Archive for Education

Nutley Parents paying for detention – what do you think?

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. – Dr. Seuss

Having raised my children in Nutley, NJ I read the newstory surrounding the consideration of charging parents for the costs associated with detention with great interest.

First of all, kudos to the Board members that had the courage to raise the question. Most people sit in the comfortable position of challenging the question and answer like a Monday morning quarterback, but lack the creativity to think differently in the first place.

So before I weigh in on the topic, (yes, I am playing the role of the Monday morning quarterback) I am grateful to the original thinkers, School Board members Steve Rogers and Walter Sautter for recognizing an opportunity to make things better.

My opinion is that we would be better served to have the students do something to improve the school rather than being babysat in a classroom.

* In the cases where they can be directly tied to an offense such as grafitti, they should be held accountable to clean it up.

* Where they were sent to dentention for being rude, late or other disciplinary actions, I am sure there is a laundry list of school clean up, repair activities or administrative work that always needs to be done. In that way, the students are the ones paying the price, not their parents.

After all, the purpose of an education is about learning, and it seems as if the students in detention are the ones that need the lesson. Your thoughts?

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Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle – Plato

time mag

When asked what he would do if he had one hour to save the world, Albert Einstein responded by saying that he would spend the first 55 minutes understanding the problem and the last 5 minutes solving it.

Hope you got a chance to read the great article in Time magazine on how schools are helping families understand and participate in their children’s education.

Let’s continue to peel this onion back and understand the real problem as to why parents might not be present at school.

Culturally, parents might feel their job is at home taking care of their husband and children. Being out at night attending a meeting takes them away from their families.
Single parents carry a heavy burden and often feel overwhelmed. Time is limited, and there is no partner to share the questions and problems with.
The perception is involvement in parenting groups is geared around fundraising and asking for money, rather than offering information about the school and various programs.
Language is often a barrier.
Some parents feel embarrased by their lack of education, and not even knowing what questions to ask.

I applaud these programs and we should all continue to understand the challenges and help our little villages whenever we can.

I did a presentation at the New York City Elementary Schools Principals Association meeting on how to bridge the gap between math and home. To read the notes, visit Parental Wisdom – Free Reports and read Bridging the Gap between Math and Home.

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom

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The New (school) Year

school supplies

The following post is contributed from Dr. Stephen Jones

5 Back to School Savings Tips by Dr. Stephen Jones, a member of the Parental Wisdom advisory group

Every year thousands of parents grab a cart and engage in the age old tradition of back to school shopping. There is a level of excitement in the air as students consider new school supplies and what clothes they will wear back to school. All parents can do is look at their pockets and try to find a way to stretch a dollar. Many parents start their shopping without a plan and that’s where money is lost. Have you ever noticed how things are strategically placed around the store so that you will make random purchases? There are all kinds of pencils, notebooks and paper right within your grasp.

There are some things that you can do to resist the temptation to spend too much.

First make a list of the most expensive items that you need to purchase. Check the internet and advertisements in your local newspaper. This is important especially when you are purchasing electronic products like lap tops, Ipods and digital recorders. The money that you save from these purchases can add up to hundreds of dollars. Recognize that every product that has a sales tag can be bought cheaper if you are willing to do your research.

The second tip is to watch for the best day of the week to purchase clothes and other items. Some stores have sales on certain days of the week. This is done to increase the number of parent’s and students who are coming into their store. As you shop for sales it may be worth returning on another day. Talk with your relative who works in a retail store. They may have a discount that they can use on your purchases. There could be an additional discount in addition to the sale that is going on in the store.

Third there are numerous websites where you can purchase books at a discount. Search Google for discount book websites. Purchasing books online is real convenient today. Books that you order usually arrive in 3 to 5 days. Still it is better to purchase books well before they are needed. If your son/daughter needs the book to write a report the book will be available to get started early. Also consider purchasing reference books so that your son/daughter will have books to look at when they do not understand a particular definition or subject.

A forth back to school saving tip involves purchasing shoes and sneakers at a reduced price. There are stores that sell hundreds of shoes. You need to keep an eye on the prices several times a week. Sometimes local stores want to move inventory so that they will lower their prices. Ask your child how often he/she talks with their peers about where they get the best sneaker discounts.

A fifth tip is to form a group of parents who can each purchase some items in bulk. Pencils and paper can be shared by parents. Create a supplies storage container where you will keep all of the items. This is one way that you can avoid purchasing too many items that you already have. Before you go shopping go to your storage draws and take an inventory of all of things you need. You will be amazed at how much you have in storage from last year.

Now that you’ve saved hundreds of dollar focus on your child’s education. Decide on something that you will do to make education fun this year. Load up your students book bags with good snacks. Even high school students need snacks because they can loose their energy during the day. Remember a healthy body will boost a student’s performance on tests. Make your back to school journey one that is full of good expectations. You can control your back to school spending and have a great new school year too. Dr Stephen Jones is an education expert, consultant and author of three books the Seven Secrets of how to Study, the Parent’s Ultimate education Guide and the Ultimate Scholarship Guide available at http://www.studyskills2u.com.

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Perfect Example of a Missed Opportunity

madd

In a less than courageous move, the South Plainfield NJ Board of Education reversed a decision by school administrators to ban from the graduation ceremony a group of students who came drunk to the prom. Students signed a pledge to arrive at their prom alcohol-free but at least some came “visibly inebriated,” a spokesperson said.

The students’ parents protested the ruling and threatened to take the issue to the state commissioner of education. The board then reversed the decision.

I don’t blame the Board of Education for not having a backbone, though it is obvious. I blame the parents for not having the wisdom teach their children a life lesson so valuable it could actually save their lives.

The question a parent should always ask is, “what is the worst that could happen?” For parents of the students that had the nerve to come to the prom drunk might actually cause them to learn about consequences.

Let’s focus instead on the majority of the students in South Plainfield High who deserve to enjoy this wonderful milestone despite this minority of the student population creating such a distraction.

Kudos to the teachers who are fed up with a system that caves to loud parents who don’t seem to know any better.

This could be urban legend, but the following is supposedly the answering machine message the Pacific Palisades High School (CA) staff voted to record on their school answering machine system. This came about because the school implemented a policy requiring parents to be responsible for their children’s absences and missing homework. The school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children’s failing grades changed to passing grades even though those children were absent 15 to 30 times during the semester and did not complete enough school work to pass their classes.

“Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member, please listen to all your options before making a selection:
To lie about why your child is absent, press 1
□ To make excuses for why your child did not do his work, press 2
□ To complain about what we do, press 3
□ To swear at staff members, press 4
□ To ask why you didn’t get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you, press 5
□ If you want us to raise your child, press 6
□ If you want to reach out and touch, slap, or hit someone, press 7
□ To request another teacher for the third time this year, press 8
□ To complain about bus transportation, press 9
□ To complain about school lunches, press 0
□ If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, and homework, and that it’s not the teachers’ fault for your child’s lack of effort…hang up and have a nice day!”

We have a bill of rights. We need a bill of responsibilities. -Bill Maher

Exerpted from Because Kids Don’t Come with Manuals®:Contemporary Advice for Parents by Tina Nocera

What do you think about this issue?

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Let’s think…do we want our kids to have more books or toys?

books

In today’s USA Today, the cover page article Teachers snub Scholastic Toys should be read by all parents. Teachers are concerned that Scholastic may be taking advantage of the access to our school children. The intention was to provide books at low cost to our children to encourage an interest in reading. But the catalog seems to be catering more and more to toys, and branded products.

One teacher said that she didn’t care if children get a SpongeBob toy, as long as they read. I totally disagree – – we are giving our children too many material things so they will do something else, like reading. What that does it create an extrinsic reward when the opportunity to read is itself a reward. Additionally, all this licensed and branded products takes away our childrens’ natural creative ability. They don’t have to dream the day away creating the next cartoon character – – they find quiet and white paper to create their own great cartoon characters.

Honestly folks, look around. Do your children really need another toy?

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While the adults are talking…parental involvement in education

school cartel

A new movie out called The Cartel presents the very sorry state of education in the U.S. The film criticizes teachers unions, tenure and concern over superintendents contracts using the Garden State as a backdrop because it tops the nation in per-student spending.

Like most problems, the initial reaction to low scores and high school students that don’t know the alphabet or basic multiplication is to throw money at the problem. Is there a correlation between the incredibly high property taxes in NJ? While we weren’t watching, the focus shifted away from education and toward politics. Even in my little town of Nutley, NJ when someone gets a job in any capacity in education the question is “Who do you know?”

That single question clearly presents the problem. If we don’t have the right people in the right jobs, education will continue to decline.

For the big picture, fixing this underperforming system will require that parents rally together and become advocates not only for their children, but all children.

But in your little world, remember it is the job of educators to teach our children to count the seeds in an apple; as parents it is our job to teach our children to count the apples in a seed.

What do you think will help? Please leave a comment.

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What Do You Do?

Thursday, April 24th marks the 16th annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day.

It is so much more than a career day. It demonstrates to our children why education matters, but more importantly, our children can be inspired to learn what it is they might love to do. You can only be really great at something with passion and persistence and that begins by doing what you love.

Now for the bad news. If you’re negative about your current job then I recommend you don’t pull your children out of school for the day since you’ll be doing more harm than good. Instead use this as an opportunity to think about the advice that you would give to your grade school age child so that she is not in the same position.

Here are some ideas:

Do what you love. As a young child, spend the time finding what it is that you love
Test the waters. You can’t know if it’s right until you try it. And then if you think you like something, try it again.
Talk to people (as many as you can) in the field you think is for you. Even be courageous enough to talk to people who have left the profession so you could understand why.
Think about the kind of a life you want to live. Do you want a family? Would you love (or hate) to travel? What if you had to constantly relocate? Do you want to be home for dinner every evening (if this is important to you, don’t even think about politics).

Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure;
Where your treasure, there is your heart;
Where your heart, there your happiness.
-Augustine

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