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home : opinions : columns February 6, 2016

9/18/2013 6:00:00 AM
COLUMN: Playing doctor?

Bob Weete

Our schools of today are in trouble. If that is true, then we must assume that the next generation is in deeper trouble, and so on, and so on. Yes, I know. This is now, and "the good old days" are over.

I truly am not opposed to change, but what I do wonder about is the purpose of some of the changes, and I am concerned about the end results of those changes. I question the need, for example, of kindergarten kids - kindergarten kids - having to learn about the bird and the bees.

Parents have been doing it - or not doing it - for eons! Leave it alone!

We just keep taking more and more of our kids' childhood, and pushing them into areas far beyond their real comprehension or even need to know. Knowing their colors, learning to color within the lines, learning about sharing, and courtesy and respect, learning their A,B,C's, how to get along with others, cleanliness, animals, the enjoyment of books read to them, etc. A lot of valuable life-long attitudes about right and wrong will certainly serve them better before "learning" about sexuality.

This age child is still searching the world and experiencing the awesome creations in this world. They can learn many of the values that will make for a much happier and productive life as adults. An important lesson might be that they learn that "can't" is not acceptable. That gives them an easy way out of something without really using their abilities to their fullest.

Another thing that I believe is a must is to teach these kids now that it is "okay" if, after they have given their best, they fall short of some of the other kids in some areas. If Johnny cannot seem to draw a house or a tree as well as another, it's okay. He probably won't plan to go into any profession that focuses on that skill. He should, however, be guided to "do his best", not try being as good as Albert.

Competition has its place in the learning agenda, but learning that you don't have to be the best in everything is okay, and it is no sign of "failure".

Albert will be the artist; we need him there. On the other hand, Johnny may seem to have a skill in taking things apart and putting them back together, a budding mechanic, or technician. We need those people, too. Every kid in class has some kind of skill, and needs some positive feed-back in that area to expand it.

At the same time, all kids need encouragement at whatever they do - always striving to reach out. Giving up should not be an option. Once that pattern is accepted, it will be a monkey on the child's back the rest of his life. I see no reason not to reach for the stars. BUT the kids need to learn to not expect to reach the stars. The task is to reach as far as you are able, and be content with second, or third, even.

In kindergarten, children ought to learn respect and love for a country that, itself, is not perfect, but they don't need to dwell on the errors in our development, but on the positive. It's just like treating the child; make them aware of the errors they have made; don't ignore that. But, then praise them for the right decisions they make. Parents need to recognize and accept the fact that their child is not perfect, and teach them to "accent the positive, eliminate the negative" as in that old, old song of yore.

This "core" thing is the latest fad thing coming from politicians. Frankly, if it comes from a politician, you know there is an agenda behind it, and it is not necessarily for the good of the people. Government should keep their noses out of education. "One size does NOT fit all," dang it! Not all kids should be expected to go to college!

My own dad always tried to get me into sports. Early on, I knew I had no athletic skills; I was asthmatic, I was skinny, I was a klutzy, four-eyed kid. I knew my purpose was to go to college; I didn't know where I would go with it, but my dad kept discouraging me from focusing on grades, the area I could excel in. 

Parents. Get involved with your kids' education. Don't "assume" anything. I am NOT saying don't trust the schools, but I AM saying that you have the responsibility to see your kids get what they deserve. Don't go by "hear-say". Find out. AND, I must add, you need to know that your kid is not the sole concern for the teachers as he is for you. Individualized attention cannot always be available with 30 wiggly kindergartners in the same room.

 The point is, you do your part, and check in with your child's teachers and work together in cooperation. But you want your child to learn about sex in kindergarten? I hope not.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: Cynthia Best

Great Job!
It is very important we pay attention to those that have influence over our children the Great SOCIALZATION = the influence if those around them. The problem is the education system is full of agendas instead of the basic Reading, Writing & Arithmatic - if our Education system was revamped to go back to basics you would see a generation begin to focus again- I would love to have a young person be able to count change - but that's for another discussion -
The education system was deigned to produce industrial workers it has not been revamped except to add agendas, ie: Common Core will do more to hurt the learning child or genius then help. ( remember Einstien could not tie his shoes and was rejected from top schools who knew?)
I so agree each child is different they each learn different at different paces and different ways the brain is divided up in different categories and each person has strengths in different areas: ie Dr Caroline Leaf. Also, The Well Trained Mind Is a great read.
You don't have to be Einstein to teach or help your children- you just have to pay attention to what others are teaching them.
God Bless you all for having a wonderful conversation!

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: @ el Pica

Amen. Keep talking with them and keeping them grounded and safe. Feels like all we can do sometimes is pray. Best wishes to you and yours.

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ el pica dude. I'm trying to stay on the first subject I got on. Sex education of kids in kindergarten. Then we go off the subject.

I never said that you were wrong. I agree with you that these kids these days, know way more at 5 than I did back then.

I talk to my young family members. I (we)tell them that games are not like real life. I (we)also tell them that movies they see on tv are also not the same, as when they see war movies. we talk about our soldiers coming back home, and committing suicide. Because of the things they saw, and did. We talk about many things.

So in the end we try as a family, as best we can. As you know in live there are no guarantees. So we pray for the best to come out from them as they grow up.

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: @ el Pica

El pica you got me confused. Kids may be more worldly at much younger ages today, but the have no concept of consequence or permanency. That is why they pick up guns and shoot their friends and family members after hours of watching violence on tv or play hours of violent Xbox games. They don't have the capacity to differentiate between fantasy and reality until they are much older. The same goes with taking pictures and posting on Internet. To them it fun, a game, but the consequence is devastating. So how should the courts deal with elementary kids who do this, despite how worldy or mature they appear to be. This goes for young teenagers also to a large degree, especially those who may be socially or mentally challenged. The old kids will be kids attitude is too dangerous to apply in this age. Too many have access to guns and unfettered access to mass social media than can be hugely damaging to those who become targets of it. Just ask mr Weete. I'm sure as a columnists and a prominent figure in town he has found himself targeted by those who use social media. Now imagine that happening to a young kid who hasn't learned any coping skills to deal with such attacks. Volunteer at an elementary school. Talk with the elementary teachers, administrators, and nurses. The things they will tell you that the kids are dealing with and doing today will shock you.

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@el pica dude. There you go off base also. I was just talking about the little kids not being as naive as some people think.

Now what you're talking about is a totally different level. This is what I meant about guidance along the way. From the parents, and the education system.

What you wrote about. If they post a photo of an underage child then it is child pornargraphy, and the law deals with them. But if the subject of the photo is an adult. It is still against the law. All should be dealt harshly by the judicial system, if it done without the consent of that person.

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: @ el Pica

You may be right El Pica. Some level of sex Ed may be need. Keep in mind though the"show me your and I'll show you mine" or the peaking up skirts of today now usually involves a cell phone camera or web cam. Those pics are then pasted on Facebook or emailed to everyone. Then they are used to bully or relentlessly tease children who don't have the capacity to cope with just how brutal such treatment among todays children can become. Even if you go to new school or move out of state once this stuff on Internet out ther it never goes away. It is and becomes sexual harassment, cyber bullying and in some cases extortion. Who is to blame. The kids who thought it was funny. Their parents who bought them the tools and did watch what they did with them. The schools who are doing what they can but don't have nearly the resources to deal with this. Where does the first amendment fall inn this. It doesn't allow photos but the words to bully and terrorize???? When do child pranks become distribution of porn by the pictures they post? It's a terrible new world without boundaries or consideration of consequence for our youth.

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ It's much more. You are way off base. I do not know your age. They should teach sex education in school in kindergarten as in boys, and girls. Not this new age sex thing, boys w/boys, and girls w/girls. Hey I do not mean in any sexual way about teaching about sex. But only that boys are different than girls, and vice versa. At the age of 5. I got my first spanking in school for looking up a little girls skirt. I was not the only one doing this. The girls were also in on this. Kids are not as naive as you think. But they do need guidance along the way. In those days there was nothing on tv in a sexual way, couples slept on different beds. No games to play on xbox, or any other game systems. Many people are embarrassed to admit what they did as kids. Remember this? Show me yours, and I will show you mine.

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Article comment by: It's Much More....,,

Never said people shouldn't read editorials, but nowadays editorial pieces are usually nothing more than opinion pieces that appear to be based on fact because the writer or newsman has a column in a paper or a tv show. I doubt Mweete has a working understanding of the Common Core standard that are coming to schools. No one does as the program isnt fully ready to be rolled out. But to make an extreme statement like teaching sex to kindergartners is baseless, inflamatory, and destructive. Of course there are those who don't want science, arts, or history taught in schools because that knowledge, or lack there of, is power over others. Your right though the unions aren't what they should be but they are needed. There was a time not so long ago when teachers on average where paid poverty level wages.

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Article comment by: @It's much more...

You are actually on the money, but to suggest they not pay attention to paper editorials is definitely misguiding people. They should read all the editorials, magazines that deal with current events in City, County, State, Country, and world that they can. If you are careful, you can also get good info from the internet, and yes, even from TV news. The important things is that you read widely, read carefully. Then, begin to follow more carefully those resources that you can determine are reasonable and just. Check in on the others periodically, to see what they are up to. Make sure what you learn is discussed around the dinner table, so your kids are aware, too. I think that basically is what Mr. Weete is attempting to say. CHECK THINGS OUT YOURSELF. Ask to see copies of the mandates from the "higher ups". Unfortunately, teachers' unions are not as pure as one would like to believe. They fight for teacher salaries, so they can get a bigger chunk themselves, like all unions. What have they ever actually done to improve EDUCATION, though? They are generally a liberal organization, as most unions are, and that is not always the best thing for America. Believe it.

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Article comment by: It's much More than just schools

Children today are emersed in sex, violence, drugs, and god knows what else at extremely young ages simply by watching tv, surfing the internet, or reading the trash news in news racks at the store. With teen pregnancy, STDs, and juvenile violence on the rise what are schools to do to try and combat the realities of these issues everyday as they try to educate our kids. Kindergartners being taught sex is an extreme statement and I doubt that is what Common Core standards will bring or what they are about. But society and parents need to wake up. No one is teaching our kids reality. Their perception of reality is what they "learn" on cable tv, the Internet, or their buddies smartphone. I agree our schools are in trouble, but schools aren't the problem, it's a society that continually ignores the facts, ignores science, ignores reality so it doesn't have to truely deal with the myriad of dire realities confronting us now and are coming in the near future. Our children will have to face very different future than what we have known the last 100 years. Common Core is expanding the required standards to include testing of the sciences, history, and perhaps some of the arts. If these are moral or ethical issues for you as a parent there is always private schooling or homeschooling which is everyone's choice as a parent. But get informed first by those who know, your school officials, not hearsay from the editorial page.

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Article comment by: Linwood Hunt




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