Teachers and students behaving badly

Thanks to Anthony Cody at his Living in Dialogue blog for bringing another vital issue in education reform out in the open. A guest article by Kelly Flynn takes an unsquinting look at the attitudes and behaviors of students in American classrooms, and how those may be the key factors in “why schools fail.”  Here’s a slice:

When teachers attempt to discuss disruptive, violent, mean kids, they walk a razor-sharp line between professional discourse and whining. One wrong step and their careers are in shreds. They know this.

So they don’t talk about it. And thus no one acknowledges — least of all the corporate reformers who create education policy in this country — that Johnny is hyped on caffeine, strung out on drugs, glassy-eyed from video-gaming, has no self-control, talks back, uses foul language, neglects to bring materials to class, refuses to do schoolwork, or is rude beyond belief. No one acknowledges that as a society we are not only at a loss as to how to discipline kids, we often enable their bad behavior.

Pair the very accurate information in this piece with the recent uptick in reports of teachers (or those in teacher positions) abusing students, and clearly there is a real moral issue that needs to be addressed in our schools at several levels.  It’s time we dealt with those issues openly and squarely, without over exaggerating the problems or using them as an excuse to dismantle public education. For a great discussion of possible solutions to some of these problems, I highly recommend another guest piece over at Anthony’s, by Katie Osgood.

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