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Educational Bullying – Teachers Get Away With It

Posted by cann0nba11 on September 13, 2013

Did you know that the National Education Association recommends no more than ten minutes of homework per grade level for your student? Your fifth grader should have no more than 50 minutes of homework, your ninth grader should have no more than an hour and a half. As a senior you should have no more than two hours of homework per night.

Stop laughing.

This is for real.

Instead of the dream scenario above, parents with kids in public or private schools are probably more familiar with something like this:

  • 6:30 am – wake up, morning routine.
  • 7:00 am – stuff breakfast into zombie-face while trying to remember what day it is
  • 7:30 am – leave for school
  • 8:00 am – school starts
  • 3:30 pm – school ends
  • 4:00 pm – homework starts
  • 10:00 pm – bed time (if you’re lucky)

Notice that there are no extracurricular activities listed, this is done on purpose. Now, hear me out. From the morning bell until the lights go out, this student has just enjoyed a fourteen hour day spent mostly sitting at a desk. Yes, there is a lunch break, perhaps a PE class, and hopefully the student was able to make it to the dinner table to join the family for some sustenance and personal interaction.

Now switch this up a bit. Instead of sitting at a desk doing homework for 14 hours, imagine this eighth grader sitting at a sewing machine in a factor for 14 hours, with occasional breaks for meals. There would be outrage. Child labor laws! Lawsuits! How could you do that to your child?

We do it every day, folks. The scenario above is the norm for private school students, and probably for most high school students. Why?

Because we allow it to happen.

Plenty has been written about this topic. For example this article from parenting.com.

The National Education Association recommends that kids have a total of ten minutes per grade level of homework per night. Anything above that is excessive. They don’t have time to just be kids anymore  — they’re so bogged down. And since many of the assignments are simply busywork, learning often becomes a chore rather than a positive, constructive experience. Homework overload is also affecting family life  — a lot of kids can’t even make it to dinner, and as a result, the only interaction they have with their parents involves arguments about homework. The bottom line is that a child will understand a concept better if he has time to work on five problems, rather than struggling to race through 50.

Or consider this excerpt that discusses what students lose due to excessive homework.

The value of friendships, extracurricular activities, and relaxation time to children’s intellectual and emotional development has been extensively documented. When homework is overwhelming, however, children are less likely to have the opportunity to participate in these activities. Thus even a child who is left unfazed by excessive homework or who excels in school may suffer as a result of excessive homework because he’s unable to engage in the activities that can help him become a well-rounded adult.

If you are spending money on a private school, thousands of dollars per year, are you getting the customer service you deserve?

Children in private schools often have several hours of homework a night by the time they reach middle school. This often requires them to study ten to twelve hours a day with virtually no time to relax, play, or socialize with their friends during the week. It often robs them of much of their weekend as well. This kind of work load is no small matter. If we imagined children spending twelve hours a day hunched over a sewing machine rather than a desk, we would be appalled. Indeed, play, is a crucial component of healthy child development. It affects children’s creativity, their social skills, and even their brain development. The absence of play, physical exercise, and free-form social interaction takes a serious toll on many children. It can also have significant health implications as is evidenced by our current epidemic of childhood obesity, sleep deprivation, low self- esteem, and depression.

So, what is a thoughtful principal to do? This article is written by a PhD specifically for principals and contains many solid suggestions. Here’s one:

Reduce the amount – but don’t stop there.  Many parents are understandably upset with how much time their children have to spend on homework.  At a minimum, make sure that teachers aren’t exceeding district guidelines and that they aren’t chronically underestimating how long it takes students to complete the assignments.  (As one mother told me, “It’s cheating to say this is 20 minutes of homework if only your fastest kid can complete it in that time.”)  Then work on reducing the amount of homework irrespective of such guidelines and expectations so that families, not schools, decide how they will spend most of their evenings. (Note: We have almost ZERO family time since starting school.)

I’ve heard faculty members say that today’s workloads are preparing younger students for high school, and preparing high school students for college. What a cop out. These workloads indicate a massive failure in the classroom and in the administrative office. Fire-hosing our children with what amounts to nightly cram sessions does nothing more than create stress, anxiety, anger and depression. And not just for the students but for the parents.

Bad teaching cannot be masked by reams of homework, and the impact of a single bad teacher can easily wipe out the positive impact of several good teachers. Abusive homework levels generate stress at home in the form of nightly arguments over assignments. They create ongoing unhealthy anxiety over due dates and classroom procedures that while counted as part of student’s grades have zero to do with educating our children.

And don’t get me wrong. I used the word abusive for a reason. When teachers are allowed to assign homework that takes hours per evening, with zero regard for what other teachers are assigning, and with zero regard for student quality of life, we have an abuse problem. When administrators defend their teachers and these abusive behaviors and refuse to listen during conferences, we have a problem.

We see messages about bullying all of the time. But they always assume that it is student on student. I argue that bad teachers get away with educational bullying by knowingly stealing time and energy from our children. Good teachers and administrators listen to properly delivered parental concerns. They should not wait for their turn to speak, they should actively listen with the intent of making things right for their students. Students are the customer and the product; both need to be treated with respect.

Please read and share the articles linked above. They provide much more information than I’ve hinted to in this post.

 

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What Happened Between Martin and Zimmerman?

Posted by cann0nba11 on July 10, 2013

This trial has been a mess. No big surprise, when the media gets involved early on to generate ratings, it can’t help but muck things up. This has been a farce of a trial, both sides have made mistakes, but to most rational people this trial is over and Zimmerman will be a “free” man. Then the fun will begin. But that’s not what this post is about.

I think I have a decent idea of what actually went on between Treyvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Martin should still be alive today, and Zimmerman should still be an anonymous neighborhood watch guy.

But that didn’t happen. Mistakes were made and a boy was killed. Zimmerman was wrong to follow the kid. But you know what probably happened? Here’s my guess based on years of people watching, reading, and plain old life experiences. Dig down deep into your reality filter and hear me out.

Zimmerman was frustrated about recurring vandalism in his neighborhood. Far too often local cops don’t give much care about actually solving problems, they are content generating revenue for their local municipality by issuing citations to people with expired inspection stickers or license plate light bulbs that are out. (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything). So Zimmerman decides to play mall cop, a big mistake. He see’s someone in a hoodie in his neighborhood, someone not normally walking the streets there. Most people that live in your typical neighborhood can tell if someone walking the streets alone is not from there, and these days you have to be vigilant and aware (been there done that myself). My own neighborhood has been vandalized, I have been robbed, and I have walked my neighborhood after seeing suspicious people or vehicles on our street. That’s just the way things are today in America.

So, Zimmerman decides to follow the hoodie, Martin notices this, gets nervous about being followed and starts thinking about the situation. “Who’s following me, what will he do if he catches me. I better get my guard up.” So when Zimmerman makes it to Martin, Martin goes into self-preservation mode to ward off his stalker. Nothing wrong with that, many of us would probably do the same thing.

And you know what? I bet Zimmerman backed down. I bet he got up to Martin and saw a kid taller than him and decided to back off. But by this point, Martin is scared, and/or angry, and now he wants to get into this chubby cat’s face, because he is ticked that he was scared and now wants to release some stress.

So, now Martin is getting in Zimmerman’s grill. He’s pissed and has a chance to kick some ass. They exchange some words, Martin gains the aggressor position, and then he sucker punches Zimmerman. Knocks him on his butt. And then the fight starts in earnests and Martin snaps. He starts bashing ZImmerman’s head into the pavement. At this point, now it’s ZImmerman that is reacting instinctively. They continue to struggle, he’s losing bad and fears for his life as his head is being smashed into the pavement (see photos of his injuries), and then the shot is fired. Done. Tragic. Preventable. But not murder.

The press gets a hold of the story, and because it is “white” versus black, it trumps all of the dozens of murders that took place that same month in America. Forget that Zimmerman is Hispanic. Forget that Martin was 5’11” while the press ran with the five year old photo of him as a 12yr-old cute kid., not the @no_limit_nigga in your face persona he was living out as an older teen. The image of the pre-teen cute little boy is the image most of America first saw and still retains in memory today. Once again, the media is largely responsible for shaping public opinion instead of reporting the news, and the media continues to make this a racial issue.

This trial, like the Rodney King incident in 1991 or the OJ verdict in 1995, will certainly make waves, and probably lead to outbreaks of violence. For some reason a certain segment of our population will get violent and decide that breaking windows and stealing stuff is the proper response to what they perceive as an injustice. And this is our reality. I just hope nobody else dies because George Zimmerman decided to follow someone and because Treyvon Martin chose not to let it go.

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Are You Giving Or Mocking?

Posted by cann0nba11 on September 7, 2011

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” — Stephen Colbert

I don’t watch Stephen Colbert, but he is popular for a reason. He is an experienced comedian with a stellar career that started at the famous Second City. He has paid his dues and climbed to the top of his field. That’s what happens in America when you work hard. Lately he has been enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to his mocking of conservatives, an easy and safe target for liberals to attack. Since Colbert’s quote has become quite popular as of late I think  it merits further analysis. To me it provides a concise summary of how many on the left think and act.

For starters, the quote begins with a false premise, as do many liberal talking points. It is direct and emotional.

“If this is going to be a Christian nation”

Who is saying that we are going to be a Christian nation? The founding of America was based largely on Christian beliefs, but we are not a theocracy, nor are we a Christian nation. According to various sources more than 80% of Americans consider themselves religious with about 75% considering themselves Christian and 5% other religions. Roughly 15% consider themselves irreligious, and 10% refuse to answer the question.

So what exactly is a “Christian nation?” By definition it would be a country that uses the Bible or other religious documents as its legal system. This is not the case in America. Where is it the case? Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are all based on Islamic law. Their religious documents determine your fate in the courts. Are there any Christian nations in the world? None that I can find, feel free to send me an example.

“that doesn’t help the poor”

These are the words that I think completely invalidate Colbert’s message. America is generous in so many ways. We give when disasters strike. We give to help eradicate hunger and disease. We give to counties that hate us. The overwhelming majority of religious-based international aid is Christian.  And let us not forget those that give the ultimate sacrifice in blood to help other countries gain their freedom.

So I have to wonder, what the hell is Colbert talking about? Does he think that we are neglecting the poor in America? Has he ever been to a truly poor country and witnessed starvation or human rights violations? When obesity among the poor in America is problem, we have to reconsider how we define poor. If you can afford to buy Twinkles or a Happy Meal, you are not poor. If you have a cell phone or cable television, you are not poor. Step down from your faux moral high ground and step into reality.

America does have poor citizens, but they are a much smaller percentage than many of the left will admit to. And they can get help at any time if they choose to. At the end of the day we all make our own decisions. Those that have legitimate mental health problems need to be taken care of, and those that refuse to work need to change their attitude. Last time I checked, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are hiring. No jobs in your area? Move. I’ve been there, and I’ve done it.

I understand that there are those that will dig up per capita studies and say that America gives less than other countries. So what? The poor don’t care about ratios, they care about food and shelter. If you think America needs to give more then give more yourself. If you think the rich need to pay more taxes, pay more taxes yourself. There is no law that says you can’t pay more than what you owe.

“either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are”

Perhaps he is speaking for himself. What percentage of his millions does he share with the poor? Personally I give money and time to help others, as an individual and through both my church and my employer. Given that Colbert is a practicing Roman Catholic I would expect him to recognize how much the church gives in time, people and donations to the poor. I would also think that he gives while at church. Making $3.5M a year he can certainly afford to tithe. He could easily give just 1%, which would be $35k, which is roughly the cost of a plate at an Obama fundraising dinner these days. Maybe he is referring to those that don’t pay their taxes? As a self-proclaimed Democrat Colbert should be well aware of those politicians on his team.

“or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition”

I think more people acknowledge this than he realizes. The important word in this line is “needy.” We help the needy without condition. We help the not-so-needy with condition. Unemployment insurance is supposed to be a temporary relief program. Student loans are loans, as in “you have to pay them back, you knew that when you signed the paperwork.” Welfare is supposed to be a temporary support system, but our government has turned it into a lifestyle. Do you give a homeless man on a street corner food with any conditions? Do you put the envelope in the collection basket with any conditions attached to it? Do you volunteer your time to help others, or to receive praise? Americans give without condition, I wish more Americans received without expectation.

“and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” 

By now the point has been repeated enough. We DO want to do it (help the poor) and we actually do it. We just don’t run around trumpeting how generous we are unless someone steps up and claims that we aren’t doing enough.

So what is Colbert’s point? To me it is obvious, he is simply appealing to his audience and mocking an easy target. It is “hip” to mock conservatives and religious people, even though three in four Americans consider themselves religious. The quote is popular among anti-corporate anti-capitalism lemmings, and is popular among Obama supporters. Why? Because it is shallow and baseless, very much like our president and his policies. It is another “I can see Russia from my house” soundbite that appeals to the politically ignorant. I believe if you cornered Colbert and could get him to speak honestly he would admit that his quote is just another piece of ratings bait or shock value. I understand that, after all he is an extremely successful entertainer. I just wish his followers would think as much as they mock.

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