published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The media reported that Gov. Rick Scott is now concerned about the state school system. The federal analysis, concluding that the Florida education system is in "disrepair," is quite troubling. The feds are concerned that the newly revised state plan has not gone far enough and that they suspect state officials may not actually complete its assessment/evaluation and projected resolutions.
A major focus was on the troubled child/teen issue. The assessment/evaluation questioned why the state's concern began with the middle school troubled children when national analyses had concluded the problems began when the children were 5-6 years of age. It appeared that the problem was merely passed on to the next year/grade.
Please note that former Gov. Charlie Crist had initiated Proposition 77 after the Virginia Tech disaster. It decreed that a troubled child's record will follow the child from one jurisdiction to the next, so the next jurisdiction would have that history and know how to follow up. This writer had recommended that every school adopt that policy until the child graduates and/or is 25 years of age, especially if violations are felonies.
Gov. Scott urged educational programs to aid the students having difficulty to learn and adjust to the classroom environment, that would aid in resolving social, physical and emotional problems the students have. He stressed that it was urgent to initiate and implement such proposed programs immediately. It is ironic that he proposed the very programs that had been eliminated because of the annual cuts in educational funding, especially the past 12 years.
The goal was to eliminate the "fat-waste," but it appears that some "muscle" was extracted, too. One major item is that "fat-waste" was the loss of thousands of excellent teachers, who were trained to teach in addition to the subject matter. The last two governors to stem the tide of loss were Governors Bob Martinez and Lawton Chiles. Again, the federal assessment/evaluation show the results.
The issue of troubled teens, truancy and bullying, now has a national focus; it is the "in" topic today. Various reports criticize the lenient policies toward addressing the issue of truancy and bullying. The fact that said bullying has progressed consequently toward greater pain and injury, including social, physical and emotional damage, plus destruction and death, the courts and law enforcement agencies have urged stronger measures to resolve this serious crisis.
Since money has a powerful influence on society, federal/state laws can be modified to address the issue of "poor convicted felons," especially students. The minor penalties assessed for serious violations have not deterred these convicts from repeating said violations. Thus, a precedent has been established to help reduce the number of violations and convictions.
The poor convicts/families receive two checks a month, I.R.S. and Social Security. The Seminole Indian tribal affiliation in Florida deducts a monthly sum from each check until the fine/penalty is satisfied. The number of violations has decreased significantly; the "core" convicts may repeat crimes, but they end up in jail/prison and lose their rights.
One troubling issue occurred a month or so ago. A mother of a boy had complained by phone to the teacher and school administrators that two bullies were tormenting her son in a school. She had insisted he attend the summer session to catch up on a subject and to begin the new year on grade level. The bullying continued. She went to the school to see his teacher, got no satisfaction and went to see the school principal. The bullying continued. She went to the school again to see the principal, but he was busy. She waited until he was available, and called her husband. The principal indicated that her son was partly at fault, because he did not stand up to the bullies.
The fact the boy was small for his age and the bullies were significantly larger than he, did not seem to matter. The mother attended the next school board meeting about the situation. The school board said it would investigate the issue. The mother has asked why those bullies were allowed to remain in that class, in that school.
It was only after the mother went to the two local newspapers that it was actually addressed. Since the news media covered this issue of bullying/truancy most of the summer and another issue in Pennsylvania came to light and another city fired its school board when it dismissed a bully/truant case, I would ask the same question: Why were those two bullies allowed to remain in class to terrorize this boy and other students?
The state legislature did revise the education program, initiating special classes for those very troubled students. It is now being pressured to reinstate the international baccalaureate meritorious program the state education had eliminated for the 2013 school year.
Gabriel Read is a retiree who is involved in mentoring Highlands County youth. Guest columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily those of the News-Sun staff.
Say what? (by: D.J. Steward - 10/11/2012)
Please tell me I read that wrong?
DIsrepair (by: Tant - 10/10/2012)
Here's a cheap, easy solution to the problem. Make school 'Free' but not mandatory. That way the bullies will stay home and the kids that want to learn can do so in peace. This will have the added benefit of making the parents more inclined to preach the benefits of education to their loser kids.
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