Public education has taken center stage in the news and in social media with current topics about teacher shortages, banning books, use of punishments of students. and funding issues. The opinions about these topics provide an amazing variety of solutions. The spectrum of potential solutions lays out wide perimeters—some are non directive, and some are abusive, with many ideas in-between.
As a former teacher and administrator, Dr. Marie Phillips also has potential solutions in her book titled Education Humanely Applied. She has done extensive research in how to help teachers and students have a more positive and successful experience in schools. Right up front, Her ideas do not require a great deal of funding to make them happen and are also being practiced successfully in many school districts at this time. She believes that more schools need to move in this direction.
Using time differently has made a major change in the success of both teachers and students. The same number of students and teachers in any given public school really can adjust their schedule of classes to provide a better learning opportunity and a safer environment without additional funding.
Students’ behavior will be more effectively corrected through humane means. When children are corrected for rule infractions through physical hitting, beating, or other uses of violence that hurt or isolate them, they are learning a deep, lifelong lesson: “I will get what I want by using force.” This treatment teaches students who receive this treatment to become bullies to get what they want. They see teachers or administrators punishing students to get what they want—so it must be okay to control people with force. This attitude is based on how the military operates—the model for early school behavior control that has been maintained throughout our history.
The major problem with this military system is that—yes, it works for the military, but no, our student are not soldiers, and they should not face corporal punishment or isolation for school rule violations.
Trying to erase our history of racism, discrimination, or any other unpleasant topic will not make better schools. Banning books that develop these unpleasant topics will not build a better nation—or make students better able to protect our nation from these bad things happening again. Teachers need to be able to teach our history, our literature, and not have their curriculum laid out for them by angry groups, specific groups directing their own narrow views, or parents who want their specific topics woven into the curriculum that are not state approved. Teachers need to know that their education, certification, and experience is respected so they can do their most important duty: teach their students. Our students are our future.