January 1, 2021

"Instead of receiving applause and purple hearts for the resurgence of a school, you find yourself maligned by a few feebleminded creeps."

Said Joe Clark, quoted in "Joe Clark, Tough Principal at New Jersey High School, Dies at 82/Bullhorn in hand, he roamed the hallways as he imposed discipline, expelling 'miscreants' and restoring order. Morgan Freeman portrayed him in the film 'Lean on Me'" (NYT). 
When Mr. Clark, a former Army drill sergeant, arrived at Eastside High School in Paterson in 1982, he declared it a “caldron of violence.” He expelled 300 students for disciplinary problems in his first week.  When he tossed out — “expurgated,” as he put it — about 60 more students five years later, he called them “leeches, miscreants and hoodlums.”...

Mr. Clark, who oversaw a poor, largely Black and Hispanic student body, denounced affirmative action and welfare policies and “hocus-pocus liberals.” When “60 Minutes” profiled him in 1988, he told the correspondent Harry Reasoner: “Because we were slaves does not mean that you’ve got to be hoodlums and thugs and knock people in the head and rob people and rape people. No, I cannot accept that. And I make no more alibis for Blacks. I simply say work hard for what you want.”

I'm surprised that the NYT allows comments. Comments on an obituary? I don't think that's the norm. But I can see why they wanted comments here, and I appreciate it. The film — which I've never seen — is remembered fondly by many people, and of course, the love for Morgan Freeman is lavish. But everything I'm reading in the obituary strikes me today as so archaic. Anyone talking like that today... it's hard to picture!

Here's the top-rated comment: 

I am a teacher in a fairly diverse community, and I can see how some of his policies are problematic. However, the movement, led by postmodernists, to remove academic and behavioral accountability in the name of equity has been nothing short of an epic disaster for children. 

There's also this:

111 comments:

David Begley said...

In the minds of liberals, Joe Clark was a racist. To the NYT, he deserves to be excoriated even in death.

CWJ said...

So much progress!

daskol said...

It's as though grumpy old experienced farts tend to know stuff, more stuff than credentialed virtue-signaling apparatchiks of the orthodoxy.

David Begley said...

Here’s my new favorite liberal phrase: No evidence.

“There is no evidence that his tactics were effective. They just so happen to be revered because they reflect the way the many racist Americans think about how minorities ought to behave to get ahead in society, ignoring structural issues.”

Shouting Thomas said...

So, we are called to begin 2021 worrying about blacks.

No... I won’t.

Blacks can take care of themselves.

I’m gonna take care of myself and my family.

jaydub said...

After digesting reader comments in the NYT I always drop acid to clear my mind.

Jeff Vader said...

It writes from Ithaca, they were woke long before it was trendy

mockturtle said...

In a similar, somewhat gentler manner, was Sidney Poitier's role in To Sir With Love. Having had both strict and lenient teachers in HS, I can recall that the strict teachers were respected and the lax ones were held in derision. Kids seem to instinctively know that they need boundaries.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"There is no evidence that his tactics were effective."

Says somebody who has never attended a school where acts of violence are a daily occurrence. Also, I'm betting that person, if they have kids, aren't sending them to inner-city schools.

Browndog said...

Why am I thinking of To Sir, With Love?

Sebastian said...

"work hard for what you want"

The problem is that even when you work hard, you may not get what you want. And in America, when blacks work hard, they may still not get as much of what they want as whites, outside the few areas where black talent prevails. Since disparities can always be attributed to "racism," hence a form of "injustice," the Clark line loses.

holdfast said...

Yeah, it is impossible to imagine anyone talking like that today.

And that’s why we are all completely fucked.

Quayle said...

“ There is no evidence...”

Wow, zero? Not one piece of evidence? Let’s all wake up to newspeak that is nonsensical.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"They just so happen to be revered because they reflect the way the many racist Americans think about how minorities ought to behave to get ahead in society, ignoring structural issues.”

Structural issues aside, shouldn't you try to get a good education?

Kevin said...

-Wow, zero? Not one piece of evidence? Let’s all wake up to newspeak that is nonsensical.

Anything brought forward has been “debunked”.

Nothing inconvenient to see here

Breezy said...

Not getting what you want after working hard for it does not just happen to minorities. Exactly when does one quit trying, or make other choices along the way once you’ve seen unexpected aspects of “what you want”? Life’s choices are dynamic.

Eleanor said...

Schools today are models for "the soft bigotry of low expectations". Joe Clark had high expectations for his students. He couldn't survive teaching today.

iowan2 said...

Kids seem to instinctively know that they need boundaries.

This something we learned as parents. Guided by our parents. I would have to guess that 'parenting' books aren't centered on this simple concept.
It is not to say the kids don't test the boundaries dozens of times a day.

But those known, and reinforced boundaries do foster a calmer more compliant kid.

Leland said...

Old guy memorialized in a movie - “Work hard for what you want.”
NYT reader, probably uses Tiktok - “ That’s an attitude for a different era.”

Welcome to 2021. Happy New Year!

Temujin said...

Joe Clark was at the front line of the early battles. He was right, and should always be honored for what he had the courage to do.

I know that some (many?) think that people like me who see what's going on as nothing less than the destruction of our society, and Western Civilization are crazy, but I see it clearly. And I saw it coming from our schools years ago. I saw it in the high school kids coming in to apply for jobs at my business and how their ability to write, or interact with adults was changing- for the worse. And since I first started noticing it- back in 1987- it has continued in a quick spiral to the point now where Homer's Odyssey is mocked and tossed out of schools by teachers to proudly tweet that they've done it, while their students are trying to figure out what gender they feel they are today.

Anyone who can look at the idiocy that runs from our K-12 teachers to our university level professors and not see the damage and carnage they've left behind are either purposefully engaged in that destruction of our society, or they're just completely unaware of all life around them.

Through the years of reading your blog, I've wondered how you viewed the system in which you spent your working life. Did you see changes that you recognized as harmful to society at large? Were you, over the years, getting students who knew less, or were just missing information that previous classes of students had? Did they come in with 'other' knowledge that seemed a bit off?

Tommy Duncan said...

"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Ann Althouse said...

I mix it up with "Stand and Deliver":

"Stand and Deliver is a 1988 American drama film based on the true story of a high school mathematics teacher, Jaime Escalante.... The school is full of Latino students from working-class families who are far below their grade level in terms of academic skills and also have a lot of social problems. Escalante seeks to change the school culture to help the students excel in academics. He soon realizes the untapped potential of his class and sets a goal of having the students take AP Calculus by their senior year.... The students begin taking summer classes in advanced mathematics with Escalante, who must withstand the cynicism of the other faculty, who feel that the students are not capable of this. As they struggle with the lower expectations that they face in society, Escalante works hard to teach and encourage them, and they pass the AP Calculus exam. To the dismay of both Escalante and the students, the Educational Testing Service questions the success of the students, insisting there is too much overlap in their errors and suggesting the students cheated. Escalante defends his students and feels that the allegations are based more on racial and economic perceptions. He offers to have the students retake the test months later, and the students all succeed in passing the test, despite having only a day to prepare."

Ann Althouse said...

"Were you, over the years, getting students who knew less, or were just missing information that previous classes of students had?"

No, not that I could see, but law students would be clever at not displaying their gaps in knowledge and they're very motivated to protect themselves from looking ignorant! Plus, I would be eager to help them avoid embarrassment and to learn things and get where they need to go, not to expose them or humiliate them.

Ann Althouse said...

You can read the 17-year archive of this blog — over 60,000 posts. You won't find me attacking my students. I'm more about the teachers stepping up and taking responsibility.

Howard said...

We had a student gym teacher in 8th grade who was a fireplug latinx former drill instructor. He was a hardass but we had more fun than every other class. Best art teacher was former UDT sniper who had a week long art boot camp. It was like drinking from a firehose.

More discipline, more freedom, more challenges, and tough love is what makes kids anti-fragile.

He reminds me of another inner city successful teacher
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaime_Escalante

Teaching needs more tough minded men

Heartless Aztec said...

As a 37 year teaching veteran (ret) of inner-city schools I concur 100% with Principal Clark. I still suffer from PTSD from my time "teaching". I sent my daughter to Catholic schools and I'm not religious. To send my child to the public schools where I lived and taught would have been serious parental malpractice.

just the truth said...

people only change when they want to or are forced to

Rory said...

"Were you, over the years, getting students who knew less, or were just missing information that previous classes of students had?"

I went through law school in my late 30s, and then spent 20 years among lawyers who were younger than me. For conversation involving culture, abstract concepts, or simple whimsy, I had to talk to the elders among us.

wild chicken said...

Been lurking at r/Teachers a couple years now, and even though they're libs and SJWs and drank the koolaid and never mention race, their laments show it IS a fucking disaster.

Social promotion means high school graduates who read at a third grade level, and math, forget about it.

Yet holding them back makes no difference either. About 40% of the students are utterly passive and refuse to participate in their own education.

Not to mention the - routine! - violence that goes on. And all this the bleeding heart liberal teachers reveal!

And no, don't blame the unions. That's just a PC conservative red herring to avoid blaming the dumbass students and their parents.

Rusty said...

"There is no evidence that his tactics were effective."
I went to military school for the last half of my high school education. Let me tell you. Those tactics are extremely effective.

madAsHell said...

"a few feebleminded creeps"

"All the news that's fit to print"

Discuss!!

Heartless Aztec said...

Addendum - the WWII group of men who ran public schools in the 1950-80's knew how to run public schools. I know because I was there as a student and then a teacher. After charging through German and Japanese machine gun fire they weren't scared of 15 year old thugs. When that group retired in and around 1990 and liberal women - as opposed to mean as snakes Irish Catholic nuns - took over tbe reins the public schools turned into shit.

Heartless Aztec said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
daskol said...

The “no evidence” trope is interesting. It’s not without merit, but at heart this claim can be made about anything in the social sciences, wherein the intellectual foundations of progressivism such as they remain can be found. It may be used tactically to counter unpopular perspectives, but I also hear an epistemological crie de coeur that is more dangerous to the orthodoxy than whatever idea they’re trying to shut down.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Support for accountability, discipline and setting expectations in the NYT comments?! What have we here? Are they okay? Somebody check on them, stat!

John henry said...

Howard said...

We had a student gym teacher in 8th grade who was a fireplug latinx former drill instructor. He was 

If the teacher was a "he", he was "Latino" not "latinx".

And since he was an individual and you likely knew his ethnicity, he was Puerto Rican, Cuban-American, Mexican - American or whatever.

Your better than this Howard. It is beneath you.

John Henry

mockturtle said...

Remember that the WHO said, last January, that there was 'no evidence' of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.

Whirred Whacks said...

Ann: it’s not uncommon for the NYT to allow comments for an obit. But typically they’re for musicians and other celebs.

Ann: for the longest time, your photo avatar has reminded me of one of those old Gestalt psychology tests like the rabbit/duck one. Your looks like the “young lady/old lady” one. Is that by conscious design on your part?

Happy 2021!

Ann Althouse said...

"Is that by conscious design on your part?"

It's just a photo that Meade took one afternoon when the sunlight was golden. I'd say if you want to get a good photo of somebody, notice when the LIGHT is good.

MikeR said...

Of course he talked in a way that people can't talk today. But his basic idea - that he needs to start with a school where learning is possible, only then can he try working with the troubled kids and including them, working them into the system - is a very good and obviously correct point.

Iman said...

A few of my memories of junior high school:

the day my Spanish teacher opened class with a clear argument against and denunciation of the song “Incense and Peppermints” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock. He focused on the lyrics, who cares which games we choose, little to win but nothing to lose... he told us, this is the wrong approach to life, that there is much to win and that we could conceivably lose it all if we make the wrong choices in life. One could tell he was very passionate about this and that he held the hippie scum that espoused such decadent beliefs in complete and utter contempt.

The time we’d returned to school after the Summer of ‘66 and my English teacher told us he’d been on a commercial flight on the east coast with the Rolling Stones and that they were the smelliest, most disgusting little cretins he’d ever had the misfortune of being in close proximity to.

iowan2 said...

And no, don't blame the unions. That's just a PC conservative red herring to avoid blaming the dumbass students and their parents.

Its not "just" the unions. They are a part of it. Also their is little separation between administration and teachers desires.

Bad parents. Yes. But they did not get there alone. Schools have slyly taken over the role of parents, just not the responsibility for the outcomes. When my kids got their drivers license, the first year is lots of restrictions. Driving Curfews, number of passengers, etc. Those restrictions are subject to overrides...by the teacher, Superintendent, or employer. Not the parent. Some schlub who advanced to the lofty position of night manager, could override the restrictions, but I couldn't. That's just one example of how the parents have no input into how the schools operate. The elected boards are a facade and are kept busy deciding which rooms need paint. Budget is out of their control, curriculum is off limits. Zero Tolerance procedures, takes the heat off of actually having to look at facts and render decisions. Lots things they might decide, have been overtaken (in Iowa) by Area Education Centers. These unelected bureaucrats run must of the important things.
In the end the corrupt and inept education/industrial takes care of protecting itself, and ignores the kids/parents.

Big Mike said...

and of course, the love for Morgan Freeman is lavish

Not by me. After the SOB grandly announced that opposition to anything done by Barack Obama was “racism straight up,” the wife and I swore we’d boycott his films. A decade later neither of us has seen anything with him in it, except for what we had already seen at the time he shot his stupid mouth off.

Scotty, beam me up... said...

In the past 2 decades, I have sent one of my kids to a Catholic K-12 school and the other to the local public K-12 school (he had special needs that the Catholic school didn’t have the resources to cover). Difference was night & day in the 2 high schools. The Catholic HS had no tolerance for violence, even threatened violence, and expelled students. The public HS had regular acts and threats of violence, sometimes daily. My kid said much of what he saw was in the lunch room, where the minorities self segregated from everyone. Sometimes the fighting occurred between the races and sometimes within the groups of black kids. The school had at least 2 police officers stationed full time at the school to respond to such incidents. At the high school football games, city ordinance requires police at the stadium. For the public HS games, I recall at least 5 squads parked outside of the stadium with more officers inside. For the Catholic HS games, maybe 2 police officers inside the stadium and they actually got to enjoy the game instead of having to watch the crowd for disturbances. I am guessing exhibiting decent public behavior by the Catholic HS students and fans is a “White Privilege” thing (for you liberals, that is called sarcasm). It has been a decade since my youngest was in the public K-5 school he had attended, even those aged kids at that school currently are causing trouble. The principal he had at that school from a decade ago took early retirement due to PTSD in dealing with out of control youngsters. If out of control K-5 students don’t scare you about our country’s future, we are truly f***ed as a nation when these little shits are running our country in 3 decades from now! Before the liberals on this blog excoriate me for this post (I know excoriate is a complicated word for you to interpret), the Catholic HS has black and Hispanic students who were there to get an education and didn’t feel the rules were “White Privilege” being rammed down their throat.

Fernandinande said...

Eastside High School in Paterson

Allen Ginsberg went there.

BobD said...

I grew up in Wayne, NJ, a neighing town, in the mid 60’s. We played Eastside in football every year. Their field featured a tall chain link fence between the stands, and the field, apparently to keep the fans off the field. Also, the refs conducted a Pat down for weapons before the game. Eastside’s problems go way back.

Jack Klompus said...

"We had a student gym teacher in 8th grade who was a fireplug latinx"

BAHAHAHAHA! Unlike any Hispanic person on the planet, good old Nitschke scholar Howard uses "Latinx". So brave! So progressive! Wow, just so edgy and 21st century!

"Your better than this Howard. It is beneath you."

No he's not.

mockturtle said...

And lest anyone think this kind of misbehavior only occurs in inner city schools, I can assure them that even upper-middle-class suburban schools in the West are similarly affected.

Joe Smith said...

"Anyone talking like that today... it's hard to picture!"

Sadly, it is. Anyone doing what he did would have been destroyed and cancelled within a week..

Instead, we march inexorably on toward a glorious future of censorship, where teachers teach to the lowest common denominator, extol the virtues of transgenderism and the all-powerful state, and the schools are becoming increasingly self-segregated.

Progress, comrade!

Michael said...

In a better world, teachers are responsible to principals, who are responsible to Superintendents,and so to elected school boards and to voters. Anyone else, most definitely including state bureaucrats and the DOE, should do research and make recommendations.

Bilwick said...

Once again. evidence that "liberals" are the stupidest people on earth.

Joe Smith said...

"Blacks can take care of themselves."

It doesn't seem like they can.

It seems as if they need the daddy welfare state to clothe, feed, house, educate, and employ them.

I'm tired of hundreds of thousands of my tax dollars being used for that end.

This is the year that I say 'Fuck everyone that isn't family or a friend.'

Just fuck right off.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

The era of discipline in school is so... Reagan era. oh no!

Now we find ourselves in the the woke lecture - criminals get to do what they want era.
Fits perfectly with a Biden family presidency.
The crime pays era.

John henry said...

Blogger Joe Smith said...

"Blacks can take care of themselves."

It doesn't seem like they can.

It seems as if they need the daddy welfare state to clothe, feed, house, educate, and employ them.


Actually, one of the things President Trump proved was that, given the opportunity, they can.

Not all, perhaps. Not immediately anyway. 4-5 or more generations of being told "no you can't" are not going to be changed right away.

But the screaming Trump economy of 2017-19 proved that when the opportunities arise, blacks, like everyone else, will take them.

Not to say that your attitude is wrong. It's not. Treating blacks as if they cannot take advantage of opportunities is as racist as anything as the Demmie kkk segregationists of the old south ever did.

We need to stop "helping" them.

John Henry

loudogblog said...

Stand and Deliver is one of my favorite films. It takes place in the neighborhoods I grew up in in East L.A. When I watch it, all the outdoor street scenes are like watching old home movies. If my parents hadn't sent me to Catholic school, I would have gone to Garfield High School and been one of Jamie Escalante's students.

Birches said...

The fact that a modern Joe Clark couldn't exist in a modern public school system is why charter schools exist today. But the leftists are trying to ruin them too. Look what's happening to Kipp.

RichardJohnson said...

I interpreted Howard's use of "latinx" to describe his 8th grade student teacher as sarcasm directed at the Woke Volk who try to cram use of "latinx" down our throats. Perhaps I am mistaken.

Rest assured that the "no evidence" commenter regarding the success of Joe Clark type approaches to schools with behavior problems has never taught at a school with behavior problems.

As mockturtle points out, misbehavior is also an issue in upper-middle-class suburban schools. Not surprisingly, parents who defend anything that their kiddos do share some responsibility for this misbehavior. I am reminded of a story that is decades old. Members of a cheerleading squad at an upper-middle-class suburban school had to sign a pledge to not use alcohol/not get drunk. Some members of the squad got drunk, and not in a discreet manner. Per school policy, the principal kicked them off the cheerleading squad. Some parents of the former cheerleaders met with the principal and threatened to sue the school and/or school district. The principal's reply: "Go right ahead and sue." The parents were apparently bluffing, as no one got reinstated to the cheerleading squad and there was no lawsuit.

Birches said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

'Fuck everyone that isn't family or a friend.'

Well I sure hope I’m a friend.

Birches said...

Look what happened to Jaime Escalante in California...most teachers and administrators don't want people to get results because it makes them look bad and lazy.

mockturtle said...

Look what happened to Jaime Escalante in California...most teachers and administrators don't want people to get results because it makes them look bad and lazy.

A friend who worked in Sweden said the same mentality rules there--not pertaining to minorities [at least at that time, 1990's] but in general. Working harder than the minimum was considered bad form. Appearing to be ambitious or better than your coworkers is frowned upon. There is no promotion based on merit. These same 'values', those of non-competition and institutionalized mediocrity, have taken over our school systems as well.

The Drill SGT said...

I taught Calculus for three years to soldiers. We didn't have any discipline issues :)

Set rules, set rewards, set punishments, keep the rules. Works well for all classes of people.

- ex Drill SGT

Joe Smith said...

"But the screaming Trump economy of 2017-19 proved that when the opportunities arise, blacks, like everyone else, will take them."

So when droolin' Joe is in, where does that leave them?

Those entrepreneurial blacks will be right back on the democrat plantation, where their political masters want them to be.

"Well I sure hope I’m a friend."

All sane commenters are virtual friends...

gspencer said...

"Teaching needs more tough minded men"

Because "it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken"

Jack Klompus said...

"I interpreted Howard's use of "latinx" to describe his 8th grade student teacher as sarcasm directed at the Woke Volk who try to cram use of "latinx" down our throats. Perhaps I am mistaken."

You are mistaken. Howard actually is that big of a jackass.

Oso Negro said...

I bet the people on the receiving end of the bicycle chimp out in Manhattan would have liked to see Joe Clark step out with his bullhorn and baseball bat

Jack Klompus said...

"I taught Calculus for three years to soldiers."

The younger guys I was in BCT with needed PowerPoint presentations on how to brush their teeth properly and how to read a pay stub. I'd love to have you give them a whirl with Riemann sums and integration by parts.

I tutor math at a local university. I had a student who couldn't describe a rectangle as a having two pairs of opposite congruent sides. Another couldn't read a bar graph.

Karen of Texas said...

"Members of a cheerleading squad at an upper-middle-class suburban school had to sign a pledge to not use alcohol/not get drunk. Some members of the squad got drunk, and not in a discreet manner. Per school policy, the principal kicked them off the cheerleading squad."

Well I can attest to this. Perhaps you reference the upper-middle-class suburban school that both my children attended because yes, we had a cheerleader incident much the same here in north Texas. By the time my daughter graduated in 2007, there were very infrequent incidents in the lunchroom beginning to occur as students began self segregating as the racial mix increased; by my son's 2010 grad year, a few more were occurring. I have no idea what the environment is like now.

Jack Klompus said...

My public elementary school in Philadelphia integrated pretty well when I was in 4th grade in 1978. On Mondays all of my new black classmates talked about what they did with their moms and dads over the weekeeeen....HEY WAIT A MINUTE!

Temujin said...

I believe you would have been a great Professor. Unfortunately, it seems like there are fewer and fewer great ones.

RichardJohnson said...

Karen of Texas said...

"Members of a cheerleading squad at an upper-middle-class suburban school had to sign a pledge to not use alcohol/not get drunk. Some members of the squad got drunk, and not in a discreet manner. Per school policy, the principal kicked them off the cheerleading squad."

Well I can attest to this. Perhaps you reference the upper-middle-class suburban school that both my children attended because yes, we had a cheerleader incident much the same here in north Texas.


Not the same school. Different place and different time. Which indicates the incident I referred to is not an outlier, but something that has occurred a number of times in a number of places. Perhaps even common. Student misbehavior is far from rare, and for the last several decades, parental defense of such misbehavior is more and more common. When I was a student, parental defense of such misbehavior was much less common.

Big Mike said...

And no, don't blame the unions. That's just a PC conservative red herring to avoid blaming the dumbass students and their parents.

Yes, unions share blame for the situation. Something wife and I discovered was that the Union would go to the mat, pulling every dirty trick in the book to rescue a bad teacher — even a teacher so bad that students needed psychotherapy (at the parents’ expense) to cope with being stuck in her class. No! This is not hyperbole. Wife and I were friends with a couple whose child had been unlucky enough to have that teacher. And they were really upset about paying for psychological help for their little girl.

But when my son’s high school replaced its outstanding principal with a Filipina who parlayed her Hispanic last name into the job, her first order of business was to push out the best teachers, and the union did not lift a finger to help them.

Also, the breakdown in student discipline inevitably goes back to the school board (see Althouse’s old posts on the Madison school board) and the superintendent. The Union has the clout to fight them; the parents not so much — there is a reason why parents fear retaliation against their children, and it’s not mere paranoia

Joe Smith said...

"Yes, unions share blame for the situation."

We invested $750K plus on our two boys' pre-K through college eduction.

They never saw the inside of a public school classroom, despite our local schools being very good.

They are both sane, tax-paying, law-abiding, productive members of our crumbling society.

I always joke that we could be driving his and hers Ferraris instead : )

But worth every damned penny.

John henry said...


Blogger The Drill SGT said...

I taught Calculus for three years to soldiers. We didn't have any discipline issues :)

Set rules, set rewards, set punishments, keep the rules. Works well for all classes of people.


Gee, just like Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson said in "the One Minute Manager" 40 years ago.

One minute goal setting (your "set rules")

One minute Praising ("rewards")

One minute reprimands ("punishments")

Best book ever written on management. Period.

I've read hundreds and a lot of them say similar things but take 500 pages of argle-bargle to say it. None are as good as this.

You and Blanchard-Johnson all nail it succinctly.

Anyone that has to work with people has to read "The One Minute Manager"

The concept works well with kids, too. Let them know what is expected, praise them when they do it, reprimand it when they don't. Keep it simple and understandable.

John Henry

wildswan said...

I've often wondered whether the reason that teachers are avoiding going back to the schools in person is that they've introduced all the reforms they wanted and now the classrooms are too dangerous for them to be in. Moreover, their students are either not graduating (40% of young back men in inner city high schools do not graduate) or are not educated enough to participate in the outside world in a good job. Leaders of teacher's union seem only to care about power but rank and file started wanting to educate and they must regard the disaster the schools are becoming with secret horror. Of course, they can't say anything because that would be racist but they can refuse to go back and move while they have spare time. (Vote with your feet, the one vote they can't steal.) Teacher on the Run: A Story of the Covid Time.

John henry said...

Blogger Jack Klompus said...

The younger guys I was in BCT with needed PowerPoint presentations on how to brush their teeth properly and how to read a pay stub. I'd love to have you give them a whirl with Riemann sums and integration by parts.

We didn't have powerpoint in boot camp 1967 but yeah. Pretty much the same thing. Since the Navy required high school diploma to join (with some exceptions) the army was probably worse. Everyone being a volunteer in the Navy probably helped too.

Yet, from that motley crew of recruits 10 years in the future you had people maintaining and operating some of the most complex systems in the world.

The Navy's education system might have been narrow. I learned a lot about steam engines in "A" School but nothing about 17th century french philosophers.

On the other hand, I learned A LOT! about steam engines. A lot of it I have still retained after more than 50 years. I could still discuss the differences between reaction and impulse steam turbines, how a Leslie steam throttle works, how to distill oxygen and nitrogen, 5 different ways to distill sea water and more.

Amazing what the threat of being transferred out of Machinist Mate A school to become a Corpsman with the Marines in VN will do to concentrate the academic juices.

I didn't think they could do that. I wasn't going to take a chance, though.

John Henry

Joe Smith said...

"The younger guys I was in BCT with needed PowerPoint presentations on how to brush their teeth properly and how to read a pay stub."

We stayed at a fantastic hotel in Cambodia once...foreign-owned and run by a Dutch manager. Maybe the best hotel 'experience' we've ever had.

I used to work at a hotel and I got to talking with the manager about what he did to achieve such success.

He said it started with training and educating the employees, all Cambodian.

The hotel taught classes about how to open a bank account. How to clean a house. To not have open fires on the floor of their houses. To not beat their wives.

White man's burden, indeed.

Robert Cook said...

"If out of control K-5 students don’t scare you about our country’s future, we are truly f***ed as a nation when these little shits are running our country in 3 decades from now!"

They won't be, of course. Those who rise to the level of "running our country" are those who worked to get themselves there. This is not to say they are necessarily always (or even frequently) the "best and brightest" of their generational cohort, but they will not be--a few possible rare exceptions aside--those who were the "out of control K-5 students."

Kirk Parker said...

" You won't find me attacking my students"

I would hope not, since the students are buying large the victims of this process, much less than they are the cause.

Kirk Parker said...

John Henry,

"Best book ever written on management."

Second best. It's a good book, yes, but neither it nor anything else can hold a candle to the true best one: In Search Of The One Minute Megatrend.

Leland said...

Intersecting this post with a later post and NYT with WaPo: I wonder if the press would call Joe Clark, an Austere Scholar?

mockturtle said...

Per Joe Smith: White man's burden, indeed.

While I usually agree with you and am a great fan of the poems of Kipling, I do not share your opinion about uncivilized people of Asia. The fact that Egypt and China, as well as Japan and Korea, had highly civilized cultures long before the peoples of Europe needs acknowledgement. And if you don't believe we could end up as third-world barbarians in just a few centuries--or less--then you probably subscribe to some social evolutionary theories that lack foundation. You're welcome. ;-)

mockturtle said...

PS: Not implying that Egypt is part of Asia, of course.

Kirk Parker said...

mockturtle,

You're right to be cautionary against any implication that we are immune to losing our civilization.

However, before you get too much mileage out of a broad definition of the word "civilization", please remember that the ancient civilizations of India included sutter, and of China included both foot binding and a shockingly low regard for the lives of ordinary people.

Just because we call them all "civilizations" doesn't necessarily make them comparable.

Kirk Parker said...

Damn you, autocorrect! That was of course 'suttee' not 'sutter'.

Joe Smith said...

"The fact that Egypt and China, as well as Japan and Korea, had highly civilized cultures long before the peoples of Europe needs acknowledgement."

How many hundreds of years ago in the case of Cambodia...what have you done for me lately?

"And if you don't believe we could end up as third-world barbarians in just a few centuries--or less..."

We certainly could, especially the way we're going now. But if the U.S. ends up like present-day Cambodia, then we will either all be living in the new Dark Ages or China will rule the world.

Krumhorn said...

My wife is a business law professor at a large state university. Race, ethnicity, or gender issues aside, it seems to be increasingly evident that by the time they get into her classes, nobody has ever held most of them to a reasonably high standard of achievement such as:
- turning work in on time
- writing in complete sentences with correct punctuation, grammar, and spelling
- keeping track of assigned work
- performing up to minimally acceptable published standards for the course

Many students have a remarkable list of excuses, refuse to accept personal responsibility for their failures to perform, and have no hesitation to display attitude. One day recently when she was insisting in class that first impressions in business settings are formed by the way people write, one guy disputed the significance of grammar and spelling and told her to "get over yourself". Some folks are going to have to learn it the hard way. I guess that when they fail to learn, they ultimately become antifa members and break things.

Notwithstanding the increasing numbers of failure volunteers, it's very clear to me that she has had a significant impact on many of her students by insisting, for the first time in their lives, on certain standards of work and conduct. It helps that she's very nice about it, even if firm. I couldn't do it.

- Krumhorn

Bilwick said...

Translating Left speak into Plain English: "No evidence" = "There's evidence."

mockturtle said...

Kirk Parker: I knew someone would bring up some cultural practices which we consider barbaric. And there is a certain [by our standards] viciousness in Asian cultural history. Nonetheless, organized society was a fact in these places when Europeans were mere tribes of vandals and marauders.

mockturtle said...

then we will either all be living in the new Dark Ages or China will rule the world.

I can envision both.

Kirk Parker said...

Heck, there is a certain viciousness by our standards in Asian cultural practice today.

Take the venerated respect for elders -- there is actually no such thing, at least not in China. (I do not know about India.). What there is, rather, is respect for your elders. But someone else's feeble elderly great-grandmother, standing with great difficulty on the bus? No problem of yours.

Joe Smith said...

Re: Cambodia

"As home to Angkor Wat and the birthplace of the great Angkor Empire, which ruled over many parts of Southeast Asia during its peak from the 11 th- to 13 th- centuries..."

"Nonetheless, organized society was a fact in these places when Europeans were mere tribes of vandals and marauders."

"In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC–509 BC), Roman Republic (509 BC–27 BC) and Roman Empire (27 BC–476 AD) until the fall of the western empire."

The Romans would like a word with you.

"Ancient Greek civilization, the period following Mycenaean civilization, which ended about 1200 bce, to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 bce. It was a period of political, philosophical, artistic, and scientific achievements that formed a legacy with unparalleled influence on Western civilization."

The Greeks would really like a word with you.

China? That's your only argument.

And of course we know the Egyptians invented the airplane and space travel...

mockturtle said...

True, Kirk. Each culture has its quirks that appall the sensitivities of other cultures. While I certainly would object to being thrown alive onto my husband's funeral pyre in a suttee, we do eat cows here. At least some of us do.

mockturtle said...

Believe what you like, Joe.

Indus Valley Civilization: 2600 BC-2700 BC

Old Kingdom of Egypt 2686 BC - 2181 BC

Middle Kingdom of Egypt 2055 BC - 1650 BC

Joe Smith said...

"Indus Valley Civilization"

We were speaking of Cambodia and Southeast Asia but I'll award you half a point.

mockturtle said...

Half-point taken, Joe, but you were talking of 'the white man's burden' as though whites have always been--or even now are--superior to other races.

Joe Smith said...

I was referring to it in the context in which it was written by Kipling, an English imperialist...

Maybe I can claw back a quarter point...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Robert Cook,

Those who rise to the level of "running our country" are those who worked to get themselves there.

I suppose genetics must explain it, then. I mean, the way so many "runners of our country" appear to be closely related to one another. All those Kennedys and all those Bushes (see, I'm trying to be evenhanded here) just happened to work especially hard, or else they had super-duper Bush and Kennedy genes.

I am sick of the whole idea that "running our country" implies superiority in any way. So far as I can see, the primary requisites are propinquity to someone already further up the greasy pole, and knowledge of how to purvey that position into a more exalted one.

Hercules, not that one though said...

After I got out of US Army basic training/AIT I was sent halfway around the world to my duty station.

Day 1 . Fallout for formation. A monster of a man strides out to address his troops. This guy, blacker than night was the 1SG. TOP. You didn't call him Sergeant. He had a name...TOP. That's all you needed to know.

So, he says ..."Any of you fucking misfits have a problem with me, I will take the rank off my collar, and we'll go around to the back of the barracks and settle it." Seemed fair.

This black man, born in Mississippi in the '40s, joined the Army and made it to SGT E-5, but got busted back to E-4. I guess he figured it out and advanced to E-8. TOP.

The black soldiers hated him because he knew the game. No one could 'get over' on this '6"4 leviathan. He got black-enlisted up to E-5, non-commissioned officers. Earned. Got me to E-5, too.

Top had a brand new Dodge Charger. Someone sliced into the tires...not enough for the tires to go flat, but just enough.

Some E-7 had a new girlfriend, and asked TOP if he could borrow the car to impress this chick. TOP throws him the keys. That's not the way it was supposed to go. E-7 takes his honey out for a ride in TOP's ride, opens it up, tires blow, and it rolls and rolls and rolls.

TOP grew up in the hood. He knew the game. He got out of the hood and was trying to teach young black guys how to get out.

They wanted to kill him.

Roosevelt Dickerson. RIP

(It's been half a century, and I am so glad I knew him)



mockturtle said...

Nice reminiscence, Hercules! No one, especially women and minorities, is well served by victim-hood. And yet they keep playing that card. Over and over. And they hate anyone who didn't play that card but succeeded by their merit.

Hercules, not that one though said...

Yeah. Who among us doesn't want to take the easy path? It's like a fork in the road. We all face it. It's almost like there's a narrow gate, and few go in that way. Here's what I think. Roosevelt Dickerson had all the cards stacked against him.

So? That man would not be denied. Nobody knows who he was. I do, though.

Robert Cook said...

"I suppose genetics must explain it, then. I mean, the way so many 'runners of our country' appear to be closely related to one another.All those Kennedys and all those Bushes (see, I'm trying to be evenhanded here) just happened to work especially hard, or else they had super-duper Bush and Kennedy genes.

"I am sick of the whole idea that 'running our country' implies superiority in any way."


I did not and do no suggest those "running our country" can be assumed to be superior in any way. Quite obviously to the contrary, in too many cases. Why would you read that into my comment?

Hercules, not that one though said...

I never thought anyone was running the Country. I mean, there was a guy who ran the Executive Branch, to enforce the Laws, which is a good thing I guess. When did Presidents start 'running' the Country? That's not how this thing works.

Scotty, beam me up... said...

Blogger Robert Cook said...
"If out of control K-5 students don’t scare you about our country’s future, we are truly f***ed as a nation when these little shits are running our country in 3 decades from now!"

They won't be, of course. Those who rise to the level of "running our country" are those who worked to get themselves there. This is not to say they are necessarily always (or even frequently) the "best and brightest" of their generational cohort, but they will not be--a few possible rare exceptions aside--those who were the "out of control K-5 students."
==============================================================================

I was not referring to people running businesses in our country, I was referring to elected politicians such as AOC, who has no concept on how an economy works when she promises a whole lot of free things as well as her “green economy” plan, without saying where the money comes from. Elected incompetent politicians don’t work their way up the ladder, they just have to continually sucker their constituents with a slick sales pitch without details to get elected.

Bilwick said...

". . . they just have to continually sucker their constituents with a slick sales pitch to get elected."

Like Jon Ossoff, currently running for Senator in Georgia in tandem with "Rev. Wright Jr.," Raphael ("Don't dare quote any if the stuff I say") Warnock. In history you're pandering ads, Ossoff is Bwana Jon, promising the ghetto all sorts of free stuff. I'm sure the low-fo crowd is lapping this up.


Bilwick said...

Correction: I meant "in his series of pandering ads," which the computer garbled and spit out as "in history you're pandering ads. . ."

DEEBEE said...

Anyone talking like that today... it's hard to picture!

Ann, a bit of the skip slipping. Perhaps in preparation fir heady times ahead.I see heights in enforcement of extreme neutrality, putting even Lilia Stepanova to shame.

Gahrie said...

But the screaming Trump economy of 2017-19 proved that when the opportunities arise, blacks, like everyone else, will take them.

Not to say that your attitude is wrong. It's not. Treating blacks as if they cannot take advantage of opportunities is as racist as anything as the Demmie kkk segregationists of the old south ever did.

We need to stop "helping" them.


The problem is going to get worse, not better. First of all, large numbers of people are leaving the educational system and are not coming back. The kids will be entered into online schools, and the motivated will learn, the rest will not. I firmly believe that large scale illiteracy and innumeracy are just around the corner. The Left wants a Universal Basic Income (UBI), and the " COVID stimulus" checks are another step in that direction. When the economy inevitably tanks under Biden, look for a big push to implement UBI. Once that is done, the game is basically over. When people figure out that the state will support them, in an ever improving fashion, without any effort on their part including school, we will create a large population of unproductive parasites that will have to be constantly placated. We'll be back to Rome's bread and circuses.

Soon, we'll not only be "helping" them, we'll be entertaining them to keep them from burning down our cities.

Hercules, not that one though said...

What Trump has allowed with the 'Cares Act', and the various stimuli has completely destroyed the idea that we can't afford the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, UBI.

Obviously, we have not had any money in the Treasury for a long time. The US Congress has not been a good steward of the National fisc.

The good thing is that our corrupt cesspit of a Capitol City can collapse, without taking the States with it. I've been begging my State to reject the $43 mil that the US Dept of Ed gives us to keep the bit in our mouths.

Where I live, we're pretty self reliant, but we desperately need to NOT get Fed money. At some point an alcoholic realizes he has to quit or die.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

"He offers to have the students retake the test months later, and the students all succeed in passing the test, despite having only a day to prepare."

If they learned the material the first time, having "only a day to prepare" shouldn't be a problem.

But it is a heartwarming story

Greg The Class Traitor said...

wild chicken said...
Social promotion means high school graduates who read at a third grade level, and math, forget about it.

Yet holding them back makes no difference either. About 40% of the students are utterly passive and refuse to participate in their own education.


So what?

That's why teaching is a JOB. If all your students wanted to learn, the task would be trivial. It is the job of teachers to teach. To use positive and negative reinforcement to motivate and push the students to learn.

Not to mention the - routine! - violence that goes on. And all this the bleeding heart liberal teachers reveal!

But, let me guess: they're too stupid to understand that it's the policies they promote that make their schools such failures.

And no, don't blame the unions. That's just a PC conservative red herring to avoid blaming the dumbass students and their parents.

Yes, blame the unions. The union "represents" the people whose job it is to educate the students. The union fights to protect the teachers from getting punished for not doing their jobs, rather than fighting to make it easier for the teachers to do their jobs.

The "teachers unions" are a huge part of the problem. it's a leftist red herring to pretend otherwise