Thursday, August 14, 2008

From the mouths of idiots

I don't have HBO, so I often miss out on the quality programming that they sometimes offer - Band of Brothers being a fine example; I had to wait for that one on DVD. Recently, HBO aired a documentary entitled Hard Times at Douglass High, which chronicled the goings on at a high school in inner-city Baltimore. Naturally, I have not had the opportunity to watch this documentary, but I look forward to it after reading a review of the show in an article from the Weekly Standard. The article's author included a quote that sums up quite nicely the biggest problem with our educational system in this country.

Here is what a 9th grader at Douglass High had to say about his feelings toward getting an education (bad language has been preserved):
"This is what we do. Just walkin' the halls all day, baby. Fuck class, that shit's for clowns man. [Laughter from his friends] We don't go to class 'round here. Man, fuck academics. That ain't me, dawg. Academics, we gonna leave that to them nerd-ass mahfuckers. We gon' keep shit straight hood up in here."
Apparently, this documentary was very anti-No Child Left Behind, but as the article pointed out, it is difficult to blame George W. Bush and standardized tests for toxic attitudes such as this. The widening problem is that to various degrees, the sentiments of this inner-city moron are shared by students in our nation who come from all walks of life - not just the "'hood." These self-destructive youths aspire towards a downward life trajectory, all in the name of keepin' it real. Academics just ain't them... dawg.

God help us.

Good Day to You, Sir

13 comments:

nunoftheabove said...

As an "educator," that young man's comments sent shivers up my spine.

That attitude will destroy this country as surely as a nuclear weapon would.

Where does this attitude come from? Home, media, culture. The value of education has been squandered by liberal thinking relativism.

tamaraeden said...

I think instead of blaming kids and saying that it's the kids attitude that will ruin us, that ruins this country or education; we rather should be asking ourselves WHY do these kids have this feeling. It's not about being from a gang or the hood. The issues run deeper. Maybe a teacher gave up on them long ago. Maybe their parents aren't supportive, perhaps teachers haven't created value in their learning.

There are many many reasons. But I can assure you, I teach inner city kids and I know that kids DO want to learn. They DO want to succeed. They want to be taken seriously. These kinds of attitudes are often just a VERY. LOUD. CRY. for help.

So I ask anyone who reads this...rather than blame liberalism, or screwed up parents, why not just say, "what can I personally do to affect one child so they don't go this route?".

nunoftheabove said...

tamaradeden,

I an educator not a psychologist, and my function is to teach, and if I mold the lives of students along the way, that is a bonus for both of us.

But until children like the one quoted in the article are raised in an environment that gives them stability, self-respect, and compassion for others, I don't stand much of a chance to overcome the 16 years of damage that have occurred before they walked in my room.

And if you can't see that the liberal cesspool has fostered the environment which produces children that speak like that young man did, then you are truly blind and in need of education yourself.

Papa Frank said...

Sounds like he attends Rev. Wright's "church" as well.

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Hard to believe, unless you've seen it yourself like many of us have, but many kids hit kindergarten with this kind of attitude (even if they don't have the vocabulary - usually). So much of it begins at home...it's tragic.

M.A. said...

First of all, I loved Band of Brothers. I had the good fortune to attend the premiere, which was held at an outdoor concert venue. The premiere included the entire first episode, followed by a preview that had parts of all of the remaining episodes. And the kicker was that the music for the show was played live at the premiere by an orchestra conducted by John Williams. It was outstanding.

Regarding education, people on the "outside" often see the problems and think, "what are the teachers doing?" We are expected to find ways to successfully teach every kid, whether they have a learning disability, do not speak English, are in a gang and shunning academics, etc. We are teachers because we care, so we obviously try to help all of these kids.

When those kids struggle (and/or fail), the teacher always seems to be the one under the spotlight. However, no one on the "outside" seems to hold the kids responsible for their own failures in school.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Good article, gotta love the war on poverty don'tcha?

Texas Truth said...

I shudder to think about students like that in my school. That attitude will destroy this country. The liberals enable these people in order to keep themselves in power.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Speaks volumes. We are expected to educate these type kids because society says we should. I haven't been able to figure out how to teach US history to someone who only cares about how to beat the system get what's mines. Tragic.

Anonymous said...

youtube it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgtKeiF4K-Y

Chanman said...

I am shocked, SHOCKED that copyright violations are being committed by watching this on YouTube.

(ahem... thanks for the tip)

Miss Cal.Q.L8 said...

"I an educator not a psychologist, and my function is to teach, and if I mold the lives of students along the way, that is a bonus for both of us. " -nunoftheabove

Wow, if you go into class NOT expecting to impact lives, then why don't you just get a job writing worksheets and tests? The only way to teach and not impact some part of their lives is if you are a robot. You are constantly molding lives, either positively or negatively.

These students need structure, they need someone to care, and they need real talk. Yes, there have been 16 years of damage, but that just shows how much MORE they need your help.

We as teachers, adults, and human beings should attempt to make every siutation better. Use what you have, affect what you can.

Chanman said...

Miss Cal.Q.L8,

Somewhere along the way, you missed the point of teaching. Whether you like it or not, our job as teachers, first and foremost, is to teach the subject. That doesn't mean we do so as cold, calculating robots, but that doesn't change our primary mission.

Nun is right: we are not psychologists; we don't have degrees in psychology. We are not credentialed to meddle in the lives of our students and psychoanalyze what is wrong with them. If you think that this is your primary mission and that teaching your subject is secondary to that, then you might want to reevaluate your career path. However, I think this country already has enough therapists.