Letters for Monday, August 8, 2011

• Placing the burden on its mark • Time

for a 28th Amendment

Placing the burden on its mark

While I agree with some of the basic idea of Howard Tolbe’s letter (“Teacher abuse cannot be tolerated,” Letters, Aug. 5), I wonder if he is prepared to make this equitable to all parties.

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t disagree that teachers shouldn’t be throwing things at students. What concerns me is that too many people seem to think teachers are robots or Vulcans with absolutely no emotions, or that they can never display emotion. Even many teachers think this way! Teachers are human, and humans make mistakes. If there is a single biggest failing of the educational system, I believe it is this idea that teachers must not ever show flashes of emotion to their students. One of the biggest complaints I heard from students during my time as a teacher was that they felt disconnected from teachers. It’s not hard to understand why when the teacher seems like something not entirely human.

Unfortunately, emotions can run very high in a classroom when a teacher is dealing with even ONE student who is not on task and insists on causing problems. Believe me, it takes only one. It is extremely easy for those who’ve never been in a classroom to pass summary judgment on teachers when they have no idea what the job is like. I guarantee you that you have not dealt with the kind of issues a teacher has to deal with on a daily basis. It is totally unlike your job, and you absolutely can not form conclusions based on what you know from your job experience. Mr. Tolbe says he understands the potential frustration and anger on the part of teachers, but does he really? A teacher loses control and they automatically lose their job?

Feeling particularly draconian today, I’ll just say that I’m fine with the idea of firing a teacher for doing something like what Mr. Tolbe talks about. I think, however, the same harsh consequences should apply to a student who does something equally egregious. I once had a student throw a plastic water bottle full of water at a student, in anger, and almost hit another student in the face. She missed only because he saw it and ducked.

If you had seen the look on his face when that happened, you’d be hard pressed to not say that perhaps she should have been expelled for good. Students who threaten to or do bodily harm to a teacher should have formal criminal charges filed against them and definitely be removed for good, in my opinion. They should be forced to be home-schooled — put that burden back squarely on the parents. That’s a level of disrespect that should not ever be tolerated from students — I don’t care how bad they have it at home or anywhere else.

Regardless of whether you are a teacher or a student, you don’t deal with your problems through violent acts against others, and the consequences should be severe and swift for failure to adhere to this…

Across the board. Is that an acceptable agreement?

Parents can not give up their parental responsibilities, send their kids off to school completely unprepared mentally, physically, and emotionally, and then expect the teachers to deal with the frustration and chaos that ensues while simultaneously trying to teach. My guess is that the shoebox never would have been thrown had the student been doing what they were supposed to be doing. Why do we refuse to focus on the root cause?

You want to know what’s wrong with education? Your answer might be somewhere in that issue.

Michael Mann, Lihu‘e

Time for a 28th Amendment

A standing ovation for Ali‘ilani Kanui’s Aug. 2 letter, “How to fix Congress.”

His ideas are articulate, reasonable and YES, way past due!

Our elected officials’ Golden Fleece Entitlement is so blatantly corrupt and unfair that it is undermining our faith in our government. Unfortunately, since Congress is “guarding the gate” — by being the very ones that have to approve such an amendment — how do we get past them? How do we motivate an entire country to demand a National Convention? With the help of the Internet!

 Please paste Mr. Kanui’s letter into an email and send it to everyone in your address book. Send it to our governor, your congressman and the White House.

If enough people band together, with the help of the Internet, we can attract national attention to this idea.

We need to force reform on Washington. We need a 28th Amendment!

Gayla McCarthy, Kekaha

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