrealistic goal ever conceived.

    *sigh*

    Back to report cards!
    I think one of the more amusing aspects of the federal intervention in public schools - with NCLB programs, etc. - is the complete lack of thought (on both sides of the aisle) to the actions that these bills will create - and the ultimate end game that will result.

    Why is this funny? Because politics, by definition, is all about using incentives to get desired actions, but neither party's politicians seems even remotely able to look at a law / program / goal and understand the actions and results it will end up creating.

    Take NCLB. At least to me, it's obvious that the statutes of the program will mean that you have 12, 13, 15, 18 year-olds that can't read or write at the appropriate level because the government penalized holding kids back.

    Of COURSE they'll just get passed on, especially when younger, until it's too late to effect any change.

  10. #130
    Yeah, I do want to be careful discussing politics (which is how the details of NCLB is probably viewed) but I am just baffled by this idea that we can have a demanding test that somehow every single student will pass. The complete and utter lack of logic leaves me completely dumbfounded. That is simply not the way the world works, ESPECIALLY when the world you are working with is basically every child in America, from the wealthiest, tutor-helped child to the poorest kid who comes to school hungry and goes home to drugs and violence.

  11. #131

    NCLB and politics

    I agree some may see NCLB discussions as politics, which is why I stopped at one criticism, and it's aimed at "washington" in general, not a particular party or president.

    I personally find absolutes in ranking, grading, or managing ANY system, including schools, to essentially remove any decision making at all.

    And requiring EVERY child to be at a certain level, even though their own intelligence, their support from home, where they USED to live, etc. all plays as much of a factor as "the teacher" -- to be ludicrous.

    And especially when parents won't let their special kids be tested and moved out of mainstream classes.

  12. #132
    It is even more difficult when you factor in that 50% of all American children are below average . . .

  13. #133
    Quote Originally Posted by allenmurray View Post
    It is even more difficult when you factor in that 50% of all American children are below average . . .
    How dare you! ALL of our children are exception, and none are below average... and CERTAINLY not a massive FIFTY PERCENT!

    Imagine that... 50 percent of kids below average. Ridiculous.

    I assume you are a George Carlin fan, btw?

  14. #134
    Quote Originally Posted by allenmurray View Post
    It is even more difficult when you factor in that 50% of all American children are below average . . .
    It's probably more than 50% (depening on how you want to define average). I think we had this discussion before though...

  15. #135

    Lake Wobagon

    Quote Originally Posted by allenmurray View Post
    It is even more difficult when you factor in that 50% of all American children are below average . . .
    Not in Lake Wobagon where all the kids are above average

  16. #136

    society

    The problem runs deeper than just education. The whole American way of celebrating the individual and individualism often at the expense of the community should be called into question.

  17. #137
    *sigh*

    Here is the latest from the frustrating front of education!

    So, I have one student... he is of average (at best) intelligence... a nice boy, a bit out of place... very good with younger kids... FANTASTICALLY immature, however; he simply avoids work and then thinks no one will notice. He doesn't study, doesn't work hard at ALL (barely works, to be frank) and then cries when he fails the tests.

    This has been pretty routine over the years. Mom comes off as tough, but I wonder if she is as tough at home... he seems VERY babied.

    So we had our Parent-Teacher conferences this year. I require the kids to attend and do a presentation for the me and the parents about their year. We then discuss their goals (which they take notes on) and where they need to improve.

    For this student, it was ALL about taking responsibility. I spoke with him and his parents at length at it, although he seemed very "checked out;" I had to constantly remind him to look at me while I was talking, and he kept bursting out into tears. Silly stuff for a sixth grader.

    SO!

    He comes in about two weeks after conferences with this letter about being gone for a week for a football tournament in Florida. I have to sign it. I tell him "There is NO way I am signing this unless you tell me you understand that you have to still do the work while you are gone, and be ready for a test when you return." He swore he would. We reviewed the assignments he had to do, and a bit about what the test would cover. I signed the letter, and emailed Mom to tell her what his responsibilities were.

    He comes back, and just STARES at the test. Tears flowing. I give him extra time. No help; failed.

    I speak with him, and he says he knew about the test... he just didn't study. I tell him he has ONE evening to review the material again and I'll let him look at the test again, as he DID miss some lecture time. I show him the areas that can help him study, I make sure he understands there are review questions in the book he can do. I give him a note to take home to Mom explaining the situation.

    He comes in... and bombs. Again. Failed. Says he lost the note, but he told Mom he was taking it again. Spoke with Mom, she had no idea. Didn't seem too upset.

    Okay. What in the hell am I supposed to do? I am simply failing him... there comes a time you need to step up and take some responsibility, and until he shows ANY desire to do that, I will not bend over backwards for him.

    *sigh*

    SO frustrating.

  18. #138
    Fail him, Ash.
    Seriously, I began to wonder if you were talking about my (now adult) son when you began. I was plenty tough, but there are just some kids who deserve a kick in the pants.

    No way any 6th grader needs to be going to a week long football tournament. I'll venture that the folks had a vacation planned (tell me it was near Orlando) and cloaked it in some "very important" sporting event, thereby giving young Dopey a reason to feel special.

    Smells fishy. Back up your paperwork on this kid and prepare for a parental blasting but he's got to suffer the consequences.

    And yes, my son still drives me absolutely insane but he's now on his own and dealing with his own issues.

  19. #139
    Heard this from my wife last night. The state of NC is proposing an across the board pay cut for teachers next year of a couple of percentage points. I get that, budget being what it is and all. Not fun, but governments are out of $ and education salaries are probably the single biggest line item on the budget. Keep in mind that they suspended raises last year as well.

    Here's where it gets crazy. For the past 20+ years, teachers have been given a 10% raise in pay if they earned a Master's degree in their field, and another 10% if they are certified by the National Boards. Both take a minimum of a year to qualify for, and all expenses are paid out of pocket by the teacher. Average starting salary for a teacher in NC is around $30K/yr. The proposed budget also calls for doing away with these merit based incentives for secondary degrees.

    I have a big issue with this. Many of these people went and got these degrees specifically for the pay increase so they could make a halfway decent wage to live on, and have been living on it for 10-20 years. So, now you've given the teacher's an incentive to get a secondary degree/qualification and after they get said certification paid for out of their own pockets, you're going to take it away? I know budget times are tough, but removing incentives for teachers to get better qualified doesn't seem like the best way to do it. In addition, if I'm a highly qualified teacher looking at a 22% pay cut next year, I'm probably not going to be teaching anymore (or at least not in public school), and that only makes the problem worse.

    The best part about all this is that when test scores fall in the coming years because of all the budget cuts, we will all point the blame at the people who are to blame for failing our students.... the teachers.
    "There can BE only one."

  20. #140
    It is unfortunate that often teachers bear the brunt for the shortcomings of other people and other parts of society, shortcomings that the teachers have little REAL power over, but being public employees they can often bear the brunt of simple, unfocused civil unrest and political machinations. I had a friend recently who said that bankers and teachers are often in the same boat, because people like to heap blame on them even if they don't know or understand the entire story. I pointed out that the essential difference is that people and politicians can and often will do something about the teachers (who can rarely afford to lose much) but when it comes to banks, there isn't a lot a government can do with such a large and powerful private industry. However, I don't want to wander into PPB territory, so I'll leave it at that

    (On an interesting side note, there was a study that I think Bill Gates was connected to that shows that having a masters does not mean that a teacher is more effective. I don't have time to look it up right now, but frankly I am not shocked... I've always maintained that what matters in teaching is experience, experience, experience!

    Weezie, I am failing him. I am also creating a forced study time during recess for the week before the next test... I want him to understand what it actually means to sit down and study and prepare. I am afraid he just doesn't know how to do it and cannot figure it out on his own and has never been shown how to do it. Hopefully it will help him going forward!

    It is a great job for sure... I adore the kids (who are currently in gym) and the job, and most of the parents, and am blessed with a GREAT principal, and I would recommend it to ANYONE But man... some serious frustrations!
    Last edited by Lord Ash; 12-16-2010 at 09:15 AM.

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