Ben, the problem today is that nobody wants to be the "kid's nanny,
cop, detective, case worker, mediator, judge or secretary.". Not even the
parents. If you're not willing to step up, who will?Whether
you believe it or not, those kids you're chasing down actually do learn
something in your classroom and the classrooms of your peers. They NEED you.
Don't give up on them and please don't shirk your responsibility to
them. You did choose to be a teacher, did you not?
Ben, you fail to understand the plight of youth. Growing up is a process.
Perhaps you don't have the mettle to be a teacher. No one asked you to
"chase" down marijuana smokers, you only need to teach the class to the
best of your ability. Kids make mistakes, sometimes big mistakes, that is
a common theme since antiquity. So Ben what happens in 20 years when
they were not told to go to school, 40 years out? 60 years? I don't want
to see that society.
So all these pot-smoking, low esteem kids are lost causes and we should just
lock them up in prisons now rather than later as they'll ultimately just
turn to crime anyway to make ends meet. They have education systems in the
prisons anyway. That's probably the better safety net as our legislature
pours more money into prisons over schools...Seriously, though, I
really feel for the writer that neglect of our kids -- both among parents and
legislators -- makes it hard to educate them, and with broken families, parents
working multiple jobs away from homes to make ends meet, and the American Dream
appearing to be only for the lucky and rich, kids aren't focused on
education. Good teachers really are needed to play a role in
inspiring our kids to see the big picture and value the opportunities of their
educations -- yet, as teachers are seen as "enemies" among
conservatives, it will continue to be difficult to attract inspiring people to
be final backstop to prevent poverty, hopelessness, and possible imprisonment.
I tend to agree; education is expensive and it seems like much of the time we
are throwing money down a sinkhole. Yet if we did eject those who didn't
want to learn the question should be addressed as to how the lazy, rebellious
and addicted students indicated will employ their newly found time and
freedom.I agree that teachers should not be babysitters and social
workers but I think we need to think about the likely unintended effects of
eliminating many problem children for the schools and be prepared for them.
Maybe we should also concentrate on teaching useful subjects, create a more free
economy with elected authorities minding their own business, and have better and
Of course kids don't recognize the true value of education. And yes, we
need to do a lot better is making education a priority. But that begins with our
state legislature and inside the home. Getting rid of mandatory
education is a completely wrong path. If you hate funding food stamps now just
wait 10 years after you get rid of mandatory education.
While I agree that teachers should not be the "kid's nanny, cop,
detective, case worker, mediator, judge or secretary", teaching can include
overlap with several of those roles.It would be lovely of course to
teach in an environment where all came ready and eager to learn. Such utopias
tend not to exist.Kids need mentors. Someone not only to teach them
but to excite them about learning. Also, to model for them good choices and to
sometimes be a sounding board for them. Those are all great roles that teachers
should embrace.As for making education non-compulsory. Think
carefully. If education is not obligatory then neither is state support for it.
Are we sure we are asking for what we truly want?
What an odd letter from someone who wrote this to the Dnews on June 28, 2011:"Clearly the teaching of moral character in homes is most important.
Yet teachers can help, as can policemen, judges, employers, writers and so
forth. Honesty, fidelity, self-restraint, kindness, obedience and hard work are
a few of the elements of moral character, without which our families and
communities are chaotic. As teachers prepare lesson plans, they can look for
ways to teach students how to live, not simply what to know.By doing so,
students will be influenced to make the best decisions possible. Those decisions
can then help them to avoid prisons, impress employers and add to the ranks of
law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. Teachers — and other public employees
— salaries come from taxes."Why the sudden change of
heart?Sounds like this school year has been rough, huh? Ben, we all
go through rough times. Don't lose sight of those countless students who DO
value education.. There's just no need to change the entire system for a
minority of students who probably wouldn't value education no matter what
anyone did to it.Battle on!
I guess in Ben's world he only has to teach and deal with the easy kids.
Any additional effort to reach the ones who really need to be reached is just
too much for him. Perhaps Ben has chosen the wrong career path or
he needs to teach in a private school.
Education is an investment. Kids aren't known for seeing the big picture
and working for it, sometimes they need to be told what to do, part and parcel
of growing up.The writer complains about having "reporting signs
of abuse to counselors; diffusing a parent's verbal abuse of a son or
daughter;" Removing compulsory attendance won't make these types of
abuse go away. I am glad we have teachers that report these things. In too many
cases that may be the only thing that saves a child.Removing
compulsory attendance will not fix education. In fact it will only make it
worse. If you feel your child is not getting the education they need, look for
an alternative school like a charter school, or maybe even home school; but not
educating them is never the answer. It offers very little short term gain, if
any, but promises huge long term cost.
So we have conservatives who now want to do away with compulsory education. We
have other conservatives who want to abolish child labor laws. I can see where
this is going. "Let's get the ten year olds back to work in the coal
mines where they belong. Education is a waste for the lower social orders
anyway."Another question, if education is not compulsory, then
does the state need to fund it?
It is to our misfortune that we must hire people to teach our children who think
that teaching is standing in front of the class and pumping out propaganda.
Why do I get the impression that this is just a create way for folks like
osmond, buddies with Sen Stephensen, to reinstate public vouchers? To
essentially divert money from public education and redistribute it to private
schools?"Another question, if education is not compulsory, then
does the state need to fund it?"Roland got it!If
public education can no longer be compulsory then a case can be made to get rid
of public education funding. then, it sets us on a slipperly slope leading us to
each family funding it's own education. Essentially, it would break down
Stephensen's main competition for his schools. Stephensen stands to gain
millions by this. How much does Osmond stand to gain I wonder?
"....As a teacher, I find myself chasing down students smoking joints;
questioning students about stolen electronic devices; reporting signs of abuse
to counselors; diffusing a parent's verbal abuse of a son or daughter;
assessing the facts to determine honesty in a project or exam; and constantly
reminding students of due dates...."_____________________________My own job has its share of unpleasant aspects. Just because this former
teacher's job was not all fun and games is not a valid argument against
compulsory eduction. It's a reason why dedicated teachers deserve greater
appreciation than they generally receive.
To Ben W..."I am not your kid's nanny, cop, detective, case
worker, mediator, judge or secretary."My parents were career
educators and they always tried to focus on the 'lost sheep'. What
annoyed them was the parents who expected nothing more than someplace to store
their kids for a period of time & meddling incompetent bureaucrats in the
district offices.I agree w/ Freedom fighter & Roland about
'funding'. As far back as the 80's, my parents knew that
expecting the state legislature to do anything positive was a lost cause.You think things are bad now (recent op ed on the communication skills
of youth) then just wait because if education isn't compulsory; how many
people will let Glenn Beck "enlighten" their offspring?
I just recently finished my student teaching in the spring. I have had a few
interviews, none of which have worked out. So I continue to work at My
restaurant job (which i like and it pays the bills for now... But it certainly
is NOT the career path I desire). I would love to be in Ben's position.I taught classes in the Social Sciences. If you think kids just crawled
and jumped over each other to learn about history or how our government works,
then you have another thing coming! However, I loved it. I considered it a
challenge to myself each and every day to come up with a lesson that would
captive student interest and inspire them to learn. That was my duty. My
responsibility. To be creative and innovative. And I wasn't even paid a
single penny for my time as it was student teaching.Those bright
kids who value education will excel no matter who teaches him. Mr. Watkins seems
to only want these students. Meanwhile, I loved to see how I could change and
influence those "bad" students. That is where the real reward comes.
Continued from aboveSo instead of Mr. Watkins complaining and
focusing on the cons, why not change your perception and see these kids
experimenting around with drugs, booze, sex, etc as opportunities? You can save
that student! You can help him achieve! Getting rid of compulsory
wont improve education. It will have dire consequences on our society. We not
only need better parents, but better educators as well. Playing a movie, using
power point for 80+ mins, and teaching the exact same way for 30+ years just
doesn't work.Mr. Watkins, if you no longer have the fire, then
please retire.. There are those of us who would love to be in your position.
Many who would love to "deal" with your problems. But, unfortunately,
haven't been given the chance. You folks probably have my résumé.
Give me a chance!
Why don't parents parent? Because once the state takes that authority from
a parent, they are absolved of responsibility. If you want parents to parent
again, give them back the authority and responsibility so they are empowered. If
their child doesn't want to go to school, it's not the state's
job to call the child a criminal and force him/her to school, it's then the
parent's job to teach the child (perhaps with the help of concerned family
and neighbors) the value of an education. If the child doesn't see the
value, he/she won't learn. You can't teach someone who refuses to
learn and you only hinder those who are there to learn. Removing compulsory
education will help children become self-motivated just like we expect of them
in college. It's not going to introduce child labor and sweat shops.
It's going to open up new paths in education as educators innovate to
provide a reason for those children to be in school.
The mere fact that Oak Norton, who accused Alpine School District of Communism,
Gayle, and Howard Stephensen are supportive of ending compulsory education
speaks volumes to me. They have been trying to privatize public education for
years. Just follow the money folks, and you'll see why these folks are so
eager to redistribute your hard earned tax dollars and give it to already rich
private school benefactors. They disguise their assault on public education as
"empowering parents." Don't be fooled.
First, I have to agree with Henderson that if Mr. Watkins has lost his passion
he should retire, stat!I take this letter somewhat personally
because at one time I was one of those kids he thinks is a lost cause.
I’ll spare everyone the history other than to say it was a few inspiring
adults who cared and took the time to see something of value that helped me
change direction which culminated in graduating college and having a rewarding
career and family life. If all my teachers had been “Mr.
Watkins’” and the system would have allowed me to opt out of
education when I was immature & misguided, it’s doubtful my life would
look anything like it does today. Mr. Watkins is no doubt frustrated
and perhaps burned out, but his loss of perspective is clouding his judgment.
Please do yourself (and the kids under your charge) a favor and switch
careers… everyone will be better off.PS – and if it
makes you feel better, I will apologize on behalf of all the
“losers” who are causing you so much grief.
Ben, I empathise with your frustration of having to deal with potheads and
thieves. I remember a few students, among them the lazy, stoners, and criminals
who just should have been punted when I was in school, and the rest of us would
have learned more for it. I don't know what's to become of the
puntees, though, or the abused kids you see every day. They don't disappear
just for not being in school.
OakI see parents parenting every day. They seem to have sufficient
authority to do what is needed.If parents are disengaged from their
family, how will giving that parent greater authority/responsibility engage
them?Reference truancy, I see parents enforcing this every day. The
state does not generally get involved unless that is failing.If the
child (perhaps as young as 12) does not see the value of an education, can we
expect from them cogent choices? We expect self-motivation in college because
they are adults (or at least are nearing that point).We do not allow
children to vote, to drive, etc. Should we be willing to let them make critical
decisions that could destroy their future and impact the demand for future
services either from social services side or from the police/prison system?
I taught in a central city school for 2 years. Tough? And how. But, for these
kids, if not school, what? There is nothing else for them but gangs and drugs -
and you can bet a large number of them will end up there if they are not
required to go to school. Don't drink the Osmond kool-aid.
There are many reasons kids do not want to go to school but I would guess the
main reason is lack of of interest.By the time someone gets to high
school they usually know what they do not have interest in; e.g. biology,
history, etc, but they may not know what interest them simply because they have
never been exposed to it.How many people do you know graduated high
school and still had no real idea what they wanted to do with their life or what
interest they had? When you go to college most people pick something to major in
and live with it.So the real solution for kids acting up and losing
interest is to find what interest them and expose them to it. Working towards
something that interest you, will feel effortless compared to grinding out it on
something that doesnt.
"Because once the state takes that authority from a parent, they are
absolved of responsibility. If you want parents to parent again, give them back
the authority and responsibility so they are empowered."I
don't know about you, but the state has never taken away my right, my
responsibility, and my joy in being a parent. Nor would getting rid of mandatory
public education give that right "back." A prophet of god still preaches
about how we need to become better parents and motivates me to do so. I think we
should put more effort into magnifying our roles as parents rather than coming
up with half baked paranoid schemes that solve a problem that actually
doesn't exist. Lets stop the paranoid conspiracies. Lets begin
with real solutions for real problems. We are still all parents and should focus
on being the best ones possible. Not merely trying to score political points for
our radical political faction.
3 questions for Oak#1 Are you a parent? How would getting rid of
compulsory education help desengaged parents become engaged? Why would they
suddenly care? What about those who are busy working 2-3 jobs? What do you think
kids who aren't going to school will end up doing? Work full time at
McDonald's? Rob your house? Do drugs?#2 How has the government
taken over parenting exactly? Why can't I still be a parent or teacher
still? Having schools teach doesn't impede me from educating and
instructing.#3 When was the last time you walked into a public
education school and visited with the educators there about their problems and
their solutions? I understand that you are extremely politically active. Yet,
when was the last time you joined there front lines to actually find out what
educators are dealing with? Receiving emails from the Sutherland Institute and
Eagles Forum isn't the "front lines" of the battle.
There are other countries like Belgium where parents are free to send their kids
to any school - and the funding follows the student. Wouldn't hurt to try
that here.I can see both sides of this issue. However, I seem to
remember another conflict where the issue was compulsion vs. freedom. Freedom
won. Yes, it meant some would be lost. It also meant others could choose to go
much farther than would be otherwise possible.I also am very aware
that compulsory education was one of the main planks of the Communist Party
platform, that Lenin said if he had the child, the parents didn't matter.
That putting education into the same hands as those who rule over us is a direct
conflict of interest, just begging for propaganda abuse. And that exact thing
happens in far too many classrooms around the country.
To The Real Maverick, yes follow the money. So far it's only an outflow
from my advocacy efforts over the years. I'm not interested in ending
public education, I'm interested in saving it. Thomas Jefferson understood
that public education needed to be there to at least teach children the basics
and I have no interest in dissecting public education. What I'm looking for
is for the state to follow its own law that parents have a "fundamental
liberty interest" to direct the education of their child. Putting a child
into a classroom with their peers, all of whom have different interests,
talents, and abilities, and telling them to learn the same thing at the same
pace, is child abuse. I recommend you watch Sir Ken Robinson's TED talks
and see if it doesn't make sense as to why No Child Left Behind was a total
disaster, and since every child is unique, we need to start approaching
education from a perspective of tailoring it to the needs of each child with
their parents fully engaged. Removing compulsory education is a step in the
It's obvious that public education is a popular function of government when
a suggestion to end compulsory education is brought up, it is rejected by the
majority of citizens. You all should take some comfort in the fact that this
proposal will probably not make it past the committee.There are
still problems with public education. Parents seem to be the key to educating
their children. When they are involved, the children thrive and learn.
Government can provide incentives for parents to educate their children, but
allow the parents the freedom to teach their children in any way the parents
want.There is a sad case recently where a German family is being
denied the freedom to home school their children. Involved parents are being
denied the opportunity to teach their children, when home schooled children
perform better on tests than their public school peers.
I have thought that taking the compulsory out of education might be helpful,
after a certain age at least. Let's face it, teens have a need to rebel and
choose for themselves. Making education something they have to earn, might feed
that need and they might be more successful.If we make education
optional, we should require that students experience manual labor for a certain
period of time, so they can make an informed choice when they drop out. We
should also make all public benefits, like food stamps and HUD housing etc,
predicated on high school graduation to qualify.I suspect that
students who don't value education have parents who treat public education
as free babysitting, and the kids learn their attitudes from the parents. School
is just a freebie entitlement place to hang out, not a place of learning. If you
think those students don't hinder the kids who want to learn, you need to
visit a classroom and see how much of your child's teacher's time is
spent on those kids and not on those who want to learn. Then you would know
where this teacher is coming from, God bless him.
@Oak – “Removing compulsory education is a step in the right
direction.”Granting everything else you said (for the sake of
discussion), how does that lead to the conclusion to end compulsory
education?I can see a strong argument for a voucher system similar
to what France and Sweden have but I fail to see the logic in ending the
national mandate that all children participate in K-12 education. Please explain in as pragmatic and ideological free manner as
possible…[And can someone explain why a voucher system has
become associated with the far-right, given that some of the most socialist
countries in the world have it?]
to marxist 10:39 a.m. July 24, 2013You have overlooked that its a
can't miss for the Loony wing of the Utah gop. ROFL!? No
wasting $$ on education... those funds can go directly to corrections/law
enforcement. Its easier to incarcerate all the
'undesirables' rather than educate them and give them some opportunity
@Demisana"There are other countries like Belgium where parents
are free to send their kids to any school - and the funding follows the student.
Wouldn't hurt to try that here."They may be free to choose
the school, but education in Belgium is still compulsory.
The ulterior motives of those against free public education; public schools and
teachers can be seen just below the surface of their rhetoric. While the chide
the parents claiming that it is their responsibility to teach their own kids,
they would never suggest that parents do their own medical procedures, plumbing,
electrical, legal or any other thing not under their control. If
the man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client, what do you call a parent
who thinks they know every thing about raising a child? In the
war for wealth and power there are those who would handicap their competition.
The war on public education is real.
To Demisana: The U.S. started compulsory education in the 1850s. Lenin was born
in 1870. Your comment has no validity.
Ben Watkins is an excellent teacher at the school he is employed at. I have seen
him work with students of every race, creed and educational ability. He cares
for his students. What posters on here are maybe not understanding is what Ben
and Senator Osmond are calling for is not an end of public education. Not by any
stretch of the imagination. We need an educated society but we also need a
society, young and old, who values an education. The key verb/belief here is
"values". 20% of our students who choose to not attend school and only
attend 20% of the time required, but who still, believe it or not, think they
deserve a high school diploma when it comes to their 12th grade year. Why?
Because they are seniors. Doesn't matter if they have the credits required
for graduation. if we simply enforced attendance and performance policies of the
district and the individual teacher who spells out in his/her classroom
disclosure statements what is needed for credit maybe, just maybe, school
teacher's like Ben Watkins would not be posting letters of frustration. His
letter would be one stating "thank you".
@ Ultra BobPublic education is not even close to the same thing as
compulsory education. This letter and all the posts are suggesting that
compulsory education be done away, not public education. You can
lead a horse to free public water, but you can't make it drink.
"Involved parents are being denied the opportunity to teach their children,
when home schooled children perform better on tests than their public school
peers."The data on homeschooling is somewhat skewed. The parents
who are successful at home schooling have great results, but too many parents
are not successful in their approaches, and they wind up discovering the need
for additional help and wind up sending their children back to public schools.
Those children wind up being far behind in their education, and they struggle to
catch up with their peers.Yes, some (many) parents are successful
with home schooling their children. I can't help but wonder, however, if
their children would have performed at an equal or even higher level had they
attended a public school. Research indicates that the number one key factor in a
student's success is the involvement of their parents--regardless of where
the child is enrolled.
@ OakOnce again, you refuse to step to the plate and answer my
questions. Why? I honestly want to know the last time you actually stepped into
a public jr. high or high school and had a Q&A with a teacher.Why do you endorse Jefferson's view on education but reject his view on
separation of church and state? You're cherry-picking.Repeating
the same tired radical political dogma while evading questions doesn't help
your case. In fact, it hurts it. Just like when you accused ASD of promoting
communism. We need less paranoia and conspiracy and more civil dialog with real
solutions for our real problems. Not ridiculous message bills aimed at scoring
Some kids are pretty much doomed before they get to school. I saw two little
girls today on the bus, maybe 3 and 4, who are unlikely to be able to sit still
in class.I want to make a suggestion to lds people: take half the
effort going toward missions that are about conversion, and send those young
people, with training, into poor communities to help mothers and fathers
understand how important early childhood learning and discipline are to a
kid's future.If 19 year old are too young to do this, send them to
college first, then "American Children" missions afterwardEveryone
will benefit, and public opinion about the lds church will go up 200$
BadgerbadgerCivilization has been good for the life, liberty and
pursuit of happiness of human beings. You know; those things our fathers agreed
to a long time ago. Civilization works and does its job by
controlling the individual to the benefit of the group. With out the compulsory
part of control there’s no control and no civilization. Without the
compulsory consequences of committing murder, people would kill people any time
they wanted to. Parents will not always put the welfare of their
children above their own welfare. There are places in this world where parents
sell their children for money. It even happens in America. The
fact is that Americans of any age are guaranteed equal opportunity and to get
that sometimes requires compulsory action on the parents. BTW,
people are not horses.
To "RanchHand" if the parents don't stand up, what good does it do
for a teacher who the kids don't respect to stand up?To
"Midvaliean" actually, the laws that teachers follow make them
responsible for the kids when they are supposed to be in their class.As I read the comments by those that want to keep compulsory education, they
all have a common them. They want the teachers to fill in for the parents of
the kids. This will never work. Yes a few here and there may be saved, but
that is the exception.We should look at the benefits of this idea.
The benefits of this won't appear until a child is old enough to get a job
or stay at home all day alone. The Elementary schools will remain roughly the
same. The kids that have parents that don't care about education will use
public education as free daycare until the kids are about 12 years old. After
that you will see more and more kids dropping out and working or else lounging
around their homes. The number of kids enrolled 7th-12th grades will drop.
Crowding and misbehavior problems will drop.
What fightens me the most?The Right-Wing Utopia of transfoming
America into Mogadishu, Rwanda.No Government, No taxes, No welfare, Everyone has a gun, and NO Education.No
Thank You.This is why I fight the Right-Wing extremists.
To "LDS Liberal" wow, you really are pulling out the extremist
arguments.Prove anything you say is true. From my standpoint as a
conservative, you comments are completely false.Name the
conservative (not anarchist) that wants no government, no taxes, no welfare,
guns for all, and no education.If you look at Mogadishu and Rwanda,
they are LIBERAL movements that are destroying those nations. It is the people
that want government to be all powerful and controlling that have created the
chaos in those nations.If you fight what you typically deem
"right wing extremists" you are also fighting against the LDS church and
I disagree that this teacher has lost passion. I agree that he should be able to
expect his students to be engaged. I think his point was that the student will
get more out of the opportunity if the student wants to be there. By changing
the compulsory requirements, society can start sending the message that
education is a privilege with benefits for the student, and not simply a place
to go while the parents are working.
Ultra Bob,I Dare you to compel a student who does not want to be
educated, to become educated. Bribe? Maybe. But compel?