Ada Fisher: Students are a problem for public education 

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 21, 2022

Though the rancor about the public-school systems failures often break the sound barrier yelling they need more money, the talk about the students who enter the system often hides uncomfortable truths.

Students who enter public school are just sometimes not prepared to learn often with no backup from home to reinforce important lessons being taught.  What happened to homework?

Teachers are being expected to do more than educate, i.e. too often being asked to act as a substitute parent, expected to be a counselor and therapist without having stepped foot in the child’s home, patroller of violence and provide answers when children are neglected.

Violence consumes too much of the educational milieu from the need for resource officers, scans for weapons, bars and gaits on ports of entry and societal tolerance for bad behavior.

There was often a reasonable way to reach the student or family where party-line phones let the nosy neighbors in on what was going on; therefore, everyone kept you in line.  Frequently changing numbers and missing addresses unfortunately hinders communications for too many unable to pay cell phone rates.

Some things done 50 years ago that worked though they have fallen by the wayside.  Discipline was handled by washing dishes in the cafeteria at lunch time where no one wanted to be seen.  

Teachers were expected to do a home visit at the beginning of the school year where much could be learned about strategies and educational adaptations which might be called for to counter many lack of opportunities as well as support the abundance of exposure for others.  Suspensions were in order for brass knuckles, knives or other possible weapons.  Programs were designed to enhance student exposures from talent shows, to athletic games, to clubs like the Quill and Scroll highlighting writing and literature to great vocational and distributive education agendas for those not going to college.

Out of 463 in my class approximately 312 finished high school and with a rare exception have any of these students been homeless; 10% served in the military as in 1966 — we were likely the last class to face the military draft or a major war, i.e. Vietnam; 6 lawyers; 3 medical doctors and so many distinguished entrepreneurs.  Lessons gleaned — Learn about the available choices, seek excellence in all realms of life, know what was needed to succeed appreciating the consequences of limited options and unrealized dreams, etc.  As I told my children embrace your opportunities for when you hit 18, be prepared to do something positive with your life — go to college, to the military or to work, but you are definitely going out of my house.  The US Constitution says at 18 you can vote implying you are grown; therefore; parents are not responsible for taking care of grown kids.

If students don’t want to attend school after middle school or 16, send them home to their parents\family or elsewhere to be dealt with creating the opportunity for those who want to learn to do so.  If students bring weapons to school at minimum suspend them for that year with referral to juvenile detention facilities where mental health services are often available.   The lie once promulgated was there are no jobs. Today there are more job openings and options which unfortunately people don’t want.  There is no requirement that education prepare one for the job one wants.  That depends on choices made.

Society must quit shielding slackers and require that able bodied people work or lose eligibility for benefits.    Student loans must be repaid for the government isn’t responsible for wrong choices of majors which don’t allow them to make enough for those repayments.

Our motto should be the responsibility starts with each of us as does the buck stops on us.

Ada M. Fisher is a physician who was a medical director in a Fortune 500 company, previous member of a county Board Of Education, licensed secondary education teacher, author, poet, public speaker and the NC Republican National Committeewoman (2012-2020).  Her Book “Common Sense Conservative Prescriptions Solutions Good For What Ails Us”  is available.