Before I get to the teacher in question, I want to talk education for a minute. It's been written many times that U.S. students are, well - not number one. They are not number one in math, not number one in science and not number one in reading/writing. In fact, they are far from number one. The World Education Ranking system ranks, as you can guess - education in the world. The U.S. has never been number one. Ever.  In 2016 U.S. kids had their best showing since the 70’s and placed 7th, but in 2017 dropped to 20th and last year (2018) - the U.S. dropped off the list entirely.

 

But you know what U.S. kids are number one in - thinking they are number one. No, seriously. If you ask U.S. kids how they expect to perform on a test when up against kids from other countries, American children universally believe they will perform much, much, much better than they actually do. And many U.S. kids honestly believe they will be number one in math, science, literacy and pretty much everything else under the sun. Number. One.

 

Well, let’s take a look. There is a test called the PISA (Program for International Students Assessment) and it’s a worldwide exam administered approx. every three years to 15 year old's in 72 countries. About half a million students take the exam. The test results are compiled by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Their most recent test was in 2015.

 

Out of 72 countries tested:

 

U.S. kids ranked 40th in math with a score that puts U.S. teens 11 spots lower than the average score.

 

U.S. kids ranked 24th in reading comprehension with a score that puts U.S. teens 4 spots higher than the average score.

 

U.S. kids ranked 25th in science with a score that puts U.S. teens 4 spots higher than the average score.

 

Not exactly “‘We’re number one!” And, sadly, according to those 17'-18'World Education Ranking numbers I posted above, it looks like U.S. kids are dropping further down the list.

 

So, what’s going on? Who’s to blame?

 

Well, I don’t really know and I’m not going to speculate much; however, I find it interesting to hear how much self confidence U.S. kids seem to have vs. how they actually perform.  Keep in mind, just because I’m not going to speculate doesn’t mean that other folks won’t speculate. Hell, everyone seems to have all the answers these days, you know? Just check social media where everyone is certain their all caps FB post is clearly the one and only way you MUST think or they’ll unfriend you.

 

It seems as if parents blame teachers. Teachers blame parents. Republicans blame teachers. Democrats blame the system. Education administrators don’t seem to blame teachers, but they certainly bail out on protecting teachers when irate parents come screaming or, God forbid - someone on a sports team is failing! “You can’t fail our basketball/baseball/football star!”

 

Yes, yes teachers can and should be able to fail students up to and including athletes. It is the teacher's exact job to evaluate if a child has done the work to pass, or not. If kids are terrible s#!t heads and parents are ignoring email, after phone call after text message saying, “Hey - your kid is a bully, hasn’t turned in 10 of his assignments this year and I might have to fail him! Please respond!” Well, if parents don’t take a vested interest in their own child’s education and their kid acts a damn fool and never does his/her school work - that kid deserves consequences. Just sayin.

 

And that’s exactly how Julie Marburger felt. Marburger is a sixth grade teacher at Cedar Creek Intermediate School in Texas. She was worn down by the chaotic destructive students and the irate road raging parents. And so, just before she quit, she wrote an epic FB post blasting them all. The rant went viral and within two weeks had millions of hits. (Editor’s note: It doesn’t appear as if she quit. She expected to receive hatred for her post and thought she would have to quit as a result but instead of recieving negative press she has received overwhelming support and it sounds as if the support has stayed her hand from quitting, as of yet).

 

Marburger’s view is that parents and children have become awful, abusive, entitled pricks. The kids don’t seem to care about consequences and parents lose their minds if their Precious Angel doesn’t get an A. It doesn’t matter if Precious Angel destroys school property, turns in zero work assignments and verbally abuses teachers and/or students because parents will still demand that Precious Angel recieve an A!  After two years of, as Marburger describes it - abuse, she finally had enough and called parents and students out for their behavior. 

 

Her full FB post:

 

“I left work early today after an incident with a parent left me unable emotionally to continue for the day. I have already made the decision to leave teaching at the end of this year, and today, I don’t know if I will make it even that long. Parents have become far too disrespectful, and their children are even worse. Administration always seems to err on the side of keeping the parent happy, which leaves me with no way to do the job I was hired to do ... teach kids.

I am including photos that I took in my classroom over the past two days. This is how my classroom regularly looks after my students spend all day there. Keep in mind that many of the items damaged or destroyed by my students are my personal possessions or I purchased myself, because I have NO classroom budget. I have finally had enough of the disregard for personal and school property and am drawing a line in the sand on a myriad of behaviors that I am through tolerating. Unfortunately, one parent today thought it was wrong of me to hold her son accountable for his behavior and decided to very rudely tell me so, in front of her son.

Report cards come out later this week, and I have nearly half of my students failing due to multiple (8-10) missing assignments. Most of these students and their parents haven’t seemed to care about this over the past three months, though weekly reports go out, emails have been sent and phone calls have been attempted.

But now I’m probably going to spend my entire week next week fielding calls and emails from irate parents, wanting to know why I failed their kid. My administrator will demand an explanation of why I let so many fail without giving them support, even though I’ve done practically everything short of doing the work for them. And behavior in my class will deteriorate even more. I am expecting this, because it is what has happened at the end of every other term thus far.

I have never heard of a profession where people put so much of their heart and soul into their job, taking time and resources from their home and family, and getting paid such an insultingly measly amount. Teachers are some of the most kind and giving people I have ever met, yet they get treated so disrespectfully from all sides. Most parents can’t stand to spend more than a couple hours a day with their kid, but we spend 8 with yours and 140 others just like him. Is it too much to ask for a little common courtesy and civil conversation.

It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to have a classroom of my own, and now my heart is broken to have become so disillusioned in these short two years. This is almost all i hear from other teachers as well, and they are leaving the profession in droves. There is going to be a teacher crisis in this country before too many more years has passed unless they abuse of teachers stops.

People absolutely HAVE to stop coddling and enabling their children. It’s a problem that’s going to spread through our society like wildfire. It’s not fair to society, and more importantly, is not fair to the children to teach them this is okay. It will not serve them towards a successful and happy life.

Many will say I shouldn’t be posting such things on social media ... that I should promote education and be positive. But I don’t care anymore. Any passion for this work I once had has been wrung completely out of me. Maybe I can be the voice of reason. THIS HAS TO STOP”

Published in U.S.

Each generation is raised less and less by its parents, who are stretched so thin they both have to work full-time, if they're still together at all (half aren’t). They trust their children’s upbringing to a drastically underfunded education system, upon which just three percent of America’s $3.95 trillion budget is spent, and that includes funding for training, employment and social services as well.

How the federal government spends $3.95 trillion

U.S. spending on education declined three percent from 2010 to 2014 despite schools already scraping the bottom of the job applicant barrel because they can't afford to pay living wages. Students know that so avoid going into teaching, leaving fewer and fewer adequate teachers to educate let alone raise kids. That’s why manners and civility have gone out the window, too, because teachers are just trying to make it through the day instead of checking the bad behavior of their students. Teaching is hard enough without having to play parent, too.

The problem with Millennials is their parents never changed the channel. If Generation X was raised on television, Millennials are being raised on YouTube. Basically, it would be like Gen Xers growing up having watched nothing but America's Funniest Home Videos and reality TV with no budget or production crew or mission besides clicks and follows hosted by vain, selfish seekers of celebrity. Mister Rogers has been replaced by a pervy-looking guy going by PewDiePie who was dropped by Disney for posting anti-Semitic videos.

Now that there's nothing governing media production or publication, and nothing stopping anyone from publishing whatever strikes their fancy, there’s a lot more content, both entertaining and educational, available to consumers. There’s no shortage of educational options out there for parents. In fact, there’s more quality, educational content available than ever before. But there’s also more content being created strictly for entertainment purposes, and parents are glad to let children choose their own channels because it gets them out of parenting, so they can selfishly change channels on their own screens.

The children of my generation knew better than to change the channel because our parents parented in single-screen households. Sure, we’d sneak in an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head or South Park when our parents weren’t watching the tube (or us), but we also watched what our parents watched when they were watching television. Our first fight over the remote let us know we had no choice in the matter. Nowadays children aren’t losing that first fight over the remote. There’s no one dictating the content consumption of children, and the children are worse for it.

By the time kids are physically able, they’re holding a screen the size of their face that diverts their attention, and parents are giving up the channel changer as soon as possible, trusting in child-safe, software features that do nothing to govern content quality (until recently), only quantity of explicit content. Children dictating their content consumption undermines parents’ ability to effectively parent because of the availability of alternative screens and means of accessing that content.It used to be when you were grounded you didn’t have access to screens, and some parents are still taking phones and tablets and computers away as punishment for bad behavior. And kudos to them for doing so, but these screens are a part of our education system now. iPads are first-grade tools not unlike chalk and chalkboards, and the more these devices are accepted as everyday accommodations, like televisions were, the more children will abuse the availability of those tools.

Just think of how few people get their news from actual newspapers anymore. We’ve abused our privilege of the free press to the point we’ve actually forced the free press to give us a better reason why we should consume their content besides simply knowing the truth. Television news used to tell truths, too, until capitalists realized entertaining content—not educational content—produces the most capital, turning Edward R. Murrow from news reporter to entertainment reporter.

The problem with Millennials stems from the problem with capitalism with regards to education. That is, an educated workforce results in less capital produced, while an entertained workforce results in more capital produced. It is not in the interest of the haves to educate the have nots but to entertain them just enough for them to be content with what they have. That was the playbook followed by slave owners, and it’s the playbook followed by the ruling class to this day.

The fact that the production of entertainment comes cheaper and cheaper with every screen placed into the hands of children throughout America satisfies the capitalists just fine. But it’s well past time for parents to change the channel for their Millennial children if they ever want their kids to consume content that educates. Kids aren’t as likely to find that content on their own.    


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Published in Opinion

While a Detroit-area doctor has been charged with performing genital mutilation on two young, Minnesota girls, the parents, who misled their children into believing they were taking a “girls’ trip,” have yet to be charged with child abuse as of this writing.

Female circumcision is most commonly done in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Egyptian politician Elhamy Agina supported the practice because Egypt’s men were “sexually weak” and could not meet the sexual demands of Egyptian women. So punish the women, right?

Many instances of female genital mutilation go unreported, but instances have tripled since 1990 according to this report by the Government Accountability Office. This is the first federal case of its kind under the federal statute passed in 1997. Female genital mutilation is governed by Title 18, Part I, Chapter 7, Subsection 116 of the United States code, but only focuses on the doctor performing the unnecessary surgery. The entire law follows:

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(b) A surgical operation is not a violation of this section if the operation is—

  1. necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed, and is performed by a person licensed in the place of its performance as a medical practitioner; or
  2. performed on a person in labor or who has just given birth and is performed for medical purposes connected with that labor or birth by a person licensed in the place it is performed as a medical practitioner, midwife, or person in training to become such a practitioner or midwife.

(c) In applying subsection (b)(1), no account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that person, or any other person, that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual.

(d) Whoever knowingly transports from the United States and its territories a person in foreign commerce for the purpose of conduct with regard to that person that would be a violation of subsection (a) if the conduct occurred within the United States, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

The parents will be subject to state child abuse laws, but no charges have come from the State of Minnesota as of this writing. The penalty for causing “substantial bodily harm” to a child is five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Does that penalty fit the crime? Dr. Dalia Wachs doesn’t think so.

“Are you kidding me? I mean, that should be a lot longer,” she said, adding later that “if you psychologically traumatize someone at that age, especially a child … these girls might not ever have an interest in sex.”

Wachs thinks if some of the more than half million American women were to enroll in a study to determine the psychological effects of female circumcision, it would be helpful in determining a punishment that fits the crime, because “there are no health benefits” from the surgery.

The federal law should be altered to provide harsher penalties to parents forcing this procedure upon their children. Imagine if your parents did this to you at age seven and then you had to continue living with them for another decade or so, knowing they had forever altered your ability to enjoy sex and quite possibly your ability to have children of your own, according to the World Health Organization. Everyone has the right to attempt to be better parents than their own parents, unless, of course, you have parents like these.

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Published in News & Information