Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Looking for Red Flags

 

          Whenever something serious is going to happen, someone beside the potential perpetrator knows about it. In 81% of school shootings, someone knew it was going to happen before it happened.

These “red flags” may come from comments on the internet, or the actions of an individual. If educators have a good rapport with student’s they will know immediately to take action. This is not an easy task. It is difficult to read minds but it is possible to read body language, listen carefully to spoken words and understand the actions of a child in trouble.

Utilizing the school psychologist, the social worker and a consulting psychiatrist from a local hospital, parents and educators can be taught how to look for “red Flags” when they show up. Often these “red flags” will be subtle and difficult to discern.  Here are some recognizable warning signs:

    1. The most notable warning signs are when students become isolated. It is the nature of children to belong to a group. If they avoid groups and even friends, they would be worth watching.

     2. Additional signs might include fantasies of violence, or acting out violence. This will be difficult to determine as today’s video games utilize violence on a regular basis. When observing those acts it would be valuable to see if they were connected to a specific game. If that is problematic, simply ask the student what game they are emulating. If they don’t respond, pass that information on to the school psychologist or social worker. In this school the roles of the support team may change from those of past years

    3. Violence toward animals, even pets, if noticed near school or at home is an indicator of more problems to come.

    4. Changes in academic performance. The lack of focus on academics as well as projects may be an indicator of a potential crisis.

    5. Getting in to fights or other forms of aggresion must be monitored and dealt with in a way that will bring forth deep seeded information.

          Psychologist’s and social workers are  qualified, as therapists, to take caseloads for counseling. It is essential for the school to team with a local hospital that will provide the services of a consulting psychiatrist to meet with an administrator and the therapists on a monthly basis. This will allow for a discussion of students in need as well as general issues facing the school.

It is essential to bring in professionals in the area of mental health to present to school staff as well as parents.  There are always signs of potential violence and these might show up anywhere.  Once they are recognized, action MUST follow. These warning signs won't always lead to violence, however, when they are recognized, more observation followed by therapy would be essential to curbing school violence.  Therapists must be prepared to recognize severe problems and take action. There is a point where the school action isn't sufficient. Police, then must be immediately involved and the student kept out of the school.

These are jumping off points to slow or stop violence in schools.  Others would include securing the building, developing sensible gun laws, require gun safety training to all gun owners as well as community support in watching out for the children.  These are all discussed in detail in my newest book, soon to be available, entitled " REPLACING THE FAILED SYSTEM OF EDUCATION:  Pandemic Solutions to a 200 year old Crisis".

Cap Lee was an adminstrator of an alternative school that servesd not only students with behavior problems, but  those with psychiactric  problems. In a public school setting he worked with 5 therapists and a consulting psychiatrist with a student population of 75.

WWW.WHOLECHILDREFORM.COM




Thursday, November 18, 2021

Do we "teach" CRT?

 Do we teach Critical Race Theory?

Well, here I go, off the deep end without a life jacket.  Do we teach CRT, do we teach the Bible, do we teach about pretending Colombus discovered America?  These questions are endless.  Do we continue to have school board members and textbooks telling our kids what to learn.  As the old saying goes, What's good for the goose is good for the gander. 

It is past time when we stop politicians from deciding what kids must learn.  If the door is open to CRT, it is open to whatever that community wants to brainwash kids with their philosophy of life.  That has been and will forever be a disastor.  In my book I talk about kids making choices, not just puking out what they are told.  Colombus didn't discover America yet many cities, counties, days of celebration etc are named after him.  And all the Vikings get is a football team in Minnesota,

It is  time to let children research, analyze, debate, and defend their thoughts, wherever they land. Use CRT and a wide variety of intellectual writings as references especially as we teach  the history of the country.  As real learning progresses, students will talk, aloud, about their thoughts and all musty be respected as the debate goes on.  

With this process, they go beyond the headline and dig deal into the gits of our history.  If their parents tell them not to read about CRT, fine, but they are not told they can't explore the atrocities of this country no matter where they fall.  And they are not told they can't listen when some students talk about CRT.  And if time goes by and a part of history is not touched, the teachher will guide them to the issue, not the headline.

When children discover learning, they are more apt to internalize it rather than memorize what they have been told.

Cap Lee

www.wholechildreform.com  

REPLACING A BROKEN SYSTEM OF EDUCATION

Pandemic Solutions to a 200 year old Crisis

  

Sunday, November 7, 2021

After the Pandemic, what now!

 After  the Pandemic:  Fail  without learning or retain into oblivion?

As students return to in school learning the reality is their skills and abilities may be all over the board. As educato, do we move students forward to stay with their class recognizing their skills may not be consistent with their placement? Or do we fail students into oblivion, retain them with younger students while making their graduation date even further away?

Parents must be aware of the trickery that may follow when administrators place students in a short summer school or allow promotion from the number of minutes receiving tutoring. Sitting time is not learning time. 

    Another reality smacks us in the face. Their is no solution under the current system of education.  And if someone says there is, they are lying.

    With systemic change comes the reality that letter grades are a lie often used to cover up for the lack of learning. They are designed to promote children without learning simply by giving them a feel good grade. Grade levels also come into play as rarely do grade levels encompes children with that grades level of skills. Remember, a "D" student along with an "A" student end up in the same class. Are they all on the same level?

    The solution is complex and I tackle it with my new book soon to be released entitled "Replacing a Failed System of Education". www.wholechildreform.com to learn more.

    Simply put, under the new plan, grade levels are no longer indicators of achievement. The truth be told they are not indicators of achievement and may have never been. And letter grades are replaced with proficiencies as demonstrations of learning. As these innovative ideas are implemented a wide range of "dominoes" will fall until the system of education becomes truly about learning, rather than about winning a race.

Cap Lee

www.wholechildreform.com


Friday, March 5, 2021

Does Poverty + Pandemic = Disaster?

We have all heard, by some, that poverty is not destiny.  We have also heard from others that poverty is destiny.  Let's now explore what poverty plus pandemic leads to.

It is easy to justify ones point of view when they talk in generalities.  Of course there are some who have lived in poverty yet escaped the roadblocks that might bring them down.  On the other hand, (other than four fingers and a thumb) There are many who live in poverty who are brought down by roadblocks such as childhood stress, and they are troubled.  They become the destiny that others talk about.

So, now that we know how politicians and educators alike scam their constituents, let's take a deeper look at the current problem.  Most students are away from school for longer than an year.  Some have computers, parents at home, computer knowledge, and learn best through that technology.  Many, if not most, are missing some of these elements as well as living with the road blocks that hinder learning.. 

I will focus on that last group.  Here is one scenario on how this could play out.

1.  A child is forced by poverty to live in a rough neighborhood where shots are fired daily.  For that reason alone, that child has undo stress.

2. Childhood stress, in the words of Dr.Kara Fitzgerald, "When something stressful or threatening happens, it's not just our brain that is involved.  We have to recruit everything from the immune system, to that fat system to the heart."  "And they are kind of altering multiple systems to deal with hard life."  Damn, try to study with all that going on.

3.  Now that child enters our current system of education.  As that child develops slower than most, teachers have a fundamental choice.  They can pass a student with D- or retaining them.  Of course there are tweeks like summer school or tutoring etc.  Those are ok but often lead to the student being taught in the same way and thus progressing, or failing, in the same way.  Although there are exceptions, there will be those who return at the same skill level at which they left the class.  Again, passing without learniing or being retained.

4.  Of course when they are retained, whether it be for the whole grade level or one class, they move one year away from graduation.  The second time retained, they reaize they will be over twenty when they graduate and drop out.  This realization usually occurs around ninth grade.

5.  Now we add the pandemic.  As I mentioned before, those who do not have access to the computer, have parents hustling for a living because their job closed down leaving little support at home, do not have computer skills, and who do not learn best through a computer, will return with their collective skills all over the board. 

6.  As students return, educatiors will recognize that one size fits all doesn't work.  And summer school and other tweeks will make little difference.  They then slip into the horrible system of failure that was developed in the eighteenth century and still exists.

7.  And who will the politicians blame?  CORRECT, BLAME THE TEACHERS!

As children return to in school learning, there will be a huge wake up call, a large slap in the face to those politicians who have no clue how to serve kids in this generation.

Now you might ask, what are the solutions?  I'm glad you ask.  I have a whole book full of solutions. You can go to any dot com or my website www.wholechildreform.com and they only cost $25.00.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Infiltrating the education system with the arts

 Infiltrating the system with the arts!


“The arts have been a mainstay in societies throughout the world and throughout history. They are not only used for the esthetic value but for a means of communication. If you look at everything from rap and folk music to classical and pop the artist tells a story about them and their community. The concerns are expressed just as if they were written or given in a speech.”  - “Stop Politically Driven Education”, Cap Lee.

John Lennon penned “Give Peace a Chance”, which became an anthem for the peace movement in the seventies. “We shall Overcome” was the rallying cry of the freedom movement of the sixties.  “Oh Freedom” was a statement made by the Igbo tribe from Southern Nigeria as they refused to enter the new world as slaves, instead they walked into the water to “take them home” to a better place. The message there was “Before I’d be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave and go home to my Lord and be free.” That message evolved from the Igbo Landing in 1803 and resonated for more than two centuries to tell the story of their quest for freedom.

A strong message resounds in many forms of the arts.  Comedians like George Carlin and Stephen Colbert make statements through their comedy to get all politicians to sit up and listen.  Paul Robison spread his message through the arts.  He stated, “As an artist I come to sing, but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace, and no one can silence me in this.”  Martha Graham was quoted as saying “Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body”.  A message is sent every time a dancer sets foot on a stage. The artwork “The Scream” may express how many of us feel today.  The list goes on and on. To the day he died, Einstein insisted that the reason for his success was that he played the violin. According to G. J. Withrow, his lifetime friend, Einstein worked on his theories while improvising on the violin. It helped him think.

Plays were shut down in many countries when they were provocative in nature in the eyes of the dictators, yet they kept on persisting. “The Suicide” in 1928 was written by Nikolai Erdman. It talked about Russians taking back their lives from Communism. It took Stalin one performance to understand what it advocated, and he banned it. It continued playing on under the name “Dying for It” and could not be silenced. Recently the Broadway play “Hamilton” became a history lesson as well as a message for the future.

Artist of all kinds possess political power.  Rock musicians for example, possess a power that state authorities cannot ignore, a power that cannot be arbitrarily repressed.  Artists can be stopped but their music and their plays, their art and especially their recorded presentations cannot. Pete Seeger was blacklisted from performing, especially on television because his song “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” talked about the Vietnam war.  Tom and Dick Smothers had him on their television show anyway and later quit the show due to restrictions demanded of them by the network. But Seeger’s music carried on to this day.  Paul Robison was blacklisted everywhere in the US, so he went to foreign countries where he was treated like a king, so the U.S. government took away his passport. They may have stopped him for a time, but his music and thoughts continue to this day. 

Throughout history, the arts have been a mainstay in the process of communication. The history of the world can easily be found in the songs, the writings, the paintings, in dance and the list goes on. From paintings on a cave wall to a play, to an opera, to the songs of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and the New Freedom Singers, and the comedy of George Carlin, stories have been told. Now it is time for the students to have that experience.  What if students wrote their own plays with a strong message and performed them.  Or how about writing and performing their own songs and artwork, and dance, and comedy and on and on.  What a skill to be developed. They research, read, write, and most of all, think!  What a new concept for the education curriculum.  How about bringing in artists from all areas to educate through the arts?  The possibilities are endless, and the message is strong. 

The arts can say what the politicians cannot silence!

For more great ideas go to www.wholechildreform.com and check out my new book.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Systemic racism pushes kids out of school. Who's responsible? Look in the mirror!


WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Systemic racism is embedded in schools so deeply that it is hardly noticeable to the trained eye of educators and parents alike.  It is this current system of education that drives many students to drop out of school and often pushes them into the school to prison pipeline.

Following the systemic structure of yesterday, todays education system continues to rank and sort students.  The losers are then chosen by an outdated system skewed to assure they are permanently left behind.

The reality is while some children have a clear path to learning, others have devastating roadblocks that slow the learning process. According to Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, “when something stressful or threatening happens, it’s not just our brain that is involved. We have to recruit everything from the immune system, to the fat system, to the heart. … And they are kind of altering multiple systems to deal with hard life.”  And add to that those who have to learn English as a new language.  Yet, those students are mandated to perform in the same way in the same time frames as defined by our current version of eighteenth-century education. A system that was never designed to serve all children.

It is extremely important, however, to understand that as students enter the classroom, educators have no idea whether a child is afflicted or not.  We must realize that those in certain zip codes, or of a certain race or gender or any other group subject to stereotypical beliefs are not all the same.  Low expectations are the curse that drives children out of school.  To stigmatize children by demeaning a certain zip code is unconscionable. Within any zip code are those who have roadblocks but also those who have a clear pathway to learning.  As educators we may no longer assume anything.

Too high expectations also force children into failure or even worse, passing without learning, leaving them to flounder once they enter today’s society.  It is damaging to force children beyond their abilities.  To assume every child will learn the same simply because we have high expectations is a fool’s mission.

It is time to break through the fog and see clearly the reality that all children are not the same.  According to Dr. Howard Gardner, “the biggest mistake of past centuries in teaching has been to treat all students as if they were variants of the same individual and thus to feel justified in teaching them all the same”

The damage begins when a child fails a course or does not learn to the same standard at the same time as others. The system then fails them and retains them in the same grade knowing that every retention leads to a delayed graduation age? When students realize they will be in school at least until age twenty, dropping out is assured. 

Understanding the damage continued failure causes students, many educators head down a more destructive path and pass students with a D- thus moving them ahead without learning, totally unprepared for their future. Those are the fundamental choices the system leaves with educators.

From the base of a broken system of failure comes a wide range of systemic issues that forces the racial divide to grow.  The dominoes begin to fall as one concept is piled upon another to maintain a failed system of education.

The systemic destruction begins with the facade that grade levels are an indicator of academic achievement.  As evidenced by a wide range of student skills in every grade level, they are not and have never been a true indicator of achievement. Yet the students are all taught as one.

The most devastating of failed concepts is the farce of letter grades.  Parents are told their children are average, by giving them a C.  However, they aren’t told what “average” means simply because a letter grade does not describe what children have learned.  More important, grades are easily used to cover up what children have not learned so they can move to the school to prison pipeline without being noticed.  

As students return from the long virus “vacation” it will become evident immediately that their skills are all over the board.  During this long time off some students will keep up with distance learning, some will not have the equipment necessary to keep up and others will have a variety of obstacles in their way. 

Now is the perfect opportunity for educators to prepare for the wide variety of skills students possess.  This means design a system that truly respects the intelligence and abilities of all children. 

When you, the reader, look in the mirror will you scream RACIST?  Or will you commit to changing the system of education? 

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

There are no neutrals here!

Go here for solutions  www.wholechildreform.com

Friday, May 15, 2020

Creating small class size through innovation

As students return to school it is evident that their health and safety be maintained.  Essential to this is small class sizes to allow sufficient space between students.  Social distancing is literally imposible with 30 students and more in a room. However, there are creative ideas that could help achieve the goal of a safe environment.

First, of course, is to creatre small class size with an emergency increase in the school budget.  This is ideal but unlikely.

Another thought is through a team teaching concept we used at Milwaukee Village School.  We teamed two teachers, a special ed teacher and an educational assisstant with 60 students.  All for educators were simply called teachers.  The special education teacher would serve general education students as well as those with special education needs based on their individual needs.  There are many students regardless of "labels" that have the same needs.  This would also work with two teachers and two educational assistants.

The educational assistants in many states can do the same things certified teachers do under the direction of the teacher.  Educational assisants could over see a project, a computer lab, a review group, a discussion session reading clubs as defined in my books at www.wholechildreform.com and many other activities.  The ideas are endless.

Additional small spaces could be located throughout the building as well as in nearby facilities to assure for social distancing.

Another thought is to utilize community learning centers such as those run by the TMCA and other groups.  While one group of students could attend school on M, W. F, T. TH, alternate days could be held in a separate facility where they could be involved especoally in activities such as art, music, debate, physical education, dance, dramatic arts and many more.  Again the possibilities are endless.

A meeting with educators and community organizations would allow the development of many more ideas as well as a framework for implementation.

Adding a nurse to every school would not only support a healthy environment but also one additional teacher of health education.  This is well needed at this unique point in time.