Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Peoria’s inner city is in chaos, is there any wonder the children are acting out?

Take a look at the local newspaper, the crime reports will tell the story of the community that we live in: Senior citizens being mugged, drive by shootings, children being shot dead while sleeping, daily large street fights, arsons, babies making babies, rampant STDs. Lest we forget - the run down properties, lead paint, large groups of people without jobs, generations of  families unemployed, run down sidewalks and streets, rat problems, sewer problems, closed neighborhood schools, schools without books, failing schools, fighting in schools.


When you look at the overall picture, it becomes clear that a segment of our community is living in chaos. There are neighborhoods that have set their own rules, there is no fear of the police, and the neighborhoods are run by the criminals who live and/or congregate there.

Any child that comes out of the environment mentioned above and who is not traumatized, would be unique.

As we sit at our computers and discuss on blogs how bad children are in our schools and in our community, is there no wonder that these children are acting out? It is all too easy to loose sight of the fact that these children who are acting out are victims of the chaotic city, the chaotic times, in which they live.

All things considered, is it any wonder that children in Peoria’s inner city are experiencing thoughts, emotions, and feelings of being out of control? They are fearful of the future and are dealing with the  anxiety and pain associated with living in chaos the best way they know how.

Events that can induce trauma include the sudden death of a loved one, assaultive violence (combat, domestic violence, rape, torture, mugging), serious accidents, witnessing someone being injured or killed, or discovering a dead body. Trauma is an ordinary day in the life of the children in District #150 and more specifically in Peoria’s inner city.

Such adversities experienced for an extended period after the trauma (such as a living in Taft, Harrison, East Bluff, near North Side, etc…, series of different placements, schools closing, or separation from a caregiver) can and does influence the severity of trauma reactions.

Recently I experienced an up close look at a disruptive classroom. While I understood that the children misbehaving were more than likely acting out; while I understood that suspensions are known to be a direct linkage to children being incarcerated; while I understood that children do not learn while they are out of school… it did not stop me from wanting these children to go away, so that the classroom could calm down and so that the children who came to learn could get the education that they are entitled to.

It is a well known fact that in the past, District #150 was all too quick to sideline a certain segment of the student body. As a result, those that were sidelined never received the education that they should have. In an effort to right the wrongs of the past, we can’t just now say no we are no longer handling discipline and suspensions like we have in the past, without putting sufficient supports, policies and procedures in place to handle the issues.

There are no easy answers, but it is absolutely imperative that we find it in our hearts to stop blaming the victims. I know that when you are in the trenches getting cussed out by a ten year old, it’s difficult. It's also difficult when you are a parent with a student who is caught in the chaos. However, we must all remain  mindful of the fact that it will take a village to find a way to pull these children, who are shouting out for help, out of the chaos.

90 comments:

Emerge Peoria said...

From WMBD 1470...Dist. 150 discipline report raises eyebrows

The Peoria District 150 school board gets a report on discipline through the first nine weeks of the school year, and one board member doesn't like what he sees.

The number of suspensions are up from the same period last year in a few schools – but especially at Lincoln Middle School and Manual Academy. There are already nearly 100 more cases at Manual and nearly 70 and Lincoln.

But, Director of Student Affairs Bill Salzman says in the case of Lincoln the number is a bit skewed by around 25 students who have been suspended a second or third time. That has board member Rick Cloyd reacting, “It raises the question why they're still in that school to me. I am absolutely appalled at these behavioral problems.”

“This disruption that's caused to the students who want to be their and do their job and learn by one or two student who can't get it right and won't behave is absolutely atrocious,” says Cloyd, “and we've got to get that fixed.”

Superintendent Grenita Lathan continues to say the responsibility for straightening out discipline begins at home. “Repeat offenders will be repeat offenders whether they are at Lincoln, Manual or Woodruff. We have to decide as a district if we are going to hold students and parent accountable for their behavior.” says Lathan.

Once students have had a first chance or second chance or maybe even your third chance and still not getting it right, what are we going to do as a district so teachers can teach?”

Salzman says there were 204 instances of fights so far. But, a fair comparison to last year cannot be made because the categorizing of some actions have been revised this year.

And, Salzman says, there has been an increased number of knives brought into schools especially in the lower grades. But, according to Salzman, “Some of the grade school students did not realize they had those knives in their book bags. I know of two of them who didn't.”

“Their mother told us how the knives got in there....a brother.”

Anonymous said...

Repeat offenders will be repeat offenders in District 150 because they're allowed (by District 150) to be repeat offenders.

And what EXACTLY does it mean to hold students and parents accountable for their actions? Just words. Doesn't mean ANYTHING.

Just means Grenade and LuhToy have been red herring fishing in Uncle Mapleton's cess pool again.

GONE FISHIN'

Anonymous said...

Anon-AMEN! Yes, Dr. Lathan and BOE..please explain. What does that mean? Blah Blah Blah ...means ..Grenita will do nothing and has no answer.

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly Dr. Lathan hand picked her NC friend to take over Lincoln because she had "experience with gangs" (Lathan's words)...uhhhhhhhh maybe that meant she was robbed once????

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's not a village that is needed to raise these children, but stable, reliable homelives and parents. These poor children are moved from here to there back to here, all in a matter of months. Lose friends, make new friends, lose them, move again...that in itself is traumatizing. But when Mama don't pay the rent or the utilities because she's too busy hitting the crack pipe, while her babies sit in ROACH infested homes, it's the schools and the community that have to pitch in. How about taking these children away from the thieves that use the Link Card garnered by having more children and putting them in an Orphanage. At least they would be in a clean environment, with clean clothes, and a Mattress to sleep. Obviously, many of our children were born to children, who lost their youth, so they are reclaiming it now while their babies raise themselves. I see it everyday. My heart breaks for these precious children who many of their parents see as nothing more than a meal ticket. No, it doesn't take a village, it takes LOVING PARENTS who take responsibility for the babies they MAKE.

Anonymous said...

PuhLEESe tell me it's not true that at Grandparents' Day at Manual Student Development Academy Junior High High School Dr. Lathan asked the three students and two grandparents in attendance to start calling her Grenita Pa.

Emerge Peoria said...

"Superintendent Grenita Lathan continues to say the responsibility for straightening out discipline begins at home. We have to decide as a district if we are going to hold students and parent accountable for their behavior.”

Oh yes, blame the ever elusive bad parents. So until this elsuive group of bad parents, who have repeat offenders in the school decide they will be responsible, we are at their mercy and the $200,000 per year Superintendent has no accountability.

Anonymous said...

Emerge-Lathan continues to ramble until her contract runs out..her friends rake in big bucks while sitting on their asses..and Peoria loses once again. We need people on Wisconsin who will stick around Peoria and truly care about this city. Lathan and friends seem only to care about who make the best ribs in town.

Sharon Crews said...

We have to remember that Lathan was quote in the PJS as saying the job if fun and not difficult. Therefore, don't expect her to do anything that isn't fun or is difficult.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the parent university could be utilized to school parents of troubled youths instead of serving as a buffet for the two board members, two administrators, and three parents who show up. I heard they print their honorary degrees on napkins.

Emerge Peoria said...

"Maybe the parent university could be utilized to school parents of troubled youths..."

Excellent idea. Perhaps some of the parent university classes should be geared more towards bringing in such parents. Classes could be administered by service providers who are qualified to address the needs of this community. Why not even explore making it a requirement for the parents of students who are acting out to attend parent university?

This is one way parents can be held accountable for their students behavior.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. I'd be PISSED if I had to attend the Parent University classes; hence, I'd make sure my students behaved so I wouldn't have to attend 'em. :) The first thing the admin will say, though, is there are legal issues that will prevent the district from making such classes a requirement. Blah Blah Blah. I've brought it up over and over and over again.

Jon said...

"...there are legal issues...Blah Blah Blah. I've brought it up over and over and over again."

If you've brought it up over and over, have you asked exactly what the legal issues are (other than blah blah blah) and investigated it for yourself? Are you aware of any school district in the state, or in the country for that matter, that has something like a requirement for parents of students who act out?

Certain cities like San Antonio and states like California have enacted laws that fine parents for chronically truant students. That's about as far as I've seen a community go - and they had to enact a law or ordinance to do it (rather than a school district just taking it upon itself).

Anonymous said...

D150 has some very unprofessional teachers that only want to throw stones and collect checks. If the job is really that difficult and frustrating - PLEASE LEAVE - u egocentric apathetic race-baiting pretenders.

Sharon Crews said...

Egocentric, apathetic race-baiting pretenders--amazing! I know that teachers are underappreciated but this takes the criticism to new depths.

Sharon Crews said...

I don't know that there is any legal way to force parents to be responsible. However, sending chronically disruptive students to an alternative site can be done. Then the parents who care may realize that they are responsible for their children's behaviors and try to provide their younger children the incentives to change their behaviors. Also, sending the older students to an alternative site might cause them to become responsible for their own actions.
As I've said over and over again (and in agreement with the last paragraphs of Emerge's post), the alternative school should not be a dumping ground. It should be a truly "alternative" educational site where troubled students can get help in self-control, etc. The regular school and its schedule doesn't allow time for as much professional help as is needed by many of our troubled students.
The purpose of the alternative school has to serve two purposes. First, it has to remove from the regular classrooms those who disrupt the educational process of those who are ready to learn. Secondly, it must meet the needs of those who are removed from regular schools. Removing a student from the regular school will seem like a punishment, but once at the alternative site the students should be taught by teachers more prepared to teach troubled youth. There are those teachers whose temperament, etc., is adaptable to these troubled students. In other words, the alternative school shouldn't be a dumping ground for teachers, too.

Jon said...

I believe that there are essentially two different types of alternative schools. The first is the type that is authorized under the Illinois School Code and is administered by the Regional Offices of Education (this is the former Greeley Regional Safe School, which was operated by D150 for the region). By statute, disruptive students can be "forced" to go there, provided there is space available (and rarely is). Further, the State is supposed to fund these schools - thus given the State's financial situation, it's not funding as many of those types of schools as are necessary.

The second is the alternative school that is created by a district, such as the former Knoxville Center. Since these schools aren't directly authorized by statute, the student or parent/guardian must agree to go. Good luck with that.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, if students are told they will be expelled for a year or they can go to an alternative site, perhaps the parents will say "yes" to the alternative site. I agree that forcing an alternative site on primary students is a problem.
If there is no solution for removing repeat offenders from the classrooms, then we may as well give us and allow the inner city public schools to be destroyed and eventually die.
The problem, of course, is that the parents who could force some of these decisions have long ago vacated the public schools and sent their children to private schools. They don't care what happens to the public school.
Now District 150 has one board member who wants something done--how long do you think it will take to get a four to three vote?

Anonymous said...

Jon, The way you get parents to "agree" to alternative educational settings is to threaten expulsion...and mean it! Set up a point system for poor behavior/choices for all grade levels, not just 5th-12th; have a board policy that at X discipline points a student MUST attend the alternative program for a minimum of one grading period; in addition have a policy that states that at X-50 points the parent may choose to send their child to the alternative program. Also, have a policy that states a parent or guardian MUST bring their suspended child to school after the suspension if they wish to return; absent of a parent/guardian conference, the child stays home. Trust me, parents don't want them around that long and will find a way to have a conference.

I know people say it won't work, but it does. I have worked in a large district (as an administrator) where it does. The fact is that you MUST set up the expectations and STICK to them. Stop waffling. "Strongly suggesting" that a parent keep their child home after a physical altercation and not completing the paper work for a formal suspension skews the data and hurts the rest of us...especially when the child returns and makes it known to the teacher and classmates that they were not suspended!

Fixing this problem IS possible! But, as in every case you must 1st ADMIT there is a problem! District 150 is worth saving and I agree with Emerge, it will take a village, but let's at least admit we have a problem.

For example, admit there is a problem at Trewyn. Seriously, suspensions have dropped by less than 50% over last year. That is not saying anything good. Keep in mind they took 50% of the 5th-8th graders away from Trewyn and replaced them with K-4th graders. Please explain to me how their discipline numbers are better based on this reality. I am sure there are good things going on there and the discipline is getting better, but please do not try to manipulate the data and say it is better than it is. I am an adult and I understand school improvement takes time, there are ups and downs; honesty and transparency with your community are paramount!

Sorry for the tirade, had to get a few thoughts off my chest!

Frustrated said...

Jon - so are you telling me it is "illegal" for the District to develop a program which would require parental involvement or attendance at a series of training programs or counseling sessions as a condition of a student being able to return to school after being suspended or expelled?

If the District cannot gain parental involvement,after notification by the school of a significant behavior problem,then the next phone call should be to social services because, IMO, this is evidence of neglect.

Frustrated said...

I have always felt the District did a great job with the Grandparents Day at the Primary and Middle School level, BUT . . . when I received notification of HS Grandparent Day and Parent Day to each lunch with your child . . .I mean REALLY???

My high school student just started laughing and said PLEASE do not come.

Sees there are many more pressing issues at the HS level to focus time and resources on.

teachingrocks said...

The profession of teaching in some 150 schools is beyond stressful. To say these men and women are just there collecting a check and creating race issues just shows that blogger has no idea what is really happening in these schools.

There is nothing easy about teaching these schools. The mere fact these teachers remain with little to no support, no textbooks, no supplies, no curriculum should help people to understand they are there for the children...trying to give them a tiny bit of stability and discipline in their lives when noone else seems to want to do it.

Sharon Crews said...

I agree, Frustrated, about grandparents day at the high school level. Someone who made those plans doesn't understand teenagers. And, maybe, Jon, you aren't the final word on everything. At least, Frustrated makes sense to me. As did the other poster who actually taught in a viabled alternative school.

cabot said...

Didn't the district, under Hinton's reign, have a "ticket" policy for those students who were considered truant? I don't recall the success/failure of that attempt at holding parent's financially responsible for their truant children.

Jon said...

Frustrated - yes, that is what I am saying.

Suppose the parent doesn't comply (maybe they have to work, don't have transportation, or maybe they just don't give a damn - the reason doesn't really matter). That student doesn't get the same opportunity as another whose parent has agreed to the "program". If you make it a requirement of someone other than the student, you a forcing the student into an outcome that he can't control. The student is effectively being punished (again).

As Sharon and Anonymous initially pointed out, you can try to "convince" the parent/student to enter the program by threat of expulsion, but I do not think you can REQUIRE it - nor can you legally require a student/parent conference for re-entry (beyond the normal enrollment of a student) once they have served their suspension/expulsion term.

Read Anonymous’ (former administrator) comments carefully. The requirement to re-enter the regular school comes AFTER the parent CHOSE to send the child to the alternative program. They had to make that CHOICE first.

Frustrated said...

Jon - I reread the administrator's post above. Is he not saying the same thing as I am suggesting?? He claims it works, so I am supposing it was implemented in some school district in which he was employed??

He is saying a conference, where I am suggesting a series of meetings depending on the infraction.

If it takes a village to solve this problem, then 1st we need to get the villagers together -- principal, teachers, counselors, and PARENTS to correct the behavior and get the student on the right course.

Jon said...

No, Frustrated, he is not saying the same thing (as far as I can tell).

Bringing the student to school is one thing (perhaps akin to doing no more than what is generally required when enrolling a student at the beginning of the year - something that likely is already part of the School Code). Required attendance at a series of training programs or counseling sessions is....a reach that is not supported by the School Code.

Anonymous said...

Jon, who is HE?

Frustrated said...

Well, like so many aspects of the School Code . . . it is time for some change.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, the Anonymous poster who is a former large district administrator is a "She."

And sorry, Frustrated, as great as your idea of classes for parents sounds, (I think it would be wonderful), it won't work as we cannot force parents into these types of situations. A single 15-20 minute conference is totally different. Unless a conference post suspension is a board policy (Jon, school code does not get into such specifics) it will not happen. If it is a board policy, administrators and parents can be held accountable to these conferences.

I will admit, at first it is not easy...sometimes you have to go to a home for the conference, sometimes you have to meet at 6:00pm and sometimes you have to meet with Uncle so and so because no one else gives a d***! The fact is, if parents realize you WILL be meeting with them after each suspension, behavior begins to change. I don't have a silver bullet or anything, but I believe the best defense we have against poor behavior in our schools is a good offense...in other words have a plan and STICK to it! As in any other process it will get worse before it gets better, but it WILL get better!

Wish I could help out!

Sharon Crews said...

The last poster is getting to the heart of the matter. Central administrators have to be willing to carry out or to support other personnel who will be this persistent with parents. District 150 has shown absolutely no desire to force parents to be responsible. Dr. Lathan is quick to state that parents should be held accountable but has done nothing to put any policies into practice that would force accountability. That is the District's job--to let parents know what will and will not be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Sharon!

Anonymous said...

Double Amen,Sharon!!!

D150 volunteer said...

Again, Sharon starts by blaming admin when the poster she acknowledges states quite clearly that it is BOARD POLICY that can compel the accountability. Maybe the "watch group" will ask for input into a BOARD POLICY committee meeting and provide constructive input into a process that would be beneficial to the STUDENTS in terms of higher behavioral expectations. I expect that it would be closely followed by a request for $26/hr for any extra time, but that's just my low expectations. Hope I'm proven wrong.

Anonymous said...

What is with these BIZARRE staged photos of Dr.Lathan? I mean really!!! Can't she have a real photo in the paper like everyone else? I would LOVE to see this picture at the board room. It's probably a painted portrait.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully she's not wearing a nightie.

Anonymous said...

Or the District Watch group could just sit around and complain about things via a blog . . . like you.

Anonymous said...

I heard that by 2012, every classroom in District #150 will be required to have an 8 by 10 (minimum) photo of Grenita Pa hanging next to (or above - not below) the American flag. And I hear the painting of Hinton at Manual Talent Development Junior High and High School Academy is going to be dwarfed by the one GP is having commissioned.

Anonymous said...

Good thing these "anon" teachers remain anon as best they can - public would want to see them all shit-canned and have to deal with consequences of their "efforts". Tenure is wasted on these less than stellar professionals yet they collect taxpayer $$$ and deliver nothing. I ain't all for admin either, but can you imagine trying to get these bottom feeders to educate students who come with all the baggage they carry. Geez.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I'll help you out. Periods always go inside of the quotation marks. Nothing makes you look like more of a dung heap than trying to "treat" someone while butchering the language with which you're trying to "treat" them. Our next lesson will deal with punctuation when combining independent clauses . . . then we'll hit misplaced modifiers.

Sharon Crews said...

You know I love that post! There's nothing worse than a dangling participle. Hahaha!

Jon said...

The MLA and Chicago Style both recognize the appropriate use of scare quotes. In other words, periods don't always go inside of the quotation marks.

Anonymous said...

So Sharon's previous posts about not worrying over grammatical errors is a lie. Similar to her pretending to be helping students. It's all about teachers and her precious union. Tiresome. D150 volunteer is right and probably won't be proven wrong.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, in the wee hours of the morning, you must be constantly in search of anything that will contradict. The poster who put the comma outside the quotation marks was definitely wrong. Journalism (and sloppy usage by students) has engaged in trying to change rules about apostrophes and commas inside quotations. However, English teachers are trying to hold the line--and so far commas go inside the quotes if you want to be correct. This comment on line explains a bit:
For at least two centuries, it has been standard practice in the United States to place commas and periods inside of quotation marks. This rule still holds for professionally edited prose: what you'll find in Slate, the New York Times, the Washington Post— almost any place adhering to Modern Language Association (MLA) or AP guidelines. But in copy-editor-free zones—the Web and emails, student papers, business memos—with increasing frequency, commas and periods find themselves on the outside of quotation marks, looking in.

Sharon Crews said...

150 primary teachers, what is your opinion of the new SRA McGraw Hill materials for assessing reading level, etc? Personally, I believe the way the reading passages are written is very confusing to children. The passages are written with no capitalized words--even at the beginning sentence. The words are written with diacritical marks. Capital letters are used within words--some letters are capitalized. Also, some letters in a word are written in a smaller font. For example, the word "here" is written with a very tiny "e" at the end.
The passages, I think, throw students off because the format is so strange.
It is, also, my understanding that students' reading levels were judged by this single test (and maybe by strangers--not the classroom teacher) to be placed in invention groups.
I would very much like to hear some opinions about these new books.
Yes, I am concerned about students and very concerned how this testing craze era is destroying theirf desire to read. In District 150 the mandate seems to be test, test, test. Reading for enjoyment is not a high on the list of priorities--and, again, these are not teacher decisions. Of course, the testing results(flawed though they will be) will be used to judge students and teachers.

Anonymous said...

For all you critics (who mostly come from NC or a former board member) and Jon...Sharon knows that in the education world, APA 6th edition is the ONLY format being used used by all educators. MLA or whatever is not relevant, just like the critics here.

Sharon's #1 concern is the children. We have a sounding board in Sharon, since retaliation is so rampant with this administration, who seems to spend more time monitoring the blogs than finding a reliable reading program for our children, or finding those high school textbooks.

Just because you pick away at Sharon means nothing. She is relevant and current with D150 goings-on, thank goodness. Somebody who has always had the concerns of the children foremost in her thinking is refreshing in D150. She does not have to worry about losing a job for stating the truth.

Frustrated said...

Anon. Administrator - thank you for your response.

Anonymous said...

....."not a high" - please put down that pipe. Sharon's #1 concern is teachers - everbody who has read her drivel knows that.

Anonymous said...

Frustrated, You are welcome!

D150 Volunteer, I know it sees odd that Sharon is blaming administration. In my opinion, she is holding them accountable, which is the way it should be. The buck stops with them. Yes, the School Board holds some responsibility, but they are policy makers, the administrators are responsible for the everyday running of the district. IMO, if a teacher is doing something questionable, I want an explanation from the principal and I want it rectified. That is being accountable. If a principal is doing something questionable, I want an explanation from their supervisor and I want it rectified.

Fact of the matter is that accountability is the key...if you say it, mean it and follow through. Anything short of that will only come back to bite you in the rear later. There can be no double-standard as folks don't know which set of "rules" to follow and fall into a no-win situation. It is not rocket science, it is basic human development.

See how easy it is to be transparent and honest, maybe D150 administrators could give it a try.

Sharon Crews said...

Anyone who thinks that I have only the teachers' interest at heart, please remember that there are 5 (1 high school, three District 150 primary, and one 3-year-old) pretend grandchildren and two cousins--both Manual grads--whose children go to Peoria Academy and would go to 150 if things were different.
As for who makes policy, I am aware that the board makes policy; however, the superintendent has been given free reign and if she wanted to work on parent accountability, there is a good chance that the board would go along with her. Of course, we'll see what happens now that one board member (Cloyd) wants some changes. Also, the board didn't vote on passing 7th graders from Lincoln on to the 9th grade (and, frankly, I don't think board members knew about it)--and that is definitely against board policy.

Jon said...

Sharon, I see that your quote came from this article:

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_good_word/2011/05/the_rise_of_logical_punctuation.html

Too bad you quoted the whole first paragraph - except for the last sentence - "A punctuation paradigm is shifting."

It's a good article. I think this point summarizes our differences:

"For some, though, logic is more compelling than tradition."

Anonymous said...

No. Periods always go inside of the quotation marks. Period. "Period." The state test you are all always saying our students are "failing" doesn't allow for it to be any other way. There is only one . . . one right answer . . . Because that's how the ISBE and the people raking in the dough at ACT want it to be. Funny, isn't it? The same is true for ending sentences with prepositions. One of my professors at BU said, "Who cares?!" Well, the ISBE does - that's who. Is a person's command of the written English language a measure of that person's intelligence? Certainly . . . in Illinois it is. Think about that. Look at some of the errors Hemingway made in his original manuscripts. Then think about it again. So when you get mad about an English teacher correcting your obscure grammar error on a blog, just imagine how the masses of students in "failing" schools feel when we tell them they're the dumb ones because their period is outside of the quotation marks and we're the smart ones criticizing them for using a very sophisticated shorthand when they text. SMH.

Sharon Crews said...

Personally, I believe that the writers of fiction have license to use what might be considered grammatically incorrect usage--that often becomes distinctive style. However, I personally hope we hold the line on accepted usage when it comes to formal writing. Of course, I see no reason why blogs, texting, etc., have to follow acceptable usage.
The paradigm shift, in this case, is simply due to so many people writing incorrectly that it becomes acceptable--the same reason that standards of acceptable behavior have changed. In the case of journalism, I understand some rule changes relate to creating needed space--maybe the reason for a trend in eliminating apostrophes. Of course, because as a English and a journalism major, I had to learn to change my writing style depending on the type of writing.

Jon said...

The paradigm shift the writer in the article refers to states it quite differently.

"But the main reason is that the British way simply makes more sense." :)

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, are we still talking about periods and commas inside quotation marks? Why would reversing the order from ." to ". make more sense--first of all ". just looks weird. "Sense" doesn't really have much to do with it--preference maybe but not sense.

Jon said...

Just read the article again, Sharon. Surely you can understand then why it's titled, "The Rise of "Logical Punctuation"." (Wow - just look at the punctuation in THAT sentence.)

While this is a lighthearted, trivial discussion, I do think the previous Anonymous post uses it to make the most meaningful insight.

Sharon Crews said...

The article is interesting and the argument for ". does have merit. Essentially--without taking too much time with the article--I believe the contention is that the rule for periods and commas should follow the same rules as apply to the question mark--sometimes in and sometimes out of the quotation marks--not always in front or outside.
Making these distinctions, thus, makes the rule even more difficult to follow or teach and makes the sentence of the original poster wrong anyway because his/her sentence was not one of the situations that would require the comma to be outside the quotation marks. However, I did learn something from reading the article--just as I did several years ago when I read all the articles about the differences of opinion about using apostrophes--or rather the tendency to eliminate the apostophe in some siutations.

Jon said...

Nice effort Sharon, but the rule is very simple.

"The second member of a pair of quotation marks should precede any other adjacent mark of punctuation, unless the other mark is part of the quoted matter".

Thus, the original comment is correct under the logical style.

Sharon Crews said...

Nice try, Jon--but obviously you have never tried to teach a class of 30 basic high school students what you call a very simple rule. The simple rule (which as yet has not been deemed incorrect for testing purposes as the previous poster pointed out) that periods and commas always go inside the quotation marks is easier to get across--exceptions are always problems.
I am sure we have bored most posters with our discussions about punctuation--I was, however, enlightened by the article (and I did leave out the last sentence on purpose--but should have known you would pursue the issue further). Ha! Most people could care less--and have no reason to care. Now that I am no longer a teacher, I have almost reached that point myself. However, I do have to concern myself with helping the students still in my life--so this info may come in handy later.

Jon said...

Sharon, the discussion has given me more insight into your way of thinking in general. Having spent 43 years teaching and supporting a system that makes little sense to the majority of people, it's difficult for you to accept the logical alternative. :)

Also, exceptions aren't problems - they are opportunities. That is one of the ways our public school system often fails us - trying to teach things as black/white instead of recognizing there are many gray areas (Just as is the case with discipline).

Anonymous said...

Jon, you're too funny.

Sharon Crews said...

I guess I will go with "funny" as an appropriate adjective to describe Jon. I am so sorry that the educational world cannot benefit from Jon's vast knowledge about how it should be run. As was said before by another poster, Jon wouldn't last two minutes in a high school classroom. For those of us who survived and are surviving (and even enjoy) the real world of teaching, Jon has absolutely no relevance.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister, amen!

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, I completely forgot to call attention to your dangling participle--the sentence that begins, "Having spent...." to modify "it." I don't think there's a grey area for that error.

Jon said...

"Of course, I see no reason why blogs, texting, etc., have to follow acceptable usage."

And here I was merely trying to adhere to your rules - or lack thereof...

Anonymous said...

Nice try, Jon. Sure you did.

Jon said...

Oh...it's a dangling participle...there's no doubt...I wasn't sure if I needed to be more careful in my writings...or not.

It's just that these "rules" are inconsistently applied...I just don't know what to do anymore. I mean, I thought Sharon was advocating the strict enforcement of rules. If you're going to have a rule...you have to mean it, right?

Or maybe it's just another example that many rules are applied to suit a person's particular agenda. Realizing that, you have to rely on yourself to decide if following or not following the rule should prevail.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, now you're squirming. Usually you make a bit of sense, but this last post makes no sense. I try to follow the rules for myself. I tried to teach my students to follow the rules so that they would be able to compete in the world in careers where using correct usage matters--especially in writing. I enjoy holding your feet to the grammatical fire because you are so pompous.
In "real" life (apart from blogs), the only people whose grammatical usage really bothered me were administrators who wrote memos that sometimes made them appear close to illiterate. I always wondered why they didn't call on the English teachers in their buildings to proofread letters, etc., that went out to the public. I had colleagues who taught subjects other than English who often would ask me to proofread material that was to go out to the public--(and we English teachers often checked each others' work) because we did want to represent the school well, but administrators evidently didn't even know or care that they were representing the school so poorly.
And I know I make many mistakes when I'm writing on blogs--and my mistakes always bother me because I can usually spot them as soon as a press the send button. Others' errors do not scream at me--just my own (and yours, Jon). Notice that I do usually place the periods outside of parentheses--and there is an exception to the rule that allows some periods to go inside the parenthesis.

Anonymous said...

D150 Volunteer is correct. Working WITH the Board and through BOARD POLICY, maybe some teeth can be put into what little the school district can do to compel parental accountability.

Anonymous said...

Sharon"., u are full of crap. We need to chnge this post 2 sHaron knows it all. Who the hell vdied and made you Queen period? You a fake and pretend like you care and then you turn around and slam someone bcause you a tyeacher. Everyone on this blog is very aware of how to write and user punktiation. We on a bloag for CHRISt sake. You have taken over this damn blog as your own in a pretence to give a care and don't give a carewa about anyone but Sharon. Go back to school if that is what you want, ""oh, they wont take you. Quit acting like Mother Theresa. Maybe it is a possibility that whoever wrote the last blog really don't have the education that some of us on this blog have and possibly cant half ass read. Does that make them stupid or not with it. Do they still not have something of meaning to say. You and the other bozo quit being a dang bully you blog hog.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who is arguing about periods, question marks, etc., needs to let it go. I was told by an EXPERT that we should forget about teaching grammar and spelling because it doesn't matter. All that matters is if the child can read. This was an individual hired by my district to teach teachers how to teach students reading and writing.

By the way, this was not in 150.

Anonymous said...

Wow...last Anonymous...you need anger control management classes.

Oh, which means you could easily be a student in D150!!

Sharon Crews said...

Admittedly, the above Anonymous is using a new tactic--a smart person posing as an illiterate??? Please note that another poster began the discussion about punctuation. I breifly joined that discussion and then Jon attacked me. From then on it was yet another Jon vs me discussion. It is still true; I do not judge the worth of a person by their use of the English language. That was a very hard message to send to students since it was my job to teach them correct English while at the same time trying not to degrade them--I tried but that is one of the hardest jobs of a teacher.
By the way, a lawyer from the Attorney General's office just sent a letter to District 150, asking them to justify their designation of me as a recurrent requester. In that letter, he correctly used the rule (that I just learned through this discussion) that placed a comma outside the quotation marks. Yes, the language is ever changing and high school textbooks (and English teachers) are not quick to pick up on those changes. And as was pointed out by another poster, NCLB tests haven't picked up on any changes and often penalize students unfairly.

Jon said...

"I breifly {sic} joined that discussion and then Jon attacked me."

One thing I like about writing on blogs is that the whole history is retained - you can go back and read in order what occurred. Rather than what someone thinks happened.

Happy Thanksgiving, Sharon. :)

Sharon Crews said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Emerge and all who post here!

Sharon Crews said...

I knew Jon would spot my spelling error--but he did miss or was kind enough not to mention my pronoun-antecendent agreement error. :)

Sharon Crews said...

District Watch will meet at Monical's on Lake and Knoxville at 6 p.m. Sunday, November 28, even thought Monday's meeting will be a Committee of the Whole meeting, not a regular board meeting. Anyone is welcome.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to engage the policy committee and work to put some teeth in whatever good the Dist, teachers, and staff can do about parental accountability? What are the 2012 plan and goals for the Watch Group? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Evidently the "watch group" doesn't want to engage and doesn't have any real "plan." Never would have thought that............right.

Sharon Crews said...

The Watch group on the whole doesn't engage in blogging--I'm the only one, most, if not all, of the time. I don't hold back on my opinions--but they are just that--not an agenda for a group. Besides we really aren't that organized--we don't know what our "agenda" is--we "watch" and react to what we see. I'm sure some of you won't accept my contention, but we truly do want what is best for District 150 as a whole and its students and teachers, in particular. I still firmly believe that what is good for kids is good for teachers and vice versa. It isn't all about the children; it's all about the children's education--that's why school is called an educational institution.

Anonymous said...

Elaine has her own blog but doesn't allow anyone to object or speak out against her viewpoints, so I guess that must not qualify as "blogging". You must think paying students is good and grading teachers is good if "what is good for kids is good for teachers and vice versa" - but you never express that point of view. Someone suggested working WITH the board to put teeth into POLICY that positively impacts parental accountability yet you don't respond or take up the challenge. Guess it's just easier to watch and complain, but as many have pointed out to you, you and your group aren't helping or solving any of the problems - yet you represent your group as the voice of the community. After reading about church's, civic groups, and others wo are truly involved and committed to bettering our schools and community, I suggest you "lead, follow, or get out of the way."

Sharon Crews said...

Anonymous, maybe it's time for you to reveal your identity since you evidently expect us to take you and your challenges seriously. Exactly who is it that you want us to lead or follow? When did the board suggest putting teeth into policy to make parents accountable--I must have missed that meeting.

Sandy said...

Which anon? Why does it matter? Some of the points raised are valid and warrant attention. Your unwillingness to address implies to many that all the watch group wants to do is complain and embarass administration and the district.

teachingrocks said...

I don't understand why people want to attack the watch group. They are a group of people who actually care enough about what is happening in the schools to meet and discuss ways of improving things. They don't advertise themselves as saviours for the district. They don't advertise themselves as all-knowing. Honestly, they don't even advertise themselves. There is no "membership"---all are welcome. If you want to change something, go to the gathering and talk to them. The biggest thing everyone who meets there has in common is a desire to see the very best things happening in District 150 schools. Why is that a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

The anonymous posters here give the Watch Group lots of power. If only that were true.

But thanks for the compliment.

Anonymous said...

I think most are trying to challenge the watch group to do more than complain. The idea of working through board policy to see if it would improve parental accountabilty has merit and has been suggested by several - yet they have't even expressed a willingness to respond to inquiries. It's why many view them as chronic complainers - nothing more. All Hopkins, Sierra, Knapp et al want is a bully pulpit - nothing more. There are many constructive ways they could get involved besides listening to each other and trying to embarass administration - school, transportation, or others. Sharon says she is involved with Look it's my book - so am I. That is only a small part of what our students need. We don't need windbags with no plan and an unspoken agenda to embarass what ain't workin.

Sharon Crews said...

Anonymous--I guess I'll respond to your labeling us/me as windbags. First, if I understand your last accusation, why shouldn't we embarrass what "ain't workin"? Again District Watch is not a group with unified goals. We are just individuals who meet together and who would welcome any who want to join us--that's why we chose a public place to meet (Monical's) instead of in a private home.
My own desire (through FOIAs) is to make public as much information as possible. At board meetings, I do express my own view as to the significance of the information; however, what I present is factual information to which anyone is free to put its own spin.
I spend hours and hours compiling data. I give my compilations to the board (in a form and organization that they have not seen before) and I give my data to the members of the press who come to meetings--and always say, "Here is more stuff for your round file." Whether or not the data is important to the board or the press is up to them--personally, I think it should be.
My volunteer effort to pass out books is a very minor effort, so I didn't want to give a false impression by mentioning it.
I gave 43 years of my life to District 150 and more importantly to my students--and, contrary to popular belief, I gave very little, if any, of my energy to union activities during those years.
I have chosen to put my energies now into making District 150 more transparent. Secrecy has always been rampant in District 150, but never as much as now--in my opinion. Criticize away--how I spend my time is my choice--as it was my choice to spend 43 years trying to make a difference to District 150 and in the lives of students. They are my judges--and there is no doubt there must be those who didn't like me; they just don't stop me as I shop, etc., to tell me so--as do those who feel differently. :)

Anonymous said...

Sharon - First off, I'm not the above anon, but why on earth to you seem to relish embarassing the district when it has for too long suffered from public perception and preconceived notions? Why on earth wouldn't, if you truly are intent on helping, work WITH the district to solve problems instead of taking glee in pouring salt on wounds? I am more and more agreeing with those who say your agenda is to protect teachers and nothing else. So sad.

Anonymous said...

The last 2 anons...you don't read what she posts, or you would understand that Sharon is doing what she can...because nobody else is. To change policy, the board has to listen...and truly does not take the advice of the public...ahem...taxpayers.

Read what Sharon posts. She has never been a union thumper...you would know that if you read what she has to say. Her first concern is for the students in D150. If you want to ignore the truth, go ahead...but your blasting Sharon Crews turns everybody off to the hysterical anons who want to blame Sharon.

The children of D150 have a friend and cheerleader with Sharon. It is too bad you don't get it...and probably never will.

Anonymous said...

Anon - I would guess at least some know Sharon and know EXACTLY what she represents. Most are more likely than not to agree with those that are questioning or challenging what the watch group REALLY stands for.....her last post about wanting to embarass the district that employed her for decades speaks volumnes and I agree - she could actually be doing good instead of merely casting stones. I've taught and I've volunteered. I get it. Second guessing and sour grapes is how I interpret most of her comments. Personally, I like mentoring and helping in other ways.