School bans Halloween costumes

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MacPhantom
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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by MacPhantom » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:23 am

With American school kids falling farther and farther behind the rest of the world in math and science, maybe it would be better if we focused on how well our schools are educating kids, and less on which holidays they are or aren't celebrating. Public schools in America bring together such a diverse group of backgrounds and cultural practices, it would be impossible to celebrate all of them without making others feel excluded. Why not leave cultural and religious instruction to parents, families, and religious institutions, and let schools focus on making sure kids can read and write and do math in their heads if the cash register goes down or the cell phone isn't charged?

I'll let you in on another little secret; atheists aren't pushing a secret agenda of government imposed atheism. Most of us are pretty sure that the more people come to understand the world around them, the less reliant they will be on mythology to guide their actions, behaviors, and laws. We don't much care what any one person believes, so long as we aren't legally obligated to adhere to those beliefs, or prohibited from acting contrary to them. I want to eat pork and work on Sundays and marry who I want and eat shellfish and wear clothing of mixed fabrics and not pray five times a day and carve idolatrous pumpkins in the fall. I hope that agenda doesn't seem too sinister.

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Demonic Duck » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:15 am

American schools do lack. As someone who knows MANY people who work in the school system(in NJ and NY which to be fair are among the highest rated in the country). I believe that there is fault both the system and the parents. Even kids in the better schools suffer from teachers who are tenored and no longer care but can't be fired unless the do something really horrific like hitting a child. As for the worse off towns(my wife has worked in some) it's hard to get good teachers into these towns and further the kids don't care. In both the good schools and bad there are common themes where the parents want to blame the schools and the schools want to blame the parents. In the long run both the schools and the parents have to step up for our children.

As for religion atheism is just like any religion. There are people who want to push it on people and there are people who just want to practice their beliefs and be left alone. Mac please feel free to do all those things while I want Mike to have the right to do the things he mentioned. Just don't force anyone to do it if they don't want to!

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by NeverMore » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:40 pm

MacPhantom wrote:and carve idolatrous pumpkins in the fall.
You monster! I belong to PETP (pronounced pet pee), People for the Edible Treatment of Pumpkins, and we believe that they should only be used for pumpkin pies.




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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Demonic Duck » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:54 am

I disagree Nevermore you can flavor anything with pumpkin!

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Murfreesboro » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:45 am

Demonic Duck wrote:
As for religion atheism is just like any religion. There are people who want to push it on people and there are people who just want to practice their beliefs and be left alone. Mac please feel free to do all those things while I want Mike to have the right to do the things he mentioned. Just don't force anyone to do it if they don't want to!
I agree with this statement. Certainly I have no issue with what Mac says above, about his own beliefs and practices. But when you hear, for example, about some atheist group that has rented a large billboard at Christmas time, showing a picture of the Wise Men journeying to Baby Jesus, with the caption, "You know it's just a myth"--well, it's hard to argue that at least some atheists aren't trying to proselytize for their own viewpoint. At the very least, some of them are being deliberately offensive.

The problems with public education are very complicated. My husband has been a public school teacher for about twenty years now, I guess, and I did it for one year myself, about ten years ago, so I am pretty well acquainted with the issues. Conservative groups (and I am a Conservative myself) often blame the teachers and the system of tenure for the problems, but from where my husband and I sit, there are other, more urgent issues. For one thing, teachers have been left very little authority within their classrooms by the government, especially if one or more of their "problem" students are special needs. Special needs doesn't mean only kids in wheelchairs with obvious disabilities. It can, for example, mean kids with anger management issues. Case in point: When my older son was in the 6th grade, one of his classmates, a 12-yr-old boy, went berserk and started throwing desks and other objects around the classroom. The teacher, a petite woman, couldn't control this nearly-man-sized boy physically. But this kid got very little punishment for what he did. I think he got an out-of-school suspension for a few days. Why? Because he was special ed, and his IEP identified his problem as anger management. Legally, he couldn't be punished for his area of special need. The teacher's husband was furious and consulted a lawyer. He wanted to sue the kid or his family, but the lawyer told him it wasn't possible. The teacher's husband said, "You mean, this boy has all the rights, and my wife has none?" And the lawyer said, "You've got it."

Several times over the past 15 years, when there have been school shootings, my husband has read in the fine print about one or more of the shooters being on a certain drug. He is a special ed teacher himself and knows which drugs are given for particular conditions, and when he reads about them, he will say, "You know what that means? Special ed!" Basically, it means these kids were untouchables, untouchables from the POV of the authorities, that is. It isn't true that teachers don't know which of their students are dangerous and likely to "blow." They always know, but legally, they can't do anything about it.

Now consider the case of kids who don't have the IEPs, but who know that they are living in the era of "No Child Left Behind" (a Republican initiative, I know, but as my husband, the poli sci major, likes to say, "The one law always passed is the law of unintended consequences"). NCLB sounds benign and totally focused on the best interest of the child, but what it translates to in practice is, No Child Can Fail. Now, how do you motivate a classroom of moderately intelligent students, when they know and you know that no matter how poorly they perform, they cannot be failed? If they are failed, it is the teacher and the administration of the school who will be punished for it, not the kids.

There will always be a handful of students in every generation who genuinely want to learn, and who will learn no matter what the conditions are. My older son is one of those, and so is my daughter. My middle boy? He is more like the majority of people, who are content to put out the minimum effort to get the desired result. Now go into a classroom and see how successful you are, teaching a group of students who are willing to do only the minimum effort, if that, and who are occasionally peppered with special needs crazies.

There is a third problem I hesitate to mention, but I do believe it also affects education. Teaching has always been a poorly paid profession, but at one time it was at least a respected one. Now it is not. Early in his career, one of my students asked my husband, "Mr. _____, you are so smart, why do you teach?" How do you attract the best people into a profession like that? When the assumption, even of the students, is that a smart person would be doing anything other than teaching? I think most teachers are people who are not primarily attracted by a lot of money, but many of them (myself included) do thrive on a degree of prestige or respect for what they do. And that respect is largely non-existent today. There is a terrible attrition rate among younger teachers. They don't want to stay in the profession. Others, like my husband and my cousin in FL, have been in it so long they can't afford to leave now. So they hang in there for the retirement, such as it is.

I think teaching got along for many years on the energy and intellect of bright women who didn't have many other professional options. However, beginning with my own generation, bright women had virtually every profession opened up to them. So that pool of recruits is not nearly as deep as it once was. For example, my SIL won the state math competition every year she was in high school. In another generation, she would most likely have become a high school math teacher. But instead she has spent her career with NASA. She was assigned to the Space Shuttle project for decades. Great for her, not so great, perhaps, for all those kids who might have been her students.

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by jadewik » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:25 am

MacPhantom wrote: Why not leave cultural and religious instruction to parents, families, and religious institutions, and let schools focus on making sure kids can read and write and do math...
Amen to those sentiments-- strange since, as a conservative, I didn't think I'd ever find common ground with you, Mac. =)

Don't get me started on education and the education system... There isn't enough space on this forum for the rant I have on that topic. This ranging from math and science to reading... to American History, HB 2281 and LaRaza's influence here in the southwest (long, long story)... as if we didn't have enough bologna to put up with... the community college administration here is actually getting schooled on proper procedures.

UGH.

What I find the most interesting is the type of people going to school to be teachers... english teachers who can't spell or who don't use correct grammar. Used to piss me off when I was in college... I'd have 3 question exams that I'd BARELY finish and if you got one little thing wrong, you'd pretty much fail the test.... while the (primary education) teaching majors would learn how to play 4-square.

... I have more, but I'm meeting my hunny for lunch and I have to jet. That's probably a good thing because I could rant for hours on this topic.

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Demonic Duck » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:59 pm

I don't think that there is anyone who would disagree to the fact that our school system in general needs a big overhaul. We pay our teachers paltry salaries, shotty supplies, the cutting of programs. Unfortunately I think many schools don't want to do this but have no choice. Government funds are getting cut and people who live in the schools towns don't want to pay more taxes so something has to give. Unfortunately in the end the students end up being the ones who lose out the most.

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by NeverMore » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:47 pm


I've always said a society that pays it's teachers and police force less than their sports figures and entertainers is broken. I stand by that.


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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Murfreesboro » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:11 am

Well, the thing is, teaching has never been paid well, not in any generation or society. Juvenal, a teacher of rhetoric, ranted about it in ancient Rome. Partly I think that's because no one could ever afford to pay a good teacher what he/she is really worth. I do think the salaries could be improved, but no one is ever going to get rich by teaching. That isn't really what attracts teachers, anyway. They are generally idealistic people who believe they can help youth, or they are people whose love for a particular subject matter is so profound that they would pursue it for free if they could live that way. People like that don't need lots of money to be happy, but they do need to feel respected. And that's what is missing now. As a practical matter, most of the teachers I know also feel they need to be left alone to teach, not given a ton of paperwork to fill out. And I could go on about the increasing importance of standardized testing, but that really merits its own thread, I think.

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Kolchak » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:24 pm

You will always find someone who is offended by something or someone. They demand protection and want to be given special status. I'm still trying to find WHERE in the US Constitution that says you are allowed to infringe on my happiness, just because you have a thin skin?

Is there an amendment to the Bill of Rights that says a person can't have his feelings hurt? Yet, he can hurt yours! Without fear of reprisal or recourse? I've never seen it if there is.

My feelings got hurt by that song! THEN CHANGE THE DANG STATION!

My feelings got hurt by that movie! THEN DON'T GO SEE IT!

My feelings got hurt by that book! THEN DON'T READ IT!

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Kolchak » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:30 pm

NeverMore wrote:
I've always said a society that pays it's teachers and police force less than their sports figures and entertainers is broken. I stand by that.


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Justin Bieber has the IQ of table salt, and all the talent of a grass stain.

Kolchak
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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Kolchak » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:33 pm

NeverMore wrote:
I've always said a society that pays it's teachers and police force less than their sports figures and entertainers is broken. I stand by that.


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I'll bet you $10.00 there are people who would ban that poster as hate speech, if they could!

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by adrian » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:39 pm

I believe what its all starting to boil down to is that there are TOO MANY OF US. Too many people in the world! We will never be able to govern ourselves as a country/world the way we see fit because of our irresponsible numbers and how we are raising and presenting the world and its cultures to those rising numbers (the youth).
Last night 'twas witching Hallowe'en
Dearest; an apple russet- brown
I pared, and thrice above my crown
Whirled the long skin; they watched in keen;
I flung it far; they laughed and cried me shame
Dearest, there lay the letter of your name!

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Murfreesboro » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:52 am

My son, who is around your age, Adrian (24), has also mentioned to me that he thinks one problem with the terrorism, etc., is that there are just too many people. It upsets me a bit when he talks like this, because I fear he may decide not to have children, and I want grandchildren. I also think that somebody is going to have them, over-population or not, so he will only be cheating himself in the long run if he decides not to reproduce for the good of mankind.

That said, I think our technology has a lot to do with our changing values. (He and I have also discussed this point.) It hasn't really been that long ago that TV was invented. I never lived in a house that didn't have a television set, but many people around my age can remember when their parents bought their first TV. And that has made a huge difference in human culture, having actors and entertainers literally in our living rooms 24/7. Social critic Neil Postman actually wrote a book about it, Amusing Ourselves to Death. The internet has furthered this revolution, I suppose, because it has enabled people to connect with like-minded folks immediately all over the world, in a way that was never possible before.

Technology is neither good nor bad, of course. It is what we do with it that makes it good or bad. That said, I'm not sure that we have used it all that wisely. But then, I suppose one thing we can always count on people to do is to behave foolishly. It is in our nature to do that.

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Re: School bans Halloween costumes

Post by Boogeyman » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:39 am

Even if your son eventually does have kids, I will make up for him. I will be 44 on the opening day of deer rifle season, and I don't expect I will ever have any spawn. And I am sure there are some here and elsewhere that think that is a good thing.
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

Henry David Thoreau

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