Todays schools are attempting to educate children in the schools with very little control over student behavior and this is hurting everyone involved in public education. Poor student conduct greatly damages the positive learning environment needed for all the students to be successful. It also creates stress for teachers and administrators that should be focusing on educating not dealing with problem students all day. Students lack of focus can be attributed to a shift in youth culuture in which parents have less contol, the media markets everything to teenagers, teens have more freedom, and respect towards adults no longer has any merit. Todays kids also have more to deal with including violence, single parent homes, and poverty. This big social problem of youth culture can not be completely explained and is just something we are going to have to deal with in education. The media and breakdown of the family are things that we have very little control over. I am not going to attempt to explian culture shifts but how we might try to deal with them in public education.
Many public school systems have failed to address the gradual breakdown of classroom conduct, respect, and earning your grade. My experience especially in Portland is that the schools lack any form behavior plan. They may have plans in place but these plans are not followed strictly or by everyone the same way. The administrators of the schools are way too laid back when it comes to kids taking education seriously.
In my experience kids will follow rules more closely when they are consistant. I feel it is the administrations role to put strict rules of school conduct in place that are to be followed by everyone the same way. These rules are then expected to be strictly enforced by all of the staff. The staff must always respond to a breach of the rules and follow a consistant plan of action. This will send a message to the students that you can not skate around the rules, like they are currently doing now. I have seen this work in schools that are socioeconomically worse off than any in Portland. Students must know their expectations and be held to them with very little flexability.
Schools need to change thier image to schools are a priveldge and not a right. Students have the attitude that they deserve to be in the school even though they dont do the work and dont follow the rules. School is a place for learning not a hangout for friends. If students aren't there to learn and reufuse to improve, they should be moved to alternative programs. Most students want to stay in the normal schools. We just need to give the students a reason to work to stay in them. Students should have to work to advance. Changing the way schools are seen by students will imporove the school environment.
Todays schools are places full of distractions that do not need to be there. I see schools full of i-pods, cd players, playstation portables, makeup, CELL PHONES, cameras, and tons of other distractions that should not come through the front door of the school. Their is absolutely no educational benefit to any of these things and I dont understand why administrators allow them in their schools. I was at a school that addressed this problem with complete seriousnes. They would bag any item a student had and thier parents would have to come pick it up in the office for a fee. This stopped any distractions from coming in the school very quickly. It is not the students right to have these items. They make it very difficult to create a positive learning environment. Teachers are constantly having to stop students from sending text messages and listening to music. It is just stupid and it can be prevented.
Students in todays classrooms also feel that they need to question everything. A teacher can not be questioned by their students all the time, im talking mainly about when a teacher asks a student to move seats, be quiet, removed from class, that type of thing. That is showing a complete lack of respect for teachers. Students should not be questioning authority like that. They are just causing a classroom disruption. Students should be removed from class if they can not show a teacher the respect that they deserve. I was in a school in another state that would have a police officer give students a 60 dollar citation if they used any type of foul language towards a teacher, the ticket was for verbal abuse. This may not be fair to students from poor families but the problem stops quickly, money talks.
These are just a few of the topics on my mind for public schools right now. I may add more on the post when I have more time. I am a very liberal person but fear that the liberalization of our school rules structure is very detremental to education. I fear that if we dont curb some of these trends that the schools will continue thier downward spiral. A strict structure will ensure a positive learning environment. I know that a strict structure can sometimes limit creativity but we have to focus on the big problem right now. The quality of future graduating students is dependent on a change in mindset. I would like input on anything you think can help reverse the trend of lower quality studens coming from our schools and student behaviour becoming out of control.