Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No child Left Behind?

Did you see this article today? Apparently a family was put off an airplane because their three-year-old child was not in her seat after a delay of 15 minutes while the parents supposedly attempted to comply with air travel regulations.

The article says in part:

AirTran officials say they were only following Federal Aviation
Administration rules that children age 2 and above must have their own seat and be wearing a seatbelt upon takeoff.

"The flight was already delayed 15 minutes and in fairness to the other 112 passengers on the plane, the crew made an operational decision to remove the family," Graham-Weaver said.

As I read, my mind kept returning to the No Child Left Behind laws our schools are struggling under right now. The idea sounds so good. No child SHOULD be left behind.

But let me ask you this? When it comes time for the plane (or the class) to depart one station and go on to the next, if a child absolutely will not do what is required (get in a seat or attempt to learn something), should the entire planeload of passengers (or an entire classroom full of learners) have to remain at the starting point so that there is No Child Left Behind?

However, the same thing is happening in our schools that happened on this plane: the blame and condemnation for the "leaving behind" went directly onto the shoulders of the airlines, just as school systems shoulder all the blame for any "failure." The true blame for being left behind would often more correctly be placed on the parents who refused to parent the child or the student who refuses to make the effort to learn.

The airlines was further penalized by having to reimburse the family's airfare AND provide them with free roundtrip tickets for a future flight anywhere the airline flies! Somehow this sounds much like what happens to schools trying to deal with defiant students who perceive themselves as entitled to special treatment and, of course, exempt from the mundane regulations that bind those other, merely mortal, students.

In the airline story, the entitled child's so-called father (who apparently provided no parental guidance for his three-year-old) says they will never fly that airline again (I'm sure he meant AFTER they use the FREE airline tickets they were given.)

By contrast, in our No Child Left Behind public schools, the "entitled" so-called student who sits in our schoolrooms daily thinking only of ways to disrupt the learning process for everybody else and devising ways to avoid following the accepted procedures -- well, this student will show up in class day after day, with never a respite for his classmates and teachers, until finally his teachers and school are disgraced and disciplined because THEY didn't meet the guidelines for No Child Left Behind. It will be all their fault. They left a child behind so that others could advance.

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