Have you ever wished you could be Joe Clark? Do you wish you could go into an unsafe, out of control school and just like Joe Clark, bring that school under control and make that school safe?

The lead story on the local TV news was of big fights at one of the schools in the Spring ISD in Texas. These fights and hallway control issues have been going on for several months. The latest fight appeared to get so big and the students so unruly that a policeman felt compelled to use pepper spray.

TV interviews with parents indicated that their children were often afraid to go to school. The news media had found parents with stories about their children being bullied at school.  These parents were hoping and wishing that conditions in the school would improve. Parents also expressed their disappointment and frustration with the school, teachers, administrators, and the school district. They also expressed a will and desire to help solve the problem. Everyone involved in these school situations wants to solve the problem, but no on has the solution.

I understand your frustrations and discouragements. I have been through these experiences and emotions.

There is a way to solve these school problems. Joe Clark turned a tough, out of control, inner-city school into a safe and productive school. I have done the same thing. In the movie, Joe had the support and help of dozens of police officers. Who knows how much help he really had to solve these problems?   I received minimal to no help from school administrators, police officers, or teachers. I started walking the school hallways, using my school discipline plan in August and by December the school was under control, safe, and productive. The school no longer had a tardy problem. During that same period of time, I escorted three students to the AP’s office. How long did it take Joe Clark to bring the school under control? How many students had to be escorted to the office?  I would be willing to bet it took longer and many more students were run through the school discipline system.

I am no super man , but the school discipline system I created and used has superman qualities. The school discipline system is so simple and safe, parents can be invited in to help bring  a school under control. Teachers, administrators, and parents can work together and within a few weeks solve the discipline problems of your school. When a school solves the school discipline problem, that school has take the first step in solving all the other problems of the school.

Teachers, administrators, and parents no longer need to feel hopeless and frustrated about school discipline issues of bullying, tardiness, violence, or safety. Working together, using this school discipline plan, we can all become the ” Joe Clark’s” of our schools.

Recently in the news and politics of the day, the word entitlement has become a big word. Policemen, firefighters, and teachers have been labeled “entitled”.  Along with the label comes the inferences that these groups are fat, lazy, and not dedicated to their profession. Once these groups have been labeled fat, lazy, and unprofessional, the next natural progressions are the suggestions these groups are against capitalism and American ideals of hard work and democracy. Once again the word shift game has been played by the people with the power and money.

This happens quite often on the battlefields of education.  School districts and schools with the poorest children and the least resources are labeled as low-performing. The hardest working teachers and administrators in America are called entitled, lazy, unprofessional, and not dedicated to the students of  the United States. The students and parents of these schools end up with the same labels along with the tags- burden to society and a drain on our resources. These labels lead to the perception and belief that these people are getting what they deserve. There is also the perception these people are unable to raise themselves up by their own bootstraps.

My question to the the people at the top (with the money and power) is how can you call teachers, fireman, and police lazy and entitled when you have never worked these jobs?  Professions most of the 1% would quit in less than two years. The use of the word entitlement, however,  leaves the impression the people in these professions are undermining the core ethics of hard work, equal opportunity, and democracy.

In truth, who is really undermining the core values of the United States? Who in America is truly “entitled”? Bill Gates with your 56 billion are you working 56 million time harder than the average teacher, policeman, or firemen?  The Koch Brothers, Walton’s, investment bankers, etc. are you entitled to all this money?

The top 1% of the country, how can you really feel that you are entitled to 40% of the wealth of our country? Or do you hold the royal attitude that you deserve all this money? Do you hide your greed and entitlement behind the twin pillars of capitalism and democracy?

The United States of America needs a new and better system of capitalism. The business leaders, scholars, and professors need to devise a capitalist system  more aligned with the principles and freedom found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of  The United States. A capitalist system should be created, that does not allow wealth and power of the country to be concentrated in the hands of the few. A capitalist system that will not let  people have an excuse and justification for their greed. We need a system that provides the just environment and proper rewards for innovators, risk takers, etc. to keep capitalism healthy and vigorous. As capitalism is kept health and vigorous, strategies, philosophies, and laws must be created to more evenly distribute the money of these companies.

Let’s use Bill Gates and Microsoft as one possible scenario for new capitalist system. Perhaps Bill Gates would be allowed to accumulate no more than one billion dollars in personal wealth. One billion dollars should be enough to stimulate most innovators and risk takers. The other 55 billion, you are not entitled to keep, this wealth must be put back into your company, the people of your company, or investments in America. Perhaps, a billion of those 55 billion dollars could be used to bring together all segments of the United States to create a better system of capitalism?

Maybe the people of the United States need to play the entitlement word shift game. Why should owners and managers of corporations be allowed to believe that they are entitled to  company jets and perks, extravagant salaries, and huge bonuses? Especially when their companies are know to be life-sucking parasites of  employees, families,  American communities, and America ideals.

The offspring of  our United States billionaires are not entitled to inherit all those billions. They did not work for the money. Those billions should go back to the people of American to invest in making the United States better.

When corporations and billionaires hire lobbyists, buy elections, and run their companies as dictatorships, they should not be entitled to say they are defenders of the Constitution of The United States and democratic ideals. They should be the last to say others are unpatriotic or not loyal to the United States. Especially, if they move their business to another country that suppresses human rights and human dignity.

This entitlement word shift game can be played out in many different ways. The underlying premise is the wrong people and groups are being called “entitled”.  The billionaires, elected officials, and corporate leaders need to look internally if they want to find entitled people.

If we find the truly entitled people  in the United States, the next game we should play is the transfer of blame game about who is truly responsible for America’s economic problems.

One of the big catch phrases in education is ” silver bullets.” Everyone is in search of silver bullets to solve problems in the educational battlefield. One group is looking for the silver bullet for the dropout problem. Another group is looking for the silver bullet for the bullying problem. Other groups are looking for silver bullets in the areas of student achievement, school budget shortfalls, teacher retention, etc. There appears to be silver bullets out there, somewhere, on the educational battlefield, that will solve our educational problems.

Some groups believe they have found the silver bullets that have the power to transform education. Bill Gates and the “Billionaire Boys Club” have found the silver bullet of Charter schools. Charter Schools have a nice, bright shine of silver bullets, but they have  lead cores. Generally, charter schools are artificially created success stories. High achievement, success, and good discipline is achieved by selective entry of “good students” and dismissal of “wrong” students. The Charter School Solution does not solve the problem of where are all the low-performers, discipline problems, ESL students, LEP students, special education students, etc. will go to school. If public schools disappear, the Charter Schools Solution is doomed to failure. The ‘Silver Bullet Charter School Reformers’ will discover their false solution was standing on the shoulders of hard-working, dedicated, and self-sacrificing public school teachers.

Mayor Bloomberg has found some different silver bullets. It appears all he needs is enough silver bullets to shoot all the bad teachers and union members and his educational problems will go away. Hopefully, he will have enough silver bullets for all the new “bad teachers” that appear and are created by poor test scores, bad  administrators,  lack of funding, poor school discipline systems and plans, low- performing students, or any other education problem.

President Obama and Arne Duncan have found their silver bullets in the ‘Race To The Top’ agenda and  ‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLB). ‘The Race To The Top’ silver bullet has at its core  testing and the belief that only the  results of  tests can be the true indicators of success or failure. Only through constant testing can true silver be discovered. Everyone and everything must be tested and a value and a consequence assigned for each result. Poor test results demands a teacher to be fired, a neighborhood school closed, or a state denied funds. High test scores justify the argument and rational behind merit pay, charter schools, privatization of schools, and federal funding of schools. NCLB is the moral lightning rod and justification behind the ‘Race To The Top.’ They believe the combining of these two programs will lead America to the educational promised land.

There is such moral smugness about these programs created by the people at the top,  who as children were never left behind.  Race To The Top allows the blame for the achievement gap to be transferred to ” bad teachers”, ” bad administrators”, and “bad schools”. The inconvenient truth is the policies and programs created by people at the top have created these problems. For decades, we have know the schools with achievement problems. They are the schools with low funding, crumbling buildings, few resources, large class sizes, and segregated student bodies.

With the transfer of blame to others, Race To The Top policy makers can come up with more top down solutions for the problems. These solutions appear to be more and more testing, firing of teachers, closing of schools, privatizing schools, and providing funds to those that buy into Race To The Top policies.

No Child Left Behind works much the same way. The thoughts and concepts behind NCLB are noble and just. The problem is that much like Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No To Drugs” campaign, NCLB is too simplistic and not based on reality. Nancy never had to walk home from school in a neighborhood controlled by violent gangs pushing drugs. Nancy was never in a situation where a no response could lead to a serious beating or death.

NCLB  is often used in a” bait and switch” way to transfer blame. The bait of NCLB is the truth that children have been left behind. The switch occurs as the truth is twisted to serve different agendas. The inconvenient truth, for the people at the top,  is the educational philosophies, policies, and programs created by people at the top has left half the children in America behind. The convenient truth is these same people are not held responsible for the failures of NCLB. Another convenient truth is that the parents, teachers, students, and schools that have suffered the most can now be made the scapegoats.  These scapegoat  groups should, next,  accept the blame for the problems in education.  After accepting the blame, these groups should also accept the punishments, sanctions, and new solutions presented by the people at the top.

Race To The Top and No Child Left Behind are doomed to failure. The people at the top confidently assume they have the answers to America’s educational problems. They came up with these answers without teaching , being a student, or living through any real life public school issue or situation. The elitist thinking of these programs is exposed in their solutions to educational problems. The solutions of charter schools, closing neighborhood schools, firing of “bad” teachers, etc.  are based on their school experiences.

This arrogant and elitist thinking never allows them to extend a hand down to the people that suffer the consequences of their decisions. This elitist thinking assumes that no solutions, thoughts, or educational programs could come from people living on the bottom rungs of the educational ladder. Only when the leaders at the top reach down and allow ideas, discussion, and solutions to bubble up from the bottom, will solutions to educational problems be found.

It appears everyone in education is looking for silver bullets to solve education problems. The truth is these silver bullets won’t work until you find the golden bullet. The golden bullet is fixing school discipline. America must demand good school discipline. When the school discipline problem is solved, all groups will be able to come together and work together to find and use the silver bullets.

P.S.      If you know anyone at the top, please let them know I have a discipline system and plan that will solve America’s discipline problem.

Hope:
1) to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence
2) to believe, desire, or trust
3) to feel that something desired may happen

The  educational battle has heated up. Large foundations and “big money” people have entered the fray. Education reformers are to be found in many different forms with ever increasing passion and anger. Old voices and new voices argue passionately over every issue, every success, and every failure. The problems appear to be too big and too many to be solved. The arguments and anger of the combatants becomes more heated. On every issue there is less willingness to compromise or even to work together to solve the problem. The feeling of hopelessness, despair, and loss of hope grows in everyone. There appears to be no way to solve these problems.

Wait a minute, I have been through this process. This same educational battle was waged on a much smaller scale at Austin HS in the early 90’s. The Shared Decision Making Committee (SDMC)  made up of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community leaders had fought the same educational battles. The SDMC, after many heated arguments and anger, eventually  realized what was the real problem.

Austin HS had every educational problem. The SDMC set up sub-committees for every educational issue. There were sub-committees for the school budget, school pride, student achievement, teacher performance, discipline, dropouts, etc. The sub-committees  and SDMC argued and sought solutions for every school problem for weeks. After months of meetings, very few solutions had come forth to solve our school problems. One huge truth had emerged from all the sub-committees and SDMC meetings. The underlying cause of most of our school problems was the school discipline problem. Until we solved the school discipline problem , we could not solve the other school problems and educational problems. The same truth applies to America, if we want to solve our problems in education, we must solve our school discipline problem. Fortunately, for America there is a school discipline plan that can solve our school discipline problem.

One saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This saying rang true for the Discipline Committee of Austin HS. We, as a committee, argued and sought solutions for our discipline problems. Only when Ms. Judy Dew stood up and read a definition of discipline did we start to solve the problem. It’s the definition of discipline I still use today : a set of consequences for bad behavior, often unpleasant, that will make a person change their behavior. The ultimate goal of  discipline is to become self disciplined.” Contained within this definition are all the reasons America has a discipline problem and all the solutions to our discipline problems.

Eventually, I developed the Lecture and Pester methods and the Proactive and Persistent School Discipline System. The Lecture and Pester process delivers the unpleasant consequences that changes students behavior. The Proactive and Persistent School Discipline System is the process of identifying the biggest problems and going after these problems. The combining of the LP processes and P&P Discipline processes are efficient and effective in solving the school discipline problem. Quickly, 90-99 % of student discipline problems disappear without taking students to the office, detention halls, Saturday classes, etc.  The combining of these two systems puts time, numbers, and control of the discipline problem on the side of the adults.

Using L&P with P&P Discipline, I was able to, by myself, clear hundreds of students from the hallways, decrease the tardy problem to zero, increase in class instruction time by 20,000 hours each month, stop bullying, cut visits to the AP offices by 90-95 % , and save tens of thousand of dollars each month in vandalism and graffiti costs.

This is why I have hope for America. If I can affect these changes in a school by myself, what could parents, teachers, and administrators accomplish working this discipline system together in a school? What would be the results if every school in America used this discipline plan?

I believe every school in America can be made safe. I believe we can eliminate the bullying problem in schools. I believe the cost of disciplining students can be reduced by several billions of dollars each year. I believe this saved money can be used to solve school budgeting problems and other school financial problems. I believe that by solving the discipline problem, we will bring different groups together to solve other education problems. I believe solving the school discipline problem will lead to solutions for all other school problems.

There is hope for America’s public schools, and it is one discipline plan away.

School budgets across America are at a breaking point. Teachers are losing their jobs. Schools are closing. Enrichment programs and extra curricular activities are disappearing. School administrators are searching and asking for more money. President Obama is predicting more teaching jobs will be lost. School districts are facing huge shortfalls or deficits in their financial pictures. Why are we in this current situation?

The main contributor to our current school financial disaster is years and years of poor discipline in our schools. Poor discipline leads to billions of dollars being wasted each year. American schools can solve their financial problems by fixing their school discipline systems.

How can I make such statements? Because of what I have seen and experienced in the school system. It’s devastating. However, I have also implemented a school discipline program that quickly and effectively reversed the loss of money created by bad discipline.

My observations and statements have no statistical backing. Hopefully, common sense and rational thinking will overcome the need for statistical support. Personally, after years in school systems I don’t trust school statistics.

Austin High School  in the 1990’s had 3,000-3,400 students. The school had five full time police officers assigned to the school. Two Houston ISD officers, two Houston Police Department officers and one substance abuse monitor(SAM) made up the police force. Houston ISD has several hundred police officers on their payroll. These officers need cars, offices, command centers, communication devices, etc. Millions and millions of dollars spent each year for a police presence in schools.

Vandalism was rampant in the school. Windows and doors were constantly broken. The plumbing and toilets were persistent targets. The flooding of hallways and bathrooms were not an uncommon occurrence. How many tens of thousands of dollars were used for constant maintenance?

Graffiti covered every wall and door of the school. The plant operator and several custodians worked one or two days a weekend painting over graffiti, and the  anti-graffiti paint was very expensive. Thousands and thousands of dollars were spent every month on this anti-graffiti campaign.

Poor discipline starts adding up to real money when you start factoring in the cost of alternative schools, detention referral centers, after school detention halls, Saturday detention sessions, and extra assistant principals and secretaries to handle heavy work loads. Millions and millions of dollars involved in this process.

The above expenses are some of the more visible costs of poor discipline. The covert costs of poor discipline permeates throughout our society.

The major contributor to our dropout rate is poor school discipline. Students drop out of school when they feel vulnerable and at risk. Just saying ‘no’ and avoiding gangs and bullies are not possible in undisciplined schools. Poorly disciplined schools lead to situations where tens of thousands of instructional hours are lost each month. Schools lose money that come from average daily attendance and higher test scores. When bullies and disruptive students destroy the learning environment of a classroom, how much money is being lost?

The dropout and discipline problem becomes a billions and billions of dollars problem. Communities start after-school programs to try and reach these students. Community colleges and four-year universities are adding more remedial classes and time in an effort to get students to the college level. All these duplicate programs being implemented to get students to an acceptable level of knowledge and life skills. Then, let’s add more billions as the U.S. builds more jails to house those that don’t have the skills or knowledge to make society better. We all know it costs much more to jail a person than educate a person.

Finally, the U.S. loses an unmeasurable amount of money each year as our population becomes less educated. In an increasing competitive world we are less able to compete.

Therefore, if we truly want to balance our school and national budgets, we must fix our school discipline problems.