Mimi Rothschild Brings You “Charter Schools: Look Before You Leap”
Written by admin
Monday, 10 May 2010 14:01
by Roy Hanson,
In California and across the nation, we are alarmed by the growing number of Christian homeschoolers who are enrolling in charter school programs. Below is a summary of most of the reasons why we are concerned. This is based upon my full-time research and advocacy work in behalf of private home educators in California for the last 15 years.The battle over home schooling in America for the last 20 years has been shifting from eradication of home education to growing attempts to control home educators and recapture them for public school programs (such as charter schools) where they are under the authority and supervision of public school officials. Nothing less than the future of home schooling and the freedom of parents to train their own children in God’s ways are at stake. Can education in a charter school be Christian? A true Christian education means that all goals, rules and policies, staffing, student and adult relationships, structures of authority, methodologies, sources of funding and resources, activities, materials, and content of all subject areas must be consistent with a biblical worldview. In every aspect, the entire education system must openly glorify and please God through our Lord Jesus Christ. A thoroughly Christian education is expressed in an open, non-apologetic way–in writing, verbally, and in all actions–on the part of every participant. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. (Matt. 5:16)
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)
There are inescapable problems in this regard, inherent in all charter school programs and all other public school programs. Most states have either a state constitution or a statutory provision which prohibits any sectarian instruction in any public school program. In addition, federal law is very clear in prohibiting religious instruction in public schools that receive federal funding. Title 20, United States Code, & amp; sect; 8066(1)(E) states,The term “charter school” means a public school that. . . is nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and is not affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institution.
About the author:
Roy Hanson is the director of Family Protection Ministries, which he established in 1986 to monitor the California state legislature for bills affecting home schooling families and their freedoms. God has used FPM (working closely with Home School Legal Defense Association and Christian Home Educators of California) to win dozens of legislative battles against a full-time, predominately non-home school friendly state legislature. Roy and his wife, Debra, home schooled their children from first grade through high school. Some charter school administrators have claimed that since parents are not employees of the charter school, parents can provide and use their own Christian curriculum. These administrators usually suggest that the parent not report any religious books being used, and not have their children make any references to religious doctrine, or Scripture, or Christ in any assignments being turned in. What does this teach children? It teaches them to lie. (Luke 17:1-2) It teaches them a utilitarian mindset–that the ends justify the means. It teaches them to keep quiet about their belief in God and His Word and their hope of salvation in Jesus Christ when it suits their financial interests and convenience. On the other hand, using materials based on a worldview that isn’t biblical teaches children to compartmentalize their life and to be dualistic in their worldview–to believe that God’s Word does not speak to every area of life. Excerpts from a letter by a California home schooling mother illustrate this issue:We were promised funding and the freedom to establish our own goals and methods, as long as they were not doctrinal. We could teach doctrine “on our own time” or use non-funded godly materials, only documenting the outcome not the method.
I was choosing to pull out of the private sector and place over our schooling efforts an authority that required me to separate God within our home. I would have been teaching our children a double standard: God is O.K. for home but not for our school. Since our school is in our home that standard would not have stood for God at all!
Strings attached. Increasing regulations. Many charter schools began with few regulations or with a lack of clarity or agreement on what the regulations are. Regulations are inherent and inevitable for several reasons, including stewardship accountability for expenditure of public tax funds and for the prevention and detection of fraud. Experience has shown that the direction is always from less regulation to more.Some of the increases in regulation include:prohibiting Christian content;
detailed written reporting of lesson content and work completed;
placing the parent under the control of a certified teacher;
specifying what subjects are covered and how;requiring standardized testing; and
required regular contact with certified teachers to evaluate not only educational goals but more subjective things like physical, mental, and emotional health and signs of child abuse or neglect, possibly involving a home visit.New legislation and changes in regulations continue to be proposed and enacted in charter school states. Testing indirectly controls curriculumIn most states, charter school students are required to take the same tests that are required in all public schools. A few states may allow parents to opt their child out of the test, but, at some point, a charter school must prove to the chartering agency that its students are meeting academic expectations. Politically correct thinking influences the content of standardized tests. This leads to a bias against objective truth and against a Christian worldview. Teachers and program directors protect their jobs by “teaching to the test,” that is–teaching the skills and content to be tested so their school or program will continue to receive federal and state funding. The tests heavily influence academic content–tests indirectly determine the curriculum! Sends message: Parents unqualifiedEvery parent who turns to the government’s charter school to help them provide their children’s education sends the erroneous and dangerous message to legislators and edu-crats that children cannot be successfully raised without the help of a government certified expert, and without the help of the state to pay for the resources they need. The louder this message gets, the harder it will be to keep the government from inserting itself in every aspect of families’ lives. Most public policy makers, public educators, and other professional groups see the parents as just one member of a team to prepare all children to be good citizens–”It takes a village” to raise a child. Charter schools fit in well with this government-as-parent / government-as-partner statist agenda for America.Family Protection Ministries
Family Protection Ministries depends upon the gifts of its supporters. It is essential to the continued freedom of home schoolers in the Golden State that we all support FPM. They spot and work very effectively with legislation at a level that no one else in California does.
Contributions may be sent to:Family Protection MinistriesP.O. Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648-0730
Those who give $40 or more per calendar year will receive FPM’s Legal-Legislative Update newsletter. Not within civil government’s God-given jurisdictionGod has established three basic social governmental institutions, each with its own mutually exclusive jurisdictions of responsibility and authority. They are family government, church government, and civil government.God has assigned the responsibility and authority to raise and train up children exclusively to the family (Deut. 6:7, Eph. 5:22-6:4, I Tim. 5:8, et al.). On the other hand, God’s ordained purpose of civil government is to restrain evil (Romans 13:4; I Peter 2:14, et al.). God also ordained that the family should get support for its needs in three ways: primarily through labor of the family, and secondarily through voluntary charity and inheritance. God did not ordain any separate institution for education or socialization of children. Nor did He ordain that families should receive financial support for these from civil government. From God’s perspective, what we call Christian “education” must be derived from the concept of discipleship, which incorporates training, instruction, and correction in accordance with God’s Word. The care and discipleship (education) of minor children belong exclusively to the parents. God has not given us the permission to relinquish any part of our authority and responsibility to provide this for our children.When we choose not to look to the government, but rather to take full personal responsibility for our children’s education, we acknowledge the authority of God and His Word in our lives. We teach our children to honor God, His Word, and his ordained jurisdictions of authority and responsibility. We also teach them to be content with what God provides our family through our faith and diligent, obedient labors.Let your character be 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.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Higher taxes and bigger government: There is big money involved in charter school programs designed for home schoolers. Major political battles are being fought over geographical turf rights for charter schools as they are lucrative moneymakers.Two-thirds of the voters in the United States think that lower taxes would have the most immediate positive impact on them and their families. 1 Paradoxically, large numbers of people who claim to want smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom continue to clamor for their “fair share” in a plethora of government-subsidized programs. Each individual who chooses to participate in a government-funded program, like a charter school, creates a threefold demand on the government:a need for more money to pay for the goods or services they want;
a need for more bureaucrats to administer the programs to provide those goods and services; and
a need for financial accountability and laws to regulate the use of that money.But I’m only getting my tax money back. Wrong!Many parents argue that their taxes support public education and that they are justified in having that money pay for their own children’s education. In reality, parents who choose charter schools increase the tax burden on their neighbors.Most parents only pay enough taxes designated for education funding to cover about one-half of the public education costs for just one of their children.2Threat to private home schoolingIn my opinion, at this time, charter schools are the greatest threat to our home school freedoms and the heart and soul of the Christian home school movement.First, compromise of freedoms and complacent dependency are inherent in receiving government funding. Charter school families have become just one more special interest group fighting for their piece of the government pie.Private home schoolers are not a special interest group, in the sense that we do not go to the government asking for a handout. We are rarely asking for legislation. We are most often fighting to prevent the passage of laws that would infringe on the God-given inalienable rights of families. The perception of home schoolers in general by the public and state legislatures and Congress is being damaged by charter school “home schoolers” looking to preserve and expand their handouts.Second, the vigorous recruitment of home schoolers into the growing number of charter schools in our state is having a disastrous effect on the private Christian home school movement and the organizations that support it. Several private home school groups have either gone under or have been taken over by charter school parents and leaders. Others have lost significant numbers and are having a tough time just surviving.In June of 1997, Alaska enacted one of the best home school laws in the nation for private home schooling. However, at the same time, Alaska also enacted a charter school law. In just three short years, their statewide Christian support organization lost over two-thirds of its membership and attendance at their conferences dropped drastically. Their organization is a shell of what it once was. The influence of the private home schoolers in their Capitol has also been negatively affected since this group is now seen as a shrinking minority compared to the now larger charter school home school community.Third, as the number of private home schoolers becomes smaller than those enrolled in public school programs, we will see a new attack upon the precious freedoms so many pioneering private home schoolers and organizations worked so hard to establish and defend. There is a growing attempt to marginalize private home schoolers as a radical and unreasonable element of a larger “reasonable” group that understands the need for government help and supervision by certified experts. Conclusion Every Christian parent being lured to a charter school by “free” services and money must seriously consider and understand the long-term consequences of his or her decision.If we ask the government to provide what God has not ordained government to provide, we tell our children and the world around us that we do not believe our God is sufficient to meet all of our needs. © 2001 Roy Hanson, Jr. Permission to reprint is granted if article is reproduced in a complete and unedited manner and the proper attribution given.
Mimi Rothschild Asks “Will We Finish the School Year On Time?”
Written by admin
Tuesday, 4 May 2010 15:59
Mimi Rothschild Asks “Will We Finish the School Year On Time?”
Author: Randi St.Denis
Many homeschoolers live a lifestyle of learning all through the year and never consider what month it is. They are free to work at their own pace and not be bound by the calendar year.
But other homeschool moms may have very good reasons to be concerned about finishing their school work by June.
Some families have children at home and children in school. They may want all their children to begin and end their summer vacations at the same time.
The constant knocking at the door from the neighborhood child can be frustrating to both you and your son who is supposed to be doing his math. It may be easier to just take a break when Johnny next door is taking his break.
Most curriculum revolves around the traditional school year. If you are not studying at the appropriate times, you can be frustrated because a science experiment calls for autumn leaves when you are working on Science in the spring! If you are in this category, the spring can be an important time of reviewing materials to see whether you are on track to complete them by the June break.
If you think you are behind, make changes now and you might just finish on time after all.
Start by eliminating these time stealer’s:
Too much driving around in the car. This is huge time waster in Atlanta. The days are broken up by going out, and then there is the extra time spent preparing and dressing children and then settling them down when you come home. Do most of your errands at night and on weekends. Schedule children’s lessons only during convenient days and times. If you can’t get piano lessons at a time you want, then find another teacher. A mom has to stay home a lot to have enough time to homeschool.
Television, telephones. Turn these off or tape the shows you like so that you can watch them at times that are convenient to you.
Interruptions from others. Be firm and consistent with your friends and relatives. Establish time for them, but your students are the first priority, not your friends.
Eliminate unnecessary school work. Textbooks can have a lot of extra work that is boring and unnecessary. Remember: you own the book so make it work for you. You don’t have to work for the book. Look at each of your children’s books. Cut out or cross out unnecessary pages. Get over your desire to finish the book. Teach the chapters and do questions orally to eliminate a lot of student paperwork.
If your children are not progressing, you may have to change their curriculum or get extra help. If your books aren’t working, switch them. If you have a child with serious learning difficulties, you may need some help from a tutor.
You won’t ever have enough time to teach everything. When you plan the year, be realistic. There is so much to teach and so little time. You will not be able to cover all the information in the world. That’s O.K. The Holy Spirit is a much better teacher and He teaches full time and doesn’t takes a summer break. You are His assistant. Be content with God’s plan of time limits and constraints. Man makes his plans but God directs his paths. If you are frustrated with how the year has gone, you can rest in the knowledge and hope that if you are obedient to the Lord, all things will work together for you in the long run.
Randi St. Denis is an educator, popular homeschool speaker, and a seasoned homeschooling mom. Randi works as a consultant to public, private, and homeschool families; providing teaching expertise and assistance for all types of children. You can visit her website at ChicagoHomeschoolExpo.com.
Mimi Rothschild Brings You “Make the Most of Your Next Homeschool Convention”
Written by admin
Thursday, 29 April 2010 12:53
Mimi Rothschild Brings You “Make the Most of Your Next Homeschool Convention”
Author: Janice Campbell
The homeschool convention is almost here! Are you ready?
Whether it is your first convention or your fifteenth, the annual homeschool convention can be an overwhelming event. With dozens of workshops, over 100 vendors, and thousands of new and used books, it can be a challenge to know what to do first. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your convention experience.
Before the Convention
In order to maximize your time and money, start planning well before the day of the convention. Pre-registering online is amazingly convenient, and it will save valuable time when you arrive at convention. Members of the sponsoring organization often receive a generous discount on full registration, and pre-registering by the early-bird deadline can save even more. That is extra money to spend on something that will make your homeschooling easier!
First, know why you are going to convention. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to:
-Find out about homeschooling in general?
-Learn techniques for teaching toddlers or teens?
-Gain encouragement for educating your special-needs child?
-Get a hands-on preview of new curriculum?
-Stretch your dollars by buying used curriculum?
-Hear encouraging truths from veteran homeschoolers?
-Make a few dollars by selling your used books?
-Give back to your homeschool organization by volunteering for a few hours?
-Save shipping costs by purchasing your textbooks?
-Attend an inspiring graduation ceremony?
You can do all this and more at the convention if you plan your time wisely! If you spend time thinking through your goals for the coming year, and deciding what you need from the convention before you go, you are well on your way to making the most of this exciting weekend.
Make Your Lists
The sponsoring organization maintains a list of workshops and vendors on its website, and the preliminary workshop descriptions are usually included in the latest issue of the newsletter. Use these resources to plan your time at the convention. As you study the workshop schedule, you will begin to see workshops that you absolutely want to attend. Check them off on the preliminary program, and begin to prioritize.
Inevitably, there will be more than one workshop per session that you would like to attend. This is not a problem! Virtually all the workshops are recorded, and you may purchase tapes or CDs at convention and listen at your convenience later. This way, if you decide to spend all your time in the curriculum hall or the used book sale, you will not miss out on all the encouraging and informative workshops that are scheduled.
Plan for Children and Teens
While convention weekend is a wonderful opportunity for some special couple time, the convention is family-friendly if you prefer to bring everyone. A glance at the program will reveal many workshops that are of special interest to teens. These teen-track workshops may include topics such as Technology and Computers, Creation vs. Evolution, College Options, and many more.
Children ages 5-12 may have the opportunity to enroll in a special children’s program, where they can enjoy skits, songs, stories, and crafts focused on the development of good character qualities. The children’s program usually runs for the entire convention, except for meals, for which your children may join you to talk about all the things they’ve learned.
If you are new to homeschooling, or are entering a new phase of home education, such as high school, you may want to do some reading before you arrive at the convention. You may wish to order books such as The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell, For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley, or 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy. There are many other wonderful resources available, and whatever you read will help you prepare for the convention, as well as for the coming school year. Ask a veteran homeschooler for her recommendations, and she’ll probably be happy to share some of her favorites.
Make a List
If you write your shopping list on a business size envelope, you will be able to place all your receipts in the envelope as you make purchases. You can jot notes about what you see on the back of the envelope, and keep a running total of what you spend on the inside of the flap. Just be careful not to lose your envelope!
At the Convention
When you arrive at the convention, you’ll receive a program booklet and a bag of literature from vendors. The program will contain a map of the convention hall, speaker and graduate profiles, listing of vendors, and a final schedule of workshops. It pays to sit down for a few minutes to get acquainted with this valuable resource. First, check the workshops you want to attend and verify the time and location. Second, locate the bathrooms, concession stands, bag drops, and other conveniences, and locate the booths of vendors or speakers you particularly wish to visit. Now you are ready to plan your day!
As a point of courtesy, if you spend a lot of time with an author or vendor who patiently answers your questions, please remember that it would be very rude to go across the aisle to save a couple of dollars on the same curriculum from a vendor who has not given so generously of his or her time. Most authors and vendors are at the convention, not only because they truly want to help other homeschooling families, but also because they need to make a living.
If This Is Your First Convention
If this is your first convention and you are able to come more than one day (I highly recommend coming for the whole time, if at all possible), don’t buy anything until the last few hours you are there. Use your first day, or first few hours, to attend the introductory workshop sessions offered for new homeschoolers, then browse the curriculum hall, picking up catalogs and brochures. If you know you have a bag full of information, and will be able to order anything you see later, after you have had time to make a careful decision, you will not feel pressured to decide too quickly on anything you see.
Take all the literature you have gathered back to your hotel, or out to lunch if you are there for only a day, and look through it. Focus on things that fit your needs now; elementary curriculum if you have young children, high school curriculum if you have teens. Get acquainted with some of the things that are available, so that when you return to the curriculum hall, you can go directly to the items that seem most interesting or useful to you. Write down questions you would like to ask different vendors, and do not forget that the homeschool organization probably has a table is staffed with veteran homeschoolers who would be happy to answer questions for you. Remember that you do not have to make any quick decisions, but that you may order virtually anything, including workshop tapes, after the convention.
If You Are A Veteran Homeschooler
If you have been homeschooling for years, but have not been to the convention in a while, prepare to be astonished and delighted by the amazing array of high-quality curriculum options that are available. You will find many resources for the high-school years, as well as a great deal of information on helping your student make the transition to college, the military, or a career. There are encouraging new books and resources, as well as workshops and vendors that can answer many of the questions you may have as your students grow older.
Veteran homeschoolers are probably also aware of the many opportunities available for volunteer service at the convention. The convention takes place only with the help of the many volunteers both new and veteran homeschoolers who donate a bit of their time to make it happen. You may choose to help in the exhibit hall, graduation, security, hospitality, registration, publicity, used curriculum sale, or as an office volunteer or speaker host. As a special thank-you, volunteers often receive special privileges such as first admission to the used curriculum shopping area, or a free workshop recording.
After the Convention
When you reach home after the convention, you will have much to digest. Make time to read the books and catalogs you bring home, and listen to the workshop tapes you have purchased. As you put all you have learned into practice, you will be thankful you took time to learn more about home education. Your new knowledge will help you experience joy in the journey!
Janice Campbell, author of Get a Jump Start on College! A Practical Guide for Teens, Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High School Paperwork, and the Excellence in Literature series, has been writing and speaking in central Virginia since the late 1980′s. She homeschooled her four sons from kindergarten into college, using the principles she now shares in her books, her blog, workshops, and her free e-newsletter. Sign up for it today.
Mimi Rothschild Brings You “God Has Trouble With His Children Too”
Written by admin
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 10:07
Mimi Rothschild Brings You “God Has Trouble With His Children Too”
by Shannon Brendlinger
Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.-Ephesians 6:1
There have been times at night that I would pray over one of my four children. One reason would be because I had a confrontation of some sort with them that day, another would be because I felt they had disobeyed God in someway. The prayers I have for them come deep from in my heart more, than anything I pray for. I felt I was being a bad mother and I would pray for guidance and forgiveness in the way I handled a situation with them. The bible says in James 1:9, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. I find it hard to become slow to anger when my child has given me nothing but attitude that day! Slow to speak well, does, Get to your room now, through clenched teeth count? Listening is not on the top of my head when my thirteen old is trying to explain why she should get her belly button pierced! I thought all the Sunday school and youth programs would tell them that, God does not want them to put in any holes in their body?
Psalm 22:10 says, From birth I was cast upon you; from my mothers womb you have been my God. When our children are first born they are born with no sense of what others around them need; they are selfish but God was still with them because he knew they had to be taught by their mother and father. He gave us many directions in the bible for showing our children the way to him. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:5-8. The only thing is he gave them free will just has he has given us our free will. We can only do as much as we can and pray that God will open their hearts and show them the way. We also have to pray they will want to be shown the path of righteousness. Jesus said in Mark 10:14, let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. All Jesus was asking for was to; let them come to him, to not hinder any of their efforts. He was not saying, You parents better make sure your kids come to me or it is your entire fault! No, he just wants us to let them know they have that choice and what the choice of coming to him means.
When my oldest was born I was not an active Christian. I believed there was a God and he had a son who died on the cross for our sins. I tried to go to church and thought it was the most boring thing ever. I was only seventeen when my oldest was born. I was still a child with no direction and a bad attitude. My parents did not bring me up in a Godly home; it was far from it. I swore a lot, I did not have respect for my self or others. All in all I was heading hand in hand with Satan down his pleasurable path for me. I was also taking someone along; my daughter. A little over three years and a lot of bad moves I was also taking my second child right with me.
It was not until my third child and a marriage later that God opened my eyes and started showing me the right path, the path that lead to Jesus. Slowly I became closer to the Lord and I learned more than I ever knew about being a child of God. I faded away and I came back strong and faded again and came back even stronger. My fourth child is now three-years-old and I am back on the righteous path. I am a stronger more mature Christian than I ever was and I know I am growing everyday but there was that time when God had trouble with me too. Sometimes I step off the right path now but he is there so softly guide me back. I am his child and he knows that I am not perfect and knows I will not be without sin until the day he comes back for me. He gave me his son so my sins can be washed away and he gave me the bible so I try not to have so many to be washed away.
I knew it would be hard on my oldest child, to just throw her into a life she was not familiar with. I knew she would feel hurt and confused. I stopped a lot of things I once let her do and there were many times she cried and looked at me like I was from another planet. She lead a unholy life until the age of eight or nine and then she was confused when I would change from week to week or month to month on what I expected from her and the rest of my family. Then when she was twelve I changed big time and started showing my family the way of God. I did a total 360 on them and have been, for the most part, steady now. Jeanette Lockerbie from the Women Devotional Bible wrote, “Our children-and we ourselves-are never safer, or more blessed, than in the place of God’s appointment, meaning, we are right where God wants us to be. No matter what the situation, God has his plans for us and our children, all wrote out in his book of ours and our children lives.
He knows the troubles we have with our children because he has the same troubles from us. He gives us the same lessons from the bible that we teach to our kids too. “Listen to your father, who gave you life and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice! -Proverbs 23:22-25. Proverbs 31:6 says, “Train a child in the way we should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. All we can do is show our children the rights way, pray they take it and thank God when they finally do!
Christian mothers and fathers all over the world have some trouble with their kids rebelling against Gods word. They want to listen to inappropriate music; they want to wear clothing that is to revealing or mark their bodies with holes (besides the ears) and tattoo’s. Some of us parent’s even have to unfortunately, deal with drug or alcohol use. We get down on our knees every night and pray for God to change them. We beg and plead, cry and even scream to him, why does my child have to do these sinful things? Titus 2:7-8 states, “In everything set them (children) a good example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Father, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training of the Lord. Exasperate means: to irritate or anger. God is slow to anger at us, so should we be to our children also. When they fall down we need to pick them back up, just as Jesus does for us. We need to show them the right way, just as God shows us. We need to forgive them, just as the Lord has forgiven us.
3 John: 4 says, “I have to greater joy than to hear my children are walking in the truth. If you as a parent are walking in Gods truth and you show it day by day your children will catch on. It might not be until they have made some wrong choices but one day they will understand the truth that you are walking in and they will walk right beside you. Until then keep praying for them and loving them just the way God made them and the way he loves you.
Mimi Rothschild Looks at “Character Education in the Public School”?
Written by admin
Tuesday, 27 April 2010 16:30
Mimi Rothschild Looks at “Character Education in the Public School”?
by Sarah McBroom
As an relatively new educator, I have discovered that part of the problem in our schools today is that our students lack character. They have not been taught at home as so many of us were in our childhoods. The task has come to us to teach these children character and morals. Our society has become so desensitized that no one thinks anything about the fact that these kids have no character. Good solid Christians hide in their homes because they are afraid to go out. Children who have stable home lives are afraid to go out anytime. It is a sad state that we have come to in our soceity today.
As a Christian educator in a public school, I find it hard to teach character without teaching about the relationship with Jesus Christ that goes along with it. However, I have learned that this is what must happen and even though I cannot speak about my faith and about Christ, I make sure that my actions speak about it every day. These character traits that we need to teach our students will not only help them in their work as students, but someday out in the workforce or in their homes, I hope that they will remember the things that they have been taught. The seed is planted and I pray that someday it will take root and grow.
In the 1940′s the top ten discipline problems in schools were: talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise, running in the hall, cutting in lines, dress code violations and littering. Jump ahead fifty years and in the 1990′s the top problems were: drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery and assault. Today some of the top problems are shootings, sexual harassment and abuse, pregnancy, and new and worse drugs. What has happened in last sixty years to our children and what can we do about it in our public schools?
There are four things that schools can do to promote educational success. Successful schools eliminate automatic promotion and administer standards. They evaluate teachers yearly. A school should not necessarily give a teacher an extended contract. So many teachers when the trial period is over, knowing that they cannot be automatically fired, do not teach as well as they once did. Knowing that a poor evaluation can lead to termination is good and helps a teacher keep his focus over the years as he continues to teach. There is a disciplined learning environment. Everyone is treated the same regardless of race, color or creed. Successful schools reject relativism and teach the values that built our nation, and promote character. This helps children develop successful habits.
So what are the teacher’s responsibilities the classroom and with students? A teacher must act as a caregiver and mentor. It is important to love and nurture kids. It is important to help them succeed. Once they begin to succeed, they will want to continue that success and will look for the teacher for help in order to do so. It is important to take transgressions seriously but lovingly. The transgression must be important to the adult in order for it to be important to the student. This is how you get students to care about moral values.
Mentoring is a form of loving. A teacher must love troubled kids to death. They must be reached before they can be taught. Some ways to accomplish this are as follows. It must be private. There must be time for the teacher and the student to have a discussion in private away from others students and staff. Developing a realtionship with this student is important as well. However, you want to avoid the student being seen as teacher’s pet. As you build this relationship, the student will begin to trust and maybe be able to tell you the root of the problem. At this point, you can work together on solutions to the problem. The student must be told what the consequences are and how the behavior will hurt themselves and others. Follow up is the most important. Sometimes it takes time to get through to a student. Written communication can be helpful as well as journaling on the part of the student.
A moral classroom community is important to the success of the whole school. In a classroom community students know each other. They respect, affirm and care for each other. They feel that they are part of a group. It is good to get students to partner up and work together projects. It is also good if the students work with different partners from time to time. It is also good to change the seating arrangement from time to time, so that students have to sit next to someone new. This is the way they get to know each other. As a classroom becomes other focused, they develop patience, understanding and empathy.
There are several ways to develop a group identity in the classroom and to make students feel a part of what is going on. Traditions are an important part of many families. Traditions in the classroom can become important as well. Class meetings, a class song, symbols, and a coat of arms are good examples of class traditions that can be done together as a class. Teacher intervention on behalf of a child is an excellent way to help a child feel included and loved.
Responsibility to and for the group helps to promote a healthy classroom. Establish goals and rules and consequences as a group. This helps promote interdependence which is dependence on self and on each other. Problem solving is another way to promote this interdependence. In coping with a crisis it might be good to hold a class meeting, ask for a confession from the perpetrator and then ask the class to forgive him or her.
Teachers are responsible for the moral discipline in a classroom. They are to project a clear sense of their moral authority. It is their right and duty to teach respect and responsibility and to hold the students accountable. Approach discipline as a way to develop a good moral community in the classroom. Consequences should be used educationally. This helps a student appreciates a rule’s purpose and make amends and improves behavior. It is important to care for and respect the student. Find the cause of the problem and find a solution that will help the student to become successful and responsible in the classroom.
Rule setting can be a daunting task. It is sometimes helpful to get input from all of the students and to make a list of rules from the lists that were made as a group. Sometimes only doing this with unruly classes is a good idea. This helps these students to think about what is respectful and how to be responsible in the classroom. If a teacher has some rules that must be followed without exception, this is okay too. It helps the teacher to enforce their right to teach and studentâ€™s right to learn.
Treat enforcement of consequences as teachable moments.
If you are working on consequences as a group, be aware that students will set harsher consequences than adults. This helps them develop moral reasoning. Consenting to consequences beforehand is easy way to get them to look at what they did and to take responsibility for their actions. It is important to develop a relationship with a hostile student. This is not easy, but it is well worth it and can be helpful in disciplining and teaching him. Some consequences are fixed meaning they are the same every time. Some can be variable meaning that the punishment fits the crime. It is important to have a balance in the classroom. This helps a student learn why behavior is wrong and how to make up for it.
In an individual conference a student receives individual discipline and instruction. This type of discipline helps a teacher to look for the root of the problem and explain to the student why the behavior was unacceptable. There is also time to develop a plan to prevent recurrence.
Class meetings are a great way to get to know students and them to get to know you and each other. They can brainstorm together ways to solve problems in the classroom. This then can be carried out into the hallway and to other classrooms. If the students have the skills, they can make an impact on the whole school.
Homework helps to improve grades in lower and average students. If the school day ends and the homework is not in, the student should be made to stay after school until the work is done. One day a week anyone who does not have all work in must stay after school and get the work done. This means no after school activities for that day. This type of discipline has been known to have great success. Students do not want to have to miss their after school activities, whether it be band, sports, drama etc. Quizzes should be based on homework. Pop quizzes are especially important because a student has to always finish the work in order to be prepared.
It is important for the principal to model moral and academic leadership. He must have a vision for the school. It is helpful to have organized clubs, and other organized activities during lunchtime. This helps cut down on discipline during this time of day. Older students can help supervise activities and can help with younger students. This helps to promote school wide community. Also helping to promote school wide community are extracurricular activities, good sportsmanship and school assemblies. There are jobs that students can do together in the school. For example, they can beautify the bathrooms, clean the cafeteria, help in the office or in other classrooms, they can help on the school paper or in the school store if one is available.
As you can see, these ideas can be very helpful. However, it is important that you model your faith along with these values. Teaching values without faith is not a very wise thing to do. Howver, in our post Christian society, sometimes the only thing you can do, is to be a good role model in this area. Sometimes actions do speak louder than words and this is an important concept to consider as you prepare for another school year.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Written by admin
Friday, 3 November 2006 16:19
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