Monday, November 17

Power of propaganda, prayers and politics, again

A few of the loudest school critics tend to spread gossip. Or propaganda. It depends on the level of commitment the critics dedicate to the objective. Higher levels of commitment usually means ligher levels of extremism. A bigly group of critics regarding public schools . . . are drum roll here: religious extremists!

As mentioned previously, no one is punishing students guilty of praying in a public school.
Sorry, the school security guard does not interrorgate students in the hall. God is not
suppressed in school. Kids can pray whenever they want. We don't promote Christianity in schools because in this country we have freedom of religion. Contrary to the beliefs of many, that does not mean anyone is free to become a Christian. Students in public schools belong to all kinds of faiths - not just Christianity.

My classrooms 10 years ago consisted of a diverse group. We discussed the First Amendment. Freedom of speech, religion, the press, the right to gather, to address government grievances . I taught kids who believed in Islam, Buddhism, God, Satan, and Judaism. All of those children were free to silently pray whenever they wanted. Any of them could read religious books during reading time. We celebrated diversity. We respected different religions.

Let's put the blame of out of control kids where it tends to belong--bad parenting skills. Religion in school has nothing to do with bad behavior, bad choices, and other bad habits modeled by parents.
  • Parents who don't parent
  • Ronald Reagan picks special interest groups over mentally ill

Who speaks for children and their education?
helps with confidence and a good work ethic.
Public schools were short-changed for years. Unable to provide proper testing to get treatment for at risk kids with mental problems, the neediest children tended to get in trouble for acting out. They'd be teased and bullied for their odd behavior. We shook our heads at those 'odd' kids who got bullied. Then the wrath of the consequences of untreated mental illness got too big to ignore. They started shooting.

  • Expecting filet mignon at hot dog prices
When I left teaching a few years ago, I had so many students in each class I'd decide each week which class I'd babysit instead of teach. They got rote drills, worksheets and worthless material or a film related to content. It's the way I handled too many students. Every week I'd rotate a class to simply exist so I could do lesson planning, correct papers, give kids feedback and work one on one. Like many teachers, I still worked 2-3 hours on school work when I got home. "We believe what the newspapers say but question what the Bible says." WTH are you talking about? And who? I believe some of what I read by credentialed journalists because their work is based on research and fact. I don't believe fake news shows like Fox News because it is propaganda more than news (fact checks show over half is not true).
Question the Bible? I would hope anything a person reads causes thinking and questioning. Otherwise we're a flock of sheep with no minds of our own. The Bible was literally written by the hand of men. It was roughly translated from difficult to understand archaic languages. Words and syllables were misinterpreted. Every translation caused more input from man.
Children reflect the values of their parents. Violent parents who slap their kids around are producing violent kids. Those kids take out aggression on others. You don't have to inflict pain on a child to act appropriately.

If parents took the time to solve the overall problem; they could. It's called taking time to communicate. Let your kids know what you expect and why. Give them chores or other responsibilities at home. It helps with confidence and a good work ethic. Chores also reinforce a sense of belonging. Consequences for not doing chores needs to be clear and immediately enforced. Tell them you're proud when they do something right instead of yelling when they do something wrong. It's called modeling. Give respect to get respect.

My kids were far from perfect but they knew how to treat others, never to bully anyone, never to make fun of those less fortunate or to ever think they were better than people who were different. Lots and lots of former students were already damaged because parents embedded hate and modeled discrimination. Kids are not killing people or spewing hate on the Internet because we don't have 'God in schools'.

It's because too many parents plopped their kids in front of the TV as the main babysitter. 

It's because too many kids see violence at home, see men hitting women and parents hitting kids.
It's because of mental illness, nightmares and fear. And we look the other way.

The father who says his kids respect him because he whipped them with a belt - doubtful. His kids were probably afraid of him. Big difference.
You earn respect. You can't demand it. Kids who get hit learn that hitting is the way to solve problems. They often feel they can't ask about personal problems or confide in parents they fear.

School shooters? Because God is not in school? You must be kidding.

First, most of these kids got guns from parents. People who own guns should be responsible and keep them locked up. If kids don't have access to guns, they can't shoot people. When a gun is used to shoot a room full of students, the gun owner should be charged for allowing a deadly weapon into the hands of an unstable child. If you can afford guns you can afford a gun safe. Lock it.

Second, there is a huge problem with lack of service and insufficient facilities for the mentally ill. The problem exists in schools and in general society. When President Reagan de-institutionalized the mentally ill he pleased special interest groups by saving  money previously spent on shelter for the mentally ill incapable of caring for themselves. While his rich buddies cheered his cutting of  the 'welfare state', they ignored his cutting of the safety net.  

Actions have consequences. One consequence was earning more money for special interests. Another consequence was to literally place vulnerable citizens unable to care for themselves out of the street. 

Reagan's actions caused a huge influx to the homeless population. Mentally ill patients with no family ended up on the streets or in jail.  Many veterans suffering from mental illnesses (caused by fighting for our country) and kids timing out of foster care ended up homeless. Due to taking from the needy and giving tax breaks to the upper end of the tax bracket, groups homes closed down or reduced the number of  available beds due to budget cuts. Reagan's action caused a vast number of our neediest citizens to suffer in the name of saving dollars.

As mental facilities became more scarce, instead of shifting money for treatment or shelter for those who couldn't care for themselves, the wealthy seemed committed to greed and the rest of us looked the other way. Again. 

The deplorable action in dealing with the large number of homeless people in overwhelmed communities seeks out victims to victimize them further.
Private homes, boarding houses, and people unqualified to care for the mentally ill took advantage of them. Many ended up in jail.
Cities made it a a crime to lay on a park bench, sleep on the beach or feed a hungry person. Instead of helping those with mental illness we treated them like unwanted animals or moochers and lazy bums who needed to get a job. 
Most cities dismissed the inhumane treatment. As long as they could rid their towns of these social deviants, it didn't matter what happened to them. Chronically ill patients were handed a week's worth of meds and a one-way bus ticket to another city. Problem solved. Those who survived and were physically able to express themselves probably felt angry and frustrated.  We pretended it was okay and ignored the consequences of such cruelty.

Public schools were short-changed for years. Unable to provide proper testing to get treatment for at risk kids with mental problems, the neediest children tended to get in trouble for acting out. They'd be teased and bullied for their odd behavior. We shook our heads at those 'odd' kids who got bullied. Then the wrath of the consequences of untreated mental illness got too big to ignore. They started shooting.

Once again, the government saved money at the expense of children in desperate need of services. If we actually helped these kids and provided appropriate services in schools, some would have a chance to live a normal life. Many innocent lives could have been saved if kids received professional help. Maybe. Too many long lists of referrals for testing, therapy, counseling- sat on desks or stalled in budget talks.
The problem just gets worse. Congress continues to cut human services. But, mental illness doesn't go away.  It seems many politicians want public schools to fail. Why? To make money, of course. Privatize. No regulations. More dirty money.
They useless cry for putting God in school has nothing to do with the reality of violence boiling over from raging mental illness. Our choices, our priorities, our willingness to ignore the needs of children--that's what contributed to school violence.

When I started teaching 25 years ago we didn't have the same kind of problems we have in today's schools. We also didn't have 'God' in public school. What we did have was parental support, parents involved in their kid's lives, a reasonable number of students in each class, sufficient planning time and the tools needed to do our job. We focused on teaching instead of jumping through hoops, wasting time giving worthless tests, following ridiculous impossible mandates like No Child Left Behind.

The pay didn't keep up with inflation and expenses got higher. Again, like many others, I've paid my share of school lunches, purchased food to send home with kids who had none, drove homeless students to food pantries, paid for bus fares, got second hand coats- all the 'extras' many teachers do to help kids survive. 
When you care about kids you deal with the reality that too many go without basic needs. Too many are neglected. The saddest part is knowing there are so many needy children who don't get any help. I'm pretty sure that 'God in schools' isn't going to provide housing, clothes and food for needy children. Again, these kids suffer because of adult choices. We make the decisions not to fund vital services or to cut nutrition programs. Children suffer the consequences of that greed.
Teachers are so overpaid and get summers off. That's a typical incorrect statement. I'd love to see the worst complainers walk into a packed room filled with 35 (or more) high school kids and successfully run the class -- as in keep discipline under control, get kids to participate, interact, and be engaged in learning and see threlevance in content, THEN those anti-teacher people can talk about how 'easy' teachingis. (Repeat that class 7 times a day for 3-4 different preps). 
When I left teaching I worked with about 225 kids each day. God in school or not, trying to reach 225 children each day, correct their work, provide feedback, give individual instruction, and keep all of them on task? Umm, no.

As I recall in 25 years I think I had 2 summers off. I either had to work another job or take classes to renew certification to meet other requirements.  Yet, the same people who preach about our 'out of control kids' are often the ones who support cutting funds for education, refuse to pay teachers what they deserve and send their kids to parochial school or home school.  There are some great teachers in public schools but they aren't miracle workers or magicians.
Sure, there is much more to the problems with youth in society than the few I mentioned. But, guess what? Trying to blame the problems in society on not having God in schools is just another way to misuse religion. It is an excuse. It's like citing a Bible verse as proof when you can find another verse supporting the opposite view. The Bible is not literal. Unless we still stone women for adultery or force widowed wives to serve their husband's brother, or any number of archaic messages, we need to realize times have changed.
By the way, I am a Christian. No one has EVER pushed me around for believing in God. Instead of blaming issues on others, we should realize our personal choices play a big role in consequences.
This particular rant reflects my frustration with those who try to simplify a complex issue, place blame on others or hide behind religion.
Violating the rules of logic and simply spewing out information with no objective facts is the trademark of the Fox News brand. propaganda is an effective technique. If you use all the key words appeal appeal to emotion, you can get readers all riled up before they have the chance to realize there is no substance in the claims. It is happening in our country at the highest level. Politicians get followers so agitated they are ready to take action -- nearly any action.
Yes, commentary is opinion. But, it still should make sense. This is crazy talk! IMO, instead of harping on the empty plan of putting God back in schools - whatever that means, let's start using some common sense.  There are many reasons for all the evil in society, the old God in schools claim is not one of them.
Oh hell. We all know who is to blame.  Thanks, Obama.

Our kids have no conscience because we didn't slap them around? That makes as much sense as Pat Robertson's claims that feminism turns women into lesbians who leave their husbands and kill their children - or something that cray-cray. Crazy talk.
What ever happened to common sense? You know what happened: Like, Charles Manson said go and kill your classmates and strangers so we said 'okay'. And stuff. Unbelievable crap all shoved in a sack with a cross glued on top.

IMO, the Bible is a piece of work paraphrased from stories of God. It certainly isn't literal. Yet, too many use it as an excuse to beat children, hate certain social groups while they completely ignore the model Jesus gave us.
Feed the hungry, help those in need, give to the poor, money is evil. Sure. Evidently the extremists who cherry pick Bible verses must have skipped over those pages. And, the ones about killing those who participate in sex outside of marriage. So ridiculous.

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