Sunday, September 9, 2012

Time To Dismantle Our Public School System: Our Public Schools And Teachers Are A Disgrace: Parents Need School Choice And Vouchers

From The New York Times Sunday Review Opinion, "A Terrifying Way to Discipline Children" by Bill Lichtenstein:
At the age of 5, she was kept in a seclusion room for up to an hour at a time over the course of three months, until we discovered what was happening. The trauma was severe.
The use of restraints and seclusion has become far more routine than it should be. "They’re the last resort too often being used as the first resort," said Jessica Butler, a lawyer in Washington who has written about seclusion in public schools.

Among the recent instances that have attracted attention: Children in Middletown, Conn., told their parents that there was a “scream room” in their school where they could hear other children who had been locked away; last December, Sandra Baker of Harrodsburg, Ky., found her fourth-grade son, Christopher, who had misbehaved, stuffed inside a duffel bag, its drawstrings pulled tight, and left outside his classroom. He was “thrown in the hall like trash,” she told me. And in April, Corey Foster, a 16-year-old with learning disabilities, died on a school basketball court in Yonkers, N.Y., as four staff members restrained him following a confrontation during a game.
At school, her mother and I found Rose standing alone on the cement floor of a basement mop closet, illuminated by a single light bulb. There was nothing in the closet for a child — no chair, no books, no crayons, nothing but our daughter standing naked in a pool of urine, looking frightened as she tried to cover herself with her hands. On the floor lay her favorite purple-striped Hanna Andersson outfit and panties.
We were told that Rose had been in the closet almost daily for three months, for up to an hour at a time. At first, it was for behavior issues, but later for not following directions. Once in the closet, Rose would pound on the door, or scream for help, staff members said, and once her hand was slammed in the doorjamb while being locked inside.
This is the governmental system of education that Obama praises and says needs more funding. It is a government funded function that with constant, federal funding acts more like a prison and daycare center than an educational system. It is a failed government program where employees are free to do whatever they want without fear of losing their jobs due to tenure and union protection, while receiving higher pay, better pension and benefits than the private sector.

The US education system needs to allow parents to freely choose the schools that they would like their children to attend, along with an education voucher system so parents can include private and charter schools among their choices. Only then will the US education system for the majority of American children improve.

We know, despite his lofty rhetoric and from his lack of support for the Washington DC education voucher program, that Obama favors unions and the status quo over the education of US children.

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