Note: The chapter below is a small chapter in The MACE Manifesto. Dr. John Trotter and Mr. Norreese Haynes committed to writing one chapter per day (including the Preface and Introduction) for the 31 days of July. They are just getting started! If you really want to know what is going on in the public school of American and why it is taking place, you get all of the answers in The MACE Manifesto. It’s a no-holds barred book, informative and riveting! You can read the book as it is being written on-line. When it is published, this on-line will be taken down. It is copyrighted by Big Daddy Publishers, 2013, with all rights reserved.
The MACE Manifesto: Part Three – Exhaling Rants
We can’t neatly categorize everything, but if you pull up a chair and read some of our rants, you’ll recognize the ring of truth and you, even if you’re a good Baptist, will be saying, “Dammit, they’re right!”
There’s an 800 Pound Gorilla in the Parlor!
By Dr. John Trotter and Norreese Haynes
Discipline is the 800 pound gorilla in the parlor that is knocking over all of the marbled-top furniture and is stinking up the mansion big time, but no one is willing to broach the fact that the gorilla is in the parlor. We mean to say that it is downright nasty in the parlor. The gorilla is taking huge dumps, and no one will deign to even mention that the damn gorilla is stinking up the entire mansion. Look at the gorilla! He stinks to high heaven! He’s noisy. He’s completely unruly, and the house servants are blithely walking around as if nothing is wrong. The house servants (viz., the educrats) are concerned about buying name brand vacuum cleaners and the best Persian rugs but are totally ignoring the damn gorilla which is wreaking havoc in the parlor. Now the gorilla is beginning to roam all over the mansion, even sleeping in the guest bedroom! When is someone in the mansion going to acknowledge that there is an unruly and destructive gorilla in the mansion?
For administrators and school board members and politicians, discipline is like Anthrax. They not only do not want to touch it; they do not even want to approach it from a distance. Try to solve the problems of public education without dealing with discipline. It cannot be done. Ignoring discipline (or, the lack thereof) is like ignoring an 800 pound gorilla in the parlor. It is just that stupid. Focus on discipline, however, and you will realize an improvement in academic achievement. Focus on academic achievement with no regard given to discipline, and you will end up with a complete mess…like we have today.
We have some smart people talking about various theories in education. For example, we have Dr. Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education who theorized over 30 years ago that there at least seven (and perhaps more) different kinds of intelligence (linguistic-verbal, mathematic-analytical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, etc.). Dr. Gardner has written over 25 books, mainly dealing with some aspects of multiple intelligences. This, we think, has been a good contribution to the educational domain. Dr. Paul Torrance of Georgia, who first was a professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota before spending nearly twenty years at the University of Georgia, was a giant in the area of creativity, writing nearly 2,000 publications, 88 of which were books.
Who are the educational scholars out there on school discipline? Where are they? No, the professor in our Ivory Towers don’t seem to want to discuss school discipline. Curriculum? Oh, yes, this is a favorite topic among them. Curriculum, staff development, and school improvement. But, how can we improve the schools if there is not discipline in place? We’d like to see how many of these elite and effete scholars could last one month teaching undercover at Atlanta’s Kennedy Middle School or Southside High School. As we always say at MACE, (1) you cannot have good learning conditions until you have good teachings; (2) order is the first law of the Universe; and (3) it doesn’t matter what the curriculum is if the students are bouncing off the walls.
Perhaps despite the fact that polls after polls indicate that school discipline is at the top of all concerns of parents concerning public schools, the professors in the colleges of education and the self-appointed scholars at the myriad of Washington, D. C. and New York City think-tanks just don’t think that this issue of school discipline is juicy enough for their time or is too riddled with complexities (e. g., race) to attempt to get a handle on. But, whatever problem this issue is fraught with is not sufficient to simply ignore this 800 pound gorilla bouncing around the parlor. Acting like the gorilla is not in the parlor will not make the gorilla go away. It will stay, and it will continue to wreak havoc within the school house. © Big Daddy Publishers, 2013.