posted by Mark Moore (Moderator) at Wednesday, October 05, 2005
State Senator Kim Hendren of Gravette, long a conservative stalwart, made some comments about school reform in response to the report from your court-appointed "Special Masters".Where as our Masters are demanding that we spend more money on education, Hendren suggested that money alone would not fix the problem. Discipline in school was an essential non-monetary factor in school reform.This has matched my thinking exactly. Student accountablity is the missing ingredient in "education reform", and Sen. Hendren has found it. It is always easier to blame teachers than to suggest that some parents need to reign their children in. But it is hard to teach a class when four or five "students" decide they want to hijack the class.According to Gary Lookadoo of the Morning News, Hendren said, "We need to do something to take care of discipline in the classroom. We either have to do it, or gradually more and more folks are going to be pulling their kids out of schools for their own safety."And education, we might add. It is hard to learn in chaos, and it is chaos that leads to the violence to which Hendren refers.His agenda for reform consists of 1)reducing unfunded state mandates 2) Reducing required paperwork and 3) Restoring discipline in the classroom.Kudos to Sen. Hendren for having the courage to tell the truth. The answer to better schools is not necessarily more money. It is more discipline.
FYI. Hendren is the brother - in - law of Asa.
I live in Benton County! I know that, but thank you for pointing it out for those of our auidence around the state.I am sure that some are uncomfortable with the number of members from that one family in or seeking public office, but I'd rather look at their politics- which I tend to like.
Great ideas, Hendren, but that can't be all you have to offer. The "conservative paradise" Texas actually puts its money where its mouth is on the education issue. It sounds like discipline is the cure-all in your mind. I don't know a single principal or school administrator across the state who believe better discipline and safety can be achieved without dollars. It sounds like another unfunded mandate if he doesn't propose more dollars for those issues. Trading one unfunded mandate for another isn't reform. Reducing paperwork always sounds like a great idea, but what paperwork is he discussing? More in-depth work should be done by you Mark to help Hendren explain himself more fully, since you live in Benton County. You stated 'not necessarily more money,' which sounds like you know a certain amount must be made available to the schools, so what exactly is the 'right' amount? Accountability by school administrators MUST be part of school reform based on performance and mishandling funds of Lake View school district or Helena-W. Helena, who can't be the only offenders across the state. Nice addition to the debate Hendren, but only a fraction of the needs of school reform. Good schools promote the welfare of the state, regardless of whether these kids leave the state. People who move to NW AR to work in Wal-Mart corporate office or any of the other giant corporations demand good schools and good higher education because, no matter how high tuition is in AR, it's still cheaper to educate children within the borders of AR in our public higher ed institutions(this is in regard to Mark's comment that we have 'too many' colleges in AR--how do you gather that?). To attract the best and brightest of other states for the betterment of our state, education is seen as priority one for relocating families. A well-educated populus CAN'T be bad for business and the future of AR. Industry seeks to locate their plants where there are qualified, educated, trainable workers. Our schools have underperformed for decades and there is a direct correlation to how poorly our state performs in the business world, giant corporations aside. There is still a lot of poverty in parts of our state. I believe an AR politician should care about the ENTIRE state, not just NW AR where he have the means and the vigor to promote and fund our schools.
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a spanking doesn't cost anything, except maybe a paddle.
Paragraphs are our friend ar1836!
You want details on the paperwork and discipline that Hendren and I are talking about? OK. For example to suspend a "Special Ed" student for more than 10 days during a school year for disrupting the classroom at will was impossible. The administration just has to keep having meetings and filling out documents until the kid changes his mind!Can you imagine, six highly educated adults had to keep having meetings to discuss with one out of control 14 year old ways to change their behavior! And if they didn't, we could always have another meeting. It was a joke. IT would not cost us any money to relax that rule, it would save money- and time.The same thing occurred with grades. A "resource room" student could look a regular classroom teacher in the eye and tell them straight out that they were not going to turn a hand. You litterally could not flunk them. The district's plan in such a case was to keep having meetings until the teacher got tired of them and passed the kid. I am not exaggerating. My supervisor bluntly told me that there was no end point at which the teacher was allowed to say, "enough meetings, this child has an "F".
...and by "flunking" I don't mean retention in the same grade. I am only talking about an "F" on a report card which meant nothing because the child was moved through the system anyway.
What districts? When I was in the grades, I remember several "special ed" students(yes, there was a classroom they attended in addition to mainstreamed classes) a number of those students were sent to alternative school as regularly as non-special ed students and alternative schools are better described as 'in-school' suspension. If you are discussing sent-home suspension, maybe you have a point; if discussing 'in-school' suspension, I remember a number of folks sent there for 20 days or more, particularly if a student is 2-3 years and poses an ominous physical threat to other students. I must write in paragraphs because I'm no good at sound bytes. Besides, I despise the requisite lack of attention span it causes. A principal acquaintance of mine has had a number of students fail grades in his school. I have to agree with a need for accountability by districts, but merely attacking spending on the schools without a true study of problems is no solution.
I taught for 12 years. I know the problems.
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