C. Ellis: Apathy is a learned condition

For at least the past 10 years of my teaching career, my biggest challenge was student apathy. I struggled daily to motivate middle level students and convince them that education was a crucial part of securing a successful future.

Well, I think I've figured out where those young people learned how to practice apathy.

For the second time, the RSU 4 school budget proposal was defeated. Now the school board is faced with cutting even more programs and positions. There is no doubt that those cuts will negatively affect the children of Litchfield, Wales and Sabattus.

The second budget referendum was voted on by only 400-plus citizens of the three towns. If that isn't voter apathy, I don't know what is.

Yes, we teach our children by example. It's sad that not all examples are good ones.

Cheryl Ellis, Monmouth

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Comments

 's picture

Natural state.

Middle school aged children are by nature apathetic. They aren't little children free of inhibitions any longer, they are absolutely phobic about making mistakes, being bullied, laughed at, humiliated, or not in the "in crowd." Combined with the hormonal changes they are going through, the rapid physical growth, and other puberty related issues they if they aren't downright lethargic, they are darn close to it. The apathy of middle schoolers is a function of biology, not a function of how many people show up to vote on a school budget.

Jim Cyr's picture

Ms. Ellis, Apathy

starts at home !!!! Not the duty of the schools to mold character.

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

400 is a huge turnout!

In my district, in the bad old days, the budget was decided by show of hands from the audience at a school board meeting. 40 people was a big crowd, all hand picked by teachers and unions.

When we went to secret ballot, things changed. People started to reject the automatic increases, not from apathy, but from a sincere belief that those in education need to share the economic pain the rest of us have to feel. Another change, the board started to hold multiple ballots until they got what they wanted, by wearing down the electorate.

Children aren't stupid, in spite of the constant attempts by the education industry to dumb them down. They know the best teaching example is one that is applied evenly across society.

MARK GRAVE's picture

Perhaps the lesson to learn

Perhaps the lesson to learn here is to take NO for an answer.

Yeah, there's an idea

Screw the kids, we don't need no budget. We'll just close the schools and save a boatload of money. Let those whose parents can't afford a private school learn in the streets. That should prepare them for a good future supportin ol' mon and dad in their dotage.

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

This is the "logic" ...

... employed by hacks at every budget meeting: If we don't get our increase, we'll have to close all the schools, lay off all the teachers (and policemen and firemen) and the kids will go hungry and barefoot in the snow. Save it for the union hall.

Can't save it for the union hall

My contempt for the unions is on a par with my contempt for ideologues like you and Gravel and Albrecht. Personally, I think the unions should stay out of teaching.

I am not pro union, I am pro education, and I am in favor of giving all kids the best education we can. Having no background in education or teaching, I do not presume to think I know better how to do it than the ones who do have that background, union or not, so I tend to think they may know a little more about it than me. I have no children of my own, so I have no direct dog in this fight, but that does not mean I should not help get the next generation educated.

MARK GRAVE's picture

Oh, cry me a river. Changing

Oh, cry me a river. Changing demographics in small towns and shrinking populations in small town will force consolidation of services and resources, or these towns may go bust. That is a fact.

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