No Child Left Behind

When my daughter was younger, she came home from school and she said she was going to start goofing off in class because “troublemakers” get more attention. That statement certainly got my attention! I started to look closer at some of the things that were going on in the neighborhood schools.

First, there didn’t seem to be any consistent consequences for negative behavior. In most cases the teacher gave the child causing the problem extra attention.

Many times the entire class was lectured on the misbehavior of one or two students. Valuable time was wasted while the teacher tried to regain control of the class. The troublemakers were not punished. In fact, they were happy to have less time in class to work on math.

The most troublesome thing I discovered was that the rules seemed to change from one day to the next.

It takes a dedicated and patient teacher, along with supportive parents, to provide the consistency required to run an effective classroom. Unfortunately, a large number of teachers are losing the battle. In middle school the students have four to five different teachers everyday. It is nearly impossible for the teachers to keep the serious students stimulated when they still have to spend valuable time reprimanding others for bad behavior.

The New York City Public Schools are strongly behind the campaign “No Child Left Behind.” I think it is a valuable program. At the same time, I feel that kids who really don’t want to be in the classroom are holding a lot of the serious students back.

What would happen if education became a privilege? What if it was something you had to earn? What if kids were not allowed to be in school unless they were serious about their work and they were willing to give the teachers the respect they deserve?

What if the school involved the parents whenever a child misbehaved? What if the child was kicked out of regular school after three offenses and was required to go to a “special” school? What if this special school was extremely strict and gave students a taste of what their lives would be like without a good education? What if this program enticed kids to become serious about education?

What would the world be like if our actions showed that we valued education? What would teachers be able to accomplish in the classrooms if they could spend time teaching instead of disciplining or babysitting? What if they could focus more attention on the positive things the students were doing?

Get involved in your local schools. Try to make some changes. The future is in our hands. Spend time focusing on issues that are important to you. Make time for chocolate.