Skip to comments.A brave Baltimore teacher speaks the truth about schools, students
Posted on 08/01/2013 6:41:37 AM PDT by markomalley
Dave Miceli doesn't know me from a hole in the ground, but he's my new hero.
Anyone that can dredge up the guts to teach in Baltimore's public schools automatically becomes a candidate for hero status in my book, especially if said anyone has taught in these schools for 20 years, as Miceli has.
But it was his bold, insightful, no-punches-pulled letter to the editors of the July 15 edition of the Baltimore Sun that put Miceli on my hero's list. I'm reprinting that letter in its entirety.
"Regarding your recent editorial, 'How to end the killing,' your last paragraph made me want to vomit. 'No doubt, Baltimore needs effective police and prosecutors, ample drug treatment, better schools, and more economic opportunities.'
"How dare you accuse, through implication or otherwise, that the need for 'better schools' is a reason there is so much killing. Had you defined the loosely used term, 'better schools,' perhaps I and probably others may not have been so nauseated.
"I have taught in the Baltimore public school system for the past two decades. What we need is better students. We have many excellent teachers. I cannot count the number of students who have physically destroyed property in the schools.
"They have trashed brand new computers, destroyed exit signs, set multiple fires, destroyed many, many lockers, stolen teachers' school supplies, written their filth on the tops of classroom desks, defecated in the bathrooms and stairwells, assaulted teachers (beyond constantly telling them to perform certain impossible acts upon themselves) and refused to do any homework or class work.
"Need I go any further? I won't even bother addressing the other 'causes' you listed. Too inane. In summary, the problem seems to be a total disregard for life that exists not only in our crime-ridden city, but also in all of the major cities throughout the United States.
"So, go blame other root causes, but please leave our city police, prosecutors and teachers out of the finger wagging."
Touche, Dave Miceli! Finally, someone has cut through the bat guano and had the guts to say precisely what's wrong with way too many public schools and public school systems in America today.
That would be "Bad Students, Not Bad Schools," as author Robert Weissberg named his 2010 book. Weissberg, like Miceli, recognizes that American schools won't improve until students attending them do.
You can bet that Baltimore school honchos and some elected officials want Miceli fired so badly they can almost taste it. Oddly enough, what probably saves Miceli from being canned are two things that conservatives rightly so, in most cases feel are precisely what's wrong with American education.
That would be teachers' unions and tenure. With his two decades of teaching, Miceli has tenure. Members of the Baltimore Teachers Union and its leaders probably don't know whether to love or lynch the guy.
So Miceli probably knew that he wouldn't be fired for his letter, but he's courageous for saying what he said in a city that's majority black, with a school system that's majority black, and where most of the elected officials are black Democrats.
Miceli didn't bring up the issue of race in his letter, but you can bet that, somewhere in Baltimore, someone or a bunch of someones are chomping at the bit to call him a racist for his observations.
That's because, among liberals and Democrats, there is this notion that the poor especially the black poor can do no wrong. If you criticize any poor and black person who displays inappropriate, boorish or egregiously bad conduct, you'll be dismissed as a racist if you're not black.
And as an Uncle Tom or sellout if you are.
Miceli decided to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. That's why he goes to the top of my 2013 list of heroes.
He is absolutely right
these students are p o ed because 200 years ago, some black people (but maybe not their relatives) were slaves
so they feel justified in rebelling against any and everything and being completely destructive little assh8les
The BSun will cue the accusations of racism in 3...2...1...
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Truth is Racist...
The teachers can blame the parents all they want, but those “bad students” were raised by the product of public schools. Those “excellent teachers” are those using methods in which he believes, methods that are certain to fail, as designed. I would bet the farm that he would turn in any parent with the guts to commit “attempted discipline.” I have no sympathy for him.
They wouldn’t be po’d about slavery if the left hadn’t constantly rubbed their noses in it for political gain.
Saying we need “better schools” is just one more typical liberal lie.
The truth is public schools are for the most part a waste of taxpayer money. There several good public schools but for the most part they are run by incompetent liberals who waste the money given to them.
If we got rid of the public school system America would be a better place.
In order to get better students we’ll need to find better parents. I feel sorry for the students who actually want to learn.
They have been told for so long that whitey owes them that they think they can do and have anything they want and whitey will pay for it. If lawmakers would allow the schools to throw out the troublemakers who think education is a joke, then the rest could stand a chance.
You better believe the real goal is the elimination of parents and the end of the family.
But you must admit that when a you have a majority of inner city black students in your class, you can just about guarantee that the job of teaching becomes about 500% harder.
Yes, but how do you change the evil culture of entitlement?
How do you change the evil gansta culture?
Because of political forces, no one will stand up and speak the truth.
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”
You are making a lot of assumptions about the teacher. Considering the tenor of what he wrote, he does not fit the profile of the NEA/communist types that proliferate in the school systems. How do you know he espouses "methods that are certain to fail"? An ignorant undisciplined kid from a single-family home immersed in a culture that eschews education and civility is likely to be a "bad student" from day one.
They may not be able to fire him but they can sure as hell make his life miserable by various and sundry means. I bet this guy has an exit plan as we speak.
Badly behaved students are without doubt part of the problem. But then so are weak teachers and school administrators, weak or non-existent parents and a general culture of instant gratification and license. So what is the solution? Any parent who has had to put limits on a child’s behavior or correct bad behavior knows that a real price has to be paid by the parent and the child. Who is willing to extract and pay the price.
While I do not believe for a second that schools are solely responsible for the mess public education serves up 10 months out of every year, I believe they have done themselves no favors by participating in the grand hoax—that being that students are receiving anything approaching a quality education. By tolerating/socially promoting the destructive, the non-productive, the uncooperative, public education says with each diploma they hand out, each “promoted” student who did not master anything that, “Yeah, we don’t care about your education much, either.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve expressed to my students in the classroom that they’ve been lied to, that those involved in their education have hated, HATED them or been utterly indifferent to them by allowing them to get to high school reading at a 3rd, 4th, 5th grade level. How can those teachers, those administrators, and, yes, those parents have had any other attitude toward them but hate or neglect when they have passed them along to the next class incapable of doing the work, when they’ve not been interested in the least to see if they are keeping up with their studies/demanded to see a report card/disciplined them for failing to excel in school? After I let that sink in to marinade their little skulls full of mush, I say, “If no one else cares, you had better. I assume that, given you have not dropped out, something inside is telling you that this ‘education thing’ matters. And, not to worry. I, too, care. I love you and I assure you that what we will be doing this semester matters to me a great deal.” Most of my students are willing to give it a shot after that.
Miceli didn’t bring up the issue of race in his letter, but you can bet that, somewhere in Baltimore, someone or a bunch of someones are chomping at the bit to call him a racist for his observations.
Liberals are quick to brand others with derogatory names so as to avoid focus on accountability for their own failures. Accusing well meaning people of being racists is one of their favorite ploys.
A liberal’s first instinct is name calling and blaming. You see this in Obama everyday.
You would then shift the problem of inner city blacks who do not value an education to a private school system. And if the private school expelled the troublemakers, the liberals would be protesting in the streets that teen drug users and gang members just want the chance at an education and the racist private schools wouldn’t let them.
When I say involved and not saying does the homework for the student I am saying make sure the child is awake, fed, and ready to learn.
This occurs most frequently in the suburban and rural districts.
The other issue is racism. On several occasions I was asked why their child had to get stuck with the "white Machine shop teacher." I had to explain that Mr. Rand taught the introductory class and i taught the advanced class and you can't take the intro class twice.
Mrs. Bears is a public school teacher (and a darn good one, I might add) here in Northeast Florida.
She works hard, and doesn’t object too much to the effort she has to put forth; but she is very tired of all of the variables for student success being on her side of the equation.
Stephen Covey had it right. It’s easy to have a perfect society. You just fill it with perfect people. Now, making perfect people? That’s the hard part.
No I'm not. You will note that the author cites how many surround him whom he deems are good teachers. That's your clue: it's Baltimore, an urban setting in a Democrat State.
I've known more than a few public school teachers (my mom was one) and this is classic water-cooler and lunchroom talk. They blame the parents. It's easy.
An ignorant undisciplined kid from a single-family home immersed in a culture that eschews education and civility is likely to be a "bad student" from day one.
One of the first thing a child is taught when they enter public school is about who is in charge: the police. They are told to rat out anyone (see "mom" and "dad") who harms them. Kids are smart. They figure out who runs the show right away, and it becomes immediately clear that if daddy (if there is one) smacks their bottom they can run to teacher. Then they sell them self-esteem, with the attendant message that if anybody harms their self-esteem they should run to teacher. TEACHER is in charge (and if you don't think teachers want that I've got news for youse).
This has been going on over fifty years. It is a multigenerational phenomenon, yet when people look for causes, they seek them contemporaneously. Worse, public school teachers define quality by what they were taught in teachers' colleges. I suggest you read "the deliberate dumbing down of america," by Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt.
If physical punishment was allowed in schools, and if the more violent disruptors were thrown out completely, the schools would improve. It isn’t black/white, but racists (often black, almost always liberal) who tolerate subhuman behavior from some black students.
I have relatives who taught blacks in South Africa. They LOVED teaching there - students who wanted to learn, and parents who wanted their kids to do well. It was a very poor school, and the few textbooks needed to be shared, but it worked extremely well - and with all black students and parents. It is the ‘make excuses for blacks’ and the entitlement culture of black and white liberals that is destroying black America.
In working with horses, there is a rule that says, “The least you demand is the best you will get”. It applies to humans, too.
Here where I live it is an upper crust neighborhood above Silicon Valley. The kindergarteners test in the 98th percentile. By the time the primary school is done with them (complete with lots of extra taxes) they're down in the 80s. It's the methods taught in teachers' colleges (among MANY other things).
I had my two girls doing second year high school algebra at the ages of 9 & 10. It's not that hard.
This experiment was already well under way to failure, considering whites only, prior to 1954. However, the addition of blacks, with the null hypothesis that they would achieve the same outcomes as whites absent "racism", has caused systemwide collapse, and for several reasons.
First and foremost, the lies. Teachers are taught by being systematically lied to about what can be achieved. This has now gone on for at least three generations of teachers (FYI, my grandmother taught in NYC Public for 50 years, went to normal school in 1911, and did not subscribe to ANY lies about human nature). In order to maintain their (not-so-shabby) pay and benefits, they must keep lying.
Second, the torment that students with an average IQ of 85 are put through. The requirements for success in a real academic high school are beyond anyone with an IQ of 85 (and half of the "urban" HS population is BELOW 85). So, they are forced to sit through failure, patronization, and now are fed lies about victimization. The boys get angry, the girls get sad. So, as always given that, the boys get violent, the girls get pregnant.
Third, the COMPARISON that students of differing abilities now must endure. This was a problem even in my all-white high school, where we had a whole crew of IQ 85 and below whites who were not, shall we say, kindly disposed to the IQ 120+ group of about equal size. BUT, that crew did not have victimization theory to draw on, and the cops and the school administrators could repress the hell out of them without worrying about phony charges of "racism".
What cannot go on, won't. But the end of the status quo is going, I'm afraid, to be a horror.
Hopefully, we’re coming to the point where we are forced to say the things that must not be said about the cultures that must not be be criticized. And I am specifically thinking about two disparate cultures, each competing to be the one with the least chance of achieving success.
The sooner this is done, the better chance for resolution.
The later this is don, the better chance for revolution.
We will only go so far with our tolerance.
The Marxists have been taking over the profession of psychology in America since Roosevelt imported the Frankfurt School, and particularly Abraham Maslow, back in the 1930s. With the power of the almighty state behind the definition of morality and good behavior and especially the rules of child-rearing, the rest followed.
so they feel justified in rebelling against any and everything and being completely destructive little assh8les
Around 3,000 years ago my people were slaves for over 400 years to Africans and it took many acts of God to gain them their freedom not 4 years of bloody war by Republicans against Democrats.
The huge and wasteful government bureaucracies would be eliminated, property taxes and other taxes would greatly decline and most children would get a much better education.
Those public schools that provide good educations could be privatized as is and bought by the community or entrepreneurs within the community.
The cost of education would go down dramatically and the quality of education would improve dramatically.
I’ll make this suggestion which may irratate a few people. I see little to no reason in standing by a 12-year prescription of education fitting. So I’d like to suggest a simple change.
At the conclusion of the tenth grade....let’s have a test. You fall into three categories based on your grades. The ones who exceed and demonstrate the potential....we graduate them from high school at the conclusion of the tenth grade, and actually give them a free year (maybe even two) at a local state community or major college (tuition free).
The second group....with a decent grade on the test....can remain for the 11th, and even the 12th grade. Each year, getting a chance to graduate and move on.
The third group? The losers. Basically....if you can’t get a minimum score at the conclusion of the tenth-grade....we are finished with you entirely. You can take your behavior problems and attitude onto the next level....but it won’t be in school.
I’d start to clear out schools in a hurry. They wouldn’t be baby-sitting operations or NCAA-prep organizations or jobs-for-teachers organizations. In urban areas....I’d cut out forty percent of the kids by the end of the tenth grade. Less stress for everyone and we start to see parents wake up to realize their punk kid isn’t going anywhere in life based on their own attitude.
These schools have to start expelling the criminal children attending. They are dangerous and it isnt fair to the achieving children. Figure out some alternative for these loser kids.
If you have enforced standards of performance and behavior in any school, it becomes a valued prideful resource for these communities.
“They LOVED teaching there - students who wanted to learn, and parents who wanted their kids to do well.”
Three variables often missing in the public school classroom. I get the sense that new teachers today don’t love to teach so much as they love to feel like they are doing something worthwhile. Aside from the idea that many beginning teachers have little grasp on their content area (the emphasis is on managing a class, not teaching one), teachers seem to embrace the relational aspect of teaching over the harder work of passing along knowledge and skills. The mantra might be summed up this way: “Teaching skills and content is secondary to the children knowing I care.” (BTW, this might go a long way in explaining all the “teacher as predator” news stories we’ve seen over the last few years.)
The second variable missing (students wanting to learn), has been undercut by social promotion and grade inflation, two daggers undercutting student motivation, as well as the litigious nature of our society where everyone is fully emboldened to levy any accusation against authority, schools being no different when it comes to these assaults of indignation. Students don’t see the emphasis on learning in schools (they can often receive fair to decent grades without much effort). Therefore, the ACTIVITY of learning is a non-starter for them. “Why work when the teacher will just pass me anyhow.” And, when students perceive that the classroom teacher wields little power (anymore) to discipline and is often hard-pressed to explain why individual students were “allowed” to lag behind/fail, students quickly realize (as do their parents) that the system can be manipulated and the preferred results can be wrung from it like so much water from a damp cloth.
Parents who want their kids to DO well has been replaced by parents who want their kids to RECEIVE GOOD GRADES. Period. Witness the “My Child is an Honor Student” bumper stickers you see everywhere. Many parents don’t understand that it is their job to see to it that their child receives a quality education, has a strong foundation on which to build a life. They have deferred to the public school as the sole agency for accomplishing this, which they then can easily blame for their child’s failure (in school/in life). I look at my job as assisting those parents who choose to send their kids to the school and who wind up in my classroom. But I tell parents at every turn (open houses, letters/contacts home, conferences) that they have the vital role to play and, if the students see the two of us on the same page, then they are less likely to get away with a less-than-stellar effort.
Stop it! Stop it! You are making too much sense.
The Dave Micelis can do little more than add a cup of purifying chlorine here and there to the untreated sewage which continues to flow in and out of these ponds.
I suppose there may be a few kids here and there who take the treatment and get out of the ponds at their earliest opportunity. And that's probably the only thing that keeps the Dave Micelis of the teaching world going.
One of the things that has baffled me as a teacher is that we seem to go out of our way to keep criminals in our schools. I'm not speaking metaphorically when I say criminals.
My school has kids who've been arrested for drug sales, breaking and entering, assault (serious, not a schoolboy fight).
Don't get me wrong. We have great students in our school, but the small percentage of criminals takes up a hugely disproportionate amount of administrative time, disciplinary actions, failures...
I can relate to those who say that school is the best place for THEM, but having them in the school isn't the best thing for the REST of the students.
The rage has nothing to do with slavery, it has to do with the lack of male role models.
” At the conclusion of the tenth grade....lets have a test. You fall into three categories based on your grades. The ones who exceed and demonstrate the potential....we graduate them from high school at the conclusion of the tenth grade, and actually give them a free year (maybe even two) at a local state community or major college (tuition free).”
Sounds like the German system (at least until the past few years)
The students destined for the university would attend the Gymnasium
Those destined for the skilled trades would go to the Realschule
The ones destined for unskilled work would go to t he Hauptschule
The decision was made, IIRC, the 5th grade.
In one liberal eastern city, the taxpayers fork over $20,000 per yer for public schools. Just think what a private school could do with a class size of 20 students and a budget of $10,000 per student if they could throw out the students who were there to sell drugs and get into trouble.
The kids in Africa haven’t been taught from birth that the world owes them a living.
Martin Luther King (a great man) strove mightily to end racism and discrimination and hate.He was successful and paid for it with his life. I would like to note that the detractors of King will point out his flaws, and he was flawed as all of us are. His flaws were but specs of dust compared to his greatness.
The Great Society programs of Lyndon Bains Johnson destroyed the black families of this nation.
The progressives of today, i.e Liberals, Socialists, Communists, have done everything in their power to bring back hate and envy between the races. They do this for cynical reasons of power and the destruction of our Free Capitalist Nation. They are the enemy within that Cicero warned of about more than 2000 years ago. See below quote:
A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. ― Marcus Tullius Cicero
I wonder if he endorses this. This thread caused a lot of controversry. Was it exaggerated? Was it racist? Was it spot on?
Anyway, the truth is out there. Plain as day. But will America have that "honest conservation" that Eric Holder asked for?
Hell No. It's too easy to blame whitey and focus on Trayvon Martin, Stand Your Ground laws, and other distractions.
Meanwhile - millions of blacks are getting a liberal education resulting in Rachel Jeantels accross America. They're the lucky ones as thousands of these people are getting killed by the hands of other animals just like them.
Almost...except with my plan...I’m dumping the losers entirely, and not providing any more education, job training, or incentives. You can flip burgers the rest of your life as far as I’m concerned. If the parents don’t care enough...fine, let’s not waste federal funding on losers.
Exactly. They have been taught that hard work & education are important. Unhappily, liberals in America believe that is too much to expect from black Americans. It speaks volumes about American liberals that my white sister’s happiest years were teaching poor black kids - in Africa!
As for flaws, he was a saint compared to Sharpton, Jackson, et al.
Huh? What are you talking about?
The teacher never blamed the parents. He never even mentioned the parents.