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A Lesson in Behavior

"Since last September, 39 Chicago public school children have been murdered."

So began a four-part series of editorials by the Chicago Sun-Times on the need to "addresses the social and emotional needs of students" in that city's public schools. Chicago is not the only place in the country to suffer from youth crime.

"In 2005, among students ages 12–18, there were about 1.5 million victims of nonfatal crimes at school, including 868,100 thefts and 628,200 violent crimes," according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which notes that an estimated 54.8 million students were enrolled in prekindergarten through grade 12 in that school year. "During the 2005–06 school year, 86 percent of public schools reported that at least one violent crime, theft, or other crime occurred at their school," the NCES report states, noting that student victimization rates dropped between 1992 and 2005.

In its series, the Sun-Times wrote: "Kids must be taught to get along. ... Kids must be taught to stand in each other's shoes. ... Kids must be taught to express their feelings in words, not with their fists."

A few Chicago schools are piloting a program to make a dent in the violence. They are adding school counselors -- the American School Counselor Association recommends one for every 250 kids -- and adding social and emotional learning curriculum. One school is "promoting peace" and charting the number of days it has when students don't engage in fighting.

Should social/emotional learning be a part of every school's curriculum? How worried are you about youth violence in your community?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  September 10, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers , Safety , Teens , Tweens
Previous: 'I Do' With Kids in Tow | Next: Teen Driving Age Revisited

Comments


"Should social/emotional learning be a part of every school's curriculum?"

The Reader Comments to the editorials provide a wide spectrum of answers to this question.

My knee jerk initial reaction is - what are the stats?

Posted by: You kids keep off of my lawn! | September 10, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

We are having a hard time teaching my 1st grader the difference between being understanding and forgiving of why others do what they may and teaching him to stand up for himself. I want to become a helicopter mom and run in to demand redress, but hold myself back and try to teach him the tools he will need through life. Hopefully this is getting reinforced in his school since hearing lessons like that repeatedly will help them sink in.

Posted by: Burke Mom | September 10, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

We are fools if we think that the schools can fix or make up for that which has its nexus in the home.

Posted by: Moxiemom | September 10, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Moxiemom: Agreed. But the schools are sometimes the only thing we have. Understandably, they can't fix much, but for educators, I suspect it is tough to see kids day in and day out who have trouble in the homes - and they are trying to do something.
I don't know what the answer is.

On a similar note, I always knew that there were metal detectors in our high school, but I recently learned they are also in the middle school - freaked me out a bit. *sigh*. I guess someone thinks they are needed. What a shame.

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Here's a new one:
There's a child in my daughter's middle school classes this year who neither reads nor writes. Apparently his parents have had him labelled as "profoundly gifted with both dysgraphia and dyslexia". I'm torn between asking my daughter to be extremely compassionate towards this person for whom the other children are routinely asked to pick up the slack -- and explaining that in this world there are parents who will always try to game the system. Is it actually possible to be considered educated if you manage to get through school without ever learning how to read or write?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Children with dyslexia and dysgraphia can be taught to read/write, but it does take effort by both parents and licensed occupational therapists - they can also be taught to type, dictate into a recorder, etc. So, to allow a child to work through the system without exhausting all avenues as a parent is not education - it is a free babysitter.

Posted by: FutureTeacher | September 10, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

From yesterday's Chatological Humor:

Is "Fred" the OB Fred?

"I do have an observation/question for you and the audience. Can your spouse, specifically the female, side tolerate a small picture of dear old mum on the night stand?

When I unpacked I found a small pix of my late mother, sharply attired in her Marine Corp uniform circa 1945. I put it on the night stand next to ME. Spouse was rather adamant that I remove the pix to my office or other place. So the temporary comprise is that I turned the pix around. I suppose I will move it to a different place in the name of marital harmony.

Loving spouse did love her late MIL so that is not the issue. And since you did not ask but are about to do so, no, it would make no difference to me if she put a pix of her mother next to the bed.

What say you Gene and others?

(signed)

Fred "

Posted by: OB question | September 10, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Fred: a feng shui expert would say that you are disturbing the marital harmony forces in your bedroom by bringing in pictures of anyone other than you and your wife. a wedding photo would be appropriate in the bedroom -- but pictures of kids, etc. are considered inappropriate because they disturb the married person vibe in the room. YMMV

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I think social/emotional learning should have a place in education, especially since the schools place such a high emphasis on behavior and quick to link poor behavior to two possible sources: social/emotional deficits or home life.

But the learning should encompass solutions regardless of the sources of bad behavior/poor choices/behavior lapses. Not every hit, curse, rudeness or meltdown that happens in school is a result of something happening at home. Children go to a variety of places, like aftercare, sports and other activities, the playground, etc. They can pick up negative things from anywhere, including, ahem, school. I often visit a teacher message board, and not only do they slam parents on the regular, they quickly cite the source of every behavior issue as the home. Sure, much can and does go on in the home, like a parent being prone to swearing. Some kids will know better than to take that swear to school. Some kids will say it not really knowing its meaning or impact. Some will do it for attention or to misbehave. This can happen with good or bad parenting, because kids are more than robots who follow their parent's every command no matter where they may be.

So, rather than focus so much on the source of social/emotional lapses (outside of abuse and neglect, of course), schools should focus on partnering with parents to help children express themselves more effectively. And parents should partner with schools. I think between schools and parents, source=blame, and no one wants to be blamed for kids acting up.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

but pictures of kids, etc. are considered inappropriate because they disturb the married person vibe in the room. YMMV

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 9:16 AM

Does having the KIDS in the bedroom disturb the married person vibe in the room?

Posted by: Curious | September 10, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

So, rather than focus so much on the source of social/emotional lapses (outside of abuse and neglect, of course), schools should focus on partnering with parents to help children express themselves more effectively. And parents should partner with schools.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 9:26 AM

How?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Hey Anon at 9:16, in the alternative, the wife might just not want to do the nasty with the MIL (or kids or anyone else) looking on. It would freak me out to look up during that kind of moment and see a photo of my inlaws or my own parents or my kids.

Posted by: feng shui or freaked out? | September 10, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey Anon at 9:16, in the alternative, the wife might just not want to do the nasty with the MIL (or kids or anyone else) looking on. It would freak me out to look up during that kind of moment and see a photo of my inlaws or my own parents or my kids.

Posted by: feng shui or freaked out? | September 10, 2008 9:32 AM

The MIL in WW II era miltary uniform is waay too freaky for me, but could be a big turn-on for others.

Posted by: To each his own | September 10, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Jesus on the Cross is a no-no in my bedroom.

God title for a CW song...

Posted by: More turn-offs | September 10, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

So, rather than focus so much on the source of social/emotional lapses (outside of abuse and neglect, of course), schools should focus on partnering with parents to help children express themselves more effectively. And parents should partner with schools.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 9:26 AM

How?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 9:29 AM

Perhaps mutual respect would be a good start. And sometimes, both parents and teachers have their defenses up. And the expectations may need some reworking. Is sitting still with your hands folded good behavior? If you learn better by standing, or fidgeting, is that bad behavior?


Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

miltary uniform is waay too freaky for me, but could be a big turn-on for others.

Posted by: To each his own | September 10, 2008 9:40 AM

I think AB likes seeing others in a military uniform. Makes him want to get a "tune up."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

To theoriginalmomof2: WHOA! Did someone forget to take their pills this morning? Seriously, I was just asking how your post was relevant? It had nothing to do with anything. YOur reaction is a bit scary, don;t you think?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

To theoriginalmomof2: WHOA! Did someone forget to take their pills this morning? Seriously, I was just asking how your post was relevant? It had nothing to do with anything. YOur reaction is a bit scary, don;t you think?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 9:54 AM

No, I don't. Read what Stacey wrote, and you will see that my posts are on topic. Your posts, on the other hand, are not. Maybe you should think more about your own relevancy.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

No, I don't. Read what Stacey wrote, and you will see that my posts are on topic. Your posts, on the other hand, are not. Maybe you should think more about your own relevancy.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 9:59 AM

Yo fatty carm down! No need to get your undies in a bunch.

Posted by: ep | September 10, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps mutual respect would be a good start. And sometimes, both parents and teachers have their defenses up. And the expectations may need some reworking. Is sitting still with your hands folded good behavior? If you learn better by standing, or fidgeting, is that bad behavior?
Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 9:48 AM

You have a great point - the parent-school system relationship is more adversarial than it used to be. In advocating for their children, many parents operate from day 1 on the assumption that the school system will "screw" their child. A friend in special education sees this all of the time - even at first meetings designed to set up IEP for pre-K autism spectrum kids.

Posted by: kate fm OB | September 10, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps mutual respect would be a good start. And sometimes, both parents and teachers have their defenses up. And the expectations may need some reworking. Is sitting still with your hands folded good behavior? If you learn better by standing, or fidgeting, is that bad behavior?
Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 9:48 AM

You have a great point - the parent-school system relationship is more adversarial than it used to be. In advocating for their children, many parents operate from day 1 on the assumption that the school system will "screw" their child. A friend in special education sees this all of the time - even at first meetings designed to set up IEP for pre-K autism spectrum kids.

Posted by: kate fm OB | September 10, 2008 10:15 AM

have you two taken over for AB and his blowhard posts? Geez

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Fred on Gene yesterday is the OB Fred you all know and love. Gene has posted many of my comments for the last 2 years or so.

I did place the pix next to the bed and it took Frieda all of 22 seconds to remove it.

Just to make it clear, IT WAS A JOKE! I was being humorous and Gene was being equally humorous posting it.

Altho, my late mom does look sharp in her Marine Corp uniform and I am being serious about that! She was in her words a BAM, Beautiful American Marine. Not too many woman Marines in 1944-46.

Posted by: Fred | September 10, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Okay let's read what a real parent does.

http://metrodad.typepad.com/
Use Your Words: How We're Raising a Nation of REDACTED!

Posted by: NYC | September 10, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

You have a great point - the parent-school system relationship is more adversarial than it used to be. In advocating for their children, many parents operate from day 1 on the assumption that the school system will "screw" their child.

Posted by: kate fm OB | September 10, 2008 10:15 AM

HOW can these behaviors be changed?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I applaud schools for wanting to promote getting along and peace but I wonder if what you learn before you ever get to school doesn't already get set in your mind.

You don't need to be 8 or 9 to be participating in violence and anti-social acts. Our step-children live in a duplex with another family that has a 3 year old boy. That three year old boy has already thrown things at the children, scratched the children, hit their mother multiple times and even went so far as to urinate on their front door when their mother removed the child from their house when he was misbehaving (punching the children). If this is how he is at 3 years old, do you really think that intervention 5 or 10 years down the road is really going to turn him around 180 degrees?

Sadly our kids have learned some swear words. Courtesy of us I am sure. Both of us swear and have done it on occasion in front of the children. But a few swear words and some issues with sharing is nothing in comparison to the child that lives above them. I am pretty happy that this is the worse that I can complain about with the children at this point.

Posted by: Billie | September 10, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

have you two taken over for AB and his blowhard posts? Geez

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:19 AM

Yeah, because God forbid someone actually post on-topic.

Posted by: fuggedaboudit | September 10, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

You have a great point - the parent-school system relationship is more adversarial than it used to be. In advocating for their children, many parents operate from day 1 on the assumption that the school system will "screw" their child. A friend in special education sees this all of the time - even at first meetings designed to set up IEP for pre-K autism spectrum kids.

Posted by: kate fm OB | September 10, 2008 10:15 AM

I agree. While special education is a whole 'nother story, both sides could learn something from joining forces. I certainly had to learn that myself.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

have you two taken over for AB and his blowhard posts? Geez

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:19 AM

Run along, anony-not-about-much. Grown folks are talking.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, because God forbid someone actually post on-topic.

Posted by: fuggedaboudit | September 10, 2008 10:28 AM

For God's sake, will someone please post some ANSWERS, instead of MM book club judging & bragging!

Posted by: Did you really attend college? | September 10, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

We have learned exclusively that Sarah's oldest son, Track, was addicted to the power drug OxyContin for nearly the past two years, snorting it, eating it, smoking it and even injecting it...

“I’ve partied with him (Track) for years,” a source disclosed. “I’ve seen him snort cocaine, snort and smoke OxyContin, drink booze and smoke weed

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I agree. While special education is a whole 'nother story, both sides could learn something from joining forces. I certainly had to learn that myself.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 10:30 AM

Like what? Be specific.

Posted by: Huh? | September 10, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Altho, my late mom does look sharp in her Marine Corp uniform and I am being serious about that! She was in her words a BAM, Beautiful American Marine. Not too many woman Marines in 1944-46.

Posted by: Fred | September 10, 2008 10:22 AM

Nice try, Fred. The photo stays on the living room mantle. WW II gives me the creeps. Where do you keep your Vietnam service photo?

Posted by: No sale | September 10, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

You really think you can change a kid's behavior in middle school or high school? Give me a freaking break.

These kids are being socialized at home to learn that violence is the solution to every problem. That rage is the only emotion to be displayed. And that life really has no true value.

Point the fingers where they really belong. Point them at the idiot parents.

Posted by: Point the Finger | September 10, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Here's a new one:
There's a child in my daughter's middle school classes this year who neither reads nor writes. Apparently his parents have had him labelled as "profoundly gifted with both dysgraphia and dyslexia". I'm torn between asking my daughter to be extremely compassionate towards this person for whom the other children are routinely asked to pick up the slack -- and explaining that in this world there are parents who will always try to game the system.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 7:59 AM

*******************************
A friend of mine has a child like this in the 8th grade. He's a genius with technology but has to use some sort of dictation devise to complete English papers. He's also fairly antisocial with kids his age but loves to talk to adults who speak his language. He likes to work on developing new programming languages for fun and he can fix anyone's computer at the drop of a hat.

I have always advised kids to be patient and kind to this boy. He may be a little different as a kid - but he's going to be an amazing adult.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

agree. While special education is a whole 'nother story, both sides could learn something from joining forces. I certainly had to learn that myself.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 10:30 AM

Like what? Be specific.

Posted by: Huh? | September 10, 2008 10:38 AM


I'd be happy to! After you!

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

And what difference does it make? Didn't Obama already write in a book that he did drugs back in the day?

Track's not running for office yet.

Posted by: This is relevant, why? | September 10, 2008 10:43 AM


Relevance? Palin and the Republicans proclaim they are all about family values and "families first." Meanwhile, her daughter was knocked up, and her son is a drug addict. Palin is too concerned with her career to take care of her kids. Nice family values there!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:47 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Judging from posts on this blog and OB, it's no surprise anti=social kids with behaviour problems are being raised by you folks. Take a good look at yourselves. Your children see you and imitate your actions and your speech. Ever listen to the words of that song by Stephen Sondheim: "Careful the things you say, Children will listen, Careful the t hings you do, Children will see and learn. Children will look to you for which way to turn, To learn what to be." "What do you leave to your child when you're dead? Only whatever you put in its head."

It scares me that such venomous, hateful, vitriolic people are reproducing themselves and calling themselves parents.

Stacey, why don't you monitor this garbage? Apparently your parenting style is much like your editing style. You set rules then don't enforce them. No wonder your spawn are such dismal specimens.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Okay let's read what a real parent does.

http://metrodad.typepad.com/
Use Your Words: How We're Raising a Nation of REDACTED!


Posted by: NYC | September 10, 2008 10:23 AM

This site is blocked on my PC; is it nasty, nasty porn? Metrodad sounds scary...eeew.

Posted by: Blocked | September 10, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

"It scares me that such venomous, hateful, vitriolic people are reproducing themselves and calling themselves parents."

You must be a big baby if you are afraid of cyberstrangers on a WaPo blog.....

Posted by: It's the Net! | September 10, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

If it was a Democrat's kid that was knocked up, drug addicted or retarded you couldn't support them enough.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I agree with commenter Point The Finger. Why is there so much violence in schools? Look at the parents.

You guys see this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w6rDDD_lCo

Posted by: A Parent | September 10, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

If it was a Democrat's kid that was knocked up, drug addicted or retarded you couldn't support them enough.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 10:59 AM

Democrats dont preach family values or present themselves as wholesome Christians dumbarse. You're too dense to see the irony of the hypocritical actions of Palin and her fellow Republican.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

8 years of Palin as VP + 8 years of Palin as Prez = OMG!

Posted by: Please, child | September 10, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

This site has seriously gone to crap.

Shows how idiots can take over a site and just ruin it. Hard to believe that this used to be a place where one could have substantive conversation ON THE TOPIC!

Posted by: This Site Sucks | September 10, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Can't wait for SNL to parody Palin on Saturday!!!

Posted by: Palin is gift to SNL | September 10, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

This site has seriously gone to crap.

Shows how idiots can take over a site and just ruin it. Hard to believe that this used to be a place where one could have substantive conversation ON THE TOPIC!

Posted by: This Site Sucks | September 10, 2008 11:12 AM

Please provide an example of substantive conversation on this blog.....

Posted by: It's the Net, bub | September 10, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

This site has seriously gone to crap.

Shows how idiots can take over a site and just ruin it. Hard to believe that this used to be a place where one could have substantive conversation ON THE TOPIC!

Posted by: This Site Sucks | September 10, 2008 11:12 AM


Pot meet Kettle.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

8 years of Palin as VP + 8 years of Palin as Prez = OMG!

Posted by: Please, child | September 10, 2008 11:10 AM

Palin's kids will turn the white house into a brothel and a drug dealer haven.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Nice try, Fred. The photo stays on the living room mantle. WW II gives me the creeps. Where do you keep your Vietnam service photo?


Posted by: No sale | September 10, 2008 10:41 AM

Actually, if you would read my entire post, you would note that Frieda removed the pix of my mother.

Frieda has a pix of me from Viet Nam in my combat uniform (no weapon) on her dresser.

Posted by: Fred | September 10, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Frieda has a pix of me from Viet Nam in my combat uniform (no weapon) on her dresser.

Posted by: Fred | September 10, 2008 11:36 AM

Stop getting AB all hot and bothered!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Frieda has a pix of me from Viet Nam in my combat uniform (no weapon) on her dresser.

Posted by: Fred | September 10, 2008 11:36 AM

Also creepy and a McCain connection........

Posted by: No sale | September 10, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

There has been a huge shift since I went to school. When I was in school, the teachers were right and that was that. We had to listen to them.

Today, you have parents who question the teachers, question the principals, etc. The kids then get the impression that they are correct and the teachers are wrong. That they have carte blanche to do whatever they would like, and they are correct.

You have parents who will call teachers about homework, about stuff in the classroom, etc. You have kids in COLLEGE whose parents call teachers and ask about homework, grades, etc. You also now have kids who have GRADUATED college who have their parents send out resumes. The kids feel that they are in charge, and for many of them, they are correct.

Whatever we may feel about the teacher (and we love my kid's teacher, btw) - we would never tell the kid that they don't have to listen to the teacher or whatever. The teacher is in charge of the classroom. If we had an issue with the teacher, we would discuss it ONLY with the teacher, and if that didn't work, we'd go higher up, but I personally WOULD NOT disparage a teacher in front of my kids. They need to learn to respect of authority and of adults. There is no discussion about that.

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"Ever listen to the words of that song by Stephen Sondheim"

A Stephen Sondheim reference on a parenting blog! Ha, ha!

Posted by: LOL! | September 10, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If we had an issue with the teacher, we would discuss it ONLY with the teacher, and if that didn't work, we'd go higher up, but I personally WOULD NOT disparage a teacher in front of my kids. They need to learn to respect of authority and of adults. There is no discussion about that.

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 11:41 AM

You have identified one of the issues, but what are the answers? How do you get people to CHANGE behavior?

Posted by: ????? | September 10, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

If we had an issue with the teacher, we would discuss it ONLY with the teacher, and if that didn't work, we'd go higher up, but I personally WOULD NOT disparage a teacher in front of my kids. They need to learn to respect of authority and of adults. There is no discussion about that.

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 11:41 AM

You have identified one of the issues, but what are the answers? How do you get people to CHANGE behavior?

Posted by: ????? | September 10, 2008 11:47 AM

atlmom just likes to spew and make these grand, racist, sweeping generalizations without actually making any constructive suggestions or solutions. she thinks this destructive behavior is "helping."

Posted by: ep | September 10, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't know the answer. But some of the people on this blog are hardly the audience (I think...) of people who would need to be more involved in their children's education.

I am hardly an educator, so don't know. The schools certainly are well aware that they need to partner with the parents - and as was mentioned above, it has become an adversarial relationship.

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Okay let's read what a real parent does.

http://metrodad.typepad.com/
Use Your Words: How We're Raising a Nation of REDACTED!

Posted by: NYC | September 10, 2008 10:23 AM

NYC - Thanks for the reference. MetroDad is awesome!

Posted by: two terrific boys | September 10, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

And education is pretty local. Yes, the educators learn from each other, each school is individual. I can join MY PTA, but we have a school with incredibly involved parents.
I went to a meeting today of schools that feed into the high school my kids would be going to, so helping them out FOR ME might be helping the solution.
I also taught last year in a school that my company had partnered with - just for a few hours, and the kids were incredible and appreciative.

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I graduated 18 years ago and have seen the behavior of kids go down hill for quite some time. My daughter is in middle school and there are some kids there that are terribly disrespectful to any adult they encounter including their own parents, as for respect for their peers it is nonexistant. I think this is a backlash to the tough love that was popular when I was growing up in the 80's. All the parents that thought their parents were too hard on them are going in the opposite direction with their children and are creating these little monsters. They are spoiled brats. While I think my parents were over the line with discipline, it is my job to discipline my daughter, when she steps out of line, and make sure that she can be a functioning adult. I had parents tell me I was out of line for having her help put away her toys when she was 2, that is mean. I had these same parents tell me I was mean to not just buy her the toy she was having a fit over. These parents have unruly, back taking bratty children who still have tantrums at 12 and 13 if they don't get their way. It is ridiculous. These same kids are the ones who cause issues at school because they are looking for the boundaries that don't exist. It is the parents fault for not setting these kids up to succeed at the beginning. They may learn bad stuff at school or daycare, but if they are taught right and wrong as well as consequences for their actions they will behave better.

Posted by: California Girl | September 10, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

What has Paris done in her life that is worth documenting?

If Mariah Carey is managing herself, she is dumber than I thought. The talent should concentrate on being, well, talented. Leave the fiddly details and contracts to managers. You get a good one (i.e. one not slipping drugs into your food), it is well worth the price.

$16.49 is a really odd price for a book. That is not hardcover price, not paperback. I think the publisher didn't want to pulp it, but knew they couldn't get full price for it. Yeah, that is a book you want on your resume -- I helped the public learn what a rotten mom Lynn Spears was. Her kid was spiraling downward and she stood around taking notes.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 12:01 PM

"I don't know the answer."

That's obvious.

"But some of the people on this blog are hardly the audience (I think...) of people who would need to be more involved in their children's education. "

What does that mean?

"I am hardly an educator, so don't know. "

Again, obvious.

"The schools certainly are well aware that they need to partner with the parents - and as was mentioned above, it has become an adversarial relationship."

More gibberish. Think before you press the Submit button....

Posted by: Grade F for your post | September 10, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

And education is pretty local. Yes, the educators learn from each other, each school is individual. I can join MY PTA, but we have a school with incredibly involved parents.
I went to a meeting today of schools that feed into the high school my kids would be going to, so helping them out FOR ME might be helping the solution.
I also taught last year in a school that my company had partnered with - just for a few hours, and the kids were incredible and appreciative.

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 12:06 PM


can you PLEASE SHUT UP!??!?!?! you post incessentaly. all of your comments are worthless. some of us are on here to really discuss the topic, not to read your rants and ridiculous comments!

Posted by: to atlmom | September 10, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

It is the parents fault for not setting these kids up to succeed at the beginning. They may learn bad stuff at school or daycare, but if they are taught right and wrong as well as consequences for their actions they will behave better.

Posted by: California Girl | September 10, 2008 12:06 PM

Another "parents' fault" theory, but how do you get the parents to change their behavior?

Posted by: ???? | September 10, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Another "parents' fault" theory, but how do you get the parents to change their behavior?

Posted by: ???? | September 10, 2008 12:16 PM

Our whole society has come to the conclusion that each individual knows more than everyone else (how could *that* be?) - so we have gotten the society that we deserve, it is not just 'the parents of school aged children' it is a societal problem. How do you change that? A good question - I'm up for listening to ideas.

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Stacey, please delete all of atlmom's incessant whining, argumentative, and windbag posts.

thanks.

Posted by: please Stacey | September 10, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I think people who claim that all this comes from the home are missing the point, the education has been proven to NOT come from the home, so it's PROVEN that relying on parents to provided kids with this information is failure.

I've been reading someone post on this board that parents are encouraging their kids to fight, be in gangs, be roughnecks or be "hard-headed" as they used to say on our block before all those families lost their houses. I am pretty sure in neighborhoods like Trinidad these kids are following direct parenting orders to get into gangs and to not let anyone push you around. I've never seen the parents of the worst drug dealing kids in my neighborhood show concern about their kids, they are proud of them and angry at the police. It's the parents of the good kids who were upset and instilling anti-violence messages in their kids lives.

So despite what I consider to be a faulty process, something is going to need to get these kids to rebel against their gang-member parents so they don't make their parents' mistakes.

Posted by: DCer | September 10, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

How do you change that? A good question - I'm up for listening to ideas.

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 12:23 PM

Why did it take you HOURS to figure it out?

Posted by: ???? | September 10, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Atlmom - I'm with you. I tihnk we have moved so far in the direction of the sanctity of the individual that no one is willing to compromise for the good of the whole. There are two kinds of problem parents in my book. Those who are over involved and will advocate virtually every slight or interaction their child has and those who are completely disconnected. So, while encouraging the schools to "partner" with parents, I think that the very people who need the partnering are the very people who will refuse to participate.

Schools do have a role in social development, but it should be one of supporting the values and behaviors that we value as a society, not teaching them. Unless you give the schools appropriate authority, the won't be able change the behavior. To change behavior, you need to be able to have consequences, and from what I have seen, the school's ability to implement significant consequences is very limited.

This is one of the reasons my children go to a Montessori school. Appropriate behavior and values are as important as the learning. They are not a "class". Respect is something that they are expected to demonstrate in all of their behaviors all day. Our school has families of many races, religions and nationalities. We don't all have the exact same set of values, but our core values are shared and that is what makes for such a positive environment.

Posted by: Moxiemom | September 10, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

You have a great point - the parent-school system relationship is more adversarial than it used to be. In advocating for their children, many parents operate from day 1 on the assumption that the school system will "screw" their child.
-----

I'm dealing with that now. I pulled my son from a failing school and am having a really hard time dealing with a functioning school where the teachers don't steal and they actually care about the kids. My son's teacher must think I'm nuts and I know the PTA president does. If you've ever had your kid in a school with a psycho teacher, or in my case we had literally 3 psycho teachers, teacher's aides and specialists, then a "normal" teacher must wonder where all this tension comes from. Luckily for future kids at my son's old school 2 of the three were let go, one fired and one was a specialist not asked to return.

But I think parents who have their kids in good schools from the get-go seriously need to give the rest of us some slack because my son's first school was slowly driving me insane when I'd see a teacher drive up at 8:30am and leave the school before I could even pick my kid up, let's say 3:15pm and complain about all their work? I'd kill for an 8:30am-3:30pm day. If you parents or teachers never saw that, please give us some slack as we adjust.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

So despite what I consider to be a faulty process, something is going to need to get these kids to rebel against their gang-member parents so they don't make their parents' mistakes.

Posted by: DCer | September 10, 2008 12:29 PM

How?? Not a theory, but how to change behavior.

Posted by: ! | September 10, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Today, you have parents who question the teachers, question the principals, etc. The kids then get the impression that they are correct and the teachers are wrong. That they have carte blanche to do whatever they would like, and they are correct.
------

What you're missing is that in my son's class last year, that was the case. The teacher was, most often, wrong.

For instance, he was from Europe and he refused to listen to the children about what day Halloween was and he totally screwed up Halloween for his class.

If you only saw or see great teachers then that's wonderful for you, but please believe SOME of the stories you hear about teachers whacked out on meds or going through personal issues where they just stop teaching. I lived through that and it was horrible. I have every reason to call a teacher a liar because my son's teacher lied to us, all of us, and my son ended up with, essentially the equivalent of Ds and Es on his final report card, a situation the assistant principal, school counselour, and principal all said was "bizarre" and "they'd have to look at that." In fact, there was some belief amongst my son's friends who all got terrible report cards that this teacher REVERSED all the grades when he filled out the form and then went incommunicado with no explanation.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

moxiemom

"So, while encouraging the schools to "partner" with parents, I think that the very people who need the partnering are the very people who will refuse to participate."

Wowie, wow, wow! Judge Judy.

"This is one of the reasons my children go to a Montessori school. Appropriate behavior and values are as important as the learning. They are not a "class". Respect is something that they are expected to demonstrate in all of their behaviors all day. Our school has families of many races, religions and nationalities. We don't all have the exact same set of values, but our core values are shared and that is what makes for such a positive environment."


More theory, lots of bragging, no answers. Well done, moxiemom.


Posted by: Mmmmmm | September 10, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

How?? Not a theory, but how to change behavior.
------

Pretty useless comment from an anonymous poster. You think about it a little and then try to post again, mmmkay? Want me to hold your hand while you think about it?

Posted by: DCer | September 10, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I have every reason to call a teacher a liar because my son's teacher lied to us, all of us, and my son ended up with, essentially the equivalent of Ds and Es on his final report card, a situation the assistant principal, school counselour, and principal all said was "bizarre" and "they'd have to look at that." In fact, there was some belief amongst my son's friends who all got terrible report cards that this teacher REVERSED all the grades when he filled out the form and then went incommunicado with no explanation.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:44 PM

Doesn't sound like a "gang" parent.........

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

12:48 anon: that comment is incomprehensible. What's going on over there where you can't make a single point coherently?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't sound like a "gang" parent.........

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:48 PM


12:48 anon: that comment is incomprehensible. What's going on over there where you can't make a single point coherently?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:55 PM


So despite what I consider to be a faulty process, something is going to need to get these kids to rebel against their gang-member parents so they don't make their parents' mistakes.

Posted by: DCer | September 10, 2008 12:29 PM


Posted by: Pot meet kettle | September 10, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Living in Oakland, CA - fourth worst big city in the country in crime statistics - yes, of course we worry about violence. Older son automatically locks the car doors whenever we get into the car, for example.

At older son's high school (google Skyline Oakland - after mentioning Tom Hanks and the drama department, the wikipedia article talks about on-campus violence. other links will be similar.) we were deeply concerned for his safety last year. Long story, but another student in his spec. ed. program was in a conflict (legal - discrimination against the disabled) with the teacher who heads the drama department and is enormously popular, and since our boy didn't transfer to a private school, and there were threats against anyone who didn't agree with the teacher - well, it was complicated and ugly and scary. Our boy could probably navigate his classes without one-on-one aide support this year (and probably could have during the second half of last year, too), but no one has even suggested it - and we'd fight against it if they did, because he'd just be too vulnerable between classes.

Younger son's elementary school had a marvelous anti-bullying, anti-violence program that worked. They picked bright, well-liked kids, not the most popular, though, and taught them conflict mediation skills for the playground. The kids who got the training got armbands they could wear, and the whole school, principal, teachers, support staff, students and families were all involved and on-board with the mutual-respect, acceptance, tolerance program. That school is one of the hidden gems in the district.

This year, younger son is in middle school (again, we got the best middle school in the district) and there's been a turnover in principals since older son attended. So far, so good, but not knowing this new principal personally, we are mildly cautious.

Posted by: Sue | September 10, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

What you're missing is that in my son's class last year, that was the case. The teacher was, most often, wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:44 PM

I'm not saying that all parents are to blame, certainly not. And certainly if a teacher is completely out and out lying to a kid, then it is a teaching moment for a kid. But I would not allow the child to be involved in the whole process - that's what I'm saying. Many parents seem to treat their children as an equal or as a friend, and would say: oh, I talked with the principal, we're going to do blahblahblah when it might have been an adult conversation between adults and the child should not be privy to said conversation, or whatever. Of course, there are bad apples everywhere, but the parents have many options if things are not working, and going to the child should not be one of them...

Posted by: atlmom | September 10, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The WaPO.com On Parenting blog

by altmom

Posted by: Disgusted | September 10, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: please Stacey | September 10, 2008 12:25 PM

Stacey, please delete all of the incessant whining and windbag posts from people who have nothing better to do than complain about those who are trying to discuss the actual topic.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Now playing on The Reliable Source:

Nome: Should Sarah Palin be elected VP, would her daughter and son-in-law (assuming the marriage foes forward) live at the VP's residence? I know that 17 year-old parents, even if they have graduated from high school, often have trouble getting jobs and providing for their kids. Could he end up working at a McDonald's on Wisconsin Avenue? I assume Palin would not want him getting a government job. Maybe he could try out for the Caps?

Amy Argetsinger: You're kind of mean, except for your idea that Levi try out for the Caps. That would be fantastic. Just another wacky chapter in the Best. Election. Ever.

Posted by: LOL! | September 10, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: please Stacey | September 10, 2008 12:25 PM

Stacey, please delete all of the incessant whining and windbag posts from people who have nothing better to do than complain about those who are trying to discuss the actual topic.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 1:43 PM

Pot meet kettle.

Posted by: HA! | September 10, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

*** OFF TOPIC * OFF TOPIC * OFF TOPIC ***

Will all the folks complaining about the number of off-topic posts today, please read the top of the page. The part below Stacey's entry for the topic, that says:
"Comments Please email us to report offensive comments."

In my browser at least, the words "email us" are a link you can use to send Stacey an email. My understanding is that she may not have time to read all our posts here, but she does respond to the emails and remove offending posts. One of mine disappeared a few weeks ago after I had responded to a particularly unpleasant bit of troll-vomit which also vanished.

So I think you'll have more success with your requests if you use her preferred method of contact. Well, unless you all are *enjoying* cluttering up the discussion with all your off-topic complaints about someone else posting off-topic comments...

*** end of off topic advice from "Auntie Sue" ***

Posted by: Sue | September 10, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

So I think you'll have more success with your requests if you use her preferred method of contact. Well, unless you all are *enjoying* cluttering up the discussion with all your off-topic complaints about someone else posting off-topic comments...

*** end of off topic advice from "Auntie Sue" ***

Posted by: Sue | September 10, 2008 2:16 PM

Why don't you just cast a "spell"?

Posted by: Endora | September 10, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

What's the purpose of having a blog if the 'monitor' doesn't have time to read all the posts? DUH!!! It sort of defeats the purpose, don't you think?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

What's the purpose of having a blog if the 'monitor' doesn't have time to read all the posts? DUH!!! It sort of defeats the purpose, don't you think?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 2:33 PM

Um, yes if you are REALLY tightly wound.. It's common knowledge that the WaPo "monitors" rarely read their own blogs. Yet the blogs go on, they go on.

Posted by: Chill out | September 10, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

12:59:

Your post is even more incomprehensible now than before. Are you having a stroke? Should we call an ambulance? I think you think you're writing something that's there, but I'm here to tell you, you aren't communicating anything.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"Since last September, 39 Chicago public school children have been murdered. . . . Chicago is not the only place in the country to suffer from youth crime."


What does the fact that school children (does Stacey mean "school-age" children? inquiring minds want to know) are murdered have to do with youth crime? Do the stats show that the perpetrators are also under 18? If yes, what kind of statistical significance do 39 events of any sort in a particular city in a given year have?

This column lacks logic, coherence and a point.

Posted by: Splinderella | September 10, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

This column lacks logic, coherence and a point.

Posted by: Splinderella | September 10, 2008 2:57 PM

What else is new on the OP?

Posted by: Yah | September 10, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

With regard to the previous post about not involving children, you sometimes have to, depending on the age and circumstances. If my child complained about a teacher, and I promised to talk to the teacher, then it's necessary that I tell my child that the conversation occurred, as well as the resolution. If you encourage your children to come to you with anything and to seek your help for those problems he or she can't resolve independently, you need to follow up.

And I agree that it's not always the parents' fault. Sometimes, the school and its staff are at fault. It is what it is.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 10, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

My parents NEVER spoke to my teachers, ever.

Posted by: Wow! | September 10, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"My parents NEVER spoke to my teachers, ever."

My parent WAS my teacher - Algebra 2, ninth grade.

Me: "Dad, my Math teacher is so unfair to me!"

Dad: "Too bad; she's going to sleep with me tonight. I'm on her side."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"My parents NEVER spoke to my teachers, ever."

My parent WAS my teacher - Algebra 2, ninth grade.

Me: "Dad, my Math teacher is so unfair to me!"

Dad: "Too bad; she's going to sleep with me tonight. I'm on her side."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 4:05 PM

Dad: "Too bad; she's going to let me give her anal tonite. I'm on her side."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Also creepy and a McCain connection........

Posted by: No sale | September 10, 2008 11:40 AM

Nah, McCain was in the Navy, I was in the Army. :)

Posted by: Fred | September 10, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

STACEY: Is it too much to ask that someone monitor this board and delete the gratutious comments to anal sex? Really - if that's too burdensome, perhaps the idea of maintaining blogs is beyond the headcount at the Post.

Posted by: Yoohoo | September 11, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

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