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COLUMN: Educating children requires help from parents, schools

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | 12:01 p.m. CDT; updated 9:41 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I learned recently from newspapers that taxpayers, as I have predicted, have had to take over the role of parenting. And as much as I regret the abuse of the freedoms the founding fathers granted us in the founding documents, it is too bad we are unable to put blame where it is due. But parents have Americans over the barrel, since authorities cannot find a way to deal with irresponsible adults without harming children.

So, the public gets dumped on again. The United States Department of Education is now embarking on a pilot program that rates school on their bullying climate. The government is concerned about children dropping out of school rather than face bullying by their classmates. It seems bullying by texting and on social networks has become so prevalent that authorities are concerned it is driving children, mostly in middle school, to harm themselves.

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What are parents doing about the situation? Well, defending their children of course. Obviously, no one is the parent of a child that would behave in such a manner.

What about teachers? Well if they are concerned about the possibility of facing lawsuits from parents or bodily harm from students, they are doing very little and who can blame them? After all, we don’t pay them combat pay. Some parents have bullied school administrators to the point that they are unwilling to challenge either the parents or the kids.

As far as some of us are concerned, the Department of Education could be spending that money to upgrade American educational standards so that we could keep pace with foreign school systems. Of course, it sounds cruel to us the Chinese allow only one child per family, but the Chinese do not have to deal with parents who behave like children.

Undoubtedly, students are imitating the behavior of parents who belong to that old-time thinking that generalities like "every school has bullies" is common law and that kids who are harmed by that behavior are weaklings. Believe it or not, every family does not allow bullying by members of the household. That may be OK in some families, but it’s not true of everybody. And many believe that subjecting children to that behavior is cruel and reprehensible.

Many American children are brought up by standards approved by television producers who are in the business to make money. This is just another case where freedoms are abused for the purpose of increasing one’s personal fortune. In a country where freedoms are treasured and appreciated, people would demonstrate more concern for public response to their programming. This is the kind of behavior that makes dictatorships welcome in some parts of the world. People, like many parents and many television producers who abuse their freedoms, make us all vulnerable to a society out of control.

To many, the American Constitution is nothing more than a device to be used for whatever purpose they deem necessary to accomplish their goals. There are no safeguards in place to limit their ambitions. Apparently the founders could not perceive of a day when the pursuers of evil intent would be allowed by the majority of citizens to prevail.

But historically, parents have been the responsible guardians of our moral and ethical standards. Who would imagine that a generation would emerge who would place personal privilege above community standards? Perhaps the founders were naïve, but I don’t think so.

Before long, we will begin to see how this method of child rearing turns out. I don’t think we will be able to build enough prisons to house these children who never learn to distinguish between good and evil. Some parents, of course, feel so carefree believing that the general public holds their children in such high regard that they will protect them, even though child molesters are all around them.

Personally, I would like all these people who keep screaming the government can’t do anything right, to step in and take care of all of these children with negligent parents. That way the Department of Education could spend our money on children whose parents want them educated.

This is another idea whose time has come.


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