What is wrong with our schools? One word – STUPID.

Little girl’s teacher sent me note yesterday that said, “Can you speak with H about her talking and playing in class’s and in the lunch room?”  Absolutely.  So on the way home from school we had a discussion about what happened and why her teacher was so put out with H’s behavior yesterday that she took the time to shoot me a note, albeit a very poorly worded one with grammatical errors.  In the course of a very tearful discussion, I learned that H had been talking to herself (?) at the table in the cafeteria and again in her classroom.  I’m not so sure I buy the talking to herself but she does play an elaborate version of school where she is the teacher and her job is to yell at all the children, so maybe she was doing that but I kind of doubt it.  Usually she is actively engaged with others around her and participating or leading whatever is going on. But okay. So we talked about how she can behave differently, I explained the consequences of getting a bad report from school (early bedtime) and we move forward.

But here’s my issue.  What is freaking wrong with schools now that they expect children to sit quietly at a lunchroom table and not speak to their classmates and friends while they eat?  The idea that this is an acceptable thing to teach children floors me.  Do adults go to lunch with friends and family and say nothing?  Do these same teachers expecting silence from their pupils then go to the teachers’ lounge and quietly feed their faces?

This is stupid.  This is a bad idea.  This is poor teaching.  Do we really want generations of children to graduate from our public elementary schools without learning the skill of having a conversation while eating with colleagues?  Because you know, that’s not a skill we really want them to have as adults is it-conversing with people over a meal?

Did these teachers hand in their humanity card for a Teachers Union Card?  What kind of inane bureaucrat came up with this stupid and potentially damaging idea that children must be silent at school?

This is not my first rodeo with the silent lunch. Our previous foster daughter went to one of the best elementary schools in our town. The classrooms were decorated like magical places; there was Hogwarts Academy and the Purple Fairy room.  The kids were greeted in the car pool line with hugs and high fives each morning and sent off with a “have a good evening,” “see you tomorrow,” and a pat on the back.  I loved this school because they seemed to really like the kids, except… they had silent hallways and silent lunchroom.  That creeped me out.  But the aid that toured us around the school explained that the silent lunchroom wasn’t every day, only when a class had gotten in trouble.  Nope, she lied.  I learned that silent lunch was the norm, not the exception.  But the rest of her time at that school was so positive and she seriously never got in trouble at school so I let it go.

H is not in that kind of school.  She is one that is rated 2 out of 10 for quality education and surprise, surprise, the school is in the middle of the “hood.”  I’d love to move her.  I’d love to put her in the school closest to our house that is rated 10 out of 10 but I can’t, at least not right now.  She is in Pre-K.  Apparently in Savannah there is a lottery for Pre-K slots and she “won” the lottery but in one of the worse schools. I met her teachers when I registered her as “my” child and explained briefly what was going on.  I like her lead teacher, I mean really like her and she likes H.  She has been wonderful to this little girl caught up in the big bad world of child welfare through no fault of her own.  And her care for H pays off. H is happy to go to school she loves her teacher and really wants to please her and she is learning, just soaking it up like a little sponge. The lead teacher is in her first year of teaching. She is kind and caring and so excited to see “here little angels” each morning. I cringe when I think what will happen to her as she matures in this school environment. The para-pro is the problem. She doesn’t like H. And on days where the teacher is out, H gets in trouble at school, brings home a yellow or red face. Yesterday was a para-pro day. Go figure. H doesn’t like the para-pro and I see a pattern where H has a “bad” day at school when Mrs. K is in charge.

I’m sure this post will anger the teachers that read it, if any do. I know there are tons of reasons for why schools are the way they are. And there are a lot of fingers that can be pointed at parents, teachers, kids, school administrators, political leaders, you name it.  Everyone has a part to play. But the heart of the issue is that kind of “education” does not teach children, it controls them. So the real question is did you go to school, study and learn all the developmental theories and stages so that you can control children. Do we as a society want our children to learn that being an adult means you can control or exert power over those less powerful than you? Maybe we do. Shouldn’t we question a systematic governance and control over our children that teaches them not to express themselves in socially appropriate ways but instead to walk in a straight line and remain silent?  Look at societies that did that, how did that work out for them?

I see this notion that children should be silent repeated time and time again. I’ve seen it in churches and in daycares. The school that our former foster daughter went to before I moved her was horrible. Every day that I picked her up I had to stand outside the main door and listen to a kindergarten teacher scream at her class to sit still and not talk or move while waiting for their parents to pick them up. I don’t know how many recesses these kids lost, it seemed like they were never going to be allowed outside to see the sun in their tenure through this horrible woman instruction. This school had a carpool line but the administration deemed what parents where fit for carpool pick up and which ones were low lives and had to stand outside for 30 minutes to wait to walk their child to their car, dodging the carpool line in the process. As a foster parent, clearly I was unworthy. I was so glad when I got to move her to our neighborhood school of hugs and magical classrooms despite the silent lunch and hallways.

The pre/after care that H is in is horrible.  In the mornings the kids are expected to sit quietly at tables in the lunch room and remain silent.  They can’t work on their homework because their backpacks are taken from them and held up front by the director.  I actually witnessed a lecture to these kids one morning from the director about bathroom breaks.  She asked the children to raise their hands if they peed in the bed at night. She then explained that those kids that raised their hand had to bring a note from their parents stating that their children peed in the bed like a baby and should be allowed to go to the toilet before school started since they couldn’t control their bladder. Otherwise no one was going to the bathroom. I walked away shaking. Talk about bullying. The afternoons are slightly better, they get to go to the gym and play for an hour before being marched to the cafeteria to sit in silence waiting on their parents to pick them up.

Stupid. I know that is taught as a bad word now in our schools, maybe it’s because they don’t want these children who are products of their “education” to brand the system as what it is, STUPID.  But then again so is our society.  When we pay the people that care for our children and shape their futures less than other professionals, when we relegate foster care to $15 a day but will pay business people $59+ a day per diem, when we systematically dismantle our humanity by monetizing our penal system, our health care system, our social services system, we are asking for this.  And that in my opinion is STUPID.

It’s election time. Yeah, go vote. Vote against every incumbent, every career politician that endorses this system and others like it. Our hard earned money is being wasted and our children are being abused by the systems these idiots have put in place. If you are in need of a history lesson about societies that encourage this systematic control of their electorate, let me know. I’ll hook you up with some great resources.

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