The Polite Press
 A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild™
 Vol II, No 3
April 2003 

In This Issue

1. President's Corner
2. No Child Left Behind resources
3. PoliteChild at the Northwest Women's Show
4. Summer's a coming...
5. A Delighted Parent Writes...
6. War and the Golden Rule
7. Question of the Month
8. Licensing Program
9. Upcoming Events
 

President's Corner

Dear PoliteChild community members and supporters:

I had originally planned a different piece for this month’s “Corner” but just yesterday something came across my desk that caused me to change my plans entirely. The Washington Times printed a story on the newswires originally entitled “Unruly students still trouble U.S. schools,” which was picked up by the Associated Press and run in literally dozens of national newspapers. In it, a study from Public Agenda, a nonpartisan, nonprofit public opinion research and citizen education organization based in New York City, called “Where We Are Now” reported that lack of manners among public school students, demoralized teachers, and uninvolved were of greater concern for most Americans than the legislation for standardized testing and school accountability.

This report pulled together more than 25 surveys done by Public Agenda looking into the general attitudes of teachers, principals, students, and families involved in the K-12 educational system. What became clear is that, while academic standards and regular testing, such as those mandated by the “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001, may be important, there are many other factors that are hurting students’ academic performance.

Any guesses as to what they found?

  • 77% of students say their high school has problems with cursing in the hallways and cafeterias
  • 83% of teachers say that parents who do not set limits and create appropriate structure at home for their kids are a serious problem
  • 81% of teachers fault parents for not ensuring that their children study hard and behave well
  • Over 40% of the teachers say that in their schools, they spend more time trying to keep order in the classroom than they do actually teaching

We’ve long been tracking the raw data coming from research organizations such as Public Agenda, so the general gist of the article came as no surprise. But, this is information so fresh that the ink is still wet on the page. And, it’s the first time there has been a direct link made between social skills and No Child Left Behind.

But what was shocking was the last statistic we listed; the proportion of teachers that are so busy playing conduct police that they can’t focus on what they are trained and expected – now held accountable – to do: teach. And, there is clearly a feeling from teachers that parents are to blame for a great deal of this social upheaval.

While there are certainly families in which reasonable norms of social behavior are not taught, most of us as parents, I believe, do want to raise children that have good social skills and moral characters. Pitting the school system, on whose shoulders the accountability for academic achievement rests, against parents who have the responsibility to teach their kids proper manners isn’t going to solve the problem and does not really contribute to meeting objectives. This is a community-wide problem, not just a public school system problem; a societal issue, not just an educational one. But, one thing is clear from this report: a child’s social skills and level of conduct plays a crucial role in his or her academic success. And, more must be done in schools and homes alike, to ensure that children’s behaviors and character education is appropriate so that are adequately prepared to learn and to interact with others.

For these reasons we at The PoliteChild are excited that we are beginning to be invited into the public school system by providing our program on a school-wide and even district-wide basis. Moreover, we are announcing a new service that will assist schools in securing funding for programs such as ours through No Child Left Behind.

Strong social skills and education in proper conduct are tools that should be available to everyone. There is no child who will not benefit from improved manners and the sense of freedom and self-esteem that comes being socially comfortable. By making this type of education and child-enrichment available to anyone who needs it, we are truly ensuring that no child is left behind.

With kind regards,

Corinne A. Gregory

President and Founder, The PoliteChild

P.S. To read the text from the “Where are We Now?” report, or any of the articles referenced, see our new “No Child Left Behind” resource pages, mentioned below.

 

 No Child Left Behind Resources


As part of our on-going commitment to providing resources to parents, schools, and community members about social skills education, good manners, and etiquette, we have launched some new pages on our website that we’ll use to help track articles, recent press, and other items of interest.

You can find these pages at http://www.politechild.com/manners-morale.htm or access them from our www.politechild.com home page. Take a look and tell us what you think, or let us know about other items that should be included.

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 PoliteChild at the Northwest Women’s Show

Well, we came, we attended, … and we collapsed afterwards! Our first tradeshow outing at the Northwest Women’s Show was everything we expected it to be, and more! According to show organizers, over 25,000 women were expected to be in attendance, and we think, by our reckoning, that they must have been right! We had many people visit our booth as well as hear one of three presentations by PoliteChild President Corinne Gregory on “The Importance of Raising a Mannerly Child.” Thanks to all of you who stopped by to talk with us about the program, sign up for our newsletter, and took our message and mission back into your homes and your communities. For a sense of what it was like, here are some photos of the show and The PoliteChild booth.

Based on the strong interest expressed by folks living in the Tacoma/Puyallup/South Sound region, Issaquah and East King County, as well as many inquiries about classes in Kitsap County, we are presently investigating opportunities for conducting courses in those areas and we’re looking for teachers! Let us know if you know of a school or organization that would like to host us and that will help us get classes to you faster. But, we’ll keep you posted on our latest doings and when we’re likely to offer classes in new areas. As always, thank you for your support and encouragement.

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 Summer’s a-coming…

…and many of you have been asking about classes for your kids over the long summer break. We’re working with several schools in the local area to offer courses during the summer months, so check our class schedule page for classes in your region. Also, if are interested in having a particular school offer PoliteChild classes, let them know about us and where they can contact us for more information!

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 A delighted parent writes…


We received this email from a parent whose child recently graduated from a class in Bothell, WA:

“…My oldest child really loved the class and the teacher. I would like my younger one to try the class with his older brother. My child learned so much from the class, and is still using everything now. We are now able to go out to eat and eat a hot meal. Thank you.”

Comments such as these are so gratifying to us because they show that we are truly helping children and their families, not just on fancy occasions, but everyday.

Have a success story you’d like to share? Contact us and we may feature it in an upcoming issue of The PolitePress. Don’t forget to let us know if you’d like your name mentioned, or if you’d prefer to remain anonymous. We will always respect your preferences and your privacy.

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 War and The Golden Rule

An Letter to the Editor written by a former PoliteChild student that appeared in the Woodinville Weekly prompted President Corinne Gregory to write this article examining whether a society that is trying to practice The Golden Rule can still be justified in finding itself enmeshed in military conflict.

Link to article, War and the Golden Rule


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 Question of the Month


Our question this month comes to us from a mom who has 3 kids, ages 8, 7 and 2:

I’m trying to teach my kids the importance of being kind to one another, but it’s so hard with the many negative influences they see everyday, just even on the TV. Should I just forbid them to watch certain shows or limit the number of shows they watch? Thanks for your help!

Boy, do we hear this a lot! While limiting the amount of TV that kids watch is a good idea in general, let’s look at it from the perspective of manners education.

While you can censor the shows that your kids watch when they are at home, remember that you will not have the same control when they are away from home and you’re not there to supervise. Kids will use any opportunity, such as playdates at a friend’s house, to pick “forbidden fruit,” especially if it’s not forbidden at the friend’s. That goes for such frequent “contraband” such as candy, pop, TV and movies, music, etc.

Since we want our children to be able to make good, moral decisions independent from our hovering over them and managing their doings, a better approach might be to spend time with your kids watching the offending shows together. Observe the content and situations in the shows with them and ask them if they know why you don’t like the show or why you object to a particular character or scenario. Talking with them about it will help them understand why you would prefer they not be influenced by it, and why you feel there are better choices available to them. By educating them on the “why” behind your views, they will be more likely to adhere to your policies even when you aren’t there. And, that’s really the difference between “doing as they are told” and “doing the right thing,” which is really what we want them to do.

Got a question? Send it to us and maybe we’ll feature it in an upcoming Polite Press!

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 Licensing Program

Over the past month or so, we’ve been contacted literally from the four corners of the country about bringing our PoliteChild program to other regions.

We’re responded to this interest by creating a formal licensing program that allows individuals or groups to use our name, our curriculum, and our processes to start their own PoliteChild businesses in their regions. We believe this is the best way for us to grow and to spread our message, while still retaining the quality of that message and the effectiveness of our unique methods. You can find out more about our business opportunities, including the licensing program at http://www.politechild.com/company-opps.htm.

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 Upcoming Events

We’ve had a successful run of Parent’s Nights in the past month and are taking a little hiatus from public events for the next month or so.

We were recently invited to speak at a local Mom’s group that meets at St. Jude Catholic Church in Redmond. Moms in attendance learned about the importance and challenges of raising a mannerly child and had plenty of questions about specific tips and situations.

Do you know of a group that would benefit from hearing about topics mentioned in this newsletter? If so, let us know, or visit our Book a PoliteChild Speaker page on our website. We’re always happy to serve groups by providing useful information about social skills development, manners, and etiquette.

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