BOOK REVIEW: How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

I hope that those in control of our education system don’t take too long to get this book. Based on lots of research, Tough sets out to prove something that many have known all along and that others choose simply to ignore. Namely, that a child’s work ethic is what will cause him to succeed; not his intelligence quotient but rather his character quotient.

Many think of character as honesty, citizenship, fairness, etc, but in this book it is about perseverance, grit, or stick-to-it-iveness. How much will a child endure before he gives up? Kids with many advantages are oft to give up because they do not know how to withstand being uncomfortable or failing at something. Tough’s analysis of the lines that separate the successful from those who quit is quite insightful. As I said before he uses research but also profiles some students and even looks into a chess program and its effect on student outcomes in life.
This is a book for schools and parents alike. What can parents do to ensure that their children learn a work ethic that will outrun all his other competitors? Parents are the starting point. How stressful is the home? How supportive and comforting is the parent? Also, what can schools do to encourage the true predictor of a child’s success? You will take away all this and more from this well-written book.

Tennessee School Counselors and Administrators Institute 2013 Murfreesboro, TN

Some great learning, food, and conversation is always had at this annual event. Plus, there’s a great line up of speakers including Rita Pierson. You will not want to miss her. 

I am so glad the folks at the National Center for Youth Issues are keeping this great conference going. 

I’ve been working on a manuscript for an interested publisher so I will not be speaking this year. However, my presentation that was well-attended last year, The Emotional Effects of Video Games on Boys, is available online and is good for two hours of staff development or CEU credit.

Don’t miss it.

My Parental Thoughts On "Looking for Alaska" by John Green

My son’s soon to be high school (in 7 years) recently was told by its board of education to pull the book, Looking for Alaska from an English class because of its racy content. Having read excerpts, I wouldn’t want my high schooler reading it. However, let us not be so blind to think that teenagers don’t know what sex is. Also, let us not be so ignorant to think that large portions of teens aren’t having sex. They are. Not the majority, but they are.

One person said this in the Tennessean article, “Where I hesitate and get concerned is when one parent is making the decision for every student in the class.” I agree to an extent. We are free in this country and can work to change things in ways that we deem best. I suppose I can say this gladly because I’m on the winning side of this one. I hate it when the “squeaky wheel” gets its way too, but in this situation, it sounds like more than just one noisy parent. But even if it is, once one has spoken out and changed it, why does anyone else need to say anything?

Looking for Alaska may be for educational purposes but that doesn’t mean I have to allow my child to read it. I wouldn’t let my child watch a teen sex scene on TV (which would be considered illegal child pornography) so why would I allow him to read this book? I don’t care how much the book draws on an “awkward, un-fun, disastrous and wholly un-erotic scene.” I appreciate Green’s other intended message that he said was “physical intimacy can never stand in for emotional closeness” but I can teach this moral lesson to my son just fine. Green could have gotten the same message across with less explicit language but I suppose we wouldn’t be talking about it now would we? Also, it’s a basic principle that literature is art and sometimes art offends.
It also seems hypocritical that we work to preach abstinence to teens and then allow them to read something that will do nothing but cause huge amounts of sexual frustration. Boys especially are thinking about sex, a lot. Do you actually believe a seventeen-year-old boy will be able to read the passage, separate the physical act from the social commentary and then engage intellectually with the rest of the class, having no thought of his girlfriend or the attractive blonde sitting next to him? Get real, people! Why put him through this?
I know some parents have a different view than me and put their children on birth control because “they are just going to do it anyway.” Well, this in no way teaches boundaries or self-control; two incredible qualities to possess. In fact, it’s a free pass to do whatever one wants. Should contraception be taught? Sure, but not without discussing clear guidelines regarding your family’s values towards abstinence and premarital-sex. Babies come from sex and disease can come from multiple partners. This will definitely be “learned in college” the hard way if a teen isn’t prepared.
What bothers me more about this whole issue is hidden from plain sight. Inherent in this issue is the divide between teens and parents. All too often parents reach out and grasp at air when trying to stop their teen from destructive behavior. They have waited too long and have allowed a gulf to separate them. By the late teen years, the expanse is so great that the parent has little to no influence over the child. How tragic.
When a person says, “Teens should be allowed to read the book” they are assuming that the teen has the final say over what he/she does. This is what is wrong with adults today. Adults believe that a teen can find her own way. That she can take care of herself. I’ve seen too many girls destroy themselves to believe this is good parenting. I’ve seen too many girls who needed to be dragged out of their drug dealer’s house to think that a teen or for that matter a good-intentioned adult can take care of my child better than me. Whether it’s in relationships, personal behavior, or even literature, a teen should not have the final say in what he does. If he did, parents wouldn’t be needed.
There will be struggles, rebellion and lots of rolled eyes from the teen but it is our job to lead them and help them take on values that we believe will get them through life. It’s my child; not the school’s. Also, if this means skipping a book, so be it. There’s plenty more to read.

The Emotional Effects of Video Games on Boys

New training offered by Renewed Vision Counseling Services for parents who need help and counselors who need continuing education credits ( CEU .)

There is a link between boys who play video games all night, care little about their grades, and are content to live with their parents well into adulthood. In this session, Dale explains the deeply rooted emotional effects video games have on boys and why apathy is more than just a phase. He covers all sorts of games from the educational to the most violent. Video game addiction is also discussed. The session ends with ways you can help your son or client turn from the games and towards a more productive lifestyle. 

This training is good for parents since it contains practical advice. It is also good for counselors who need continuing education credits. It is an NBCC approved training for 2 hours of clock credit. Once purchased, you will have access to the material for 45 days. Visit Renewed Vision Training and click on Marriage and Family.

Dale can speak to your parent group, school, or organization about this issue. Contact him for more information.

Tennessee School Counselors and Administrator Institute Murfreesboro, TN 2012

I will be speaking at this upcoming year’s Tennessee School Counselors and Administrators Leadership Institute, February 5-7, 2012 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro, TN. This will be my fourth time presenting. My actual sessions will be on February 6, 10AM-11:15AM and then February 7, 9:30AM-10:45AM. Click here for more information and I look forward to seeing you there. Below is a description of my session.

The Emotional Effects of Video Games on Boys
Ever wonder why boys aren’t particularly interested in much until it comes to their video games? The average boy spends more than thirteen hours a week playing and it has been proven that video games release dopamine (the pleasure chemical of the brain) in much the same way drugs release it. There is a correlation between boys who play all night, care little about their grades, and are content to live with their parents well into adulthood. In this session, Dale will explain the deeply rooted emotional effects video games have on boys and why apathy is more than just a phase.

Prayer In Schools?

A particularly hot topic that is dear to me is that of prayer in schools. For several years I served as a youth minister and now by working in the school system, I see how these two entities meet. Here are some thoughts I have for churches, as I am first and foremost a Christian.
A Different World

We no longer live in a world where your teacher goes to church with you like my kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and sixth grade teachers did. We no longer live in a world where all those you are friends with or work with believe as you do.
I wish our society were more like Mayberry and that cartoons still quoted scripture like Charlie Brown’s Christmas special. Unfortunately, our society has changed which is an indication of a general departure from Christ-centered values to worldly values, even among Christians. What can change this? Only the church reaching the lost, doing what it’s supposed to do, can change the direction of our world. Many Christians become upset when for one reason or another they are pushed out of a school system. However, do you think God cares about the decisions made by school systems and the ACLU? He’s going to get it done anyway. Christians must not lose sight of this and they must not be distracted by secular policies but focus on how they can change the world with what they are given. Think of the early church and how many were martyred for their beliefs. We actually have it pretty good in 21st century America.

What Do You Really Want in the Schools?
Without a doubt, God needs to be in schools. It is law that Christian students can pray and meet and this is a good thing. But what does “prayer in schools” look like to you? What would happen in a classroom of 25 where six different churches are represented along with atheists and even students who don’t know what they believe? What if something went on in a classroom, in the name of the Christian religion, that another Christian did not agree with? There are churches on almost every block in small town America. How are we going to agree on what should happen in schools when in many single congregations there is regular dissension on certain issues? Would we have Bible studies during homeroom? This sounds good, but have you seen some of the characters educating our students? I’m not sure this is a good idea.

At a middle school in Jefferson South Carolina Christian rapper B-SHOC, declared “324 kids at this school have made a decision for Jesus Christ.” As a member of the Church of Christ, I wonder what B-SHOC teaches about baptism. I wonder where he stands on the Lord’s Supper. What if at events like this things went on that you didn’t agree with? I believe Christ wants us to follow His word and too many “modern” churches don’t even encourage their members to bring their Bible to worship. They don’t talk about sin. They only talk about what makes them feel good. This is a departure from my deeply held beliefs about living a sacrificial life for Christ. Why would I want someone teaching my children differently than what I want to teach on these matters? Would you want someone teaching your child things you didn’t believe even with Bible in hand? I send my boy to school because I can’t teach him about math, science, etc as well as the school can, but no one can teach him better Bible than me. I’m sure you believe the same about your children.
What is the Church Doing?
We expect a lot out of our schools. They make sure students have their shots, they feed them, clothe them, and teach them about respect, responsibility, and other character traits. One thing that schools should not be doing is reaching those who are spiritually lost. How can it? Their hands are full already and according to Matthew 28 and Mark 16, this is the church’s job. Churches should stop worrying about things that probably weren’t happening in most schools anyway and begin worrying about how they are going to reach those families who struggle and are hurting in more ways than I can list here.
It is Upsetting.
What lawsuits against schools by the ACLU amount to is that someone said something in a group of people about what most people in that group accepted as normal. In other words, Christian employees were allowing Christian practices to go on in a place that the law says they shouldn’t. However, there were so many Christians involved, no one cared and so the practice continued. On October 20, my Alma Mater (Smith County High) had a prayer before the game by the preacher I grew up listening to, Edward Anderson, and on October 29, a prayer was led at a University of Tennessee game. How long before these entities are encroached upon? I hope not but it may very well happen.
It is upsetting that communities have changed to the point that there are people who don’t want us to do such things in schools. That what is held dear by the many can be changed by the few. It is a strength that many draw upon in a world that is dying for something with substance to believe in. However, according to the ACLJ (the non-profit on the Christian side) the ACLU is right about some of its accusations towards school districts. 
Here is where many school districts are with prayer in school: Employees can’t openly pray at a school event. Alright, but if Jonah can do it in a whale, I can do it sitting in my office chair or walking down the hall. I can pray before the school begins. I can pray before lunch and no one will ever know. I hate this side of it but I am still maintaining my relationship with Christ in a very real way. Besides, didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into yourinner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret,and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Secrecy was a necessary part of prayer in the first century church. I question how often people actually do it openly anyway. 

What Should We Be Worried About?
How much employees can express themselves religiously should be a concern. We should be allowed to express ourselves to a degree and thankfully we still can. I think we should be able to do more (how about it ACLJ?), but after recent news reports on church and school, I have taken inventory of what I have been doing as a Christian in a public school. I very soon plan on exercising the rights I do have by wearing a ring with a cross on it. This isn’t much but I can do it and being a Christian man in a school doing all that I can is a plus. Jesus tells us to render to Caesar what is his (Matthew 22:21) and I’m fine with that, but Caesar is gonna know I’m a Christian. I will of course hold to my same values and express them when necessary on moral issues while being respectful to those who believe differently. 
What else should we be worried about? When the rules become so strict that Christian students can’t meet or express themselves. They still can, remember? We should worry when an atheistic point of view is taught and all others are considered inferior. 
We should worry when Christian values are attacked like it was this past September at a school in Fort Worth, TX when a 14 year old was sent to the principal’s office for saying that homosexuality is wrong. During a discussion in his German class they were talking about religions in Germany. The young man said, “I’m a Christian. I think being a homosexual is wrong.” Hetold Lari Barager of KDFW News, that his statement “wasn’t directed to anyone except my friend who was sitting behind me. I guess [the teacher] heard me. He started yelling. He told me he was going to write me an infraction and send me to the office.” This should worry Christians. Schools should teach about different points of view when appropriate, but they shouldn’t chastise someone for their biblically held beliefs, particularly when they are not born out of hatred but a love for scripture and the souls of all man. Our views are valid as well.
What Can We Do?

First, thank God for David French and the ACLJ. Dr. French works with schools free of charge. He is a graduate of Harvard and of Lipscomb. I am thankful for him because if he didn’t fight for the rights of Christians, I don’t know who would.
Second, all parents, but especially Christian parents, should stay informed of what is being taught in school. Many schools have adopted Gay Pride Days and have taught on homosexuality in such a way that many Christians would not agree with. This steps out of the bounds of what a school should be doing. They should promote tolerance (a lesson some Christians could learn) otherwise, no one will get along in a school day. However, schools should not be indoctrinating our children to the point of telling them they should accept and approve of what all people do. Jesus accepted but didn’t approve of the sinners he associated with, and He is who Christians follow.
Third, if you are interested in a Christian world-view, subscribe to Think Magazine and Kaio rather than only secular publications. Join with other parents to make positive changes in the school system. Two books by Leonard Sax (Boys Adrift and Girls on the Edge) talk a lot about parents that work to make a difference in their schools. Parents can move to make this change; Christian parents. Why couldn’t the Bible be taught as literature if an appropriate textbook was selected? Why couldn’t more churches work to positively affect the lives of poor, hungry students instead of sending millions to India and Africa? This could be the church’s part in helping raise test scores because a child can’t learn if he’s hungry. Too many churches alienate themselves from the community. Contacts and a working relationship can still be made. The backpacks, school supplies, and benevolent money I’m given by churches each year are a testament to this. These churches expect nothing in return except for the knowledge that their money is doing some good.
Finally, make sure teens know that they have rights and they need to use them. They are the evangelists. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” I’m afraid that if we focus on the wrong issue with prayer in schools, we will lose sight of what we can do. Namely, our youth being the evangelists God has called them to be. I hope Christian parents have taken inventory of their child’s Christian faith and are working to strengthen them as Deuteronomy 6 instructs. I think our teens are the best ones to evangelize the schools. The Apostles turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). Wouldn’t it be great if our youth turned their schools upside down, causing their friends to become Christians?

Are You Asking the Right Question?

Why are we taking God out of schools is the wrong question. It will cause us to think we are losing. Cause us to think that our only vein of influence has been eliminated. Cause us to think that Satan has won. Doubting Thomas had to touch Jesus’ wounds before He would believe. What’s it going to take for us to see that Christ can change the lives of students through the work of the church and the youth that infiltrate the school walls everyday?

What’s the right question? How can we get more of God into the students? Help our students as they are facing the world as Peter did in Matthew 26. They are scared and the world around them screams everything but Christianity. Peter denied Jesus three times. We must make sure our students are not denying Him because Christianity in many ways is being pushed out and I’m sure many are scared. Teach your teens and children what Hebrews 13:5, 6 says, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. 

I believe that every person in the world should know Christ, but it won’t happen because the schools allow it. It will happen because Christians are doing what they are supposed to do.

We are afraid God is going to be pushed out but God has always been in schools. He’s always been in the hearts and minds of students and teachers who took Him there. He is in the teachers who will speak up when things aren’t right. He is the leader on the football team who asks for safety from God before every game. She is the person in math class who asks her classmates to pray for her sick friend. However, God doesn’t belong only in a classroom no more than He belongs only in a church building. May our Christian lives never be simply the act of being somewhere but may they be the totality of how we live.

If God is pushed out, it won’t be because a school board or the ACLU stopped something that wasn’t even happening in most schools to begin with. It will be because students and teachers stopped taking Him and making Him active in their own lives.

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Is It Oppositional Defiant Disorder or the Education System?

Your son is extremely bright, loves to read, did well in school at one time, but has either suddenly or gradually decided that he doesn’t care whether he gets an A or an F. You lecture and you punish but nothing seems to motivate him. In his book, Boys Adrift, Leonard Sax looks at the epidemic of “underachieving boys and unmotivated young men.” This involves young boys who don’t want to succeed and young men who are content to live at home with their parents well into adulthood.
In my upcoming articles I will cover each of the five cultural factors Sax believes hurt our boys. I will by no means handle the topics as extensively as he does, so I encourage you to read the book. Hopefully my articles will give you an understanding of your boy who seems to care about nothing.
The first cultural factor is that of school. Your son is smart, but can’t sit still in class. Has anyone suggested medication or an ADHD diagnosis? Possibly and you may have even researched it yourself. Your son may not be the problem but rather asking your son to do something he’s not developmentally ready to do.
The thrust of Sax’s book is that boys don’t seem to care about much. One fourteen-year-old son told his mother, “Girls care about getting good grades. Geeks care about grades. Normal guys do not care about grades.” We shouldn’t confuse this with boys being boys. Sax references Tom Sawyer and Ferris Bueller who never had any interest in school. They did however pursue interests and work towards their own schemes. Some boys today lack motivation and want to reach “guyhood” by being as successful as possible at doing nothing.
In 2007, a study done by the National Institute of Mental Health supported other studies reporting that the language areas of the brain in many five-year-old boys look like the language areas of the brain of the average three-and-a-half-year-old girl. Your son has been struggling for a few years and finally says mid-elementary, “I hate school.” He’s being asked to do something his brain isn’t ready to do. Why shouldn’t he hate it?
There’s another fundamental difference between boys and girls. Girls have an innate desire to please the adults in their lives. The type of boys Sax discusses in his book does not have this desire. As we know, some boys work to please, but others want to anger the closest authority figure. Girls are more likely to see situations from the point of view of the adults in charge. Boys aren’t. So, of course girls will do better in school and enjoy it more. From 1949 to 2006, boys enrolled in a four-year college dropped from 70 percent to 42 percent. More girls are going because of obvious changes, but fewer boys are in attendance.
Not only are boys behind developmentally just because of their biology; certain school factors are unfriendly to boys. Over the past thirty years, many school districts have eliminated sports such as dodgeball, believing that such sports “reward violence.” Competition has also been eliminated as it “alienates some kids from sports.” While we worry about the unathletic kids, we are losing those who thrive on such atmospheres. A boy with this persona may look at an environment void of competition and say, “why bother?” Indeed.
Sax suggests homeschooling, transferring schools, or working to change things within your school. Getting a teacher who understands boys is certainly helpful and probably the surest thing. Many books have been written on the topic including Sax’s Why Gender Matters. Research the matter and do your best to raise a well-rounded boy. After all, it’s every parents’ duty.

Click here to purchase Sax’s book from Amazon.

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BOOK REVIEW: Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax, M.D, Ph.D.

I work with middle schoolers and a lack of motivation is definitely seen in many of my boys. For some, it’s a phase as they leave the sand box and discover girls. For other, large portions of our boys, they get into an apathetic rut and continue through high school and for a long time thereafter; possibly for the rest of their lives. They simply find new ways to live their lives as slugs. Why? I’ve had my theories but after reading Boys Adrift, I have research-based answers that are difficult to argue with.

Sax writes in an easy to understand way that does not seem to come from his own political or religious views. Instead, he quotes from his solid research and that of others. Sax does not come across as accusatory to parents but writes out of a sincere concern for the welfare of our boys and those adults who want the best for them. This is reflective of his desire for people to know the truth.

I believe Sax has many of the answers that parents and schools are looking for when they ask of a talented young man, “why won’t you do anything?” Sax analyzes five cultural factors that he believes keeps our boys from excelling, and in a larger sense, weaken our society.

The five factors are education, video games, ADHD meds, endocrine disruptors, and our culture’s views of manhood and of becoming a man. For education, I don’t believe his advice would bode well with any school system that is stuck in their same old ways. However, individual schools and parents could benefit from his view that how we educate our boys can actually make them hate school. From his home in Philadelphia, I am sure there are plenty of private schools that could implement his thinking tomorrow. However, based on my experience, the threat of nuclear war wouldn’t make some people change their view of how students should be taught.

For video games, he is quick to say that boys shouldn’t play them at all. However, he keeps a balanced view characteristic of the rest of the book and states that in moderation, they are OK. He gives clear reasons why they are bad for our boys and as a former game-head, I’m a believer. Games tend to take the place of other more fulfilling endeavors that can more positively shape the minds of our young men.

I have shared his view of ADHD meds for a long time. Here he lays out the ways they work, the ways they don’t work, and the risk factors involved. He leaves it up to the parent to decide whether or not they want their child on meds. Sax gives anecdotal evidence but also scientific evidence by quoting the DSM-IV’s criteria for ADHD and various studies. You can tell that he shares in the struggles of parents who want what’s best for their child in a world they may not totally fit in to.

The fourth factor Sax believes is contributing to underperforming boys is, “endocrine blockers.” Basically, these are chemicals found in plastics that have been shown to accelerate puberty in girls while at the same time feminizing boys. I was very skeptical of this chapter but convinced after he quoted a study done in Puerto Rico of very mature girls and of male alligators that produce eggs (both linked by plastics).  My pediatrician also expressed his concerns when I asked him.

I have written about the poor view of men and manhood for quite sometime, but Sax’s analysis of cultures that help boys become men really opened my eyes. He said, “We twenty-first-century Americans smile condescendingly at such traditions.  Our culture’s neglect of the transition to manhood is not producing an overabundance of young men who are . . . hardworking.” He’s exactly right.

In short, Dr. Sax believes that gender is important. He quotes his book, Why Gender Matters quite often and I look forward to reading that book and his others. He says that three decades of believing that boys and girls are the same except for their genitalia have not produced a paradise of gender equity where boys respect women. Instead, it has given us performers like Eminem . . . whose music degrades women. Well said.

Tennessee Teachers, Tenure, & Collective Bargaining

There has been a lot of talk in the news about teachers, their tenure, and collective bargaining. I work full-time as a School Counselor so I know what’s going on, but there are some things I don’t understand.

  1. Teacher Accountability – You’re kidding me. We’re just now thinking of this? “Wow! I want the job where no one is going to ask whether or not I’m performing well. That means I’ll be able to play solitaire during AND in between classes. Hooray!” Maybe I would have had a better education had we thought of accountability in 1870 or even in 1970. Maybe my history teacher would have talked about the Alamo rather than regaling us with stories of his caving excursions and why Pistol Pete Maravich was the century’s best basketball player.
  2. Teacher Accountability – Student grades come from so much more than whether or not there is a capable teacher in the classroom. I know of teachers who use every trick in the book to teach their students and still some boys and girls walk out of the room just as glossy-eyed as ever. This can be attributed to playing video games ‘til 3am or too much of dad’s marijuana that morning. Theoretically, a teacher today could get paid less because the class of 1995 decided to get drunk and pregnant on spring break. Our future is bright!
  3. Ron Ramsey, Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee – I heard Mr. Ramsey discuss his love for teachers on Ralph Bristol’s talk radio show. Ramsey said that his mother was a teacher and he understands them. I’m sure he loves his mother, but this does not mean he knows what it is to be a teacher. I lived with an African American for two years. Does that mean I know what it’s like to be a black man? Ramsey has also supported legislation that would enable people to come out of the regular work force and begin a teaching career. How nice. Our schools are crashing and now we are going to put people in the classroom with zero training. He told Bristol that he could teach Tennessee History. I’m sure he could, but probably not to thirty 8th graders; five of which only eat at school, ten that don’t know who their father is, and the rest are just lucky to be there. He wouldn’t last five minutes. 
  4. Teacher Unions – We are in this mess because teacher unions joined the camp of one political party. They sided with the Democrats and now the Republicans don’t want them. Watching out for my pay? Somewhat. They also fight for political issues that I do not agree with. They protect good teachers but they also allow fowl, deranged human beings to educate our most important asset. It takes too much to get fired from a school system.
  5. State Testing – We need a system that determines whether or not schools, teachers, and students are performing well. This, I agree with. However, with our concern over the current system of testing, has anyone asked whether or not we are instilling a love for learning in our students? Whether you have asked this or not, the answer is, “NO. We aren’t.” Kids do not see the value in what they are doing. What is a good answer for, “why do I need to know this?” No amount of “you-must-learn-this-or-you-are-going-to-get-a-bad-score” is going to motivate some students to mark anything but C for the more than 7 hours of testing they must endure in a four day period. I am currently reading Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age by Maggie Jackson & Bill McKibben. It is an extraordinary book that is leading me to believe we are headed down the wrong path with making kids learn facts and figures rather than what it is to be a productive human in today’s world. You can do this and still get good math scores.
  6. Finally, schools can be labeled “failing” regardless of how many advanced students they have on TCAP. That’s messed up.
Who will I trust? People who think I should get less pay and fewer benefits or people I do not agree with philosophically? They both say they have students’ and teachers’ best interests in mind, but I’m divided. Whoever wins, I just hope that the students get a better education and that teachers (and School Counselors) get paid fairly. I didn’t earn 90 graduate hours to eat Ramen Noodles every night.