As a former teacher, I am heartened by the way Proffessor Johnson, (Bill Hoatson's alter ego) deals with his difficult charges, employing both ingenuity and warmth. Mr. Hoatson obviously feels that curbing ill-considered and inappropriate behavior without damaging spirit is of paramount consideration.
Patricia Schaaf
Former Teacher- North Ft. Myers, FL

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Transform the school, transform society.

Multi-purpose schools.

Summer is fast approaching and hordes of school children will soon be heading to the beach, which has led me to assess my thoughts on the purpose of public schools. There has been a large push lately to view the top purpose of schools as mainly job-training. Job preparation is indeed an important reason to go to school, but from a societal stand point, there are other very important things that can be taught to children that would greatly benefit both the child and the community.

Since school children are in a very real sense a captive audience, there are some skills and knowledge that could be incorporated into the school curriculum that would be a huge benefit to all later on in life.

For skills, I will start with swimming. Every single child in the state of Florida should be taught to swim. Schools could partner with cities for pool facilities, but swimming instruction should be available to all children at a very early age. This would save countless lives, not only that of the individual child, but of anybody in danger of drowning that a trained swimmer could help. Florida is a water state and the survival skill of swimming should not be left to chance to parents that may or may not be able to provide training. Schools could and should provide this.

Next is first aid. All children should get real training on what to do in emergencies, running the gamut from choking to bleeding to trauma to snake bites to seizures to heart attack, etc. This training would benefit children for a life time and everybody in the community in which they live.

As for knowledge, comprehensive courses in food and nutrition would be invaluable. There is not just one, but several states in the union where over half of the entire population is obese. This is not just incomprehensible, but inexcusable. It is also a medical and financial disaster in the making. Children need to be empowered to make intelligent choices about what they put into their body by giving them a comprehensive understanding of the body, its needs and how different foods and supplements interact with it. This food issue is fast becoming America’s number one health issue and it shouldn’t be. The truth shall set you free.

It would also be invaluable for children to be steeped in environmental science, and how the planet and life forms interact on this incredibly complex, fragile, diverse and interdependent eco-system that we call Earth. 90% of mankind’s future problems are going to come from dealing with serious environmental issues and a basic understanding of the inner-workings of eco-systems is not a luxury.  Our world and, closer to home, our good standard of living, is imperiled by so-called “leaders” who profess to be ignorant of science, and proud of it.  Ignorance is not bliss.

So, what is a school for? What body of knowledge or skill set do we want our children to have as they grow into adults? These are not idle questions. I believe that a school could provide a much richer and varied experience than they do now if they were freed up to do so.

 

Mr. Harrison: I must be slipping; I could have sworn he was going to stay. Mr. Donald: You mean after all those years in college you can't outsmart a nineteen year old? Mr. Harrison: Remind me to ask for my tuition back.
Mr. Harrison's Classroom

7 Minute Lecture Series

 

01. Introduction
(7 minute Lectures)

02. How to Create a Dropout
(Positive Behavior Shaping)

03. The Phone Call
(Reward Effort)