I have been a substitute teacher in NH public schools.
I know from firsthand experience that the three biggest problems of
any school district are organization, discipline and compassion.
Organization requires setting goals, which requires creating a mission statement, and establishing standards, which are the guidelines by which organization is accomplished.
The purpose of education shall be education, with socialization, sports, and all other activities associated with public schools being subordinated to education.
Education shall be defined as the education plan and funding thereof created by the local school board and accepted by the voters of the school district which shall present competent teachers who shall teach a minimum standard curriculum to students who are ready, willing and able to learn the minimum standard curriculum and to abide by the rules, regulations and standards of the school district.
The minimum standard curriculum shall be established by the State Board of Education from information concerning standards from academic officials, military officials, and potential employers.
School districts can present more than the minimum standard curriculum, but at least the minimum standard curriculum. This shall ensure that an NH high school diploma shall mean that the recipient has a minimum of knowledge and skills necessary for academic achievement, military acceptability and promotion, and employment opportunities and success.
A . Teacher accountability to be linked to student achievement.
Students are to be tested and evaluated for learning ability. All students will then be taught at least the minimum standard curriculum. Those students who are judged to be able to learn the minimum standard curriculum shall be tested during and/or at the end of a school term to determine if or not they have learned the minimum standard curriculum to acceptable standards of achievement. The same tests used by home study parents for testing home study students can be used for testing public school students.
If the students expected to learn the minimum standard curriculum achieve acceptable test scores, then their teacher shall be deemed competent and entitled to the competent teachers benefits.
The Competent Teachers Benefits shall include the following:
2. A right to choose to teach the grade and/or subject at the school he/she prefers within the school district provided that such positions shall be available and necessary. When conflicts among teachers arise, a seniority list shall be kept that shall be based upon the years of continuous success in achieving the competent teacher status and shall thereby be used to award teaching positions; and in the event of ties in competent teacher seniority, the teachers themselves shall negotiate a settlement, which, if not negotiated, shall be arbitrated by the principal and/or the school board, and the methods of choosing by lots from picking cards, flipping coins, etc., shall be acceptable as final means of settling conflicts.
3. The right to evaluate principals and administrators by means of a confidential survey of the categories of leadership, communications skills, problem-solving skills, morale-building, and fairness to teachers and students. By confidential surveys principals and administrators shall be accountable to teachers.
C. Teachers shall have the right and encouragement to deal physically with insubordinate students.
D. Student and staff dress codes, including student uniforms.
In 1998, research showed that the cost of minimum student uniforms would run approximately $90 - $150 per student.
Parents shall pay for the cost of school uniforms.
Parents do not have the right to send their children to school naked, which means they are required and accept the responsibility to provide at least some clothes for their children, therefore they shall be expected to bear the cost of school uniforms.
The purposes of school uniforms shall be 1. to create a sense of purpose and pride in students and 2. to eliminate the conflicts and hostilities generated by excesses in personal clothing.
Male teachers and administrators shall wear blazers, white shirts and ties, with appropriate slacks, socks and shoes, and female teacher and administrators shall wear blazers with appropriate skirts or pants, sock/stockings and shoes, with exceptions only for those phys. ed. and art teachers, etc., whose activities would logically require other clothing.
E. Principals and administrators to be judged by student achievement and confidential teacher surveys of leadership, communications skills, problem-solving skills, morale-building, and fairness to teachers and students, so principals and administrators are responsible and accountable to the teachers as well as to the school board, and teachers thereby can influence the evaluation of principals and administrators.
Discipline requires enacting, implementing and enforcing rules and regulations so organizational goals can be accomplished.
When a substitute teacher shows up in a classroom, ready, willing and able to teach, that’s when the primary problems of a school system will reveal themselves in the form of Punky Poo and the Heroes.
Punky and the Heroes will sit in in someone else’s seat, so a seating chart will not work to help the substitute teacher determine the correct name of the Heroes who are causing discipline problems. P & The H’s will talk out of turn, insult the teacher, put their feet up upon furniture, usually the chair or desk of the student in front of them, wear hats when asked not to wear hats, threaten other students, walk out of class without permission, a serious matter for the substitute teacher who is responsible for their whereabouts and their safety, and refuse to do the assigned classwork.
If every NH voter were to be required by law to be a substitute teacher in his home school district and in other school districts for 20 days out of every school year, then he/she will meet and have to deal with Punky Poo and the Heroes and will get so infuriated/damn mad he/she will be highly motivated to do something to control Punky and The Heroes and create and enforce class discipline and thereby ensure that students who want to learn can learn and that regular teachers and administrators will get all the support they need to enforce discipline and control classrooms and hallways and gymnasiums and libraries and auditoriums and football and baseball fields and schoolbuses.
And that anger should be translated into laws and policies and NH State Constitutional amendments that control and eliminate so-called “Bill of Rights” lawsuits by parents and political action groups concerning teacher/administrator/school board discipline policies and enforcement.
Teachers and staff should be able to physically manhandle any student who is outrageously out of line without threat of prosecution or lawsuit or loss of job or job privileges. We will have to define what is excessive force, and clearly indicate that personal grudges resulting in excessive force will not be tolerated, but teachers should be able to function as substitute parents with whatever rights parents might have to discipline unruly students like Punky Poo and The Heroes.
Consider the case of Michael Fay. He’s the US citizen who spraypainted a Mercedes Benz in Singapore, got caught, and got his butt whipped in public. What is the possibility that Michael Fay will ever return to Singapore, and if he did, what is the possibility that he would somehow find a way to restrain himself from spraypainting another car?
Would public butt-whipping be good for NH students? The reports are that it hurts, that is it humiliating, and that for two weeks or more the butthead can’t tolerate the pain of sitting down. If Punky got butt-whipped and was forced to return to school and had to stand up in all his classes, then there is a pretty good possibility that at least some of The Heroes would develop the impression that it would not be a good idea to cross their teachers and staff in public schools. Maybe Punky himself would learn to tone down his nonsense.
You would be surprised to learn how many people either spontaneously brought up the idea of public humiliation and discipline or else reacted favorably to discussions about it on the campaign trail of 1998.
One of the most effective means of discipline is suspension without makeup privileges. If Punky gets suspended, he doesn’t get a chance to make up homework assignments, reports, essays, and missed tests. This may cause him to flunk classes, perhaps even a whole school year, which means he doesn’t get to go on with his former classmates but instead has to stay behind a year, and to face the stares and snickers of his new classmates. The Heroes who see Punky get held back a year will begin to realize that they, too, could be held back, and they most likely will get suddenly real smart and restrain their impulses to raise hell in school. This policy worked very well, thank you, for the students, parents and people of Milton, NH, prior to 1998.
And another effective means of discipline is to make sure that if Punky
gets so many suspensions he should be kicked out of the school district
that the legal system makes it easy for administrators to get rid of him
and to make sure that the town no longer has any financial responsibility
to pay for his education.
Compassion requires understanding why a person does what he does and therefore is what he is, and trying to help him help himself.
In addition to teaching students a minimum standard curriculum of information consisting of concepts and principles and techniques for using those concepts and principles for important subjects such as social studies, math, geography, and science, we need to consider teaching our students psychology so they can understand what their minds are, what their feelings are, and how their minds control their behavior and their feelings, so they can understand not only their personal psychology but also the psychology of other people, so they can develop what is now being called emotional intelligence (EQ: Emotional Quotient) to offset what is now recognized to be emotional illiteracy.
Everyone needs to understand what is psychology, the science of the human mind and human behavior.
The human mind is an individual's personal system of desires, fears and priorities. [Mind = Desires/Fears/Priorities, or Mind = D/R/F]
A desire is wanting a person, a thing, or an event.
A fear is not-wanting a person/thing/event.
A priority is the importance of each desire or fear compared to all other desires and fears.
An individual's mind as his personal system of desires/fears/priorities causes and therefore controls his behavior—his actions and his reactions, including his feelings—his sensations and emotions, his personality—his mind in action and reaction as caused by his desires/fears/priorities, his mental problems—his unrealistic desires and fears, and his mental health, his mental solutions—his realistic desires and fears.
An individual is first born with physical or unlearned desires for survival, food, water, shelter, good health, companionship, sex, reproduction. etc.
He experiments with choices between or among people, things and events for realizing, or achieving or not achieving, his unlearned desires.
He learns which people/things/events achieve/do not achieve his physical desires.
He develops learned desires for the people/things/events who/which achieve his unlearned desires. [He also develops learned fears of the people/things/events who/which do not achieve his unlearned desires.]
An individual therefore has both unlearned and learned desires/fears/priorities.
An individual's feelings are his reactions to realizations of his desires/fears/priorities. When an individual realizes a desire he reacts with a feeling.
A realization is an achievement of a desire for a desired or desirable person/thing/event, or an avoidance of a fear of a feared or fearful person/thing/event.
A realization is positive if the individual achieves a desire or avoids a fear; a realization is negative if an individual does not achieve a desire or avoid a fear.
A realization can be actual or imagined.
Feelings develop in a sequence of 1. Desire, 2. Realization, and 3. Feeling, or D/R/F, the D/R/F Sequence:
1. Desire: _____ (?) [Wanting a Person/Thing/Event]
2. Realization: _____ (?) [Person/Thing/Event Achieved/Not Achieved]
3. Feeling: _____ (?) [The Reaction to the Realization of the Desire]
Physical feelings, or sensations, are reactions to realizations of unlearned desires for survival, food, water, shelter, good health, companionship, sex, reproduction. etc., desires which are inborn, inherent in the individual's body when he is born.
Physical feelings—sensations—are experienced as pain from deficiencies,
from not having enough of what is needed/desired, pleasure from satisfaction,
from getting enough of what is needed/desired, and pain from excesses,
from having too much of what is needed/desired.
|1. Pain from a Deficiency.||2. Pleasure from a Satisfaction.||3. Pain from an Excess.|
|Not having enough of what is needed or desired.||Having enough of what is needed or desired.||Having too much of what is needed or desired.|
Mental feelings, or emotions, are reactions to realizations of learned desires.
Mental feelings—emotions—are experienced as happiness when an individual achieves a learned desire for a desired person/thing/event or he avoids a learned fear of a feared person/thing/event, or as unhappiness when he does not achieve a desire for a desired person/thing/event or he does not avoid a fear of a feared person/thing/event.
Unhappiness is experienced as sadness as a reaction to a perception
of an actual loss, accident, injury, illness, physical or mental disorder,
or a verbal or physical attack, usually with an impulse to give up any
hope of achieving a desire or avoiding a fear, or to become depressed,
as anger as a reaction to a perception of violation of an expectancy, a
promise, a contract, an ethic, or a law, usually with an impulse to attack
oneself or someone else, preferably the violator [or a criminal], or/and
as fear as a reaction to a perception of a threat of a loss, an accident,
an injury, a physical or mental disorder, or a verbal or physical attack,
often with an impulse to run away from oneself or someone else.
|From a perception of the achievement of a desire or the avoidance of a fear.||From a perception of the nonachievement of a desire
or the nonachievement of a fear.
|Sadness from a perception of an actual loss, accident, injury, illness, physical or mental disorder, verbal or physical attack; often with an impulse to give up hope of achieving a desire or avoiding a fear, to become depressed.|
|Anger from a perception of violation of an expectancy, a promise, a contract, an ethic, or a law, often with an impulse to attack oneself or someone else, preferably the violator [or a criminal].|
|Fear from a perception of a threat of a loss, an accident, an injury, a physical or mental disorder, or a verbal or physical attack, often with an impulse to run away from oneself or someone else.|
Thus there are four basic emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, and fear.
Studies of human facial expressions of the emotions reveals that the emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are common in all cultures, primitive as well as advanced. When people are shown photographs of individuals experiencing happiness/sadness/anger/fear they are exceptionally accurate in specifying which emotions the facial expressions are revealing.
Everyone needs to be emotionally literate, to be able to recognize and deal with one's own feelings, but also to be able to recognize similar feelings in other people.
Empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in other people; compassion is the ability to develop an impulse to help another person who is suffering emotions of unhappiness as sadness/anger/fear.
Emotional intelligence requires the ability to recognize and deal with one's own emotions, to learn what emotions are—reactions to realizations of learned desires, to learn what are the four basic emotions—happiness/sadness/anger/fear, how to experience happiness—by achieving desires and avoiding fears, and how to avoid experiencing unhappiness as sadness/anger/fear—by achieving desires and avoiding fears.
Emotional intelligence requires learning what are realistic desires—desires for people/things/events who/which can be achieved, and what are unrealistic desires—desires for people/things/events who/which cannot be achieved.
Emotional intelligence requires learning what are mental or emotional problems—unrealistic desires which cause the emotions of unhappiness which are the emotions of sadness/anger/fear, and what is mental health—mental solutions, or realistic desires which cause the emotion of happiness.
Emotional intelligence requires the ability to empathize with another individual's emotions—with his emotional suffering; and it requires the ability to develop compassion—the desire to help another individual to ease his unhappiness.
Studies have proven that when individuals learn to be more aware of their own emotions and how to deal with them, and more aware of the emotions of other people, and to help those other people deal with their emotions, they become more effective in communicating their desires and their feelings and to share the desires and feelings of other people, they become more popular and sought-after, they are more likely to learn well while in school and after graduation, they are less likely to become delinquents, or to commit serious crimes, they become more likely to find romantic happiness, and they become more successful in life.
New Hampshire educators therefore need to consider learning what is
emotional intelligence and what are the consequences of emotional illiteracy
and what are or otherwise can become the bases for developing emotional
literacy programs in New Hampshire public schools.
By organization we set standards for education, by discipline we ensure that order is achieved in classrooms and in schools, without which education cannot be
accomplished, but by which disruptive students can be controlled, and by compassion we try, after establishing discipline, to help disruptive students develop the social and emotional skills they often lack, and the lack of which often impels them not only to school disruptions but also to delinquency, violance, crime, and prison.
Thus, by organization, with one hand we establish discipline while with the other hand we offer compassion to help those who want to help themselves.
When education reforms for organization, discipline and compassion are enacted, implemented and enforced, then we can expect the quality of education in New Hampshire schools to improve and thereby show increases in student achievement, happiness and success. With these improvements we should see less demand for school vouchers, charter schools, and less need for home schooling, or private schools.