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Bibles not Allowed, Trashy Clothing Welcome: A Glimpse of Public Schools Today
Townhall.com ^ | May 12, 2014 | John Bennett

Posted on 05/12/2014 10:55:16 AM PDT by Kaslin

The culture of downward aspirations just won a small victory in its ongoing battle with decency and professionalism. In Broward County, Florida, the School Board has decided not to enact a parental dress code.

Board member Rosalind Osgood attracted national attention when she suggested that parents should abide by a school dress code when dropping off or picking up children.

This is about basic presentation — many parents pick their children up wearing curlers in their hair, sweatpants that fall down, and even pajamas. How can we teach our children to be serious about education if their parents don’t set the right tone?” Osgood asked.

Osgood is concerned that it’s hard to enforce a dress code for students when their parents are setting a bad example near school. “But we have dads showing up in sagging pants,” she said during a School Board meeting. “It's hard for me to tell a child not to show up for school with hair curlers, pajamas or short shorts if they see parents wearing them. Parents need to lead by example.”

Was this a sad, symbolic proposal that would only paper over the underlying rot within the students’ (and by extension their families’) culture? Or was this a modest effort, understood to be limited in influence, to create a small counterbalance against the underlying culture?

By marking off a clear line where the school sets an expectation of maturity and professionalism from students and parents, parental dress codes might have had a modest impact on learning. We’ll never know, because the board has decided not to pursue the parental dress code.

Interestingly, Broward is the same school district where a fifth-grade boy named Giovanni Rubeo was told last week that he is not allowed to read the Bible during his free time. The boy’s teacher, Swornia Thomas, left the following voice message with Giovanni’s father:

Good morning, Mr. Rubeo, Giovanni called you because I asked him to. I noticed that he had a book, a religious book, in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom. He said if I told him to put it away, you said not to do that. So please give me a call. I need to have some understanding on direction to him about the book he’s reading opposed to the curriculum for public school. Ms. S. Thomas. Thank you. Have a wonderful day. Bye, bye.

Thomas certainly wants “those books” out of her classroom. They might interfere with the secular good order and multicultural discipline that are supposed to reign in public schools. However, the Schools Superintendent made an apology for the incident, which he calls a misunderstanding of school policy. It seems that the boy was supposed to be able to read “those books” in his free time. Maybe it was a misunderstanding. Another way to look at things is that the teacher enforced the policy as she understood it, and as she wished it to be.

In the meantime, the school board overseeing this dismal procession actually had a good idea. Board member Rosalind Osgood suggested a modest parental dress code, to include “dressing as though you’re going to church, work, or dinner.”

That standard, sadly, may not have provided a familiar point of reference for many parents. Church attendance is not as high as it was in past generations, and it’s common in some churches for people to dress however they wish. Dressing up for dinner -much less a nice dinner- might not provide a frame of reference either.

Theodore Dalrymple, a prison psychiatrist, points out that “[m]eals in many households, especially those of the relatively poor, are no longer family or social occasions…Not coincidentally, these households were also the least likely to have what would once have been considered the normal family structure.” Dalrymple argues that eating habits are an early form of socialization, the lack of which can set harmful habits of selfishness and antisocial behavior. That gets us back to Broward County.

Even if the school board had succeeded in enacting a parental dress code, the benefits would have been modest early on. Supporters would probably be the first to acknowledge that students’ attitudes towards achievement are not going to be transformed overnight by a dress code alone. But in order to undo the harm created by downward aspirations, institutions like schools will need to create layer upon layer of competing pressures designed to move aspirations upward. Changes in dress code are not sufficient, but they are –in some settings- one of a multitude of necessary changes in attitude and habit. The same applies to parental dress codes.

Some will take it as a sign of cultural doom that school board members are resorting to quixotic efforts such as parental dress codes. After all, when parents can’t even bring themselves to dress in a decent manner, its highly unlikely that their children are going to develop opposite habits. I sympathize with those who worry that the cultural rot is too deep to cure. But having tutored at an inner city charter school that had a strict dress code (blazer and khakis), it seems evident to me that positive pressures can be introduced into the lives of young people, no matter what the circumstances. That’s what supporters of the parental dress code had in mind, but to no avail. Opponents upheld politically correct dogmas and preserved the new tradition of trashiness.

For instance, board member Frank Barbieri thinks that the “poor” would be unable to purchase clothes that comply with the proposed dress code: “I'm sure what would happen if we tried to put a policy in place was that poor parents wouldn't come at all out of fear they were dressed inappropriately.”

Barbieri evidently thinks that, at a certain low-income level, relatively poor parents have an irrepressible impulse preventing them from buying decent clothes. The (supposed) reaction of poor parents being the ultimate guide to public policy, it stands to reason that the school’s standards should be dropped until the “poor” are completely comfortable with every decision made by the school board.

Barbieri’s patronizing nonsense was not all. If we could give an award for missing the point, board member Jennifer Prior Brown would win. Brown said the policy was unnecessary, claiming, “I’ve never heard that parental dress has interfered with teaching and learning.” Brown’s remark is half irrelevant and half foolish.

The parent dress code is not designed to change the mechanics of teaching, but the dress code could –indirectly and over time- influence learning. Totally lost in Brown’s remark is the fact that what happens in the home matters in the school. Brown missed the point that the students’ ethos is the key ingredient for what occurs in the classroom. In fact, for many young people, the predominant culture of the home directly determines how the student fares academically. To illustrate: the Los Angeles Times, in a remarkable public forum, gathered together Asian and Hispanic students to talk about the achievement gap. According to the L.A. Times, “the students agreed” that “Asian parents are more likely to pressure their children to excel academically.”

Students’ culture is decisive for educational outcomes, whether liberals choose to acknowledge that cause-and-effect relationship or not. By marking off a clear line where the school sets an expectation of maturity and professionalism for all involved, parental dress codes might have had a modest impact on learning.

A dress code for parents would likely reinforce the dress code for students, in turn promoting the ethos of the school. The dress code for parents might even begin, in a very minor way, to enhance beliefs within the home about the importance of education.

The value of dress codes is not that they are instant solutions- they aren’t. Parental dress code proposals are in some ways an act of desperation, but that doesn’t make them impractical. For now, let us hope that public schools will trend more towards setting higher aspirations, and less towards banning the Bible.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 05/12/2014 10:55:16 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Public schools have been out of control for many decades.


2 posted on 05/12/2014 11:00:51 AM PDT by ForYourChildren (Christian Education [ RomanRoadsMedia.com - a classical Christian approach to homeschool])
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To: ForYourChildren
It all makes a lot more sense if you realize that they are actually government schools.
3 posted on 05/12/2014 11:03:25 AM PDT by all the best (sat`~!)
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To: Kaslin

Send the kids to school in sweat shirts covered in Bible verses.


4 posted on 05/12/2014 11:04:16 AM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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To: Kaslin

I can’t wait to get out of Broward County. It’s full of human detritus. As for the school system, if I had school age kids I would make any sacrifice necessary to keep them out of the public schools.


5 posted on 05/12/2014 11:06:22 AM PDT by clintonh8r (Don't give up! The liberals are buggering and aborting themselves into extinction.)
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To: Kaslin

6 posted on 05/12/2014 11:10:13 AM PDT by rickmichaels
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To: Kaslin

My mother used to drop me off in her nightgown with a coat thrown over it. There’s actually a “Dick Van Dyke Show” episode in which Laura gets caught in the same way. The problem is no dress code among kids.


7 posted on 05/12/2014 11:20:32 AM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: Kaslin

Why are parents even allowed to have their chidruns returned once they are warehoused in a public school? Parents may undermine the carefully crafted indoctrination.


8 posted on 05/12/2014 11:26:43 AM PDT by Organic Panic
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To: clintonh8r
I can’t wait to get out of Broward County. It’s full of human detritus. As for the school system, if I had school age kids I would make any sacrifice necessary to keep them out of the public schools.

Many years ago, my employer moved my job to the Broward County area, and offered a raise and reimbursement for relocation. I turned down the job and gave my employer two-weeks notice instead.

9 posted on 05/12/2014 11:30:00 AM PDT by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: rickmichaels
Which brought us stupidity like below:


10 posted on 05/12/2014 11:38:15 AM PDT by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: ForYourChildren

I spent years working IT for a open, free, charter school called KIPP. Their model will crush public schools and its is amazing. The teachers are hungry, held accountable, and there are strict rules. These schools are in the worst areas of Houston and there was zero fighting and zero tolerance for gangsterism. I would send my child there if they were close. Their curriculum for highscbool was way more advanced than the school I went to.


11 posted on 05/12/2014 11:40:00 AM PDT by drunknsage
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To: Alex Murphy

Yup I retired from Brwd and came back to the NE to look after a deceased parent.
Getting ready to head back an everyone sez,”Don’t come back here it sucks”
So I am looking at Brevard or Volusia


12 posted on 05/12/2014 11:40:09 AM PDT by CGASMIA68
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To: Kaslin
For instance, board member Frank Barbieri thinks that the “poor” would be unable to purchase clothes that comply with the proposed dress code:

Right, because lack of funds keeps people from pulling their pants up, or wearing the brim of their baseball cap facing front, or tying their shoes, or even buying the right size of shoes.

13 posted on 05/12/2014 11:46:31 AM PDT by Hoffer Rand (Bear His image. Bring His message. Be the Church.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Good move. The county is totally infested with RATs. The stupid GOP legislature even gerrymandered Allen West out of a job.


14 posted on 05/12/2014 11:55:01 AM PDT by clintonh8r (Don't give up! The liberals are buggering and aborting themselves into extinction.)
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Baggy jeans – What’s next? -


15 posted on 05/12/2014 12:01:09 PM PDT by Heartlander (We are all Rodeo Clowns now!)
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To: Kaslin

All the girls I see are wearing pantyhose to school. I know they call them tights but they are just dark pantyhose.


16 posted on 05/12/2014 12:32:30 PM PDT by raybbr (Obamacare needs a death panel.)
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To: Kaslin

I went shopping with my granddaughter and my great granddaughter several years ago. My granddaughter was disgusted with clothes for a toddler. The clothes looked like what a hooker would wear. I was so glad that she had the same reaction I had. Where have all the sweet little girls’ clothes gone? They grow up way to fast already. Why dress them to look many years older?


17 posted on 05/12/2014 12:42:21 PM PDT by MamaB
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To: Kaslin

If you haven’t yet, you should check out The Frankfurt School and its plans. Mostly accomplished now.


18 posted on 05/12/2014 12:45:06 PM PDT by polymuser
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To: CGASMIA68

Volusia (Daytona Beach) is pretty bad, too. Don’t know much about Brevard, but probably better than Volusia. They should draw a line from north of Daytona, over to north of Tampa Bay and make everything below it New Florida (as in New York and New Jersey). We’re moving to the panhandle this summer. Had enough SoFla after 58 years......


19 posted on 05/12/2014 1:17:24 PM PDT by clintonh8r (Don't give up! The liberals are buggering and aborting themselves into extinction.)
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To: clintonh8r

I got to Ft Laud in 1975.
Wow what a change


20 posted on 05/12/2014 1:19:10 PM PDT by CGASMIA68
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To: MamaB

Hand-smocked dresses...do they even make them anymore?


21 posted on 05/12/2014 2:58:48 PM PDT by CatherineofAragon ((Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization).)
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To: CatherineofAragon

I have found them online. Just type in hand smocked dresses. I bought Polly Flinders when my girls were young. Now, I try to find them for my great granddaughters.


22 posted on 05/12/2014 3:02:13 PM PDT by MamaB
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To: MamaB

At least there are some pockets of good taste still in existence. ;)


23 posted on 05/12/2014 3:15:05 PM PDT by CatherineofAragon ((Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization).)
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To: CGASMIA68
So I am looking at Brevard or Volusia

We lived in both Central Brevard and SE Volusia counties.

Both are good choices.

24 posted on 05/12/2014 3:20:06 PM PDT by Prov1322 (Enjoy my wife's incredible artwork at www.watercolorARTwork.com! (This space no longer for rent))
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To: rickmichaels

A friend told me that the boxer showing came from street kids in California. They showed their underwear to tell ‘customers’ they are ready for sex. I don’t know if that’s true.


25 posted on 05/12/2014 6:35:29 PM PDT by ExCTCitizen (I'm ExCTCitizen and I approve this reply. If it does offend Libs, I'm NOT sorry...)
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