Funding Is Not the Problem In Education

SchoolDisciplineFor as long as I can remember, the public has always been told by those in the education field that all our problems could be solved if only there was more funding allocated for schools.  Class size is made an issue, more teachers are needed, better textbooks, more technology, school building renovations.  More money.  Always more money.

Here in Oklahoma, the teacher’s union and the Democrats sound like broken records when it comes to the state budget every year.  Always wanting more money, but never explaining why past initiatives that were sold to the public under the guise of solving our education problems never seemed to produce the promised results.  If you’ve been around Oklahoma long enough you might remember House Bill 1017 back in 1990.  It was described as ‘landmark legislation’ by the Democrats, who controlled both houses of the state legislature, and it provided increased funding to schools, reduced class sizes, provided minimum teacher salaries, early childhood programs and new statewide curriculum standards and testing.  It also provided a tax increase to pay for it all.

Throughout the years there have been other things sold to the public with the justification being that the funds generated will solve all of our education problems.  Horse racing was brought to Oklahoma with the promise that funding would fix education.  Nope, it wasn’t enough.  Casinos operated by Native American Tribes were allowed under the agreement that the tribes would pay ‘exclusivity fees’ to the state, with part of that going to the education fund.  Nope, it wasn’t enough.  The lottery was brought to Oklahoma with the support from then-Governor Brad Henry with the claim being that the funds generated would mostly go to education and would, again, solve all our problems.  Nope.

All that these efforts have accomplished is to destroy many lives here in Oklahoma, with many people losing their families, their jobs, their homes, their property and their businesses due to gambling addictions.  Some have committed suicide.  I wrote a post about all this and the disingenuous efforts by Governor Henry and his supporters in the legislature to stave off the gambling problems.  They knew it would happen but they didn’t care because it was more important to them to satisfy the leftist cries for more education money.

It’s always about money with those on the left.  Always.  Every problem that ever existed in the history of the universe can be solved if enough money is simply thrown at it.  It’s mind-boggling that people actually believe that.

But it seems that here in Oklahoma the problems in education that I’ve been reading about have absolutely nothing to do with funding.  No amount of funding can solve what I see as the biggest problem in schools today – the lack of discipline.  Recent articles have painted a bleak picture about what’s happening in some of our schools.

NewsOK– Friday was the last day of school for more than 45,000 Oklahoma City school district students and the end of the road for potentially dozens of teachers and support staff at Roosevelt Middle School, where student misconduct went largely unchecked over the last several months at the direction of district officials, several teachers told The Oklahoman.

“Some of the behavior I’ve experienced is intolerable, and a lot of teachers don’t want to come back because of the environment,” said one of three Roosevelt teachers who spoke to The Oklahoman, but asked that their names not be used for fear of retaliation. “The students know what they can and can’t get away with. It’s clear to them.”

One of the Roosevelt teachers predicted a mass defection of staff from the school over the next two weeks.

“You’re going to see a 70 percent turnover in this building,” the teacher said.

Some of the teachers said discipline at the school, 3233 SW 44, began to deteriorate in November, when district discipline policies were abandoned at the school.

“We were told we were no longer using the discipline procedures we had been using,” one of the teachers said. “Basically, there was no program in place to allow discipline to occur.”

Another teacher said staff members were told during a faculty meeting last month to stop suspending students altogether.

“They told us that their hands were tied,” the teacher said, “that they were (suspending) more than they should have been (suspending).”

Roosevelt teachers told of having personal property damaged by students, of having students walk out of class without permission and of being verbally and physically abused by students.

“So these kids were still in school, mocking me and teasing me because nothing happened to them,” said one of the Roosevelt teachers who is considering leaving.

For some teachers, the unruly students and lack of administrative support are pushing them toward the exits.

“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen it,” another teacher said of the discipline problem at Roosevelt.

“I think this will probably be the catalyst for me. I’ve had enough.”

No amount of money is going to fix the problem at Roosevelt.

NewsOK– A teacher who coaches and evaluates new teachers for Oklahoma City Public Schools says it’s not low pay or exhausting hours that’s driving them out the door but verbal and physical abuse by students.

 A tearful Mackinley Cross told school board members Monday night that the district is about to see a “mass exodus” of teachers unless something is done to correct the widespread lack of discipline she said she sees on a daily basis.

“I’m here this evening because I feel that we as a district are rapidly approaching a point of no return, a point at which our district will implode,” she said. “If we do not begin to speak openly and honestly about what is happening in our schools, we will reach this point sooner than any of us can imagine.”

For two years, Cross has worked with first-year teachers at each of the district’s 55 elementary schools in hopes of improving their performance and keeping them on the job, something the district has struggled to do in recent years. Instead, her assignment provided her with insights she hadn’t expected.

She said teachers are routinely cursed at and told to shut up by students. Other teachers have had personal property stolen or damaged. Some students walk out of class “whenever they feel like it,” she said.

She told board members that just last week she was assaulted by a student and “has the bruises to prove it.”

The threat of physical violence, she added, is a teacher’s constant companion.

“The daily behaviors that our teachers are dealing with would not be acceptable in any public setting, and yet it continues without consequence in our schools,” said Cross, who told board members she was assaulted the week before by a student. “I know these things are true because I am witnessing them on a daily basis in schools around our district.”

New textbooks are not going to solve this problem.  Higher teacher salaries are not going to solve this problem.  More technology in schools is not going to solve this problem.  More gambling in our state is not going to solve this problem.  There is absolutely nothing the state or anyone in the government can do to solve this problem.

The only people who can solve this problem are parents.

Children who curse at teachers, disregard instructions, leave whenever they feel like it and assault teachers don’t learn behavior like that at school.  They learn it at home.  The behavior they exhibit at school is merely a reflection of their home life.  No school program is going to fix it and no amount of money is going to change it.

If it seems that I’m saying that parents are the problem in education; yes, I am.  Parents who don’t provide discipline at home should not be the least bit surprised when their child curses at teachers and ends up with a career handing out fries through a window.  That’s not to say that disciplined children are never problems at school.  Sure, some are.  But if more parents disciplined their children; if more fathers stayed involved in their children’s lives even when they don’t live with them and more mothers stopped relying on the government to provide everything their child needs, including discipline, we wouldn’t have the problem we have today.

So on we will go, with the teachers screaming for more money, the legislature doing what they can to placate them out of fear of alienating voters, the students continuing to behave like juvenile delinquents, the parents ignoring their responsibilities to their children, and the price of a burger and fries continuing to go up because the left demands $15 an hour for people whose education will never let them get anything better than an entry-level job.

The problem won’t be solved with more money.  Ever.  Parents are the only answer to this problem, but you’ll never hear that from the left because they want the government to be mommy and daddy to the children.  Another fine example of what liberalism hath wrought.

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