35. FACT CHECK #3, EDITORIAL: A “NANCY” PROPOSAL, & “WE ARE NOT MAKING THIS UP!”

Dear Readers: As “March Madness” starts in earnest with betting pools all around the U.S., we educators are not immune from the craziness. Many of the teachers at our school do participate in a “faculty pool” which last year’s winner (Not one of TWP) and her spouse won a dinner at an exclusive club in a large city not too far from our county. Being “good sports,” we lady teachers take turns monitoring the cafeteria every year at this time while the lounge t.v. is “taken over” by Max, Clyde and Mr. Smith, our three resident turk…I mean…basketball fans. (Hey, Mr. Smith IS our boss so…)

In TWP’s routine of checking what others on the net are saying about us, rarely is anything “normal.” Case in point was a comment by a Bob T. at Network54.com who thinks he knows more than he actually does. We at TWP are always more than happy to answer a challenge with a FACT CHECK of our own.

FACT CHECK#3

…all the schools that have abolished SCP would be suspending and expelling as many students as the schools who use c.p. paddle each year.

We at TWP interpret Bob T.’s comment as saying that non-paddling schools suspend/expel FEWER students than paddling schools. Another interpretation is that Bob T. doubts that suspension is the next step after the paddle and/or students at non-paddling states are so much BETTER behaved that neither is needed . That line of faulty thinking seems to say that the use of c.p. CAUSES misbehavior in the first place! (So help us! -We will never understand that theory!)

After doing some searching on the web, SUCCESS! On the National Center for Education Statistics -Table 153, TWP found some interesting state figures. The info below is from 2004, the most recent year available and on this post we gave the overall percentage of students suspended that year. (Non-paddling states are in Boldprint.)

1) Louisiana 11.9 2) South Carolina 11.8 3) North Carolina 11.1 4) West Virginia 10.7 5) Delaware 10.5 (Vice President Joe Biden, call your state capital!) 6) Rhode Island 10.1 7) Mississippi 10.1 8) Alabama 9.6 9) Georgia 9.6 10) Florida 9.2

In addition, California 7.4 beat out Texas 5.2 by a sizable margin –Demonstrating that disciplining students by not educating them is NOT the answer. (Check out California’s dropout/graduation rate.) Also note that 1,2,and 3 are among the lesser paddling states while Texas, Tennessee, and Arkansas are NOT in the top ten. Only Mississippi seems to fall to the bottom in most education statistics and we at TWP think poverty and illiteracy are the primary cause -something all educators strive every day to change.

So, to conclude that “non-paddling states do NOT have suspension or behavior issues and that paddling states do because of legal c.p. is iffy at best -But most likely…FALSE!

STRIKE ONE!

As to the “legal c.p. = violent crime” theory -Tell that to the good people of Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, and Michigan. Four out of ten kills any theory! (see post EDITORIAL:INGRAHAM v. WRIGHT & MORE FACT CHECKING)

STRIKE TWO!

As to the theory that paddling students leads to lower graduation rates, please inform the kids in Nevada, Alaska, and New York to stop embarrassing their states! “Paddling students leads to lower graduation rates” is FALSE! (see post PADDLING STATES AND GRADUATION RATES: A TWP “FACT CHECK”)

STRIKE THREE!…YOU’RE OUT!

At least, that’s the way I remember the umpire calling “OUT” during my youth as a softball pitcher. In the real world, we can only wish that it was that simple. The anti’s have their “religion” and nothing anyone says or does will change their minds. We at TWP understand this and seek only to balance the so-called “debate” with real world facts and our personal perspectives as real teachers in real classrooms.

EDITORIAL: A “NANCY” PROPOSAL

When we at TWP first saw the “Nancy” episode of the t.v. program THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE, our first reaction was: Is this a joke? We did not even know about the existence of the program until corpun.com showed a video clip last November on “Nancy.” Well, as we have discussed in previous posts: We do not support secondary school paddling,we do not believe in students “choosing” their punishment, and if any c.p. is used on older kids at all -It must be meted out and witnessed by educator of the same gender.

While TWP agreed on those points, we also came up with a rather radical idea. As readers of this blog know, the anti-c.p. crowd portrays a skewed image of what c.p.is by taking the worst cases of abusive paddling and painting ALL teachers who paddle as abusers. But the “anti’s” have a built-in advantage: If the general public never sees or witnesses a paddling -The “anti’s” are free to say anything about c.p. they want and no one can refute them. Why? Because no one actually witnesses c.p. except the two educators and the student.

Enter TEACHERSWHOPADDLE t.v. show which would be a reality program like the COPS or PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE shows. The difference is that the student’s faces and names would not be revealed. All of the safety guidelines and protocol would be followed. As a result of our program idea, people might have second thoughts about how “bad” c.p. is supposed to be.

Actually, this could be the best thing ever for educators who constantly have to defend c.p. but cannot because of the “behind closed doors” aspect. This might be the greatest nightmare for those who make a living tearing down and namecalling teachers who use paddles in classroom discipline. Think about it: After the first episode, most people would think, “That’s it?…What’s the point with those nutty “anti’s” anyway?…”Billy” got three rather mild but well-deserved swats…And he’s teary-eyed?…Gimme a break- When I was his age, it would have been much worse!”

Of course, not everyone thinks or sees this issue same way but one thing is for sure: All the facts of c.p. in school would be shown for all to see. TWP believes that is Jordan Riak’s worst nightmare -An informed general public which has a real understanding of what c.p. in school really is. But what do you, our readers, think about this proposal? Not to worry -P.C. Hollywood will never consider such an idea -But COPS was not initially well received either -But has been a t.v. success for 15 years! So, drop TWP a line with your thoughts and suggestions on this topic. Just remember: You can be positive or negative but be NICE!

“WE ARE NOT MAKING THIS UP!”

Every once in a while, TWP runs into extreme rhetoric on the net. When checking on ol’ Riak, we found some positions that even we didn’t expect to see. Since seeing is believing, we recommend the reader go to the P.T.A.V.E. site and use their search engine to find “ABUSE IN SCHOOL” written by Jordan Riak. Below, we listed and commented on a few of the most off-the-wall ideas of “abuse.”

DRAGGING: I guess if there is a emergency, no teacher had better drag an injured student to safety. That might be “abusive.”

FORCING CHILD TO REMAIN SITTING: Now here is final proof that Riak and gang have no clue what a real classroom is about! We require students to “sit” for most of the time they are in school -TWP has never heard of a school that functioned any other way.

DENYING THE CHILD USE OF THE LAVATORY: Of course we “allow,” but within common sense reason. Our classroom doors cannot be “revolving” doors where students come and go at will. Unless there is a medical reason (by a doctor) the student must wait until a.m. or p.m. recess or lunchtime or forfeit part of the next recess. (By the way, our principal frowns on teachers calling for someone to “spot” while they answer nature’s call!)

PROVOKING, TAUNTING, OR CHALLENGING A CHILD TO VIOLENCE: Really? I reckon raising my voice is out of bounds, huh? Some of those ideas of Riak must have come from some old movie he saw on t.v. one night!

FORCING A CHILD TO DO PUSH-UPS OR RUN LAPS: Actually, our children in the U.S. need to do a LOT more exercise because we have an obesity epidemic. But exercise should NEVER be a punishment.

DENYING ADEQUATE FREE TIME FOR RECESS OR LUNCH: We do not know how Riak defines “adequate” but we think it is probably “all day, every day!” Recess and lunch time totals one hour and ten minutes a day for all students but the only break we teachers get is lunch, 30 minutes, and subtract from that cafeteria monitoring. (Hey, how about more break time for teachers -We deserve it!)

CONFISCATING A CHILD’S PERSONAL PROPERTY: Quick! Someone alert the school board that teachers cannot confiscate student cell phones! In Wendy’s rookie year, a mother called her child DURING classtime! Wendy calmly took the ringing cell phone and answered it stating,”Bobby is unavailable right now but if you will call the school office at …., they will forward your message by written note…Good bye!” Wendy then turned the phone off and kept it until the mother came to pick it up. The mother filed a complaint but Mr. Smith told her in no uncertain terms that “next time” the phone would be confiscated for the rest of the school year!

PUNISHING AN INDIVIDUAL AS AN EXAMPLE TO THE GROUP: We mention this to make a point: On the rare occasions when a student is paddled, we do NOT talk about it when walking back into the classroom (We feel awful already!) but at the same time -We do not deny what happened if asked. The “example” is clearly understood by all -which is why paddlings occur so rarely among our students.

PITTING CHILD AGAINST CHILD, GROUP AGAINST GROUP: I reckon math relay games are verbotten, huh? I thought Riak WANTED fun and games in school!

HAVING CHILDREN SPY ON EACH OTHER: One of our favorites, we think Riak was “losing it” when he dreamed this one up! Exactly how do you get kids to do that? If a teacher can actually get a child to spy on others, maybe he/she needs to work in the C.I.A. -I hear the pay and benefits beats the h*** out of teaching!

CREATING A DOSSIER ON A CHILD: We are all complaining to our alma maters (Colleges we graduated from) that they failed to teach us the fine art of “dossiers.” Personally, I think Riak watches too many “old gangster movies.”

COERCING A CHILD TO MAKE FALSE STATEMENTS OR A WRITTEN CONFESSION: Now I KNOW Riak is watching too many “old gangster movies” -Please, for your own mental health Mr. Riak, you need to find another form of t.v. entertainment. Jenny recommends the National Geographic or History Channels. I (Renee) enjoy the Lifetime Channel as well!

Of course, many of the points raised by Jordan Riak are valid and with the exception of his anti c.p. stances, TWP AGREES with a number of them. No school environment should ever be ABUSIVE. Where we part company with those in the anti c.p. movement, apart from c.p., is that rules on student behavior ARE a part of a constructive classroom experience. Our kids seem to understand that and if you could only see the look on their faces each morning -You’d agree! And that’s the intrinsic reward of teaching which only a teacher can understand.

COMING NEXT: SURPRISING NEWS ON GRADUATION RATES,

WENDY RESPONDS,

&

READER RESPONSES

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