Don't bother me, go watch TV
To the Editor:
Anyone who reads newspapers and magazines or watches television knows that America is in dire straits financially.
There isn't a state in our country whose pocketbook isn't getting thinner and thinner. In Maine, one of the contributing factors to our state's woes is the high cost of education.
If America, and the State of Maine, are ever going to get out of the dollar doldrums, cuts in state and local spending have to be made. This article will show the folks in Augusta, and Maine citizens, how to save a bundle of educational dollars while still offering a solid education to our kids.
All that will have to be done is to require that every man and woman who conceive a child immediately put their own wants and desires on hold and make the success of their children their first priority. If this was done, Maine's budget deficit would decrease dramatically. It isn't being done now, and the end result is a multitude of special needs students requiring a large number of special needs teachers.
Why are there so many students in grades one, two and three who need remedial help in reading and math? And then continue to need that help as they progress through their elementary, middle and high school years? Added to the academic needs are those who find it difficult to adapt to the social dynamics of a classroom and are considered behaviorally impaired.
Behavioral impaired is the politically correct term for someone who constantly disruots a classroom, and all it takes is one students who is behaviorally impaired to bring meaningful instruction in a classroom to a grinding halt.
What has gone so wrong in a child's life that he/she has fallen behind academically in grade one and continues to do so in subsequent years? The answer is simple.
In the vast majority of cases, the fault lies in the home. It has been proven that simple tasks such as the following almost always lead to a successful journey through the school years: during the preschool years, plop your children on your lap and read to them on a constant basis, teach them the alphabet, simple counting, some spelling, and how to take their place in the small society that a classroom is.
Unfortunately, something as simple as doing those things isn't being done. Instead, in many homes, when an inquisitive child asks a parent something, they hear the following, "Don't bother me, go watch TV." Another favorite term is, "Don't bother me, I'm busy."
When that happens frequently enough, those children go to school unable to sit still for any length of time, don't know how to pay attention during instruction periods, and soon realize that many of their classmates can do things they can't, so they get frustrated and constantly speak out of turn and interrupt others to gain the attention they don't receive at home.
Another way to get attention is to act out in class. To them, any attention, even the negative kind, is better than no attention at all.
Folks reading this, whose kids are successful in school, are probably scratching their heads wondering how difficult would it be to do the things mentioned above to ensure a kid's success, and why aren't all parents attempting to do it?
Simple, the majority of parents of unsuccessful kids place what they want above their kid's needs. Their decision making centers around themselves, and the children they brought into the world become a hindrance. The majority of parents who fail their childen today are they themselves victims of parents who didn't have the skills necessary to produce successful kids, and the trend continues.
Teachers in The Valley are not miracle workers. The vast majority of them enter their classrooms in the
morning ready and eager to teach the things necessary for their students to be successful in life. During the course of a school day, they give their students the attention they needs to do well.
Some kids grasp what is being taught immediately while others flounder, never really understanding what is being presented to them and they begin the slow slide to academic failure. Because of all the tV time they've accumulated where thinking, absorbing, patience and reasoning aren't required, they constantly stuggle when these things are asked of them during a school day. Eventually, these struggles lead to remedial programs. And as soon as they enter a remedial program, they realize that they're now different than their peers.
The next step in the progression to student failure is a parent(s) walking into the principal's office demanding to know, "What the hell is going on here? My kid isn't doing good in school and you're always calling me to tell me that he's misbehaving! I'm getting damn sick of it! If your teachers were doing their job, we wouldn't be having these problems!"
Actually, if these parents wanted to meet the real culprit in their children's early failure, all they'd have to do is to look in a mirror.
To those parents who do all of the right things in an attempt to make sure that their kids are successful in school and still have their kids struggle academically and behaviorally, you have my sympathy. It happens. Keep plugging. All you can do is to do your best.
Struggling students is a sad situation, and it's never going to improve until every parent in The Valley who has a child in that category does the right thing and puts the well being of their children before their own desires.
Doing so would save a lot of money, and more importantly, save kids.