26 December 2007

Ed Publication Says Problem Of Messed Up Kids Who Terrorize Schools Not About Class Size

Can you guess what they are convinced the problem is? I'll give you three guesses.

Of course. Guns. You got it on the first try. Yes, once more it is convenient to blame an inanimate object for the criminal actions of a few. Here is what a contributor to Education Week had to say:

"Blaming schools and school size for the gun violence that occurs within them is not only unfair and unreasonable, but it also distracts attention from the cause that those who care about school safety and youth violence should be fighting for: getting guns off our nation’s streets and out of the hands of our nation’s youths . . ."

". . . Using tragedies like Columbine or SuccessTech to promote specific school reforms shifts attention away from the issue of gun control, and mutes what should be national outrage directed at those who oppose even the mildest measures intended to limit access to firearms."

Folks, the large urban Ohio high school I attended in the late 1970s had an enrollment of more than 1,700 students. We had no such incidents like this and firearms were FAR MORE READILY AVAILABLE than they today. Guns were sold openly in hardware stores, Abercrombie and Fitch stores, Western Auto and Sears stores. There were gun stores virtually EVERYWHERE. There was no paperwork -- just cash and carry in all of these retail outlets. In addition, young people occasionally carried firearms on buses to school because they planned to hunt or target shoot when school was over. I lived well within the city and I can remember into my junior high days people walking the railroad tracks behind my parents' home hunting pheasants and rabbits.

To have the education community try to redirect blame and point toward firearms is not unexpected. In the case of the boys at Columbine, the evidence has long been available that many warning signs were ignored by parents and administrators, alike. Was it building size? No, and on that point I totally agree with the author of the piece in Education Week. But she neglects to talk about other influences -- violent video games, perhaps even the admitted over-medication of our young people in order to keep their hyperactivity "even."

She does address bullying, but in my humble opinion, some school administrations are good at preaching how bullying is bad. But when push comes to shove, and someone complains about bullying, administrators and guidance counselors dismiss it and tell the kids to "get along." No, the author's real bugaboo is guns. She's incensed that people are pointing out real problems in education today. She's embarrassed that problems continue to be laid bare. Much improvement has been made, and there are teachers and administrators who take change seriously. They want to make the schools better, so that they can serve their students more readily.

Yet, the fact that our public education system still needs further reform is well known. Worse, improvement and reform is continually pushed back by some in the education community. All in the name of keeping the status quo. Hanging onto power.

For Professor Kafka of Baruch College in New York, contrary to her assertion, it is far easier to scapegoat firearms than to address real problems in public education.


Anonymous said...

Seems to me the biggest problem is the schools themselves. Apparently a few of these shooters are distraught over the loss of a job; or the loss of a girlfriend; or the loss of friends in general. They don't know how to deal with a loss. What a surprise! They've been brought up playing games where no one kept score so no one had to lose. They've been handed the line that they are such angels and will never have to lose in anything they do. Even their math has become fuzzy so that whatever answer they give, they get an "atta boy!" whether they deserve it or not. They hand out high school diplomas if they can keep from drooling for at least five minutes. Makes no difference that they can't read them. At least they feel good about themselves . . . for now. They don't know how to deal with loss in the real world so they go ballistic. Who would've suspected?

How much more crap are we going to let these so-called 'progressives' hand out?

Brent Greer said...

And parents (some, not all) will leave the kid to sulk in their room, not wanting to intrude on their "space" and find out why the young person is troubled. Many many complexities at play here. Thanks for your note.