Is Willful Ignorance Ruling Our Children?

by Oletta Branstiter

“What’s wrong with kids nowadays?”

This question is not just for old fogeys anymore.

Educators of all ages are admitting that misbehaving students and the lack of administrative support are making their jobs unsustainable.

Daryl Deino reports that,

“Those who haven’t experienced what it’s like to be inside the public education system may think I’m talking about extremes that usually don’t occur. They don’t understand that many teachers who complain about the lack of support from their administrators on behavior problems find themselves in professional trouble, even if the punishment is disguised as something else. Most teachers don’t have control over their classrooms anymore, and a third of teachers quit their profession within five years while citing lack of support as a major issue.” After sharing several anecdotes of teachers suffering abuse from students compounded by unsupportive administrators, Deino adds, “Where are the parents in all these situations? There have always been parents who refuse to take responsibility for their children, but these parents have been given power in the public education system over the past 20 years or so.”

In the not-too-distant past, children who got in trouble at school knew they were facing even worse punishment at home once their parents were notified of the misbehavior. “Wait till your father gets home” has been replaced with “That’s not my problem. I’ll let the school handle it.”

Children used to have respect for their elders. Today, when students who lack self-control and respect for authority turn the classroom into chaos, sabotaging the learning process, teachers are afraid of the response of the administrators. The administrators are afraid of the Superintendent. The Superintendent is afraid of the school board. The school board is afraid of the parents. And the parents are afraid of their children.

Willful ignorance of parents who abrogate their responsibility to teach their children self-control and respect for authority has undermined many classrooms. Children are not only cheated out of educational opportunities but traumatized by the uncontrollable behavior and demeanor of disrespectful peers and frustrating despair of their teachers.

Willful ignorance is evident in education administration that pretends that limiting disciplinary measures to positive reinforcement only, eliminating all unpleasant consequences because of fear of parental reaction, will yield productive results.

These misguided efforts are crippling the next generation. There’s no more compelling evidence than a recent commencement ceremony. Newly appointed Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was invited to address the graduates of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida on May 10.

The willful ignorance of the students and the university administrators resulted in the embarrassing debacle that followed. Instead of demonstrating a modicum of respect afforded between adults in a public setting, these new “graduates” booed and protested the entire speech delivered by Ms. DeVos. They didn’t hear her message that expressed regret that the education system in our nation had disserved minorities because of lack of school choice. No, this was drowned out by their heckling because their parents and educators had succeeded in creating undisciplined victims.

Instead of doing their own research on the new Secretary of Education, then filtering those facts through their own principles and making informed opinions, these students were trained to merely react emotionally in accord with years of indoctrination. Children and young adults are not stupid, however. Subconsciously, they know they are being denied true education and sovereign empowerment. Willful ignorance manifests in willful disobedience.

The problem has been identified. What is the remedy?

First, we must reject the willfully ignorant conclusion that Education is an unalienable right. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are inherent to humanity. These rights enable and empower self-motivation toward self-improvement.

Let’s reclassify Education as a privilege, not a right. Compulsory education laws have merely enabled parents to shift nearly all responsibility of raising their children to the State.

Until we redefine Education, schools must fully accept the responsibility of raising the next generation. Instead of merely coping with the epidemic of undisciplined students, schools must incorporate character education into every subject, for every year of schooling, making it a priority over academics. Institutionalizing our children will require a penal system of punishment to protect the other inmates from dangers presented by those who are not fully compliant.

As a society, educators either need to willfully ignore the consequences of parental neglect or fully embrace their roles as surrogate parents who are tasked with raising all future generations.

Of course, once we acknowledge and accept that the State is fully responsible all children, they will be fully obligated to a lifetime under its authority.

It may be easier to let others raise our children, but is it worth the cost of their liberty?

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