28. PADDLING STATES AND GRADUATION RATES: A TWP “FACT CHECK” & A BAD SCHOOL BOARD DECISION

Dear Readers: Ever since we took on the task of this blog, we have heard from the anti-c.p. zealots that the states with legal paddling have higher dropout rates. Being native to the south where paddling is also legal, we at TWP have always been aware of the problem of lower academic achievement throughout the region. But a quick glance at historical facts show that -until 1971 when Massachusetts outlawed paddling in school -every other state except New Jersey (1867) had legal paddling in school. Somehow, the connection between paddling and student dropout/graduation rates was lost on TWP. If these historical facts are true, then the paddling-dropout theory has a MAJOR problem: The “better” northern schools were also using the paddle! No problem claim the anti’s because their next line of attack is that where paddling was outlawed- student achievement increased. We at TWP are amateur researchers whom are gainfully employed in real jobs but could not resist the challenge to show the inconsistencies of the anti’s argument.

PADDLING STATES AND GRADUATION RATES:

A TWP “FACT CHECK”

The anti-c.p. crowd is fond of rattling off figures and facts unrelated to one another in their quest to “prove” why that paddling students is “bad.” These facts can be summarized as follows:

Paddling students causes lower graduation rates. Southern states have lower graduation rates. Therefore, because southern states have legalized paddling in schools, they have lower graduation rates.

This theory requires an absolute correlation between paddling and graduation rates -without exception. Nevermind the historical evidence mentioned earlier that non-paddling states once used the paddle just like paddling ones -the non’s are supposed to be “better” now BECAUSE they do not paddle.

But the exceptions are a very BIG problem for the anti’s theory.

Graduation rates of public high school students 2004-5 (Non-paddling states in BOLD)

1)NEVADA 55.8 2)SOUTH CAROLINA 60.1 3)GEORGIA 61.7 4)MISSISSIPPI 63.3 5)LOUISIANA 63.9 6)ALASKA 64.1 7)FLORIDA 64.6 8)NEW YORK 65.3 9)NEW MEXICO 65.4 10)ALABAMA 65.9

In addition, California (aka P.T.A.V.E. land) barely beat out Texas 74.6 to 74 but lost to “paddlers” Arizona 84.7, Colorado 76.7, Idaho 81, Kansas 79.2, Kentucky 75.9, and Missouri 80.6. (Mr. Riak, call your office!)

If the “theory” above was that of a football coach, that coach would need to get started in a new line of work -as a t.v. commentator.

The figures above come from the 2004-5 school year which is the latest we at TWP could find during our spare time. (Hey- teaching IS a full time job!) The source for our information comes from NATIONAL CENTER for EDUCATIONAL STATISTICS, Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2006, Table 12.

If any of you readers can come up with more recent rankings of state graduation/dropout rates, please let us know and we will do another post. Remember one thing: The data must come from an independent and verifiable source and not an anti-c.p. website. (Do not bother with the “http://”- we will find the info w/o the link)

A BAD SCHOOL BOARD DECISION

As employees of a school board ourselves, we at TWP tend to defer to the “civilian leadership” when it comes to policy-making decisions. (See MISSION STATEMENT) However, our reluctance to critique the policy decisions of school boards has it’s limits.

On a corpun file #20552, a school board in Fort Stockton, Texas made the decision to eliminate the “opt out” provision in the student discipline handbook as to the use of the paddle.

Sounds to us like the good folks of Fort Stockton spent way too much time in the sun last summer. Can you say “lawsuit?” But not to worry- the employees (Teachers and Principals) have legal immunity but the school system probably does not. Nothing like stupid policy decisions to “grease the skids” for a state-wide c.p. ban.

Actually, the state of Texas is as likely to embrace a total gun-ban law as a state ban on paddling. But the Fort Stockton School Board does not do itself any favors by pushing bone-headed policies like this. After all, what is a teacher or principal to do if a child says “NO” -Hold them down? Good grief!

We at TWP are willing to bet that the employees of the district will be more circumspect about this new policy and suspend the student if he/she states, “Mom and Dad do not want me to be paddled…” Life will be a lot easier for Fort Stockton educators if they abide by the wishes of the parents concerning corporal punishment.

It should be understood that TWP supports the right of elected school boards to make all policy decisions concerning the local school district -including corporal punishment policy. This is the reverse of the extreme anti-c.p. crowd whom use highly paid lawyers and lobbyist in state capitals to “ram” through paddling bans on a state-wide level. Those “anti” zealots are very elitist in their outlook and distrust ordinary everyday folks when it comes to the agenda they push. The folks at Fort Stockton have not done themselves any favors by possibly playing into the wretched hands of groups like P.T.A.V.E.

MEMO to Fort Stockton School Board: WISE UP!

 

COMING NEXT: EDITORIAL: Ingraham v. Wright (1977)

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