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Life Skills Support Teacher

Like me, you are old enough

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Like me, you are old enough to remember that special generation that raised us and the ones who preceded it dating back to the 19th century. The men leading society throughout those times thought entirely in absolute right and wrong with firm moral convictions.

I cannot see how the present fashion of entertaining gray areas has made for a stronger America. if anything, moral ambiguity has weakened it. Witness America's gradual slide from its position as the world's primary superpower, when right and wrong wasn't subject to debate. Now we have been reduced to same level as lesser cultures and societies in the spirit of some farcical "one world" collectivist notion.

I believe in American exceptionalism and sadly, too many teachers veer toward the revisionist view of our nation and emphasize the negative instead of the positive.

There is one moral virtue that seems to be lost among many Americans who hold these views, a moral virtue that used to be standard issue in any teacher's playbook, and that's showing gratitude for what we have been given.

And by the way, for those who forget, the Constitution was not composed with the idea that anyone's personal safety or personal prosperity was to be guaranteed as an entitlement.

Teacher and Educational Journalist

M.A.

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I agree with you that students should be educated in a full understanding of the Second Amendment. I think that needs to be done, as with all issues in social studies, with as little bias as possible on the part of the teacher.

I tend not to see issues in terms of this vs. that, two sides.
The careful examination of both freedom, the complexity of issues related to freedom, freedom as related to responsibility, and the complexity related to insuring safety for all citizens, is very important.
My primary goal as an educator is to make sure students understand the complexity of issues and the difficult challenges of finding the best solutions.
When it comes to the use of weapons and control of weapon access, an emotionally loaded issue, it is especially important that this process be exactly as I describe it.
There are no easy "right" answers and heavily value laden "absolutely RIGHT" answers from either the left or the right, are counterproductive and become part of the problem.

Clearly this is something very important to you and I appreciate your willingness to engage on the issue. I hope you can also truly hear my point of view, as I have heard yours.

Life Skills Support Teacher

The temptation to throw money

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The temptation to throw money at a problem is always at the forefront of social engineering. Despite the evidence that doing so is more likely a guarantee for failure, some people still insist on it being the "right thing to do."

As one who lives and works among at-risk populations, I can attest to the likelihood of failure of spending more money to solve social problems. Handing out money is too easy. What has to be done is far more difficult and quite frankly, most of those in power do not want to take on the more difficult path, because doing so would possibly jeopardize their respective power bases.

Politics is all about accumulating and maintaining power, no matter which side of the aisle one sits.

You can't simply offer someone more money to do a lower skilled job unless they have been taught proper values and personal accountability. You can't simply offer someone more money for a lower skilled job if they have undiagnosed or untreated mental or behavioral impairments that hinder their ability to be personally accountable.

I would estimate the 90% of all at-risk youth I have worked with fall into the latter category

An at-risk child cannot be taught proper values and personal accountability if the school has no cooperation from the home. An at-risk child cannot be raised properly without responsible mother and father figures serving a constant presence in their life. Unfortunately, at-risk kids with mental impairments are often the offspring of parents with mental impairments to some degree. This is where substance abuse rears its poisonous and destructive head. If no cooperation between schools and homes exist, the at-risk child faces a bleak future. Schools and therapists cannot do it alone.

Restore an intact family unit and provide better treatment for mental health. I know this suggestion is considered antiquated in certain secular circles and among statists, but I've had the vocal support of many urban leaders who agree with my contention that faith-based organizations must provide a necessary a core moral anchor in at-risk communities.

I don't believe the Newtown

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I don't believe the Newtown event is a teachable moment for K-5 kids. As a parent or a teacher, if you are thrust into a conversation because the story was overheard on the news, it is very hard to communicate something like that to kids when it is seemingly incomprehensible to adults.

When I grew up in the 60's there were three assassinations of beloved American leaders; namely, the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King Jr.. As adults, we are still having discussions and books written about these violent acts in our society using these assassinations as the background. Our incessant desire to go to war expresses both personal and national violence that is often incomprehensible to ourselves. To talk about these things intelligently requires some knowledge, but a lot more life experience.

To talk about 'freedom' to a child who actually lives the meaning of freedom and hasn't made it into an adult ideology is rather meaningless. I agree with the educator that understands talking about teachers handling guns in classrooms is to put an end to the whole point of public education. If that is the end result of these tragedies then it will eventually eliminate public education and force our society back to homeschooling as the only safe option for educating our children. Even private schools who can hire expensive security systems would never be safe in a school that is known to have armed guards and armed teachers.

Right now the high schools that have an armed guard or policeman in the school seems to be a set-up for finding out who are the potential kids for going to prison. The answer to keeping kids out of prison is solved by providing a living wage for them when they get out of school. Anything short of that goal ends up being contaminated by cynicism and failure.

Life Skills Support Teacher

Mark: As I read your original

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Mark: As I read your original post, I understood how you wish to teach students to distinguish facts from disinformation, as they are framed by arguments or debates by the MSM (mainstream media).

I believe teachers, as much as kids, need to be educated in this matter as well. They, like many in the MSM, don't even seem to understand what the Second Amendment means.

Without a complete understanding of that , any other discussion about Newtown will be incomplete.

It's a freedoms vs. safety issue. I am sure you can see that.

Teacher and Educational Journalist

Mr. Hauck

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I think you illustrate my point by using this forum for a highly biased argument that reflects the emotionally driven debate.

Your comments are certainly acceptable as part of the ongoing debate, but really don't belong in this forum.

Mark

Life Skills Support Teacher

Wow, Mark, you missed the

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Wow, Mark, you missed the most glaring fabrication about the whole massacre, the very one that's been compelling the MSM and many legislators to attack our Second Amendment freedoms ... that NO assault weapons were used in the massacre as originally reported. The entire post-Newtown controversy is focused on banning assault weapons, a cause that's been on-going for years.

Perhaps we should be teaching our kids about how our Constitutional freedoms are slowly being eroded in the name of "security." Remind them of the famous phrase about the folly of trading freedom for security. But no, teachers generally don't do that, because the very idea of holding a weapon in their hand is akin to handling radioactive waste.

Our Second Amendment was put in place for a reason-- to allow the populace to defend themselves against a cruel and tyrannical government. When reports surface about how the government is buying up as much weaponry and ordnance as the populace, then what does that tell you? Citizens will only tolerate so much until they revolt, an outcome Constitutionally provided for by our very wise Founding Fathers.

We should also be teaching our kids that this gun violence issue is mostly centered in urban areas. Gun owners in rural areas are NOT the problem.

You know as well as I that teaching that view is considered non-PC in certain quarters.

Teacher and Educational Journalist

For what ages?

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I'm not surprised Nicholas, though that information is still disconcerting.
I'm not an expert on the developmental readiness of elementary school age children. But what we should all know is that kids as young as five years old are being exposed to all of this via media access anyway. So we can choose whether to help them make sense out of what they are seeing and hearing or try to keep them from access to the information (inevitably a losing battle) or just be in denial that they do know anything about it and keep trying to protect them.

So I guess my own instinct is that we should even be dealing with this with 1st graders, although HOW we teach about it should be appropriate to the readiness of the children.

One other important point. It may be as much a question of how much the instruction should relate to the age of the child and how much it should relate to the degree of access they have to both television and the internet.

Thanks for raising this important question Nicholas.

Mark

UK Graduate Student and K-12 Physical Education Teacher from Lexington, KY

Appropriate for all Ages?

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I have talked with other educators within my county and abroad and have determined that although this tragedy does provide a great opportunity to instruct on many things, including media and mental health, that the response most districts used was not to talk about it with students at all; especially elementary school students. I except that you don't have to relate your instruction to this particular event, but relating instruction to current events does cause it to hit home with students. So my question is, at what age do you think it is acceptable to use this "teachable moment" in history and openly discuss this type of situation with students?

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