Halloween made the list because it is linked to paganism; Birthday because Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate them; Dinosaur because some people don't believe in evolution. (I love someone's suggestion that kids be challenged to write a story containing all 50 words.) High school kids can't write a lucid sentence or make change for a five dollar bill, but the mindless bureaucrats are fretting over them hearing words like "homes with swimming pools". I keep saying it but no one will listen: take just half the money we are spending on education, create a school system run by Catholic nuns, and watch test scores and graduation rates double. And here's a bonus: the kids will not only get smarter, but become more courteous and respectful as well.
We need just two simple rules to make the new system work. First rule, bring some discipline back to the classroom. I'm not talking physical discipline, (although from what I've seen some of these kids could benefit from a whack upside the head), but consequences for bad behavior. There are none now except for the teachers who are put through Hell for looking crooked at a kid. Second rule, parents are not to come to school unless invited. They don't get to design the curriculum, hire the teachers, hound the administration or any of the other things for which they have no training or qualifications. Every kid gets two strikes; on the third strike they are sent to special schools administered by Catholic brothers. The chronic behavior problems will disappear in six months. Once they are rehabilitated (and they will be) they may return to the more benevolent nuns.
When I went to grade school, the focus was on learning, and lo and behold, learning actually took place, year in and year out. The nuns and brothers of Our Lady of Lourdes created an atmosphere where no distractions from bad behavior were tolerated. They used friendly persuasion to discourage such behavior and were by and large very successful. This is not to say there weren't occasional outbursts, but we knew the consequences and suffered them in silence. We didn't lawyer up and bring our mommies to school to fight with the teachers. We knew that letting our parents know we had misbehaved in school would not bring sympathy, but the opposite. By the way, these realities held true for most public schools too, before they gave up entirely the right to discipline children, and caved in completely to meddling parents.
The quality of education provided under such simple rules got results. I'm not saying that every kid that came out of 1950's classrooms was a genius, but they knew enough English, math, history and how to get along with others to get jobs and become contributing citizens of our society. The methods that delivered that education and produced those results would be considered harsh by today's ridiculous liberal standards. That is wrongheaded thinking. Children need boundaries and an understanding that in the classroom, the greater good of the group takes precedence over some brat's desire to pitch a hissy fit. Allowing teachers to deal firmly with such children without constant parental excuse-making and intervention is the price to be paid for a well-educated, well behaved child ready to make his or her way in the world.
Bottom line: stop over-protecting our kids and let them know there are rules to be followed when they pass through that school door. Worry less that they might hear a banned word like "poverty" and more about them having to spend the rest of their lives in poverty if they come out of school knowing absolutely nothing.
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