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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Poor performance of public schools

Would you believe that in some parts of the country the rate of high school dropouts from the public school system is reaching 50 percent.  There are more honor students in China than there are students in America.  With the national "No Child Left Behind" law teachers throughout the country spend three/fourths of their teaching time, which is still only 180 days per school year, teaching to the test the students take toward the end of the school year.  Even among the students who do graduate from high school in America barley half read above the 5th grade level.  The greatest fear among teachers in most inner city schools is the fear of being beat up by students.  In most public high schools in America, as well as most public schools from the 5th grade forward, the administration will not fail a student the teacher says needs to fail if the parent does not want their child to fail.  In America it is virtually impossible to fire a tenured teacher even if it is proven they are incompetent to teach.
In community after community you can talk to teachers who will tell stories of students who openly challenge the authority of the teacher.  A student will curse, even using the so-called "F" bomb to scare, intimidate and outright defy authority.  When the student is sent to the office for misbehavior or disrupting the class room, the administration is gripped with fear to do anything punitive to the student because of the threat of lawsuits from parents against the school district.
More money is being spent on education every year; politicians campaign on more money for education, taxing the property owners or offering up referendums for general tax increases earmarked for some educational need.  It just does not seem to help the quality of education when it is thought that more money will increase test scores; it does not.  We continue to build multi-million dollar buildings in communities across the nation, but classrooms are still being ravaged by a contingent of rabble students who use violence and intimidation to control the teacher and other students in the class.
Several years ago a man was recognized in Paterson, NJ at Eastside High School for bringing order to a school that had been lost to violence, drug pushers and students inside the school who practiced fighting, vandalism and abuse of teachers and students.  In his biography we read,

"In September 1982, during the first day of class at Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, a student was stabbed. In 1983, things would be different. The school's new principal, Joe Clark, would be the reason why."
"Clark thwarts those who believe that the learning process is disrupted by tough discipline. Instead of offering sympathy, Clark held high expectations for students, challenging them to develop habits for success and confronting them when they failed to perform. On a single day during his first week at Eastside, Clark expelled 300 students for fighting, vandalism, drug possession, profanity or abusing teachers. He explains, 'If there is no discipline, there is anarchy. Good citizenship demands attention to responsibilities as well as rights.'" (Both of these statements can be found at the following link:   
Perhaps it is time for Americans to turn back the clock and see why educators were more successful in years past.

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