Teaching and Discipline – Oil and Water?

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I have a friend who served three tours in Vietnam.  He is an American hero and one brave man.  He was a career soldier and took pride in the Army.  He told me that in the sixties things began to change.  The army began to lower its standards and take young men who would have never made the cut earlier.  They took those who had issues with discipline, academics and authority.  The results were devastating.

He told me soldiers no longer took orders without question, no longer disciplined themselves for the good of the group and no longer took the pride in the army the way that their predecessors did.  The results were devastating.  Don’t believe me?  Read about the morale of the American soldier in the Vietnam era.  “Fragging” was not uncommon, the shooting of officers the men didn’t like.  Questioning of orders led to the deaths of others.  How did this happen?  The lowering of standards that came from a “new philosophy” Washington.  The thought was you could be inclusive and strengthen your army.

Things have changed a little in the Army and it is not like it was.  They have other issues to be sure, but not like it was in the Vietnam era.  What does this have to do with teaching?  A similar thing has happened.  We have had a change in philosophy in education and it too has come from Washington.  Discipline (which means training) has broken down to the point where the students have little, if any accountability.  They know they will be passed on virtually no matter what they do, they know there is little consequence for their behavior and they know whatever the discipline handed out is the least they can receive.  The result?  Chaos.

I could give you hundreds of examples from my experience.  Of course, the “experts” will tell you that anecdotal evidence proves nothing.  I am here to tell you my anecdotal evidence is not unique, but the norm.  Need more evidence?  Look at our scores. Talk to the teachers and administrators and see what they say.

Bring discipline and accountability back and see things change.  New buildings won’t change a thing, it will take real change in the system to give us a better school system.  Tweet: New buildings won’t change a thing, it will take real change in the system to give us a better school systemIt will take holding kids accountable and giving them consequences that cause them to change their behavior or move on to a better place that serves them and doesn’t take away from those who want to learn.

My friend says serving in combat with the new troops was a dangerous endeavor.  I am not equating teaching with serving in combat, but it is dangerous to allow the inmates to run the asylum.  Until next time, peace.

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Todd