50. JENNY ANSWERS & HOW TO (AND NOT TO) PLAN COMMUNITY GROWTH

On 07-17-2009, A t.v. news report revealed that teen girls as young as 16 in the state of Rhode Island are legally allowed to work as STRIPPERS so long as they are home by 11:30 p.m. on school nights! Well, we at TWP now know that “Nancy” of Booneville and THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE fame would never have to fear the paddle in Rhode Island but could pay for her car and/or college in a different way! WE ARE NOT MAKING THIS UP! We at TWP understand that things are a little unusual up north but…GOOD GRIEF!

JENNY ANSWERS

My post last week touched a hyper-sensitive nerve of one reader named Rachael. Much of her diatribe was answered in a previous post P.T.A.V.E.’S QUESTIONS AND TWP’S ANSWERS. As to some other points she raised, my answers are below.

You have in all caps and exclamation marks everything what this child did to inconvenience you, so it is obvious all while this situation was going on you built up anger and frustration.

🙄 Goodness, I didn’t know you were a mind-reader! The “lost frog” was school property, not an inconvenience. But for certain, I was NOT angry. However, the loss of school property could not be just ignored and if asked about our “frog dissection,” I was NOT going to lie about it to our principal. Finally, as to my caps and exclamation marks, they were for emphasis only.

He repeatedly kept saying sorry and crying before he even got paddled..or either he was just really in fear thinking about what his dad might do to him if he found out.

I understood how sorry he was (Hey, I’m a mom of a three year old myself!) and would have let it go had the missing frog not been purchased with school money. Our principal sometimes likes to “drop in” on our classes and certainly knew about the plans for a dissection. Again, what am I supposed to do?…Lie to my boss? The “fireworks” from our principal would have been much worse for Marty than my two “mild swats.” And Marty was kept out of trouble from his parents. Mission accomplished, I reckon.

You obviously already feel guilt as you were rewriting the situation and was justifying paddling him, phrases like: “mild” swats. “reluctant is an understatement”, “volunteer paddling” give this away.

🙄 Oh please! No I do not feel “guilt” -Quite the opposite: I feel that I kept Marty out of much worse trouble.. Michelle and I were both reluctant but, in looking back, agree that between the options of reporting to the office, calling his parents, or handling the matter ourselves -The latter was best. Marty’s grin afterwards was a sure sign to Michelle and I how he felt about the matter!

If you know or suspect this kid is getting abused at home you should at least report it if you do not have time to confront the parents.

😕 Huh? Rachael dear, c.p. in the home is LEGAL in all 50 states. The U.S. is NOT Sweden and it is not a teacher’s job to “confront” parents on how they raise their children. Also, c.p. is not abusive if it is moderate, judicious, and sparing. See our post MISSION STATEMENT.

Keyword teach not oppress.
and people people wonder what’s wrong with society.

😮 Are you kidding? We as teachers see everyday the results of a society that excuses inappropriate behavior. Just read any newspaper. As teachers, we try to teach more than the typical academics because too many children are not taught proper behavior at home. In my now 6 year teaching career, I feel that I, along with the other teachers of our school, have made a difference and our “kids” are better for it. After all, prisons ARE more expensive to build than schools.

Better idea – “For the next week you are assigned to help janitor clean the classroom to earn an allowance to pay for this.

🙄 Yeah…RIGHT! Final proof that you are not a teacher, Rachael. I have never heard of any school policy that allows teachers to “subcontract out” a student to work with a janitor. In our school, all students are to be in class with their classmates -Not working under someone else!

Hey, Rachael. You whinned about “how it feels.” Well, fyi -None of us received c.p. in school but the reason for that is what would have been in store for us at home. All of us at TWP were taught proper behavior BEFORE we started school.


MEMO TO “RICK”: Unlike Rachael above, you insisted on lurid, sicko comment/requests (Several times) and that is why we have permanently placed you on our “spam list.” If you had only just stuck to questions (Even silly ones), there would be no spamming. But you did not and have only yourself to blame because all four of us at TWP are married and three of us are mothers and YOUR SICKO comment/requests were very offensive to us.

Dear Readers: This post does go outside the original parameters of TEACHERSWHOPADDLE, but does shed some light on why some communities change rapidly beyond just population growth. I (Renee) would be remiss if I did not recognize James, Wendy’s hubby, for his legal insights which were very helpful in writting this post. (Hey, I only took 1 political science class in college so…)

HOW TO (AND NOT TO) PLAN COMMUNITY GROWTH

All communities look for growth so they can improve themselves. Growth can take on many forms: population, economic, geographic etc. or a combination of ways. We in the U.S.A. have a bias towards growth because of our history of expansion westward from the colonial era to the 20th century. Like most people, I (Renee) felt positive towards “growth” and only recently had second thoughts.

Last Christmas, I had an epiphany during a shopping trip with my father while visiting his family in North Carolina. It was just the two of us and I was driving while we both chatted about how the boyhood town of my daddy had changed over the last couple of decades. Make that “GROWN”! Looking out for traffic on a eight lane commercial corridor, I could barely remember the same two lane road of my childhood. (My earliest memories are from this town where I was born and lived in until my parents moved my family when I was nearly school age.)

As we entered one of the numerous “big box” stores, I was bumped and nearly run over several times by over-aggressive shoppers and never heard so much as a “sorry” or “excuse me.” Being petite didn’t help me but I was ready to let the next inconsiderate jerk have a piece of my mind when daddy tapped me on the shoulder.

“Renee darling, don’t let the rush of the season get you down,” daddy whispered.

“Daddy, it seems that the people get more obnoxious every Christmas we come up here,” I replied.

“You’re right, Reddy (My daddy always calls me that when he thinks I’m agitated) and the folks we remember from years ago have moved on or…,” he wistfully answered.

“I know the area has grown but it is so much less friendly…,”I whispered back.

“Yes…It has changed and what you are picking up on is the Northern transplants because of the high-tech boom in this region of the state,” daddy ruefully admitted.

I did not really understand until later at the checkout line when I heard the cashier remarking to a co-worker,” If I hear another person say “Merry Christmas,” I’ll explode…I HATE Christmas! Granted, he was overstressed but did not say “This time of year” and was crystal clear in his disdain for Christmas itself. I just rolled my eyes and shook my head as we walked out to the parking lot, remarking,'”Young man must not have gotten that bike he asked St.Nick for…”

“Actually, that fellow is more typical of the children of the transplants I mentioned a little while ago,” daddy intoned,”Could you hear his dialect?”

“Yeah, now that you mentioned it,” I replied as we packed my car’s backseats and headed back to Grandpa’s place. On our way out the parking lot, another driver cut me off -Nearly causing me to have a serious wreck!

I was mad as a hornet and managed to tail him (Despite daddy’s protests) until we were stopped by a red light. I was ready to get out and let what looked like a college kid have it but daddy managed to calm me down, saying,”RENEE…COOL IT because you cannot write him a ticket and when the light turns green, he will just leave you sniffing auto exhaust and looking like a fool!”

Daddy was correct, of course (Daddies are so awesome!) and I recall his pointing out a rear window college parking decal which said: RUTGERS U. Daddy only said,”Son of a transplant from up north, Reddy and I hear that those folks are more than half the population of this region of the state.”

“They look down on everyone who is native to this area,they have nothing to do with the local community culture and despite the population growth, the local churches have hardly grown at all…” daddy remarked,”And those are ‘changes’ I can do WITHOUT!”

I nodded in agreement but didn’t think on it since Christmas was just a few days away and even as a grown woman, this still is my favorite time of year.

But in researching for posts in the new year, what my daddy said stuck with me as I noticed the anti-c.p. trends in parts of North Carolina as covered by corpun.com. As I looked at those trends, I noticed a pattern. It seems that rapid growth counties with large influxes of out of region transplanted residents tend to shift dramatically in social and cultural ways, not just economically.

When I asked daddy recently about this, he bluntly said,”You can take the ‘yankee’ out of the North but he is still a ‘yankee’ no matter how far South you take him.”

Hence this little analysis of how or how not to plan FUTURE community growth. This is just my informed opinion (Thanks again, James) and for current fast growth counties, this post is too late. But for a smaller populated county that might land the next big industry, this post may be worth a look.

Some rules to understand:

RULE 1: This post does NOT advocate using unlawful means to deny or dilute people’s voting rights. We are ALL Americans.

RULE 2:This post calls for community consensus AT THE START. If a community cannot come to an agreement, nothing in this post can work.

RULE 3: Change is a part of living and life. This post is NOT a strategy for stopping or preventing change -Rather, the goal is to slow down “change” so a local community can adapt over time.

Rule 4: The following scenarios deal primarily with the effect of out-sized population growth on a community’s schools.

And there is strategy.

STRATEGY: The strategy here is to take ideas such as strict zoning laws and land-use codes which are much more popular outside of the Southeastern U.S. and turn them to a new purpose. This is absolutely required and the county’s residents must work together.

Scenario 1: What Not To Do

In this case, our 9,000 resident county is in a rural area 100 miles away from high population areas but still located on a stretch of interstate highway.

The county has just received the big news of a major industry moving into their community. Everyone celebrates for weeks about the good news -But no one asks about the longer term implications of a projected doubling of the county’s population. Instead, local leaders just say,”We will worry about that later.”

10 Years Later

Later does come…and faster than anticipated. In the first ten year period, the county population does double to about 18,000 -Almost all from outside the southeastern region of the U.S. That population of newcomers adversely affect nearly all of the local county school board memberships. During the first 10 years, 8 of 9 school board seats change representatives.

The results are profound. In the case of school policy, not only is c.p. banned but discipline in general is “relaxed” with lower standards of behavior accepted by board policies. But woe to the elementary school teacher that raises her voice too strongly towards a child of a newcomer. Student conduct does deteroate. Student graduation rates do go up some but this is merely because most of the transplant parents are highly educated themselves. If you only measure the native students, there is NO significant change.

As to overall county government, the “community activist” take charge with increasing taxes and regulations that only a northern or west coast transplant would feel at home with.

20 Years Later

The only thing that is the same about the county is the county name, town names, and street names. At this point, the county’s population has quadrupled in size.Socially and culturally, the county might as well be a suburb of Chicago or Baltimore. The schools do have a higher graduation rate but also more discipline problems that become so bad that the police “work” some in the schools as “resource officers.” The schools are also bigger but not better as to student conduct. During this second decade of growth, the suspension rate soars as it becomes the major discipline tool.

 

Scenario 2

As in the prior scenario, the county receives the good news of a major industry moving to the area. Everything about the county, including population is the same (9,000). Everything but one exception.

In this scenario, the community comes to the realization that bigger does not always mean better. In a seris of meetings, the county leaders, with input from the citizens at large, decide on a set of new zoning and land-use laws that will keep growth under control AND PRESERVE THE COMMUNITY AS IT IS.

To simplify this scenario, the changes can be summarized as follows:

1) Zoning laws restrict to a limited area where large tracts of land can be subdivided into small single family residences. (Much of our mythical county is made up of large land holdings.) Also, commercial zoning is set up in areas for the new industries.

2) Land-use laws supplement zoning laws to squeeze the expected transplant boom into a smaller area, both single family residences and commercial-residential (rental apartments).

3) The area that is designated as the high density population growth area is placed in county school board district #1 with the redistricting requirements of the 2010 census. (Note: School board districts are exactly the same as county municipal council districts.)

With that, keep in mind that D#1 has “conservatives” for both county council and school board members. Therefore, in the post-census redistricting, churchville -Where both leaders reside is swapped into District 2 for Centerville which is moved into D#1. In our scenario, both council and school board members for D#2 are residents of Centerville and are the only “liberal” elected officials. Centerville is the centrally located town of the county as well.

Districts 3 to 9 are unchanged and all districts, as required by law have an equal number of residents.

10 Years Later

The county does double in population as in scenario 1 -But the growth is funneled mostly into one area: District 1!

As to schools, there is no big change -For the native students. But the child of a transplanted couple who launches the F-bomb in school -A surprise! Instead of a “talking to” as expected, the consequence is a sore rear end! After the first 10 years, the “liberals” from D#1 are replaced by “Far left zealots” who pound the tables but are consistently out-voted in council and board meetings.

It is the new census numbers for 2020 that make a difference -But only so far. The doubling of the population of the county has occurred in just one area: District 1! With the legal requirement of equal representation and about 9,000 people squeezed in the district 1 of the 2010 census, change is required.

The change is as follows (With lots of table pounding from the “liberal” council and board members from District 1):

1) In District 1, 8,000 residents are drawn into 4 districts: Districts 1,2,3 and 4.

2) The remaining 1,000 residents of Centerville are drawn out of the old District 1 lines and the town is divided on the new district map in 5 equal parts of 200 residents each.

3)Districts 5,6,7,8 and 9 are redrawn around the lines of the old District 1 while incorporating 200 residents each from the town of Centerville.

The result in the next elections will certainly be at least 4 new faces. But this will not mean a radical change in school governance. If the voting patterns outside the four “new” districts do not change, then strong shifts in school policy such as outright c.p. bans are much less likely. However, there will be more emphasis placed on “parental notification” and “opt-outs” as to c.p.

20 Years Later

Because of the zoning and land-use laws, the county’s population has hit a plateau and has not grown significantly. But the wider region has with other counties following the example of our mythical county. The schools all have very high graduation rates with sound discipline policies, including c.p. After years of assimilating, the transplants and their grown children come to terms with the idea of c.p. if not fully accepting it.

So, there you have it: TWP’s attempt at community planning. Let us know what you think …and we promise you this: We will NOT try a new career as community planners!

 

COMING NEXT: RENEE’S “DOUBLE” PADDLING & YOUR FAQ’S

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