The Polite Times™
|A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.|
|Vol IV, No 04||
President’s Corner – Lawsuits won’t Improve Education
Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:
I’m preparing for my next trip to Washington D.C., to continue my discussions with our nation’s leaders about how social skills education needs to be a necessary component if we are to really improve our public schools (and many private schools, too, to be frank!).
Many of you may be aware of the growing number of states that are joining the NEA in suing the government over the demands of No Child Left Behind. The suit claims that the Federal Government is not providing funding to enable states to succeed under the mandates of the Act.
To say I’m upset about this litigation is an understatement.
I’ve written several letters to Editors of leading newspapers,
including the Washington Post the New York Times and others expressing
my point of view that these lawsuits are nothing but another waste of
taxpayer money. If the goal of the states is to improve the quality
of our children’s education, filing lawsuits is not the way to
do it, in my opinion.
A recent story in The Desert Sun reported that it cost the Palm Springs Unified School District $31,200 a day because of student absenteeism. While there are many reasons for why students are absent, some reasons are rooted in social skills – students don’t feel safe, they don’t feel school is a positive environment, they don’t take their jobs (to be students) seriously, etc. If you figure that the average school year is around 180 days long, Palm Springs Unified is losing $5.6M a year from abseentism alone. If you multiply that for the more than 16,000 public school districts in this country, you’d have nearly $100 Billion dollars each year that could be applied to student education.
Not to mention the billions of dollars spent annually on anti-bullying programs. And, the cost to recruit, retain, and … yes, replace teachers and staff. What if we didn’t need to build so many new schools because “smaller classroom size” wasn’t such an issue, and instead, teachers could manage the classroom sizes they had?
Do you see what I’m getting at?
Yet, the NEA and states are filing lawsuits – throwing more money out the window – not to improve education and academic achievement, but to get relief from the high standards the government is insisting on.
We cannot sue our way to better academic achievement or improve our kids’ learning environments by tying up critical financial and other resources up in litigation. I think this approach is ridiculous because it doesn’t rise to the challenge or accomplish anything positive. Instead of saying, “Ok, here’s what we have to do. Now, how do we get it done?” it merely takes the position of “Here’s why we can’t possibly ever improve.”
It’s a cop-out.
How are we supposed to ever really achieve anything beyond mediocrity if we are always looking for excuses or reasons to support why we never will?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for making sure our schools have what they need to succeed, including spending money appropriately. But, as I’ve said before, we can throw all the money in the world on more academic programs; if we don’t have kids’ attention, they won’t learn. And, when 30% or more of an average school day is spent “babysitting,” or managing discipline problems in the classroom, it’s clear that until we address this issue, we’ll never make progress toward achieving our potential.
That’s what the NEA and states need to be spending time and money on. Not lawsuits and litigation.
Corinne Gregory, President & Founder
We’ll certainly let you know how these talks turn out. In the
meantime, if you believe in the mission of improved social skills and
decreases in discipline issues, it won’t hurt for you to contact
your own local representatives to let them know what we’re doing!
In our last two newsletters, we mentioned how we are providing more alternatives to training for schools and organizations. Traditional instructor-led training is ideal, but not always practical or desirable. Well, we’re now able to announce another exciting offering, designed to make PoliteChild-based programs available to as many people as possible.
In a press release issued April 20, 2005, The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence announced that it will work with The PoliteChild to create an online program to prepare potential teachers for the classroom by helping them develop effective classroom management skills. The new online course will be based on PoliteChild’s SocialSmarts™ for GradeSchoolers teacher training, but will not require schools or teachers to license PoliteChild programs in order to use the methods and specific course materials in the classroom.
This course is expected to be generally available by August, 2005.
The full text of the release can be found at: http://www.politechild.com/news/release_042005.htm. For more information on this new distance-learning module, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 866.485.4089. For more information on The American Board, check out their website at www.abcte.org.
If you’ve read our newsletter for any length of time now, you’ve certainly run across our comments about the high cost of behavior management and discipline issues in the classroom and schoolyards. On our website, we’ve dedicated an entire page to charts and calculations showing the financial impacts. (http://www.politechild.com/rss-pubschfin.htm)
Well we’ve now gone one step further – we provide you a way to try it out for yourself! If you don’t believe our numbers, or want to adjust them for your own district or school, plug in your own, and see what you come up with.
Our new calculator page fields that allow you to enter the cost to educate a student for a day or a year, the number of teaching days in the school year, percentage you think is being spent on behavior/classroom management and discipline, and then see what your “bottom line” is.
We think you’ll find that “the answer” is a very big number, one that will help you understand what the lack of good social skills is costing us and our kids! Remember, it doesn’t need to be an entire class out of control. One or two disruptive or disrespectful students can ruin it for an entire class!
find the new online calculator page at:
Try it out and let us know what you think!
Drop us an email at email@example.com and tell us if you find this information
helpful or relevant!
|Next Licensee Training|
Our next scheduled PoliteChild Licensee training will be held in the Southwest Region in Palm Desert May 18-20th. We’re welcoming licensees from several states in this training, so it should be a very exciting and informative time.
Our licensee training covers topics important for starting and developing a PoliteChild business of your own: including a detailed walk-thru of our SocialSmarts™ for GradeSchoolers course, marketing and prospecting for clients, how to grow your PoliteChild business and expand your territories as appropriate.
If you’re interested in joining our growing list of authorized PoliteChild affiliates across the nation – and now, shortly, internationally, – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 866.485.4089. We’re especially interested in finding providers in the Portland, OR area, as well as in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and Texas, where we’ve had a lot of inquiries from parents and schools.
Come be a part of our life-changing mission and build a satisfying,
rewarding business at the same time! We do still have a few spots open,
but all applications for prospects planning on joining us at this training
will need to be received at the PoliteChild Southwest Office no later
than May 1, to allow for sufficient time for processing and Board approval.
Since there’s a lot to cover – and more of these tips are found in our “Polish Up for Prom” class – we’ll keep it brief.
On Flowers: Guys, you are expected to provide your date with flowers for her outfit. Now, the cool thing to do is to show you are SociallySmart: ask her what color her dress is, and whether she would prefer a corsage (that gets pinned on her dress) or a “wristlet” which she can wear on her wrist. If the material of her dress is delicate or if her dress is strapless or has only spaghetti straps, the best answer is wristlet. Also, if you really want to seem like the considerate type, ask her if she has any allergies to any flowers – having a date with watery eyes and sneezing fits can ruin the best of evenings.
Young ladies, the same is true generally for your date. ‘Course, hopefully he’s wearing something that coordinates with your outfit, so you can plan for a boutonnière that goes with his tux or suit.
At Pickup time: Guys, you may think this sounds old-fashioned, but it’s guaranteed to impress your date (even if she doesn’t admit it) and her parents: when you go to pick up your prom date, spend a minute chatting with her parents and thank them for letting you both go to this special event! Believe it or not, in most families parents contribute a lot to the “big night” – not just money, but time and energy, helping with shopping excursions, maybe helping make sure the outfits are on “just right,” and being supportive, especially if son/daughter maybe don’t completely agree on choice of dress, date, transportation, etc. It’s a big night for parents, too, so it’s terrific if you take a minute, recognize that, and show your appreciation. It may feel geeky at first, but the reaction from the parents will show that you’ve made them feel good.
Gals, if you are at your date’s home some time during the evening, it’d be super stylish for you to thank them, too. We don’t really thank our parents enough for all they do – and have done – for us. Why not take an extra 5 minutes and show your appreciation! It’ll give both of you a warm glow inside that can only make a terrific evening even better.
Managing cars, chairs – other traditional “guy stuff”: All right, young gentlemen, this is going to sound weird, especially in this overly-sensitive “politically correct” world we live in, but for one night, it can’t hurt to be gallant. Chivalry, knights and damsels in distress, and all that rubbish. Prom nights are fantasy nights, and retro is cool, right? So, go really retro and be the dashing leading-man for an evening. Do the “guy stuff” and watch your date be impressed! That means, get the door for her when she gets into the car; pull her chair out for her before she sits down; hold a building door open, or offer to get her something to drink at the dance. And, if you really want mouths to drop – get up from your seat when a lady approaches your table – including your date!
Now, if you think your date will be offended by that, you can again be pro-active and ask her if you may “get the door for her” beforehand. If she reacts with a “why, do you think I’m crippled or something” – you may want to leave it for another time. But, if you were to respond with something like, “No, I’d just like to treat you like the elegant, beautiful woman you are” she’ll probably blush up to the roots of her hair.
Prom night is about glamour, so adding a little of the “dashing hero” routine can’t be all bad, right? One suggestion: if you want to try these new tricks, try them at home first; maybe mom will agree to be your “date” and help you with pulling out a chair before she is seated, ‘cause there is a certain finesse required so your date doesn’t end up on the floor!
Young ladies: if your date decides to be chivalrous and do all this “hero stuff,” let him. Even if it’s not your usual style, think about this: you’re both dressed up to kill, fancier than ever, so it’s ok to put on the fancy manners to go with it, just for a night, right? It’s pretty special to be treated like you’re pretty special. Who knows, you may just find out you like it!
One more little note: even thought the Prom is about being social with your friends, guys and girls remember this: don’t desert your date! Even if something goes wrong and Mr. or Miss Wonderful turns out to be Mr. or Miss “I can’t wait to unload this loser and get home,” try to be gracious at least through the end of the evening. You can tough it out; it’s only one night. If things get really bad, you can always ask your date to take you home, or call a trusted friend – who hasn’t been drinking – or your parents to come pick you up. But, show your class and style and don’t throw any wild scenes or temper fits. Prom night is all about big expectations, and it’s very easy to have them be disappointed.
The best “tip” we can give you is this: go with a big heart, plan to have fun with friends, and don’t be disappointed if prom night doesn’t end up being the biggest, most wonderful night of your life. There’ll be others, even bigger and more wonderful. Prom is really just “practice” for the big time!
|PoliteChild in the News|
Well, it appears perseverance (on of the Virtues we cover in our Exploring the Virtues series, by the way!) pays off. We’ve been notified by Entrepreneur Magazine, that our story is slated for the June – that’s 2005! – issue! It’s been over a year, but look for the story about ‘dreaming up a business’ in that issue. We’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed.
Other stories on The PoliteChild are pending, and we’ll keep you posted as we know specific publications, dates, and times.
|What do you want to know?|
Every month, The PoliteTimes gains more readers and a broader audience, we’re continually striving to give you information, news and tips for our newsletters that are interesting and relevant.
Do you have something you’d like to see us cover or have a question you’d like us to answer (privately or through our newsletter)? If so, contact us at email@example.com or by phone at 866.485.4089!
We appreciate all those folks who have already written us to give us feedback. We do read each and every one of your letters and take your input seriously! If you don’t get a response from us in 48 hours, please email us again. We’re finding that SPAM filters seem to be overly efficient in blocking out correspondence sometimes, even the correspondence that’s wanted and welcome!