The Problem with Public Education

BRING COPORAL PUNISHMENT BACK TO THE SCHOOLS – After teaching for 16 years and observing the deterioration of classrooms in the today’s schools, I have come to the conclusion that the chaotic state of affairs in the schools today is the result of the decision to take corporal punishment out of schools years ago that has now gotten to the point where it is jeopardizing good teachers and good students and giving power to the bad kids who could care less about learning anything.

What used to be called a problem in the inner city schools has now spread into schools in all areas in and around Los Angeles. In many schools, the kids are running the school due to weak administrations more concerned about getting money from the state for each kid’s attendance than being concerned about that same kid’s poor behavior or learning abilities.

Parental support is becoming a thing of the past as parents could care less what their kids are doing in school as long as the teacher is handling them, doubling a well paid babysitter. If you are a parent participating in your child’s activities and well being at school, then your job is as challenging as the teacher’s challenge in doing whatever it takes to get your child to learn what they have to know in order to survive and be productive in this world.

Countless students from a variety of schools have told me that the reason their homework wasn’t done was because it is too many distractions at home, some complaints have been to the point where we teachers are required by the state to report certain conditions under the child endangerment, child abuse laws.

Parents too busy, a home too noisy, out of control siblings making the home everything but an atmosphere for learning. What does this do to a classroom? Answer, it turns what should be a learning environment into an out of control den of pure chaos for 6 hours a day where some students after all that, still seem to be able to concentrate and complete their assignments on time.

Does the movie, “To Sir with Love” ring a bell? For those who don’t know the movie, it is about a new teacher who is assigned to a classroom from hell and transforms it from a class of out of control barbarians to a class of focused students who want to make something of their lives.

Unfortunately, that is what teachers today are expected to do over and over again because of the problems mentioned above. The problem is more and more good teachers are burning out and leaving teaching all together because of the same problems.

Why, because the classrooms have turned into total madness, not because the teacher is not a disciplinarian, but because since the removal of corporal punishment, kids know their rights. They know they can’t be touched, and as a results, they will push a teacher to the point of road rage, heart attack, panic attack and any other health problems caused by this kind of stress.

At first, before the mid- 90’s, when corporal punishment was taken away initially from teachers, at least it was still administered by deans. That intimidation and fear still maintained control in the classroom.

But when corporal punishment was taken away from the administrators, all hell broke loose and has gotten worse and worse over the past several years to the point now where students are confronting teachers, cursing at teachers, standing up to the teachers’ backups, security personnel and sometimes, even the administrators themselves.

Even though the current trend is to give bad kids “time out” to think about their actions and consequences that follow, that technique, though effective for some, as proven repeatedly, is not effective for those who come from streets of violence, gang-banging, abuse at home and other traumatically violent backgrounds.

The boot camp programs have been heavily criticized over the past years due to some out of control techniques applied by certain instructors. However, tough love programs, when applied correctly, have been successful in converting hardcore kids who have no respect for anything, not even themselves.

Something has to be done and quick before the worst generation to date consisting of more and more disrespectful, out of control kids take the baton and ruin what’s left of this chaotic world.