The American education system needs to wake up.
Teaching 25 years with court-connected students on parole or probation, I have witnessed, based upon the objectives of No Child Left Behind and the middle school system, an educational infrastructure that has evolved into a depersonalized system that produces students detached from society. Cold-blooded murdered Adam Lanza is an example.
Schools are so focused on test scores and benchmarks that they have forgotten an important goal: to help raise our children to be positive, productive citizens.
We need extracurricular activities and classes to get students interpersonally connected. If these basic principles are not taught in the home, teach them at school. We must help develop empathy, compassion, camaraderie and honor.
While watching “Washington’s Most Wanted,” I was shocked when the photo of a former student of mine, 16-year-old James J. Stimson Jr., appeared on the screen. He was being sought in connection with the fatal shooting on South 56th Street several weeks ago in Tacoma, and has now been charged with first-degree murder (TNT, 12-18).
Viewing his boyish face was crushing, and my heart sank as I thought of an intelligent, witty, handsome young man senselessly ruining the lives of others. Could we have saved him? I say yes.
Bring back junior highs’ seventh, eighth and ninth grades; shop classes; clubs; competitive sports; and activities that connect students to their communities. We cannot continue to omit the human factor in education. If we do, incidents such as happened in Newtown, Conn., will soon be happening in our schools.