36. SURPRISE NEWS ON GRADUATION RATES, WENDY RESPONDES, & READER RESPONSES

MEMO TO “DENIS DREW”: We at TWP will NOT be threatened, intimidated, or silenced by you or anyone else. As editor, I “nailed” you for your insensitivity towards the victims of RAPE -not your opinion of me, TWP, or it’s contributors. Even then, I invite you to examine this blog for yourself. If you disagree with TWP -that’s o.k., we can agree to disagree. But we feel that our blog shows another side to the c.p. issue. That is the ONLY purpose of this blog and if you read ALL the posts, we think you’ll agree with us as to the true mission of TWP!

MEMO TO NETWORK54 and “Bob T.”: We at TWP are clueless about your reference to the “female principal” and the “7th grader.” First, our principal is male (Mr. Smith) and our school is elementary only (preK to 5). As to any preferences, we rather not AT ALL but boys and girls are all under the same rules. Our experience has been that the average boy behaves much worse than the average girl. Finally, we just try to do our jobs -teaching children and making a positive impact on their education- and if the general public wants to outlaw c.p., so be it! We do try to warn against “simplistic solutions” (aka c.p. bans) and their unintended consequences. (Hey “Bob T.,” we at TWP would love to see your “research” as long as it is from an independent source like ours -See below.)

Dear Readers: As that crazy time of “March Madness” is upon us and most of us have turned in our basketball pool brackets, we thought that y’all might like to know our final four picks. With Wendy on maternity leave and Michelle busy planning the “perfect” wedding, there is just Jenny and me (Renee). Renee: Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, Duke. Jenny: Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, North Carolina.

Some big news was released last week from the John Hopkins University -Everyone Graduates Center. The news was good news to us as educators because it validates everything we always felt was occuring in southern U.S. schools. That is that education in the south has been and is improving with regards to graduation rates. We at TWP believe that it is time to bury once and for all the tired and out-dated image of the south as illiterate and uneducated.

SURPRISE NEWS ON GRADUATION RATES

The study by the Everyone Graduates Center of John Hopkins University had a LOT of data and TWP will focus on the Graduation Rate Improvement % in the period 2002 through 2006. To say we were surprised would be an understatement! (Non-paddling states are in Boldprint.)

Top Ten % Gain

1) Tennessee 11.2 2) Delaware 6.8 (Hey Vice President Joe Biden -You get to keep your job!) 3) Kentucky 6.8 4) South Dakota 5.3 5) Arkansas 5.2 6) Alabama 4.1 7) North Carolina 3.6 8.) New York 3.5 9) Hawaii 3.4 10) Missouri 3.4

Bottom Ten % Loss

1) Nevada -16.2 (Whatever y’all doing -Stop doing it -For the sake of your kids!) 2) New Jersey -8.4 (Hey, I thought y’all were supposed to be “smarter” than us southerners…or is that “stupider?”) 3) Louisiana -6.3 4) Utah -4.8 5) Arizona -4.7 6) Virginia -4.2 7) California -3.9 8 ) Michigan -3.5 9) North Dakota -2.8 (Someone needs to call South Dakota!) 10) Texas -1.0

Dear Readers, the fact that only four out of the top ten % gainers AND seven out of ten of the worst % losers were ALL non-paddling states should put to rest the bogus theory that the use of c.p. in school causes lower graduation rates. Even when you compare California to Texas, as the anti-c.p. crowd loves to do, the former had nearly four times the % decline as the latter. So, in TWP’s opinion, the “Paddling causes higher dropout rates” argument is OVER and WE WON -End of discussion! (Actually, we expected to win but did not know how long it would take to prove our case.)

 

Dear Readers: In this post, TWP is pleased to present to you Wendy, our most misunderstood teacher-contributor. Ever since our first post on Wendy (WENDY’S WORST? PADDLING) and second (WENDY’S MISTAKE), people have commented that she was the “hot-tempered one” or “the hardest paddler.” But if you could only meet her, she would not make you think of a “harsh” teacher at all. Rather, the first impression would be of a young teacherwho tries hard to do the best by her “kids” and succeeds!

 

WENDY RESPONDS

How do you feel about the comments and impressions that readers have made about you?

It hurts…so much that I did not want to participate in our blog for a few weeks after the first paddling story and then…my “mistake”…it was a terrible time but Renee, Jenny, and Michelle helped me through that period -they are the best friends a girl could ever have! I’m o.k. now and Mike and Shad are just fine -And staying out of trouble too! (HA HA)

What about Mike and Shad? How do they react or respond to you?

They are like the other four that I paddled in my short career -Hating what happened but also understanding why it happened. I have always made sure the person punished understands the “why” before resuming the normal class routine. Different kids react in different ways but I always make the extra effort so hopefully, there is a “closure” afterwards and a new beginning. I had no other problems with Mike lying -or anyone else for that matter! As to Shad, the problem was much worse -Because I WAS AT FAULT! I will always be wanting to make it up to him -Which is why we all agreed that it was in Shad’s best interest to be placed in Max’s class, our other 5th grade teacher. The problem was Shad! Max almost had to drag Shad out of my classroom! On my last day before Christmas Break and my maternity leave, Shad hugged me in front of everyone, including Mr. Smith! Our principal may have frowned on that but so what! My maternity leave will be for the max 18 months. Mr. Smith will have forgotten the Shad initiated “hug” by the time I return.

Readers have asked about the “art work” you and Shad worked on. What was that all about?

(Giggle) That was TOTALLY innocent! Shad insisted on doing some sidewalk art work with me as the subject! That was the Monday when I came back as well as the day of Shad’s “reassignment.” I understood and agreed with the decision to move Shad from my class but still felt bad about it because of what happened the prior week. So, when Shad pleaded during recess for me to “sit down” on the walkway opposite him so he could make a colored chalk portrait of me, I reluctantly did. Max watched and a bunch of the other kids sat down nearby. Shad did a nice job but we neglected to take a picture of it and some overnight rain messed it up. The funniest (and most embarrassing) part was getting up when recess ended. Think of a very pregnant teacher trying to get up from sitting on a concrete walkway. Max and Shad helped me up but I can still remember that smirk on Max’s face.

And the question that many of our readers are dying to know: How is every thing going healthwise and when is the big day?

Everything is good so far and my most recent checkup detected no problems. As to the due date, the second week in April is the time range -but I’m NOT rushing!

Will it be a boy or girl and do you have a list of names yet?

(HA HA HA) James and I could have “peeked” and found out but we decided to wait -That’s part of the surprise! Rest assured, Michelle -If it is a boy, the name will NOT be “Tebow!” (Michelle: “Hallelujah!”)

 

As TWP promised last week, we are going to present some passages from folks who have had abusive experiences at the hands of educators. TWP condemns ALL “abusive” discipline by educators and did so in the comments we made below. The reader is encouraged to check out our post MISSION STATEMENT to better understand our definition of what is and is not “abusive.”

READER RESPONSES

I need to tell you my story. In my high school, they lock the doors after the tardy bell. If you are caught outside in the halls, the monitors who patrol the hallways with paddles will paddle you 5 times before letting you in to your room. Sometimes I have to go to the rest room and then I get paddled when I miss the tardy bell and get caught out! It is so unfair…

First, having a strict tardy policy is NOT abusive. There does need to be rules and consequences -Life in the real world works that way. An example is if you are late to work, your pay can be reduced or you can be fired. Second, as to your school situation, it seems to us that c.p. has moved up from last to first resort and that should not be the case. Also, you may want to try and get a hall pass from the teacher of the class you are starting. Last, TWP advocates the use of detention and I.S.S. as first alternatives before c.p. is considered in secondary school.

As a female high school student, I am well aware that the only teachers who paddle in our school are male teacher-coaches. You do have two choices: At least 5 days in a double-wide in back of the school or 5 paddle swats. If you are in our version of in-school-suspension, you lose all your extra-curricular activities so the teachers seem to hold all the cards as to discipline.

It is our impression that you have a choice to make: Obey the rules and I.S.S./c.p. becomes irrelevant or choose the consequences if you break the rules. TWP opposes students choosing their punishment because they already made a choice when they broke the rules. As stated in other posts, the secondary school has options which simply do not exist in elementary schools. With elementary students, the maximum sanction before paddling is recess sit-in and after is suspension. With secondary school, the options are greater with detention, I.S.S., and evening/Saturday school. With single run bus schedules, none of these options work for elementary students.

But the main trouble we see in this case is that male teachers are using c.p. on female students. That is just plain stupid and should be stopped. If a parent objects to c.p. in general, then their children must be opted out and that request should be in writing with the parent(s) and principal’s signature. You need to talk with your parents about your concerns. If the school administrators have any brains at all, they will honor your parent’s opt out request.

My English teacher has a very bad temper and “flys off the handle” easily. When he does, the offender is grabbed and yanked outside the room and then is severely paddled. Alot of my 8th grade classmates are afraid of him and nobody likes him. What can we do to protect ourselves?

First, no teacher, regardless of stress or personal issues, has the right to “fly off the handle” and discipline students as you said. As professionals, the burden falls on the teacher to conduct themselves appropriately. Your teacher is not and the first thing to do is tell your parents what the problem is. Remember, you cannot and should not challenge the teacher’s authority -Therefore your parents need to be involved. Second, there seems to be an anger management problem with your teacher. No teacher can be effective in the classroom with a “short fuse.” It is TWP’s opinion that this teacher needs to be reassigned to a non-classroom position until his “problem” is resolved.

 

COMING NEXT: THE POWER AND MISUSE OF WORDS,

JENNY RESPONDS,

&

TWP’s POSITION ON JUDICIAL C.P.

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