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The Number of Inappropriate Teacher-Student Relationships Keeps Rising, and So Do Arrests: Professional Development Needed!

18 Sep

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Head’s up to all public school districts, and private schools.

When it comes to establishing relationships–including the proper use of communications technology and social media between students, teachers, coaches, and administrators–and even with parents, there is a terrific blurring of personal and professional boundaries.

My book Teacher-Student Relationships:  Crossing into the Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Realms is a guide to reduce the problems, by enhancing the boundaries and calling into account the higher calling of teachers, coaches, and administrators.  The book details the problems associated with inappropriate relationships and offers solutions to make education a much safer place for all.

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I am available to assist faculty and students to discern where the boundaries are at this time of confusion on many fronts, between teachers and the pupils and athletes they are charged to teach, protect, and mentor in their classes, or on the fields.

Feel free to email me at erniezarraphd@aol.com, or post a comment here.  I will return messages.

Please click the following link, to read about the serious abuse issue occurring in the nation, but particularly Texas.  My work is quoted and I am referred to repeatedly, in the piece.

http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2016/09/13/texas-teacher-sexual-misconduct-cases-hit-time-high/

Bloomfield High School Class of 1973 Memorial Dedication Page

16 Sep

 

Bengals Forever:  A memorial tribute to those that have left us.

UPDATED:  September 2018

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Memories, the 1973 Bloomfield High School Yearbook

Cover designed by Patricia Anselmo Daly (’73)

Reaching

Desiring light but enveloping darkness

You search for the beauty

And the life

And the meaning.

~Colette Natalie Lisacchi (’73)

Gone, but never forgotten . . . 

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“No good work is done anywhere without aid from the Father of Lights.”

~C. S. Lewis

Poem for his Friends

So my friend you’re feelin’ down

Someone you once knew is gone

Farther than the longest mile

Gone without a word.

Life is a sacred gift

Taken back for no reason

Going faster than it came

leaving only a sigh.

How you doin’ friend we’re thinkin’ of you

Hold your head up in the morning sun

Look down upon us from wherever you may be

Your life hasn’t stopped, it’s just begun.

So your friends’ memories are never gone.

Sometimes lost but always found

And as time passes day by day

Sooner than you think you’ll meet again.

So my friend, don’t let it bring you down

He is better off then we are here.

So my friend, don’t let it bring you down

He is watching over us somewhere.

~Kenneth J. Brill (’73)

John Mitchell Adams

Mass to be Held Today for John Mitchell Adams.
A Mass will be held this morning for John Mitchell Adams, 18 son of Mr. and Mrs. Kelty Adams of 26 Olive
Street, at St. Anthony’s Church, Franklin Avenue, Belleville.  The youth was reported missing in heavy seas at Seaside Heights last Thursday, and presumed drowned. Marine police and Coast Guard boats searched through Sunday.  The accident occurred about 7:40 p.m. off of the Summer Street beach.  Mr. Adams and two other youths were on a raft which was upset by a wave. Mr. Adams was swept away but the two other youths managed to get to shore.  Born in Wyatt, MO., Mr. Adams moved with his family to Connecticut, then to East Orange and Bloomfield. John Adams attended Clifford Scott High School in East Orange for two years and Bloomfield High School for two years and was a member of the BHS graduating class of 1973.  He had been sworn into the Naval Reserves and was supposed to report for duty on 1. He planned to spend two weeks with friends at the shore first.  In addition to his parents, members of the youth’s family include two sisters, Mary Louise, 19 and Angela, 15 at home; his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Alphonse Condito of 91 Watsessing Avenue, and his paternal grandfather, John W. Adams of the Olive Street address.  Obituary; John Mitchell Adams.pdf.  See link below.

Phyllis (Angelo) Piccirillo

David Aspen

Patricia Caruso

Patrick Cervasio

Thomas W. Corcoran (Drama Club; Acting Club; Vice President; All-School Production; Student Prints; Photography Staff; Chess Club; Intramural Basketball; Intramural Volleyball; Camera Club)

Thomas W. Corcoran, on Monday, September 15, 2003, of Upper Montclair, NJ, husband of Patricia Barry Corcoran, father of Maureen, Leigh Ann, and Heather Corcoran, all of Upper Montclair, son of the late Charles andVirginia Corcoran, brother of Charles of Middlesex, also survived by 15 sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, as well as 23 nieces and nephews.  Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral from The O’BOYLE FUNERAL HOME, 309 Broad Street, Bloomfield, NJ, Friday at 9:00 am.  The funeral service will be held at Riverside Community Church, 50 Union Avenue, Nutley, at 10:30am. Internment Immaculate Conception Cemetery.  Friends may call Thursday 2-4 and 7-9 pm.  For those who wish, in lieu of flowers,contributions may be made to the Jennifer Swift Feldman Foundation, 60 Bellevue Avenue, Upper Montclair, NJ  07043, or the Riverside Community Church.

Kathy Dell’Osso

Michele Mary De Vito

Howard S. Dieterle (J.V. Baseball; Varsity Basketball; Intramural Volleyball)

John Dull

Timothy Dwyer

Stephen Figurelli

Karen E. Fleisher (Display Committee; Guidance Worker) 

Al R. Fleming

William F. Giammearse

Edward A. Gleason

Kevin Robert Greener (Library Council, Display Committee; Wrestling. Outdoor Track)

Maralyce “Molly” Henchey

Maralyce (Molly) Henchey of Montclair, N.J., died on Nov. 21, 2010, at Father Hudson House, Elizabeth, N.J. She was 55 years old. Relatives and friends are invited to a memorial service to celebrate her life on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 12 to 2 p.m. at Frank Halpin’s Brookdale Funeral Home, 1284 Broad St., Bloomfield, N.J. Maralyce was a 1976 graduate of Ramapo College with a degree in psychology. She was an avid gardener. Maralyce was the beloved daughter of the late Ann and William
Henchey; dear sister of Monica Ginsberg of Randolph, N.J., and Michael Henchey and Lawrence Henchey, both of Montclair, and loving aunt of Aaron and Ethan Ginsberg. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Father Hudson House, 111
Dehart Place, Elizabeth, N.J. 07202, in her memory.

Norajean Hughes (Home Economics Club; History Club)

Robert L. Juliano (Outdoor Track)

Joan Kabasakalian (German Club; National Honor Society)

Charles S. Karsh (Valedictorian; History Club; Creative Writing Club; Ecology Club; Treasurer; Key Club; National Honor Society)

Carol Lynn Koslosky (Football Program)

Paul Krie

Donald Robert Krentz (Intramural Basketball)

Joseph P. LaBadia (Varsity Football, Golf, Italian Club; Varsity “B” Club; Intramural basketball);  Birth Date:  11 June 1954; Death Date:  22 April 2005; Localities:  Big canoe, Pickens, Jasper, Georgia, 30143

Kathleen Ann Lataro (Home Economics Club)

Dorothy Ann Leggins

John Lloyd

Thomas James Madden

Daniel Peter McGrath

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Daniel McGrath Retired Bloomfield fireman Daniel McGrath, 61, of Longs, S.C., passed away on Aug. 7, 2016. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a celebration of his life at the O’Boyle Funeral Home, 309 Broad St., Bloomfield, N.J., on Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. Please express condolences at oboylefuneralhome.com. Born in Newark, N.J., Daniel lived in Bloomfield and the last eight years in Longs. He was a retired fireman in Bloomfield for 20 years. Daniel was the brother of Gerard, Terrance, and Susan.

Nancy E. McLaughlin (Home Economics Club; MEMORIES ’73; Literary Staff; Future Nurses of America; National Honor Society; Recording Secretary; Junior Red Cross Representative; Delegate to the Citizenship Institute; S. G. A.; Homeroom Representative)

Henry George Meininger

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Henry George Meininger USMC veteran and former Caldwell police lieutenant, 61 Henry George Meininger, 61, of Blairstown, N.J., for the past two years, formerly of West Milford, N.J., passed away Sept. 9, 2016, at Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, N.J. A visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m., today, Monday, Sept. 12, at Newbaker Funeral Home, 200 Route 94, Blairstown. A funeral service will take place at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, at the Free Evangelical Church, 11 Lambert Rd., Blairstown. Henry was born on Dec. 9, 1954, in Bloomfield, N.J., to John H. and Phyllis (Lawson) Meininger. He was a graduate of Bloomfield High School, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1974-1977. He retired as a police lieutenant of the Caldwell, N.J., police force, and later as accident investigator instructor. Henry attended the Free Evangelical Church in Blairstown, and was involved with the Solid Rock Day Camp in West Milford, N.J., where he was an instructor of archery and paintball. He is survived by his wife, Christine (Kongsberg) Meininger; three daughters, Anna Pascarella, Krista Dailey, and Amanda Meininger; three grandchildren, and a sister, Phyllis Bedotto. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Henry’s name to either The Solid Rock Day Camp, 37 Stevens Rd., West Milford, N.J. 07480 or the Shiloh Bible Camp, 753 Burnt Meadow Rd., Hewitt, N.J. 07421.

Gerald Oliveto

Richard Pelosi

Joseph Pezzino (Sophomore Football; Varsity Football; J. V. Baseball; Varsity Baseball)

Kathy Pologonia

John Puttorak

James “Jimmie” Quine

James Thomas Romanowski (Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Cross Country, Intramural Basketball)

Bernice J. Ryblewski (Art Club)

Alfred Michael Saia (Intramural Basketball and Volleyball)

Vincent Michael Salvatore (C. I. E.)

Armond Sasso (J. V. Basketball; Varsity Basketball; Varsity Baseball)

Richard A. Saunders

John Scalise (Camera Club; Homeroom Representative)

Thomas Phillip Scaringello

Marla Scott

Dennis Brian Slattery (Electronics Club; Homeroom Representative; Intramural basketball; Intramural Volleyball)

Richard Soper

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Richard Soper Loving father, son, brother Richard Soper died unexpectedly in his home in Bloomfield, N.J., on Nov. 21, 2016, from complications of cancer. A memorial will be held at First Presbyterian Church on the Green on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, with visitation at 1 p.m., followed by the service at 2 p.m. Arrangements are by Van Tassel Funeral Home, vantasselfuneralhome.com. Richard was a loving father, son and brother. He was a man of integrity who endured many challenges in his life. His gruff exterior masked a very loving heart. Richard was born in Bad Axe, Mich., on Nov. 15, 1955, to Ruth Louise (Emery) Soper and Ward Orin Soper. When the family moved back to Bloomfield, Richard was educated in the Bloomfield school system. In 1972 Richard was given an award for bravery when he rescued his maternal grandmother from a home fire. He married in his twenties and was blessed with beautiful daughters, Georgann and Annatalie Soper, whom he loved very much. After living in Florida for a few years, Richard returned to Bloomfield to take devoted care of his parents. He was a loyal employee of Terry Drugs, then Esquire Big and Tall, until his retirement a few years ago. Richard is survived by his mother, Ruth; daughters, Georgann and Annatalie, and sister, Cheryl. He was predeceased by his father, Ward; grandmother, Louise Emery, and brother and sister, Ward Arthur Soper and Sandra Louise Soper. Richard will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him very much.

Published in Star-Ledger on Dec. 2, 2016– See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?n=richard-soper&pid=182920150&fhid=17157#sthash.bYeJPcAK.dpuf

Theresa Spano (Pep Club; German Club; Future Teachers Club; Gym Club; S. G. A.; Dramatics Club; G. A. A.; Cheerleading Squad, Speedball; Basketball; Volleyball)

Terry Spano, Rockette and performing arts school founder, of Roseland, 53 Terry Spano, 53, of Roseland passed into eternal rest Thursday in Hackensack University Medical Center, after fighting a courageous battle for four yeares against ovarian cancer. Services will be conducted from the LaMonica Memorial Home, 145 E. Mount Pleasant Ave., Livingston, on Monday, Sept. 29, at 9a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church, Roseland. Interment will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover. Visitation is on Sunday form 1 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.  Terry was born in Newark, the daughter of the late Michael and Carmella Spano.  She was raised in Bloomfield and moved to Roseland in 1984. A 1973 graduate of Bloomfield Senior High School, Terry auditioned in her senior year and was accepted into the world famous Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. This began a 23-year career that took her all over the world. Terry began her love of dancing at four years of age as a student of the Perry and Keller Dance Studio in East Orange. At Radio City Music Hall, she danced with such famous stars as Liza Minelli, Peter Allen, Liberace, Ginger Rogers and Gwen Verdon. She also starred in the made-for-television movie ‘Legs’, the life of a Rockette, print ads for’I Love New York’, and the feature film, ‘Annie’. In 1988, Terry was chosen to be one of eight Rockettes to co-star with Chita Rivera on a world tour of the revival of the Broadway hit of Cole Porter’s ‘Can Can’. This 2 1/2 year tour took Terry around the U.S. and all over the world to London, Paris, Germany, Australia and for three months, Japan. Terry was a 30-year member of the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, Actors Equity and the Screen Actors Guild, voting every year for the Academy Awards. She retired from Radio City Music Hall in 1996 and became the founder and artistic director of the the Roseland School of Performing Arts, showcasing the development of young students in the area several times a year. Through these experiences, Terry gave others her courage to dream of a life in the performing arts. In June 2007, Terry was chosen Citizen of the Year by the Roseland Chapter of Unico National for her outstanding devotion and dedication to the Roseland community. She is survived by her husband of 28 years, John Higgins of Roseland; her brother, Michael Spano Jr. and his wife, Angela, and sons, Ryan, Gino and Michael, all of Roseland, and her many loving family members. In lieu of flowers, donations in Terry’s memory would be appreciated and can be sent to The Sisters of Saint Joseph, St. Joseph’s Villa, 110 W. Wissahickon Ave., Flourtown, Pa. 19031.

Richard Staub

Richard P. Staub, 54, passed away on Saturday, October 11, 2008. A memorial mass will be held on Saturday, October 25, 2008 at St. Mary’sChurch, 17 Msgr. Owens Pl., Nutley at 1:00 p.m. To send condolences and to sign the guestbook, please visit www.biondifuneralhome.com.  Mr. Staub, formerly from Bloomfield and Florida, currently lived in Nutley and was a butcher and meat manager for Pathmark and ShopRite. Richard is survived by his former wife Louise Staub and his beloved son Richard Ryan Staub. He is also survived by his brothers Joseph Staub; David Staub and his wife Karen; John Staub and his wife Lisa. Richard is also survived by his sisters Mary Hoover, Theresa Sheldon and her husband Gary; Peggy Caruso and her husband John. He is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews and life-long friends.  Arrangements by the Biondi Funeral Home of Nutley, NJ.

Linda Tibbetts

Vincent Henry Tucciarone

Edwin D. Whelpley (Electronics Club; Chips and Sparks Club)

Gail Wilks (Visovsky)

Robert William Williams (Outdoor Track)

Education Recommendations for Federal and State Agencies

7 May

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FEDERAL AND STATE AGENCIES*
The following list of fifteen recommendations is not exhaustive, but rather a starting point for federal and state level governments.  This list is provided to these bureaucracies as they consider future development and implementation of education programs that come packaged with national implications.
Recommendation #1: Transparency. Transparency would have provided the necessary debate and open sharing of costs, benefits, and public concerns.  Changing programs from one thing to something else should never been undertaken without open discussions. Understand that government does not know best, but that an honest and open government that lifts up people to the changes they view as best is a government of the people. Such a government works best.
Recommendation #2: Remain Politically Neutral. Remove the political aspects of agenda from partisanship and political maneuvering. Validate Americans, and not political parties.
Recommendation #3: Focus on Students First. Focus efforts to change education upon students and families, and not the types of jobs required for future corporate employers.
Recommendation #4: Consider the Arts, Music, and Trades. Consider how all the areas not included in Common Core standards can be incorporated.  After all, students in America are not students in Europe or Asia.
Recommendation #5: Place Less Emphasis on International Assessments.  Be wary of utilizing international assessments for the basis of changing entire systems of education in the United States.
Recommendation #6: Avoid a National Curriculum. Steer completely clear of any discussion of a nationalized curriculum, or a one-size-fits-all area of content. The United States is not Europe, and many foreign nations that have national curricula have lower academic performance than America.
Recommendation #7: Develop More Accurate Domestic Assessments.  Understand that assessments are not the picture of whole persons; they are snapshots and moments in time. Reliance on imperfect assessments does not tell the whole story about American education. Continue development of more and better domestic assessments.
Recommendation #8: Empower States to Step Up. Enable states to compete for federal grants to establish exciting and different programs that include trades, technology, and innovative careers geared toward the future.  Empower entrepreneurialism, beginning in elementary school.
Recommendation #9: Do Not Force All Students into a College Mold.  Understand not all students are college bound and that forcing students into a federal blueprint for education is perceived as control and not as freedom to choose.
Recommendation #10: Allow States to Structure Teacher Accountability.  Allow states to hold their own teachers accountable for education. Allow universities and colleges of education to ramp up their requirements to enter programs of teacher training. There should be no federal punishment for teachers struggling to finds ways to educate the masses in inner cities.
Recommendation #11: Provide Block Grants for Trade and Tech School Startups.  Support states with block grants, so high schools can partner with businesses and create jobs for those who wish to work in high school, as they train for a trade, or experiment with business start-ups online.
Recommendation #12: Attract the Best and Brightest to Teaching.  Mount a campaign to attract the best and brightest to colleges and universities to train to become teachers.  Focus on demand, not just supply. Find those called to teach and invest in their lives.
Recommendation #13: Cease Partisan Argumentation. Cease the side-taking and partisan bickering over the direction of education. Allow more local control of decisions on education. Enable states to work together to create regional hubs of excellence, so that regional certification can be added to state certification. In the process, focus attention on impoverished areas and bring communities and families together to brainstorm ways to move forward.
Recommendation #14: Be Proud of Our American Heritage.  No nation is perfect.  Do not be ashamed of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, as it provides a mooring to our purpose as a nation.  Students need a sense of purpose for their existence.  Not everything in American education should be about individuality. Common good should also be in the equation.
Recommendation #15: Recognize School Choice. Recognize that there are models of schools that meet the needs of families throughout the nation.  Support these families for their choices. Whether public schools, private schools, private religious schools, or homeschools, support all of them and encourage all models that parents deem best for their children.

 

*Excerpted from Ernest J. Zarra, III, The Wrong Direction for Today’s Schools:  The Impact of Common Core on American Education.  Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, pp. 260-262.

Coming Out . . . The Genius of It All

2 Mar

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A few years back, our school newspaper published an article titled, “Sexuality loses meaning as it becomes career booster.” The title, in-and-of-itself, was an oxymoron. The very thing that enhances careers is indeed meaningful. In fact, the claim of “sexuality” at all has become and “enigmatic enhancement” of the first order. How’s THAT for an oxymoron?

But semantics aside, titles are meant to catch people’s attention. What is it about today’s culture, anyway? Everyone seems to be defining themselves by their sexuality. The stars in the media always have to come across as sexy. Clothes have to be sexy. Food has to be sexy. Then there are mouthwashes, toothpastes, cars, whatever! Sex sells, I guess. Being sexy-gay, and metro-sexual also sell in today’s culture. Even Facebook has caved to the pressures of sexual expression, called by progressives as “gender identity.”

In that issue of the school newspaper, comments by students were printed in response to others, who have chosen alternative lifestyles. Isn’t everyone’s lifestyle an alternative one? Titles really do not define us, and neither do nicknames. What they do, though, is capture attention. Consequently, if a person favors traditional marriage, he or she is labeled “anti-homosexual,” or a homophobe.” Attention pushes emotions and thus, fads are born. High school campuses are replete with fads. Sex is just one more fad. However, fads based on sexuality are just a bit different, in that people seem to think their sex and gender are who they are.

The Genius of It All

Here is an example. If I call myself a genius, a born genius, and I am someone who joins up with groups of geniuses—and even begin to wear the “attire of the genius” groups, use the language of geniuses, etc.–I am perceived by these actions as a genius. But am I truly a genius? Would a genius seek to be one so desperately that he must come out as one and join a group?

Taking things even farther, I could even have participated in a community parade of geniuses and protested people of ordinary intelligence, calling them all hater of geniuses, if they dared to speak of the ordinary in ways that validated their ordinary intelligence. All things considered, do any of these actions mean I am a genius? Participation in the actions that some equate with lifestyle does not necessarily equate to the conclusion that I am a genius. I could bear the title of GENIUS and not be one. What is more, I could claim to have been born a genius, only to arrive later in life at the realization that I am quite an “ordinary genius.” Talk about oxymorons?

We live in a heightened state of sexual identity today, media-driven to be sure! How else would high schoolers—or anyone for that matter—know their sexuality, absent the practice? In my opinion, the titles we ascribe to our identities are not the real points of identification. Just like one’s beliefs, names are just that—NAMES. It is the actual, continued practice that defines us, in my opinion. Attraction is not the main issue. In the same way no one can claim to be a potato because of one’s regular cravings, attractions–and even addiction–for french fries, no one can say they are heterosexual or homosexual merely by attraction, or sexual lust. I’ll return to this conclusion a bit later. One thing is certain: We are all born sexual.

In case no one has paid attention yet, allow me to open a door and reveal this truth. We, the human race, are sexual creatures. Did you hear me? WE ARE SEXUAL. Why should we have to go around labeling ourselves by culturally-spotlighted titles? Why should heterosexuals and homosexuals have to somehow be certain that their sexuality is front-and-center? Think about it. Why do we have “sexuality clubs” on school campus? The Gay and Straight Alliance (GSA) is a club titled after sexual orientation and practice? Is being “straight” a belief or a practice? Or is it a world-view? Or better yet is it an inalienable right to be homosexual, found somewhere in Jefferson’s Declaration, or Locke’s Natural Rights?

Considering Teenagers

How do teens ever know what they are, unless they practice something long enough to know? Are high schoolers even oriented yet? Their brains and bodies are changing daily. Do we expect that teens WILL inevitably experiment with sexuality to discover their orientation? I hope not. That is quite dangerous. So, what purpose does a “sexual-titled” club have? I’d love to hear of the celibate homosexual–talk about the ultimate in doublespeak!!!

Any Google search will produce the answers to the questions just raised. There are places all over the nation popping up that base their identity on sexuality—as far down as middle and elementary schools. However, instead of going Google, many young people are going “Gaga.” Here is one such recent example:

The Youth Empowerment Summit (YES)

YES took place at Everett Middle School, just one of dozens of locations in the past few years. YES remains a FREE conference, sponsored by GSA Network for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, and straight ally youth dedicated to fostering safe schools and youth activism. The conference is open to all youth and allies, with a focus on middle school and high school. Adults and teachers are welcome. Under the guise of “bullying,” the homosexuality agenda has made its was into all the corners of our kids lives.

It is not a moot issue to ask why not have a BSC Club too (Bi-Sexual Curious club). What about a Transgender Club? Many GSAs include these other orientations and lifestyles as protectionary, for those choose to proclaim a different sexuality. If gays do not feel comfortable in places, based upon their sexuality, then bisexuals and transgenders will probably feel just as uncomfortable. Should all sexual expressions have their own club? I would like to know just what “alliance” is formed between students of different sexual expressions? What about the “teenagers with crushes on their teachers clubs”? I’ll stop there at the edge of absurdity.

Why can’t we just stick to clubs period, you know, those that enhance civic participation and not sexuality? Why does sexuality have to be the open door? I shudder to think that demonstrating sexual practice is somehow one’s civic duty. Does there have to be a heterosexual community service club and a homosexual service club? Could we ever envision a non-gender club? Hmmm. How about naming it the Interact Club, where everyone interacts? What about Rotary, or Lions Clubs?

What About the Celibates?

What I am pointing out in this article, and hopefully the reader is catching some of my sarcasm and facetious allusions, along the way, is that we are all sexual creatures– including celibates? Those folks are defined by their LACK of practice, or orientation. Are they born that way, or is it a choice? Do we have opportunities for them to be celibate, and are they offended by all of this intolerable sex-talk? Celibates are still male or female, therefore sexual. I would like to see the statistics on gay celibates–those who have never had sex before. I would enjoy a discussion to discover how celibates know they are gay. The norm never has to explain itself. It is pure silliness to think that just attraction and even physical lust makes one gay, yet these are the primary determinants of one’s “same-sex-ploration,” if you will, all pigeonholed by the phrase “born that way.”

We live in a society that is so afraid to discuss the gay-issue, for fear of being labeled a homophobe (fear of gays). Labels, Schmabels, Carling Black-Labels (Calm down; The latter is a beer). As a person, I dislike bashing of any kind. Bashing heterosexuals who speak out as activists against the gay-lifestyle, with labels of bigotry, is as bad as heterosexuals who bashing gays at every opportunity. I agree with my colleagues that bashing and sexual slurs have to stop. But, I will go one further. Defining oneself by their sexuality invites polarization, and that also has to stop, unless we are going to allow additional marginalization of Americans with whom they choose to love and with whom to have sex. I call that form of identification quite shallow. But we live in a culture of labels and shallowness, and it is as if people are so uncontrolled in their desires they cannot help themselves and have little choice in their actions. Additional labels are assigned when one finds heterosexuality, and comes out of the homosexual lifestyle. It seems that with sex, you can’t have it “both ways.”

Lost and Found?

Anyone who comes out of the closet to admit their sexuality is somehow viewed as a person who has found himself, or herself. When were they lost? Many gay-adults are people who had opposite-sex spouses and families, children, and were involved in mainstream American life and living. Suddenly some of these folks walk away from marriages, many of their responsibilities, and those they reared, in order to pursue themselves? That is quite the height of selfishness, if you ask me–another hallmark of the current culture.

Do I have to admit to being a heterosexual for the world to accept me? Am I intolerant if I have different set of beliefs about sexuality? Not at all in either case.

New Civil Rights?

I have heard it said that the gay rights issue of today is a new “race” issue, like unto what the blacks faced in earlier decades. I think that argument is a red herring. No one I know has chosen to leave the Asian, Black, or Caucasian races to join another. Slaves were property with no rights, no freedom of speech, etc. Gays have all of these constitutional rights and more, depending on the state–where the Constitution grants everyone the same basic rights. Your skin color and DNA are what they are. If just one person leaves homosexuality and lives a heterosexual life, then there goes the ALL GAYS ARE BORN THAT WAY.

If a person uses race as analogous to sexuality, in order to define or identify oneself, then a coming out of one race to realize he or she is not truly that race, would suffice. Many of us have heard about, or know gays and straights, that have chosen another lifestyle. Trust me on this. There is nothing Eminem, Madonna, or JT can do to be Timbaland, “no matta how day dress wiff dare cloves.” I know we are “One Nation,” but don’t ask the aforementioned to “Apologize” for their own identities. They did NOT choose them. I reiterate, if just one gay or straight has chosen the alternate lifestyle, then the “birth” argument needs to be reexamined. And believe me, it does need to be reexamined. There are many reasons for “being” homosexual, departing from the norm. Maybe I have it wrong. Maybe we are all born homosexual, and because of abuse, social conditioning, or gender identity maturity, we just come out as heterosexual–even though we say nothing about it. Are you shaking your head yet?

Today we have gay sports teams being sued by bisexual players for sexual discrimination. Homosexuals are demanding that marriage is a right, when it is clearly NOT a right. Government might grant a legal right, but it can never be “right.” Gays in Texas want to divorce there, even when they were not married in that state. They’ll try anything to get a state to recognize marriage. If states against gay-marriage grant divorces from OTHER states’ marriages, then they (1) would have to recognize the marriage for a divorce to be granted, and (2) “the full faith and credit clause” would be implied, opening the door to federal decisions to bring the “doctrine of incorporation” into the mix. Having said that, it is just a matter of time before homosexual marriage (notice, I did not say same-sex marriage) is brought to the Supreme Court. The trend is that soon, homosexual marriage will be a legally done deal, and incorporated into all 50 states. Then it will be like abortion–forever an issue that will raise anger and disgust for many.

Radicalism

We have proms being cancelled because lesbians and gay teenagers want to make it a point to being same-sex dates. Things are so out of control that there is little sense anymore. It’s all about the individual and not the common good. Soon there will be heterosexual proms, homosexual proms, bisexual proms, transgender proms, etc. There are already proms and graduation parties designated by race and ethnicity. I am starting to see some reasons why some Muslims of the radical sects want to destroy the western world. But they don’t have to do it. We are doing it to ourselves.

In closing, I reiterate, we are all born sexual, for that is what being male and female imply when you check the gender box. I know it is popular today for people to define gender and sex different ways. Expressing that reality with sexual practice, or not expressing that is mostly about one’s choice. Without the practice, who knows? We all have our feelings and passions. How does anyone really know what his preferences are, when they are based in experimentation? I would not trust a teenage mind to make a lifelong determination about sexuality.

Teenagers and Life-Altering Decisions

I would hate to define anybody by their feelings and passions—especially high-schoolers–whose brains and bodies are changing every day. Here’s the bottom line. Am I against gays, or somehow a homophobe? Nope. That would be silly. I can easily separate issues from people. What I am against is this notion that somehow we must accept that everyone’s individuality who is either born gay, straight, whatever–over and against the vast majority of others. I am against a group hijacking sexuality and calling those who speak out, all sorts of names. It is classical republicanism versus individual rights all over again. Common good for the majority, versus the individuality expression of one, or a group. This is a good struggle to have in a democracy, as long as the struggle is not enjoined by haters using media and politics to ruin dissenters.

Coming out of the closet is a choice. I repeat, coming out in a “choice.” So too, is coming out of, and entering a lifestyle. No one is so compelled and driven to practice a lifestyle, unless there are issues of abuse, self-control, or some other sociological or personal concerns, such as addictions. Does this mean that out of all homosexuals, NONE are born that way? Probably not. However, no one has discovered the “gay gene,” yet. But does that mean all are born as such? I would reject that notion, because humans are not so bound that they cannot un-choose, make new choices, or choose not to choose, at all.

Speaking of such concerns, I want to go on record and come out and state that I am a “caffeinexual.” I have been hiding this fact and been cavorting with tea drinkers. People think I actually am a “tea-drinker.” I feel highly empowered, after having written this piece. I also feel like a parade is “brewing.” Coffee drinkers unite! We are all born this way. I can now check the gender box as a caffeinexual. But I can both ways, honestly–and I have! Coffee or tea? I am attracted to both, depending on my moods and the days of the week. Come and join me in my classroom any morning in my new Coffee-Tea-Alliance, to celebrate my “phreshness,” as long as you have “grounds” to do so.

Attention Educators!

20 Apr

Front Cover

Front Cover

We have a national epidemic on our hands!

http://www.amazon.com/Teacher-Student-Relationships-Crossing-Emotional-Physical/dp/1475802366/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1366476640&sr=8-1″ title=”Teacher-Student Relationships: Crossing Into the Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Realms” target=”_blank”>

The Lead-Filled Laptop

10 Feb

Hello reader.  Just a warning before you scroll through the following blog post.

No doubt you have seen the video, where a supposed father reads his daughter’s Facebook post to the camera.  You know the one, where he and his teenage offspring are battling with words, after which the father uses her Facebook page to slam her. Why does this happen?  Supposedly the answer is in her first swearing about her parents and calling them names on her private Facebook page, all because they expect her to do unfair chores.

WARNING:  THIS IS NOT GOING TO APPEASE THOSE WHO THINK THE FATHER IS A HERO! 

Right up front, I think the daughter is a mess and the father is a jackass, and the whole lot is beyond dysfunction.  They are all rebellious and acting juvenile.

Now that that is out-of-the-way, let me move on.

In this blog I intend to address issues which include parenting, bullying, violence and vices, and the differences between teenagers acting like punks and adults acting like teenagers.

I have seen the video in question several times now.  I have read many comments posted by viewers.  Side-takers abound.  The video has gone viral and some are calling the man a hero, and even “father of the year.”  If he is father of the year, then Alec Baldwin is Shirley Temple.

So, with all of this, I thought I would toss my comments into the ring, given the fact that I work with teenagers every day in my profession.  So, here goes.

PARENTING

It does not take a rocket scientist to draw the conclusion that there is major conflict in the home of the teenager in question.  I contend that the biological father’s divorce from the daughter’s mother caused a rift some time ago.  But I cannot be certain about this.  I do know that whomever is supposed to be rearing the teenage girl is sorely missing the mark.  There is no respect for either the stepmother or the father, and there is no respect toward the daughter by them, in return.  What has apparently gone on is the purchasing of things to spoil even further a teenager with no respect for the gift-givers.  So, taking violently extreme measures as a parent was felt as the last resort.  This is not heroic.  This is “dangerous.”

The father earns an “F” grade as protector of the family.

OVERKILL

Destroying property, when the Internet was the issue was overkill.  Shooting and “killing” a computer as a point to be made is overkill.  A normal person would have seen a long time ago that taking away the Internet–and the cell phone–and keeping them away–would have been the solution.  Hey dad, who bought the computer for the “spoiled” brat daughter?  You did, dad.  Who was it that allowed a teenager to have a Facebook account in your house?  You did, dad.  Who gave her a smart phone?  You did, dad.

No real parent takes his gun and shoots up the very technology he spent $150 on just a day before.  This action was not the action of a balanced father.  Of course, it is clear the father was acting in anger.  If he is to be believed, then he had threatened to use the gun before and shoot up the computer, t least on another occasion.  Only God knows what else he threatened to destroy with his weapon.

There are good chances that the father is an overkill kind of man, seeking revenge and payback–and all of this upon a teenage girl.  Umm, dad, I have news for you.  Your daughter has friends and you cannot go around shooting up all of their computers now that they have labeled you a sicko!  Anyone can use a weapon, but it takes a man–a REAL man, to admit to his teenager that he is wrong and wants to work things out with her.

PROFANITY

Language being one of your major concerns, pops, I see where your daughter gets her profanity.  You do not strike me as a man who intends to live by what he says.  Rather, you seem to be the “Do as I say, not as I do,” kind of person.  You posted your video critiquing her letter, with both your own profanity and hers, yet you claim she is in the wrong for all of her cursing.  Hey dad, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Two wrongs do not make a right.  Maybe if you put down the cigarette instead of your daughter, once-in-a-while, and have your second wife be a bit more relational and understanding in love, then something might be accomplished in your home.  Stop taking sides and show some love, pops!

Your behavior as an adult and your lack of parenting skills leave me no alternative that to give you the grade of an “F” as the father. 

BULLYING

So, let me get this straight.  The father invades the privacy of his daughter online, just because he was stealthily able to gain access.  Wouldn’t it have been better to sit with her and look her in the eye, while viewing Facebook together?  It seems he was just looking for an opportunity to go nuclear over an issue online, with the full support of the second wife.  Next, the father discovers the posting, prints it out, and reads it on in a video recording.  How did he first come to know that the posting existed on her private page, without invading her online privacy?

Next in the sequence, he takes out a gun and proceeds to pump someone’s computer full of lead.  We really do not know yet whether that was her computer, or a dummy.  But let’s assume it was her computer.  I can see the daughter’s face when she gets a text alert via her cell phone Facebook application.  When she sees the video posted by her father, she goes ballistic.  I bet her friends can’t wait for the next sleepover.  I would like to be a fly on the way in the school principal’s office, the homes of the girl’s friends, and at the police station, once all these entities gain the knowledge and see for themselves how wacko the father truly is.

The daughter can easily post from her friends’ pages, access her homepage from a friend’s computer, or even from her phone.  She can open a new page and continue the disrespect.

  • So, what is the father trying to accomplish?
  • Why shoot the computer?
  • Why the threats earlier about shooting the computer?
  • And what as the reason to act like a 15-year-old and post the video on his daughter’s Facebook page?

I contend the father is a bully and he is a power-monger, which is precisely part of the reason the daughter lashed out online to begin with.  If the father was angry about her lashing out before, just wait until the hormones line up on this new line of exasperation.

At 15, I’d be afraid if my parent shot something given to me, posted it on the Internet for all to see–including ANYONE on my homepage.  I’d be fearful about going home.  Such extreme actions are meant as overkill and an in-your-face act as payback.  Adults who resort to such actions have lost control of themselves and take it out on their rebellious teenagers.

For the act of shooting a computer to make a violent point, and posting his violent act on his teenager’s page–the father is a bully and earns an “F” grade.

USE OF VIOLENCE WITH PROFANITY

I do hope someone checks on the ordinances in the father’s locale to determine whether he violated the law by discharging a weapon.  If he did, it is a crime.  If he has no license for the weapon, then that also is a crime.  Let me ask the reader, what crime did the teenager commit?  None that I can see.  The father was embarrassed, so he played big-man and shoots a computer.  That’s just plain childish.  And he empties all the rounds into the computer, all while making certain to “give one for the mom?”  Juvenile father rearing a teenager is what I see.

For his use of violence and profanity the father earns an “F.”

VICES

Did anyone check to see whether the father had been drinking prior to his immature and dangerous behaviors?  It is obvious that he has at least one vice.  He was so nervous that his buddy, the cigarette, was gripped tightly by his fingers on his right hand.  I would not be surprised if daddy-o has some beer on a table somewhere nearby.  I would also like to know if he has a problem with any other substances, aside from tobacco.  If so, this makes his gun usage ever more concerning.  All I know is that if I was a neighbor and saw a man shooting something in the neighborhood backyard, I’d call the police.  The typical family with teenagers deal with rebellion and disregard of family rules all the time.  I would not be surprised if the daughter smokes, drinks, does some types of drugs, as teens sometimes do.

Given the modeling and poor parenting seen in this video, the father has to accept some of the blame for the way his daughter is turning out, much as I accept some of the blame for the ways my kids turn out.  Parents actually do accept responsibility.

TEENAGERS

I have been working with teenagers for over 25 years.  I won’t provide my resume to bore you.  Suffice to say, my wife and I reared two of our own, each with unique struggles and concerns of their own.  We exacerbated some issues and behaviors, and our teenagers made their own choices to do the same.  All that being said, “relationships” with teens in rebellion are not based in heavy-handedness.  That only pushes them away farther.  Raising teenagers is a real challenge, made even a greater concern by parents just giving their kids things and not modeling he behaviors they expect from them.

Teenagers must respect themselves, their families, and the goods they are given as part of the family.  The old adage is true:  “You really do not appreciate things you are given, unless you have worked for them.”  The daughter is a spoiled brat and does not work.  But how many 15-year-olds work?  She does not do her chores.  So, as an impulse, she decides to overkill on Facebook.  I wonder where she learned to do that?  Although I cannot prove it, I do this is not the first time the father has resorted to extreme measures to try to corral his daughter.  Over time, the truth will come out.

All in all, the father took what the daughter did–and she was wrong in what she did–and made it worse by stepping down to her level.   The teenager acted like a punk and the father acted like a teenager.

This raises a lot of other issues beside family and parenting.  Because of this, I am pleading with the father to put down the cigarettes, take off the cowboy hat, lock up the weapons, and get off his high horse.  You all need serious counseling.  Bring the mother and step-mother with you, if they can stop fighting long enough to see the needs of the teenager.  Heaven help them if there are more teenagers to follow.  I just hope this family does no become a statistic, all while side-taking people applaud the father and encourage the daughter.

Art or Science?

16 May

Sitting here having coffee and running a few things through my head.

If teaching is a gift, and art form, why then are we seeking to quantify the qualitative aspects associated with this art?  Can we understand how to paint better by analyzing the colors on the canvas?  Can we understand what it takes to be an artist, by dissecting each stroke used by the artist?  Are educators made better by meeting with others who are painters, merely to describe what we can do to get better paintings?  The creation of a common canvas does little for the deep and passionate gift that lies within.  This gift is best expressed by merely painting.

When the artist is able to use his or her creativity, there is often no explanation; Things just happen.  Following a specific set of protocols minimizes creativity.  Likewise, quantifying this creative process and then standardizing and commonly formalizing what is a gift, equates to gathering artists and seeking to replicate similar results on canvas.

Psychometricians want to measure apples and oranges and place giftedness into numbers, so as to justify methodology.  Education is now akin to “painting by numbers,” while calling those in the profession “artists.”  Educators whose cognitive bent is to acquiesce to this form of reductio absurdum miss the real place whereby education occurs.

Education is not in the numbers; It is in the brain where context and learning occur.  A student learns despite the ability to give back what is learned.  The forming of context occurs differently for all of us.  Some take longer than others to frame schemata and add to it the newer concepts formed, or knowledge gained.

Since we are all unique, and our brains contextualize very differently, there is no one format and style of teaching that fits all.  Neither is there one test that is common to all learning, and learning styles.

In a real world, all students would test according to their learning styles.  Good luck with that.  This would require students to be assessed, in terms on a common formative assessment given across 400 students of all levels, male and female, auditory and visual, communicative, gregarious, and shy, etc.

We need to end the hyper-scientizing of education and celebrate the giftedness of both teachers and students.  There is a reason the scientizing comes from the top-down, administratively.  Most administrators are numbers people and have drunk the Kool-Aid served by other administrators at the District level.

Measuring student learning with a series of short assessments after a lesson is an attempt to secure something in return, from students, that may very well be in their working memories to some extent.  The real test is tomorrow, or next week.  Did that learning stick and transfer to another context?  Unfortunately this measure is not completed best by a multiple choice “bubble” test.  Measuring qualitative giftedness is done best by student’s expressing their “own” learning.

In closing, I think we all know that bureaucrats have assembled a list of standards that students are to master at all levels, to a large degree.  One one level, it makes sense for students to “learn this and be tested on this.”  That is the mathematical approach.  However, on many other levels, we must ask ourselves whether bureaucrats know best what best prepares our students for the real 21st century world they face?

Should not those with the gift be the ones setting the course?  Instead of analyzing “red,” may we allow those of us who understand how red, blue, yellow, green, and other colors best fit on a canvas, as well as what strokes work best on any given surface?

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