Tuesday, March 09, 2004

LittleA - Education Tsar

I still haven't figured out how our public education system got so messed up. Today's problems have been a long time coming, and unfortunately, I hold little hope of them ever being resolved. I fear they will only get worse. Let me give you an example of what's wrong with the system. Fair warning - I found my inner snark today.

McKinney is a moderately well-to-do community in Collin County. (close to Dallas) Here is what the school Superintendent has to say about their dress code.
"We don't want to waste time checking midriffs and shorts when we should be teaching. But there have to be some limits," Dr. David Anthony said. "I don't believe in a homogenized society, and I believe you shouldn't have rules you can't enforce."
Ok, where to start. Let's start with the biggest issue first. Who is in charge of the McKinney school district? The Superintendent, right? "I believe you shouldn't have rules you can't enforce." Am I imagining things, or did he just admit to being incompetent? It's not that the dress code CAN'T be enforced, but HIS teachers and administrators are UNWILLING to enforce it. Hmmm. Now why might that be? Well, what happens to a child who is out of dress code? For simple violations, they might have to turn a T-shirt inside out or wear another shirt over the one they have on. That doesn't seem to be too difficult. For more flagrant violations, the kids are SENT HOME. Now, what happens when a child is sent home? If it happens before 10 AM, the school doesn't get PAID for that child for that day. That's why our school district sends these kids to a holding area and sends them home AFTER 10 AM. Seems to me that teaching isn't the highest priority here. And you know what? Since the Superintendent doesn't think they should have rules they can't enforce, let's let the kids bring their guns and knives and cigarettes and pot and speed and heroin to school too since there seems to be a little problem enforcing THOSE rules as well. Oh yeah, and sex in the bathroom stalls or on the bus or in the back of the classroom? No problem. Enjoy.

"I don't believe in a homogenized society" Wow. That's brilliant. And that's cogent to the dress code, exactly how? Making Johnny take out his eyebrow piercing and pull up his pants or making Janie keep her "I love Bubba" thigh tattoo covered is homogenizing? What about the dress code for staff? Now there's a homogenized group if I ever saw one. Why don't we lighten up on the teacher's dress code too, since homogenization is such a bad thing?

"But there have to be some limits" Really? Why? I mean, you know kids, they always are going to push the limits anyway, and then you're not going to enforce those limits either, so you'll be right back where you are now, only with lower standards. And we wonder why kids don't respect authority.

"We don't want to waste time checking midriffs and shorts when we should be teaching" Oh yeah. It's all about the teaching. You know what, let's stop taking attendance too. What a waste of time when we should be teaching.

Now, believe it or not (or as 7-11 used to say, "Believe it or Slurp it!"), it gets worse. Here are a few selected quotes from parents and students in the McKinney district.
"Lighten up on a few things and maybe" other clothes won't be a problem, said Marilynn Beesley, mother of a ninth-grader at McKinney High. She said her daughter may occasionally show a quarter-inch of midriff . "She is stylish, but she doesn't seem interested in showing her belly or getting her navel pierced," she said. "So far anyway. I know that could change."
See limits above. And three guesses as to who calls the shots in the Beesley family.
"It's really hot in Texas, and you want to wear a tank top," Rachael said. "But it's questionable what you can wear." Rachael's father, Toby Grist, said he doesn't want a dress code that keeps his daughter from being herself. "I raise my kids to be individuals, but to the extent that it doesn't hurt anyone and isn't obscene." Some dress codes, he said, "take away from individualism."
You know they have this new thing now called AIR CONDITIONING and rumor has it, they're even going to start bringing it to TEXAS soon. And who knew that by making my kids follow the dress code I was really bringing them up to be mindless drones? Wow. I bet that will really damage their self esteem.
Kellee Widener, an 11th-grader at McKinney's ACT Academy, sometimes questions the revealing clothes of her classmates but said their fashion choices aren't as disruptive as schools say. "If you're there to learn, you'll learn. If you're distracted, you're already distracted," Kellee said. "Clothes don't have anything to do with it."
She's right, you know. Why don't we just send 'em naked?

Oops, I'm out of time. I'll have to give you MY solutions to all of our education woes tomorrow.

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