Over at Quora the question was asked, “Is California as bad as the right wing says it is?” This answer from a gentleman named Ted Kord says this in response:
A very liberal buddy texted me a link two days ago along with the words “Fuck this shit!” No my buddy isn’t your average liberal. He’s a heavily tattooed, militant athiest hipster.
Not this guy, but you get the idea.
So what got my inked bohemian comrade so incensed?
Like me, my hipster amigo works as a California public school teacher. And over the last 10 years, discipline in general, and the sense of the teacher as an authority figure in particular, has been gutted by a very progressive legislature and two consecutive progressive governors.
I teach at a large high school that was once one of the 1000 best high schools in the United States. Back then it was a pretty nice place to teach. Now it’s pretty dystopian, with roving bands wandering the campus any time of day. If you like to keep your door open to get some fresh air, your instruction will be frequently interrupted by loud music, laughing, shouts, and the all-to-frequent eruption of profanity. I’m not talking about a couple times a day; I’m talking about several times per period. If you keep your door closed students will peer through the glass window looking for friends or bang on the doors and run away. If you go out and tell one the wandering bands to be quiet or get back to class, you WILL be met with expressions of defiance and disrespect. And that’s just dealing with the kids fooling around in the hall.
Poke your head out of my classroom anytime of the day and it’s going to look a lot like this.
Again, this is during class time. Teachers have been told they CANNOT LIMIT bathroom passes. Misbehavior prone students demand passes, then use those passes to wander campus, meet with friends, play on their phones, use intoxicants and deal drugs.
When it comes to your own students, you don’t have much more authority. If one of my students misbehaves, the harshest consequence I can give out is a phone call home. Maybe (and that’s a BIG MAYBE) if I’ve finally called home several times over a behavior, an administrator might actually issue a detention.
It’s not that the assistant principal for safety doesn’t want to help. His hands were tied by the state legislature. AB1729 passed a few years back making suspension of defiant students an extremely cumbersome and very time consuming process. The sheer commitment in time required to actually suspend a defiant student overwhelmed the capacity of administration. The legislature followed up with AB420 and SB419, each of which made the process more unwieldy. Pretty soon, no students could be suspended for defiance. But the law was so poorly written that it seemed to include (or exclude) a lot of behaviors.
A few years ago a student I wouldn’t let break the cell phone rule in class went off on me in a manner similar to how this student abused his teacher.
Even though I had previously called the student’s parents about his inappropriate classroom discussions about gangs, guns and fighting (documenting each call) the parents claimed I was picking on him and the student received only a 2-day class suspension. So for 2 days he sat outside the AP’s office playing on his phone, instead of actually working.
A few years back, my mentor teacher was walking down the hallway when she noticed a boy hanging out in the hallway. She asked to see his pass and reached for it. This 6 foot plus male cocked his arm back like he was going to punch her and yelled “I’ll smash your face.” My mentor, a 5′3″ tall, 60 plus year old woman stepped back and reported it to the office. The whole incident was captured on CCTV security cameras. The boy could be clearly seen taking a threatening, fist raised posture. But because she reached for the bathroom pass, the principal didn’t think administration could legally suspend the student.
Worse yet, the student claimed that he felt threatened by the diminutive AARP member. My mentor spent an entire weekend worried that she would be disciplined for the incident, even though she acted appropriately. She spent the weekend worrying that she would face discipline. The next Monday she went to the district office and filed her retirement paperwork. This was a tremendous loss to education. My mentor was one of the state’s leading expert in her subject matter, having written curriculum for entire states.
So what has my hipster amigo so angry?
California is in the process of passing two new laws to further gut discipline.
- AB 599 will eliminate suspensions for students who come to school high or drunk, or use drugs on campus.
- SB 274 will completely ban all suspensions and expulsions for willful defiance.
This is too much even for a counter-culture spirit who isn’t exactly opposed to marijuana.
California educators currently face daily, sometimes hourly incidents of defiance, disruption and deliberate disrespect. Many teachers have to deal with daily and ongoing behavior that would constitute a hostile work environment if those behaviors occurred in the private sector. Many of my colleagues have stress related health problems from dealing with unruly students whose uncorrected behavior gets worse.
Even if these bills don’t pass, behavior in California schools is already heading in a negative direction. The small minority of habitually disruptive students make life miserable and education untenable in many California schools. The passage of either bill will simply accelerate the deterioration of the Golden State’s schools.
I have no sympathy. This is completely, wholly self-inflicted. But it’s just one more indicator of the complete destruction of public education due to the ideologies of the Left. I’m currently reading Thomas Sowell’s Inside American Education. He published it thirty years ago. I have to stop from time to time due to the RCOB it invokes. And I know it’s gotten far worse since then. For example: Chicago Democrat sounds alarm as 55 schools report no proficiency in math or reading: ‘Very serious’ Ya THINK?!? Chicago spends at minimum $10k per pupil, up to $15k. And these are the results.
Get out of California while you still can. Chicago as well. And get your kids out of public schools EVERYWHERE.