I am in my 26th year of teaching. I have three degrees in education: Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades (Math, Science and Social Studies concentrations), Masters Degree in Education and an Education Specialist degree, along with other certifications in Reading, Gifted Education and Special Education that I have added along the way. My experience in the field leads me to respond to these gentlemen's articles, that I feel are very much related.
In the years since I began teaching a lot has changed. The two articles talked about the credit recovery system for failing students and the behaviors teachers are having to tolerate and deal with in the classroom.
Students in many school systems learn very quickly if they don't do their work that it doesn't matter. They get "socially promoted". Teachers are required to pass these students along, even when they haven't met the requirements/learned the curriculum. Sometimes it is simply "the parent" doesn't want little Johnny/Sally retained. So these students go into the next year, unprepared and unable to do the next year's curriculum because they are behind from previous year(s). Teachers are expected to teach the more difficult curriculum to unprepared/unwilling students. When you compound this with the fact that some aren't even reading on grade level, you up the ante by tenfold.
This is where the behavior problems now begin to come into play.....it has been my experience that a high percentage of your discipline issues occur because a student can't/won't perform in class. The discipline problems occur because they are lacking the prior knowledge needed to be successful in a class or they know they are going to be passed along and refuse to do any work, and just want to play around/disrupt class/be disrespectful, etc. (I know there are special circumstances, but students with true disabilities are educated in a manner needed for that student.)
Now to compound this issue you place a credit recovery system into place that is easily manipulated and allows students to make up multiple years of credits in a ridiculously short time period. Talk about not making someone take responsibility for their choices.
Social promotion should not have a place here.....it sets students up for failure. Students need to learn there are consequences for their choices, whether good or bad. Otherwise, we are producing citizens who believe they can always get "something for nothing".
We, as parents, educators and citizens should expect our students to work, learn and earn their high school diploma. The United States offers everyone a free education, but at this point, some are not getting an education, they are getting a useless piece of paper. Until we get God back in our schools/homes, and expect personal responsibility, no amount of money thrown at a school system is going to fix it.