Public School Hell

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I
recently came across a newspaper article discussing the preparations
for the fall term being made by Savannah high school teachers. This
sentence jumped out at me; "On the first day of new teacher
orientation, new teachers address the problem of how to handle violent
and disruptive students and were taught self-defense by Savannah
police."

During
my high school days it would have been unthinkable that teachers
needed to learn how to defend themselves against attacks by students.
And I would have been incredulous if anyone had predicted that the
day would come when schools would hire security guards to make hallways
safe.

But
this is commonplace at schools today and it shouldn't come as a
surprise that two-thirds of new teachers entering the profession
drop out in five years or less. The primary reason given is unmanageable
discipline problems with students.

Who
is responsible for these unruly students? Did parents opt out? Did
schools lower disciplinary standards? While both of these probably
contribute to the problem, I put most of the blame on the government
and organized do-gooders who influence government policies. By intruding
into every facet of our lives, imposing untested theories on us
and usurping the authority of parents as well as schools, Washington
has managed to undermine personal responsibility.

As
a result students must pass through metal detectors as they enter
buildings. This is necessary for safety reasons but from a technical
standpoint, I'm puzzled. I would think that alarms would be set
off by students' nose rings and other metal adornments pierced into
chins, sides of faces and other unmentionable parts of their bodies.
Possibly the detectors are so finely calibrated that they ignore
these small metallic objects.

Adolescent
girls come to school in form-fitting clothes that often exposes
their navels. Many have acquired tattoos, the latest female fashion
statement. In fact, my wife maintains that this generation of women
value a tattoo more than an I.Q. On the other hand, thanks to the
ACLU, boys are allowed to come to school with the tops of their
underwear showing. I don't know if this is a turn-on for girls but
it certainly represents the sort of legalistic triumph the ACLU
is so proud of.

The
saddest trend at today's schools is one that I want to expound on.
I'm talking about providing day care centers for babies of unwed
female students. In my school days, I could never have conceived
of this, not even in my wildest imagination. And it's still hard
to believe. Either I'm an anachronistic throwback to a less sophisticated
time or our nation is in serious trouble.

Many
schools and local health departments distribute free condoms to
teens so these pregnancies could easily be avoided. Are these young
girls completely unthinking and irresponsible? Maybe not. Consider
this. The girls with illegitimate babies receive assistance checks
from the government. The more illegitimate babies they have, the
more money they receive. Perhaps, in spite of low SAT scores, these
girls are developing early entrepreneurial skills.

Is
it naïve to think that these young women change their behavior
when they leave school for the real world? They don't and this Breeding
for Dollars phenomenon continues. And it seriously affects the wallets
and pocketbooks of taxpayers.

Young
women examine the facts and make an economic decision to have a
baby out of wedlock. This is a typical case: If a single woman has
an illegitimate baby (we can't use the correct term "bastard"
any more) she can get a monthly assistance check from the government.
In addition she also gets a payroll check from her employer.

Her
mother or another relative raises her child but she can visit as
often she wishes. From her monthly subsidy check, part is given
to her relative to care for the child and the remaining amount is
hers to spend as she sees fit. She cares for her child and spends
a lot of time with it but she can't get married and be a responsible
parent because her monthly income would be reduced.

In
this case, and I suspect there are many more like it, government
exacerbated the problem it was trying to remedy. This is because
Washington bureaucrats are so out of touch with the real world that
they don't understand how life works. You don't make an irresponsible
person responsible by simply giving them money.

And
you don't turn adolescents into reliable adults by catering to their
every whim. Someday the running of the country will be turned over
to this younger generation. In the meantime the best that we can
do is pray for a miracle.

September
8, 2001

Gail
Jarvis [send
him mail
] is
a CPA living in Beaufort, SC, an unreconstructed Southerner, and
an advocate of limited government.

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