Monday, May 17, 2010


The above hysteria comes form (no surprise) some actress testifying about something that sounded trendy to argue against in front of (even less surprise) a congressional committee.  The problem is that when it comes to OUR CHILDREN!!!!, some of us really don't have any damned sense.  And since these are all things that hit me personally, here we go.

First of all, there's the discipline front.  Specifically, the parents/teachers/caregivers who don't/can't discipline children.  As in spanking is bad.  Making a child cry is bad.  And forcing them to sit in a corner as punishment is bad (I found this out from my babysitter, who can only "talk to them" if they're misbehaving, which is as effective with my boy as making a chihuahua a guard dog (trust me, he needs the ass whipped as freely as I did).  I'll be blunt.  There is no punishment (except when it ranges into clear abuse, like bruising or psychological torture) that is bad.  All of them work to varying degrees, need to be applied in different situations, and are lessons the kids need to learn (as in "if you touch that, I'll whip your ass.  *touch* *Wham!*).

It's one thing that I've learned:  I can be free and easy as I want with my children and have them love me to death.  But there are also times where I need them to hate my guts because I'm a complete bastard.  It's the whole carrot and stick thing, and it means that I have (relatively) well-behaved and respectful children (because if not, their ass will be red).

Now I'm not going to go off and condemn any particular punishment technique or philosophy (except government-mandated bullshit that makes discipline impossible (and the likely reason we had to change childcare a few months back)).  But I will clarify that there is no one-size-fits-all approach in dealing with children, as they all learn differently, and one just needs explained to tears while the other needs his hide tanned to get the same message (and I'll probably have to do so again before I can finish this post...).

This one-size-fits-all approach, however, is how most of us also deal with educating our children.  That would be the curse on today's youth known as government schools.  And the incompetent hands of the legion that is teachers' unions.

It got so bad in one Rhode Island town that the school system fired all the teachers in a perpetually failing school after the union thugs wouldn't concede shit (yay), then buckled and let the union lackeys come back after some "deal" was struck (link).  And the solution includes making the kids spend more time in the government school, where all kids are (made) "equal."  While some kids will excel in such an asinine environment, others *raising hand* who really don't learn in groupthink situations will naturally languish, getting by on sheer intelligence (while less intelligent kids will crash and burn and become government leeches).

And meanwhile, the solutions that seem to get the most traction are either "more money" and/or "more testing" (which the Brits are rejecting) neither of which does shit in the hands of government school union teachers who have every motivation to not rock the damned boat (which is also one way to get kids to give a shit), and school administrators who's hands, feet, and balls are tied.  And always, the solution that gets the political traction is to grow the Department of Education, while playing lip service to parental involvement.

(I'm just being general here, because every thing I list could  get its own post.)

Now obviously, I'm not happy with government education.  However, due to economic circumstances (as in I couldn't afford it), location (rural Ohio), and limited choices (Catholic School?  NFW!), my kids are government school bound.  On the plus, they do have an alternative class for kids with issues (as in my oldest), and I plan to spend some time and energy 1. teaching my children important shit (practical lessons, debate, and critical thinking), and 2. pissing off their teachers over dumb state and federally mandated shit, as well as dumb shit they learned (staring with the dumbass bullshit phrase "mistaken behavior", which has already pissed me off because it's a dumbass bullshit phrase (and I sent a note back on that...)).

I don't have a complete answer as to how to fix this other than radical moves like disbanding the department of education, all teachers unions, most state regulations, and maybe half the damned schools, then start over.  As that's really not practical, I guess I'll just have to fight the battles as they come over the next 14 years (my youngest will hit kindergarten after another year of preschool).  Somehow, if you know me, it will give me a REASON TO BE.

*insert evil maniacal laugh*

Of course, it might be better just to drive them to the park and ditch them there for the day.  Conveniently, there's plans to do just that:


I've already laid down a little more on this, as well as why I support this on my personal blog. If you're doubting my sanity in dropping the link above, then hop over and read why.

As for the day itself, it's simple.  You already know your child's capabilities.  And as long as they are comfortable with doing it, are of a decent age (7-8 an ideal minimum), and you have a group of kids doing it (or even parents with younger children who will go there and sit on a distant bench and ignore them for the most part (which is what I'd do, mine being 4 and 5), and you're not in a neighborhood where crack dealers hang out in the park, then there's no sane reason not to get with other parents and drop a group of kids off and tell them to cover each others asses.  And since at least one or two kids will probably already have their own cell phone, no problems if something goes bad.  In other words, it's about preparation and using common damn sense.

In short, responsibility for our children really falls to us, and to fight this insane environment of parenting by bureaucracy.  As this is intensely personal for me, expect the same passion that I give to my push for the FairTax (I couldn't resist).  In other words, I don't stop until we get it right.


BB-Idaho said...

"pissing off their teachers over dumb state and federally mandated shit,.." Oh, they already are. Federal mandates like
P.L. 102-109, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the 'section 504'. Public schools make a very costly effort with special ed, ADD, ADHD, crack baby kids, MS etc. Parental support? My wife put a kid on detention, Daddy called and said he was coming with his gun and they had a lockdown and police guard. Discipline? She broke up a fight between two brothers kicking each other. Got a broken thumb.
Couldn't report it in offical channels (physically interfering, you know) and paid her own med bills. Don't complain about schools-go, teach...

Patrick M said...

BB: Yeah, that's what I'm talking about (once I made sense of the whole comment).

There used to be a time when common sense generally ruled in the classroom, parents didn't threaten guns (or worse, lawyers) when the kids were out of line (they whipped the kids ass when they got them home), and you could grab hold of students to stop them from beating the shit out of each other.

There are a few good things in the regulation (like the things aimed at equipping teachers to teach those who can't function in normal classrooms (I have one). But most of the top-down bureaucracy of a federal government education system tends to impede the ability of educators to educate. Then there's the lawsuit-happy culture, the "perfect parent" culture, and the antithesis of good education, government teachers unions. So as a parent, I'm just going to engage the teachers my children do have contact with and try to keep them focused on teaching (and giving them shit when they have to deal with mandated shit).

And I did think about getting into teaching (after wasting four years in college for a degree I didn't really care about). From what you read here, how long do you think I'd last before getting shitcanned? Imagine my response to the gun nut dad, for example?

BB-Idaho said...

I agree. There are enough bad teachers to give the whole trade a bad name, which unfortunately tags the excellent ones as well.
Poor teachers should be terminated, it happens in all other trades (well Dr.s
stick together at times).
My wife retired 5 years back and volunteers one day a week at elementary,
she loves kids and likes to see them learn, paycheck or not. Like you, I would get shitcanned in a minute!

dmarks said...

The NEA is all about how much money it can take away from the education system, and will do anything to protect its mission. Even if it means blocking meaningful education reform, including blocking efforts to make sure teachers do their jobs.

TRUTH 101 said...

Your anti worker extremism has always troubled me Dmarks.

BB just talked about the dangers of being a teacher and you're angry they want to be compensated fairly.

dmarks said...

Truth: It's the NEA that is anti-worker. The vast majority of its members are forced to join it and give it money. No way do they want workers to have a choice. Perhaps the 'anti-worker extremist' label fits you when you want to see workers forced into unions.

As for "fairly", tell me what the prioritoy of the education system should be? To pay people way above the market value of the work, or to educate the children? When the two come into conflict, I side with the children.

And, actually, I am the one insisting on fair pay here. You seem to oppose it.

As for BB, his "Poor teachers should be terminated" goes against the demands of the NEA.

TRUTH 101 said...

If the teachers who decide not to join the union give up all the benefits and security of being in the union, then fine Dmarks. But the law says the union has to defend them. Why do you think it's fair for people who don't pay for benefits to get them Dmarks? I thought you were a fiscally responsible guy.

Or is it you just like suck ass scab workers?

dmarks said...

"If the teachers who decide not to join the union give up all the benefits and security of being in the union, then fine Dmarks."

They could get even better benefits because these will tend to be the better teachers. They can keep the benefits, which are in contrast earned honestly.

A company, school, or other workplace might then tend to fire the subpar teachers who gravitate to the union; those who advance through just sitting there and making threats, instead of through excellence. Imagine that: merit being considered! "What's best for education" replacing "how much can I screw the school system for".

"But the law says the union has to defend them."

Do you support removing this law?

TRUTH 101 said...

They will not get better benefits or pay. They will be blamed for bad students and bad parents just as they are now.

The Smart teachers know that their best protection and chance for better benefits and security is through the union.

Here is part of the real problem that for some reason I'm the only one who ever seems to mention it: Lazy management.

Union contracts included work rules and the right of management to establish work and safety rules. These included the sole right to hire, fire, discipline and determine production methods and standards. If management is too lazy to enforce these rules it's not labor's fault.

It's in the interest of labor to either get the dead weight trained right or moved out. Contracts have the procedures lined out to do this.

As to your asking about the union being required to defend them, I would support closed shops requiring union membership as long as a minimum of 75% of the workforce voted or signed the card in favor of joining.

Any less than that is a waste of time for the union. It will spend a boatload of money on negotiations and other costs for a shop that isn't truly committed to organizing. There's a business side to this also.

Sorry if this is veering from your topic too much Patrick.

dmarks said...

I might be more amenable to closed shop if there were very tight controls on what is done with the dues money (i.e. no political usage). Way too often dues are just used as a slush fund for anything the union bosses want, including any political cause.

TRUTH 101 said...

I'm not sure about the Teacher's rules. There are restrictions to using dues money for political campaigns but I concede these are easily gotten around.

If you were to ban corporate contributions I'd go along with banning union contributions.

BB-Idaho said...

NEA must spend a lot defending against lawsuits
Our local teachers took a 2% cut this year (so powerful is their union) and my wife continues to pay dues to the Retired Educators group..most of which goes to set up scholarships.

dmarks said...

"I'm not sure about the Teacher's rules. There are restrictions to using dues money for political campaigns but I concede these are easily gotten around."

Yes. I have read the magazine for the UAW called "Solidarity", which is purely partisan political activism. I checked and it looks like this is funded from general dues. I believe in free speech, and don't have a problem with this except that UAW members are forced into the union against their will.

Either ban this type of political abuse, or give each worker free choice in whether or not to join/pay dues.

BB: How much of a cut would they take and still stay at their jobs?

"If you were to ban corporate contributions I'd go along with banning union contributions."

In this situation, it is apples and oranges. No one is forced to join/participate in a corporation against their will. But if you did find examples of that, I'd also support such restrictions.

TRUTH 101 said...

I've trimmed my portfolio considerably because I think another crash is coming this year. Still, I don't agree with many things Exxon oe GE lobby for or political causes they support financially.

BB-Idaho said...

'BB: How much of a cut would they take and still stay at their jobs?'
Good question; how much would you?

dmarks said...

Probably 10%. So, where is your answer? And if you can cut teacher pay without losing teachers (and use the money to keep schools open and hire more teachers), then why isn't that a good idea? What is the critical mission, after all. Fattening wallets, or education?

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