What Teachers Really Need to Hear From Parents

08 September 2011 Categories: public school

Sometimes school propaganda comes out that is so obviously, shockingly dehumanizing to children and undermining of the parent-child relationship that it amazes me that anyone dared print it. The viral CNN article, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents by Disney-and-Oprah-endorsed Ron Clark, epitomizes the word “propaganda” and gets a gold star for its audacity in dehumanizing children and undermining the parent-child relationship. Homeschooling author, Linda Dobson, immediately tackled the article with a blog post that paragraph by paragraph exposed the hypocrisy and callousness of teachers’ attitudes towards children and parents.

Public schools are government institutions that have literally taken control of  much of the global population and most world cultures. By holding all children under 18 as hostages, against their wills, this infectious institution forces the population to deny the self, homogenize, obey and consume. By choking down an irrelevant, carefully engineered “education” in a factory-like environment,  children are conditioned to ignore their bodies, emotions, passions, interests, questions, ideas, creative impulses, purposes and needs. In the US, this multi-billion dollar social conditioning machine trains children to take their place  assisting the United States in remaining the World power through economic and political globalization. This control of the population was the intent of public schooling when it was made into law in 1852.

Ron Clark pulls rank and admonishes parents that because teachers are “trained professionals”, “don’t fight it” when teachers give you their advice about your children- to blindly and unquestioningly take teacher’s orders! He implies that teachers know each unique, living, breathing, holistic child better than his or her parents know them. Clark hypocritically insists that parents  unquestioningly accept the teacher’s accusations of their children as tried and convicted justice. Yet parents are told to stop believing their children’s complaints about the teacher or classroom and if they must complain, phrase the complaint as,

“I wanted to let you know something my child said took place in your class, because I know that children can exaggerate and that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me.”

Not only does this dehumanize children, put them at risk for abuse and invalidate their feelings, emotions, perspectives and experiences, it undermines parental advocacy for their own children! For children under total control of both teachers and parents, it is a no-win situation.

Traditional school teachers routinely treat children with such a lack of compassion and empathy that if the children were adults, the situation might qualify as torture. Teachers routinely inflict an environment of chronic physical and emotional distress on children from kindergarten until high school graduation. Physiological needs are regimented and denied so that it hurts just to be alive- Children can’t eat when hungry, eliminate bodily waste when in pain, hydrate when thirsty, move their bodies when they are restless or play despite  explosive impulses. Emotional needs are ignored so that children must develop mental defenses just to endure- Children from tikes to teens are separated from their primary attachment source- their families- and are touch-starved and denied any nurturance, human respect or affection. Although schools claim to be the bastions of “socialization”, attempts beyond a few minutes each day to interact with friends are punished.

These physical and psychological needs are all survival functions intended by nature, yet schools cruelly ignore them or coerce drugs into those who can’t tolerate the pain of such an environment.

Summer is the respite that many children long for as the school year devours their free time. Summer is the time when children might possibly be able to bask in the freedom of what it means to be a child. Unfortunately, having less than three months to detox, many children still can’t rediscover their passions and interests. But to make certain that children remain programmed and conditioned, schools now enforce summer homework! Clark displays an infuriating apathy towards a child’s personal hardships as well as the child’s natural right to play and have fun when he sardonically writes,

“And if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn’t started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks. His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they’d been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn’t help but point out that the assignments were given in May. She quickly added that she was allowing her child some “fun time” during the summer before getting back to work in July and that it wasn’t his fault the work wasn’t complete. Can you feel my pain?”

Ron, apparently you can’t feel the boy’s pain, the family’s pain or the pain of every other child who is forced to labor against their will, without pay, during their free time, family time, social time and play time, for no reason other than because a teacher said so.

With such dangerous power over children, it amazes me that Ron Clark dares to try to whip parents into aligning even more with teachers and abandon being their children’s last hope for a voice or rescue!

Perhaps the most creepy part of the article is how it ends, with an Orwellian dose of Double-Think, with Ron Clark massaging us parents to believe that teachers “love” our children (“too”) despite keeping our children in pain, miserable, stifled, imprisoned, silenced, immobile, distressed, overwhelmed,  scheduled- even diagnosed and drugged- from morning till almost bedtime for the majority of our children’s childhoods! Despite this daily disrespect and abuse of our children, he manipulates your sympathy and implores you to join the system, work with it and give teachers the respect he claims they “deserve”:

“We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask — and beg of you — to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve.”

Parents, I might not be Disney and Oprah endorsed, but I have worked with over 1,000 youth and families in my 15 years of professional experience and I have worked on the front lines with the children who suffer at the hands of school teachers. I recommend that you distrust the school system, remove your children, yourselves and your lives from it and unschool. I recommend that you trust your children, support them, have their backs and give them the respect and love they deserve. You can do this best by restoring their lives to what nature intended for them- To be with family and friends, to learn through play, to have their needs met with compassion and to live in freedom and joy.

11 Responses to “What Teachers Really Need to Hear From Parents”

  1. Darci 9 September 2011 at 7:05 am (PERMALINK)

    I read that Ron Whosits article, laughed, a lot and moved on. I felt that twinge of “oh REALLY?! how dare he….” but it gets smaller and smaller each time I see some crack pot try and shove more cogs into the vast machine. I’ve come to realize that for there to exist a Laurie, the fierce advocate for attachment parenting/unschooling there must also be an allowance for there to exist the “other end of the spectrum”. We’ll just be calling that Ron Whosits now. Its good/evil, joy/sorrow, freedom/jail. The flipside will always exist because some people need it to exist.

    You’ve written beautifully here. Your passion and sensitive, loving reason shines through.

    This has been especially pertinent as I’ve just come from my son’s 3rd grade open house. This year I am encouraged, he’s starting to consider home/unschooling. But in the meantime he has a wonderful teacher this year, mother of 2 girls close to his age, she starts their day with wiggles, jumps, stretches and jogs. Throughout their day are opportunities for self-directed learning once the “requirements” are dealt with. Its early in the year but its the first year since he started public kindergarten that I have hope for ?more?

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  2. rudy harper 10 September 2011 at 1:11 am (PERMALINK)

    beautiful article. my own son found himself floundering in high school in seattle and oklahoma city,and finally,five months away from graduation,could take no more. he called me from OKC and told me he was quitting school. i told him to go to the principals office and tell him so and make it definite,so he could leave in a strong way. he did and has done quite well since,having gotten his GED and going to work full-time as well as attending a great film program at a community college. he and his film partner just got interviewed by a major film magazine in the UK based on a video they put out a few months ago. His mom had gotten really upset about him quitting school but now she is fine and sees it was the right choice.I used to help him with his high school assignments and was stunned out how dull they were. Schools are often poorly disguised prisons. Keep up the good work!

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  3. Heather Capewell 10 September 2011 at 11:40 am (PERMALINK)

    Wow, just wow. I can not believe that this man had the audacity to say what he did and then was commended for it?
    Thank goodness we chose to home school our children. I remember, even as young as first grade not being allowed to use the bathroom and being forced to “hold it”. I was also a straight A student but I guess didn’t earn that either by giving up a social life in favor of good grades. Wow, yeah just wow. Thank you for writing this, showing all the faults for what they are.

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  4. Kelly 11 September 2011 at 11:36 pm (PERMALINK)

    Laurie, thank you for another great article.

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  5. Michelle 12 September 2011 at 9:47 am (PERMALINK)

    Darci, he may be a “crackpot” but seeing that he was teacher of the year and Oprah’s some kind of man of the year, his type of philosophy slewed as it is, is obviously what main stream society it means to be a good teacher. Many teacher’s do think like that so, his idealism is not an isolated case.
    We as parent/ child advocates can help change perceptions to show that power hungry teacher’s are not the god’s of our children/families.with articles such as the one above

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  6. river 12 September 2011 at 11:04 am (PERMALINK)

    i agree that the column by clark represents a mode of thinking that has a lot of problems, and i hope that in the future education for the vast majority of children will look a lot different than it does now.

    that said, i think you misrepresented a statement in the piece, in order to further your point. i think you do yourself a disservice, and it causes me to question how fair you are being. the article says:

    “If we give you advice, don’t fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don’t want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you’re willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.”

    and you say:

    “to blindly and unquestioningly take teacher’s orders!”

    he never said orders, he never suggested blind acceptance. he’s talking about taking advice from someone with training, experience, and a perspective that’s different than your own. i agree that we know our children in subtle and intimate ways, and that this knowledge is critical to their well being. i trust my relationship with my children. but that does not mean i know everything about my child, or that i can not benefit from the perspective of others. if i have an objection to the teacher’s advice, i should be able to discuss it rationally with them.

    i think we need to start out with the assumption that teachers have good intentions. they do care about the children they educate. not all teachers are good at what they do, but by and large, in my experience, they are, and they try hard. unfortunately we have a system that is founded on some misguided principles and practices, tailored to training factory workers and ignorant of much that has been learned about child development in recent decades. i sincerely hope more teachers and administrators will question this system, try to reform it, both by working from within, and from outside. we desperately need this sort of change. but please don’t undermine your cause by misrepresenting what people say, or demonizing those who are well-meaning educators, simply because you disagree with them.

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  7. Jackie 1 November 2011 at 8:38 am (PERMALINK)

    I am both a parent and a teacher. My children suffered in the school system and I nearly quit I lost so much faith in the institution. The reality is that it IS an institution and as such, has good and bad in it. Some teachers are marvelous. Some are horrendous. I think that the parent/child relationship should be inviolate. However, parents should always keep in mind that a teacher is also under a lot of pressure from many sides. A conversations between a teacher and parent, with BOTH sides coming to the table with an open-mind, not painting the other before a word is said, is necessary. And if a parent feels that a teacher is not handling his daughter or son well, that parent should do when he deems necessary to improve the situation. Adminstrators play a key role. Let us not forget their power to improve or worsen the situation. The reality is that the situation is complex and both sides need to breathe, talk, do what they think is best, and try to keep the demonizing out of it. We are all people trying to do the best we can. And I think seeing parents and teachers working toward a solution is an invaluable lesson for the children. The blame game, which is played on both sides, and indeed in society, is counterproductive.

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  8. lookn4edanswrs 29 December 2011 at 7:34 pm (PERMALINK)

    What kind of schools are people wanting for their children? I am a public school teacher and I have learned we can’t make everyone happy. Either we send too much homework home, or not enough. We use technology too often, or not enough. Parents love or hate planners, websites, news letters, etc. They hate conferences, or they are not long enough. We use new ways of learning parents hate, or we teach in traditional ways and not use modern ideas for teaching.

    IT.IS.CRAZY.

    But, the fact remains that teachers can only teach what they were hired to do. If you have concerns, you as a parent need to talk to the teacher first. If he/she refers to policy, curriculum and resources that she has been told to use or follow, then, at least the teacher is doing her job. You just don’t like what she has been charged to do. So, you as the parent need to voice your concern the principal. He/she will tell you probably the same thing. So, you as the parent need to go to the board and tell them your concern.

    Remember, the board members are community members, parents, like you. They were hired by your vote. The board determines the curriculum, resources and policy that the teachers are to follow. In short, parents have ULTIMATE control over their children’s schools. If they don’t, then they have a school board that is not in control and they need to be voted out.

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    • Laurie A. Couture 7 January 2012 at 3:38 pm (PERMALINK)

      lookn4edanswrs,

      I guess the point of my blog post (it appears you did not actually read it) is that children need to learn FREE of schooling, as they did for thousands of years prior to 1852. The only reason why parents “want” more schooling, more homework, etc., is because they are brainwashed by their own schooling trauma and the relentless political and social propaganda that school = education, that school is the only way a child can gain anything that counts as value. According to nature, school = children who are now being rewired and distracted from their innate callings, their passions and their own unique way of learning. In other words, schooling = obedience training to prepare children to take their place in the global market. It does not = education or learning.

      Laurie

      Author

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