To the Editor:
In reading your front-page report “Summit Fuels Push to Improve High Schools” (March 9, 2005), the missing link I kept looking for was “discipline.”
In order for all that was discussed at the summit to translate into better-functioning high schools there has to be stricter enforcement of discipline.
Unfortunately, too many students in American high schools are battling daily with other students, teachers, and even administrators. At the high school where I teach, gang violence, drug use, teenage pregnancy, and total disrespect for school personnel are rampant. There is not one classroom where profanity has not been a constant problem. This has become the language of our children, and it affects and infects their attempts to express themselves in speech and writing.
Whatever happened to the little-red-schoolhouse mentality, in which principals administer, teachers rule the classroom, and students come to learn?
Now, educators must first address the ever-changing socioeconomic struggles of the young. Children are becoming less interested in education, replacing it with the trappings of their own youth culture.
Families that are dysfunctional and lack not only educational attainment but also such necessities as jobs, food, and housing add fuel to the fire. Too many children have been labeled and sorted as special education, and the system cannot handle all their emotional and personal issues.
How were issues such as these addressed at the summit, and what were the suggestions and recommendations offered?
No matter how much money or computer hardware Bill Gates and others donate to the schools, the country cannot build a future for its children if teachers cannot conduct the business of caring and teaching in a disruption- and violence-free environment.
Adrienne D. Watson