Let’s Talk about School & Education Issues . . .

This is a blog for principals and teachers. If you’re solution-oriented when it comes to school issues, log on to this blog. Count the many education issues out there right now. The renewal of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, switching to a national curriculum — my goodness! Every day, one more issue concerning our profession gets media attention. The public becomes polarized, and educators become stressed. How can we deal with so much change occurring all at once? And it feels as if much of this change is beyond our control. I say: let’s start talking.

I was trained in my high school debate club to understand both sides of every issue. If you see the value in that, this is the blog for you. In my way of thinking, every issue has legitimate points on both sides of the aisle. It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat, conservative, liberal, independent or libertarian. In order to come up with sound, realistic solutions that will actually work, this blog intends to address both sides of each issue. As long as you can show respect for the other side, your comments and posts will be welcome on this blog.

Sometimes I may sound as if I think I have the answers — but I don’t. My job is to raise the questions. My goal is two-fold: this site is a forum for principals to talk to other principals, as well as to teachers, regarding the issues of the day. The site for that forum will be http://www.principalstoprincipals.com (once I learn WordPress.com and set up a separate site). The other site I plan to host is http://www.parentsaskaprincipal.com so that parents can query principals and teachers and ask our advice. Sometimes parents are on the offensive and mad as the dickens — but I have faith that you and I — meaning principals and teachers — will be able to explain every seemingly absurd decision that we make.

Scroll down to the very bottom to find the first issue that I’d like for us to discuss. Paddling in School: Yes or No was inspired by reading about U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy’s bill, H.R.5628 to abolish corporal punishment in school.

I would also like to know the book that influenced you the most when you became a brand-new principal or teacher. It would be a great help to new educators if they could get a jump-start on some great advice. All you have to do is reply in the comment section to one of my posts. You can leave your real name or your user name. Say whether you’re a principal or a teacher and give a little information about yourself if you’d like. Also, tell us a a little about the book. I will keep a list of books and post them to the right of my blog. If you don’t want me to use your real name (if you provide it), just say so, and I won’t.

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6 responses to “Let’s Talk about School & Education Issues . . .

  1. I agree with the article–corporal punishment is a local decision, left up to school boards , or more fairly to the individual schools themselves. I see the need for paddling, but it should be administered almost on an individual basis–some kids never need this discipline, others occasionally do. I’m not really sure that high school kids need this sort of discipline; it most certainly would classify them as “still a child,” and no teen wants that.

    • I tend to agree with you about high school students. Did you see that show that came on Saturday mornings a year or so ago about real principals at real schools and the discipline situations they had to deal with? It was often quite hilarious –from a fellow principal’s point of view. One high school principal had a great solution, I thought. Students could serve their detention hours, or they could choose to receive swats in order to get the ordeal over. The choice was entirely up to the student. When I say that I “tend” to agree with you, I do think that when students know that they could be paddled — no matter what the age — that it serves as a deterrent to a large number of students and helps them keep themselves in line. That’s what we want, isn’t it?

  2. Here’s my take on corporal punishment (by the way, for those who attended Hillcrest Elementary in Ruston, Miss Pat Alley would spank me virtually every day and she never once hurt. She was one of the most beloved teachers any of us ever had.

    My youngest daughter teaches second grade in Denham Springs, Louisiana, and her school opened for class on Friday. In one of the first grade classes, a boy took the name sticker off the desk next to him (that student was absent) and put it on his desk. Then he simply said nothing when his name was called, causing a three-hour panic at the school because records showed that his mother had checked him in that morning. The principal made six separate trips to my daughter’s class (bear in mind she teaches a different grade) in search of the boy. His parents and the police were called in as the principal teetered on the ragged edge of despair. Police were ready to issue an Amber Alert when his parents saw him sitting at his desk with the other student’s name sticker. Of course he thought it was all very funny but it got the principal’s year and that of a couple of teachers off to a bad beginning. Imagine what they are in store for from this kid the rest of the year.

    Corporal punishment? Oh, yeah. If a kid ever deserved it, he did.

    Tom Aswell

  3. Hello, Martha,
    Thanks for posting a comment. Writing your Congressman would be great!

    • Tom,
      Great story – and hilarious to read many years later. But any principal or teacher reading it will not have to imagine the stress that the principal and teacher of this boy felt. And to think it happened on the first day of school! In a few days I will post my own opinion as to whether or not that boy should have been paddled. Hopefully, viewers will read both the first and second posts. Thanks, Tom, for your input!

  4. marthakavanaugh

    Sounds like we need to write our Congress reps regarding Congresswoman McCarthy’s proposed legislation.