Why Teachers Quit Teaching

When I first began teaching more than 25 years ago, hands-on exploration, investigation, joy and love of learning characterized the early childhood classroom. I’d describe our current period as a time of testing, data collection, competition and punishment. One would be hard put these days to find joy present in classrooms.

I think it started with No Child Left Behind years ago. Over the years I’ve seen this climate of data fascination seep into our schools and slowly change the ability for educators to teach creatively and respond to children’s social and emotional needs. But this was happening in the upper grades mostly. Then it came to kindergarten and PreK, beginning a number of years ago with a literacy initiative that would have had us spending the better part of each day teaching literacy skills through various prescribed techniques. ”What about math, science, creative expression and play?” we asked. The kindergarten teachers fought back and kept this push for an overload of literacy instruction at bay for a number of years.

Next came additional mandated assessments. Four and five year olds are screened regularly each year for glaring gaps in their development that would warrant a closer look and securing additional supports (such as O.T, P.T, and Speech Therapy) quickly. Teachers were already assessing each child three times a year to understand their individual literacy development and growth. A few years ago, we were instructed to add periodic math assessments after each unit of study in math. Then last year we were told to include an additional math assessment on all Kindergarten students (which takes teachers out of the classroom with individual child testing, and intrudes on classroom teaching time.)

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Thank You Safe Passage For Children

As a long time CASA guardian ad-Litem who finds it impossible to believe that the depth and scope of child abuse in my community (both local and national) is largely unspoken until some poor child is found in a dumpster or has his brains bashed out against a wall by a caregiver, I am excited by the efforts to quantify these sad facts by Safe Passages For Children.

It is precisely because we don’t keep track, or if we do, don’t publish the mountain of unhappy things happening to our children. If these things were recorded, reported, and discussed, our institutions could function more effectively and children would be much safer and happier.

What follows is a major effort by Rich Gehrman and Safe Passages For Children to identify the tip of this iceberg (thank you Rich and company)

Please sign our petition for safe and healthy MN children (even if you are not from MN)

Petition to make health, education, and well being available to all MN children

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Bad Day In The News For At Risk Children

image001Friends of KARA, please appreciate that these children don’t get much press and aside from the blaming of caregivers and social workers, not much investigating is done and few solutions are offered. The issues are uncomfortable and seldom spoken of which is why the problem of child abuse is epidemic in America.

As a longtime CASA guardian ad-Litem, it hurts me that the millions of terribly injured children are so under our radar.

What follows are some of today’s child tragedies (and a first nation’s report of child death over the years).  Please feel free to send me articles from your community.  The only way life can be improved for abused and neglected children is if we record and talk about these things.

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KARA TV Interview Mike & Tiffini

KARA board members Tiffini Flynn Forsland & Mike Tikkanen were Interviewed on Catherine Hoaglund’s Metro Cable Network Channel 6, Catherine’s Crossing to bring attention to key issues facing abused and neglected children. Catherine asked powerful questions about the brutal truths faced by at risk children and what our community could do to help children in toxic homes develop the coping skills necessary for leading a normal life.

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Thank You Ruben Rosario (for today’s powerful Pioneer Press article supporting our Invisible Children Petition)

“In the spirit of a) enlightened self-interest and b) in order to form a more perfect union, we the people of Minnesota declare that all children have an equal right to preventative health care (the right to see a doctor before they are sick) including prenatal care and to quality early learning (pre-K) programs,” the petition states.

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Removed; Short Painful Film About Foster Care

“Sometimes someone hurts you so bad, it stops hurting at all. Until something makes you feel again, and then it all comes back: every word, every hurt, every moment.”

Those are the first words spoken in “ReMoved” — a powerful short film, directed by Nathanael Matanick, which exposes both the bleakness and the potential hope that exists within the foster care system.

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Sign Our Petition For Child Rights, Safety, and Healthcare

Help KARA make a better world for America’s children and sign our petition for basic rights, health care, and safety (even if you’re not from MN)

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/childrens-civil-human?source=c.em.mt&r_by=6732677

Every signature helps.

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Beyond Capacity; Arizona’s Child Protection System (not the only state)

Child Protective Services oversight committee shows Arizona’s child welfare system experienced a greater caseload increase than all but one state in the 10 years ending in 2012, while most states saw decreases.

University of Chicago researcher and former federal child welfare commissioner Bryan Samuels’ review of state and federal data also found the response time in Arizona for child abuse and neglect complaints soared from 63 hours to nearly 250 hours between 2009 and 2012.

Samuels said the data he reviewed at the request of state officials working to overhaul the broken system showed Arizona’s child welfare system became overwhelmed as caseloads soared. That led to a large increase in the amount of time children were in the system before being reunified with their families or placed in permanent homes.

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477 Child Deaths In FL (preserving families but costing lives)

When 8-week-old Kyla Joy Hall was hospitalized with a bleeding brain and fractures to both legs, both wrists and a foot, police could not determine which of her parents injured her. One thing was certain: Someone had inflicted life-threatening injuries on a newborn.

While Kyla healed in a medical foster home, child-welfare authorities moved to strip both parents of their rights to her. But when her mother bowed out of the picture — to become an actress — her father transformed, without explanation, from abuse suspect into fit parent. Josi Hall, Jacksonville firefighter, was awarded full custody despite the misgivings of his own mother.

Ten months later, Kyla’s father viciously attacked her. Her injuries included a “pulpified” liver, knuckle-sized bruises to her chest and, the decisive blow, a cleaved heart that sustained damage similar to “that of a kick from a horse,” an autopsy said.

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Violence Against Children – A family Tradition (TEDx, Robbyn Peters Bennett)

Violence, a family tradition: Robbyn Peters Bennett at TEDx Bellingham This short (13 min) TEDx video clearly articulates what is wrong with hitting babies & children (and legislators in Kansas lobbying for the right to leave bruises on children). Passed down generation after generation, sticks, paddles, and open hand hitting all leave mental health marks that result in compensating behaviors, poor brain development, and the next generation of parents beating their children. If you know someone that hits their child, or lives in Kansas, send this link to them.

6 million children are reported to child protection services in the U.S. each year Only a fraction of these children receive the help they need to lead productive lives.

(invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America

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Great Discussion On Privatized Foster Care In Georgia (Linked In)

Fascinating debate occurring in Georgia that has life-altering impacts on children. Have you studied the research on privatization of foster care and/or other child welfare services? If so, please share what you’ve learned? Has your state had experience with partial or full privatization? Any lessons to share with Georgia and the rest of the country from that?

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Daycare In America (more sad stories)

A South Carolina woman who allegedly operated an unlicensed daycare out of her home faces multiple charges after a child under her care died. But investigators say that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Pamela Clark Wood, 49, was arrested March 6. Police began investigating Wood last month after Greenville County Sheriff’s deputies received a call about anunresponsive 3-month-old baby girl, who later died.

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Politics & Children – A Zero Sum Game

A very recent MN Governor (not this one) ended subsidized daycare in the state – the waiting list is now 7000 children.

Two percent of MN children are enrolled in high quality early childhood education programs- the national average is 25% and MN has the lowest rate among the 38 states that offer the programs.

Cutting the pie smaller for children is destructive, leads to failing students and schools, troubled communities, and the highest crime rates in the industrialized world. We talk allot about our state leading the nation in racial disparity but don’t seem to have a handle on how we might change that (Hennepin County arrested 44% of its adult Black men in 2001 – no duplicate arrests).

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Here’s Something Easy You Can Do To Improve The Lives Of At Risk Children

Children’s Issues in MN don’t get the coverage they need. You can help KARA change this. Click Here and fill out the form recommending children’s issues as the most important story right now. Think about it. You don’t read about these issues in the media unless a baby has died or some other horrid things has happened to a child.

Help KARA change this. Two minutes of your time will have an impact.
Buy our book or donate Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America

Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/KidsAtRisk Share This Blog

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It’s How You Frame The Issue

Albert Garcia’s first psychotic break was bizarre — he awoke from a night of drinking and meth use 10 years ago to hear angry voices coming from people on the other side of a living room mirror — but it gives him credibility as he counsels others with severe mental illness.

“I can see it. I can feel it,” said Garcia, 57. “I can actually feel the kind of fear they are going through.”

Garcia is the most unorthodox member of a project created to help Twin Cities teens struggling with severe mental illness. The idea is to bring a team of professionals such as psychiatric nurses and drug counselors to teens’ doorsteps, but also to connect them with “peer support” specialists such as Garcia who can relate to their struggles.

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Single Mom Survival (most moving story on the web today)

I had aspirations and potential when I was fresh out of high school in 1997. I graduated from a private school with a 3.97 GPA. I could have gone to practically any college I’d set my sights on, but I wanted to stay in my beloved hometown of Denver and was hell bent on going to school to learn, not to party, so I opted for Metropolitan State University in the heart of downtown. I got an apartment with my older brother, already had a part time job I’d worked at every summer throughout high school, and started college on a full ride, four year scholarship. I planned to double major in broadcasting and Spanish and work my way up the ranks of my favorite local TV station, from field reporter to news anchor.

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A Modest Proposal & The Kansas State House (special thanks to Jonathan Swift & Gail Finney)

The juxtaposition of Jonathon Swifts “Modest Proposal” to sell the poor newborn babies of Ireland as food to solve the poverty and suffering of Irish parents has a parallel to the beating and bruising of children proposal being advanced by Kansas State Rep Gail Finney in several ways.
First and foremost, is the repugnant assumption that beating or eating children will make anyone’s lives better is insane. Murder is murder. We also know that beaten children will beat their own children (and others).

2500 years ago, Pliny told us “what we do to our children, they will do to society”. Look around you at the full prisons, troubled schools, and dangerous streets. It didn’t get this way because of the overemphasis on early childhood programs and support for poor young families.

In Swift’s defense, he was being satirical and ironic. Finney has no defense (she’s just mean and crazy – like Bachman). Parallel two is that 30 states have outright banned corporal punishment (proposed by Finney) and there are no states that allow the boiling, broiling, or baking of children (as proposed by Swift).
For readers among us, below are Swift’s full text and a more about Representative Finney’s bizarre work in Kansas.

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Comment Thread On The Child Beating Bill In Kansas

Friends of KARA, below are the comments made on a network debating the Kansas state bill that would allow the beating of children by virtually any caregiver and the leaving of bruises. The good news is that most people hate it for its neanderthal approach to child rearing but there are a fair number of folks that just want the right to beat children.

My mom was born 9 years prior to women’s rights being passed in America. Before this, almost no amount of violence was illegal against a man’s wife. Not so different with children in America today. The passing of this law in Kansas will demonstrate just how tragically ill informed state legislators can be.

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Children In The News – read about your state here (thank you child welfare.gov)

ID: Bill to protect children of faith healers in Idaho will not get a hearing
Associated Press – February 26, 2014
House leaders ruled out a hearing on a bill meant to curb the number of children who die because their parents choose faith healing and not medical assistance for religious reasons.
http://www.katu.com/news/local/Bill-to-protect-children-of-faith-healers-in-Idaho-will-not-get-a-hearing-247401091.html

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GOP Is Right; We Are Spending Too Much (because we invest too little)

David Strand is a KARA board member, he has lived in Finland, worked on the making of public policies for children and written about how other advanced nations make public policy on children’s issues. He is a frequent contributor to KARA’s web pages. Look up his other articles under “select a category – David Strand” on the right hand side. David’s article today;

Edwin Green (recently deceased and not his real name) was an executive for 3M from the 1960’s into the 80’s. He once gave me a lecture on business philosophy, a lesson that resonates in today’s climate of political impasse. Edwin mentored me and asked why I was bothering to study for an MBA at night school. I replied my engineering education was quite narrow and studying business helped me understand working at 3M. Smiling broadly, Edwin told me he (also an engineer) hadn’t studied business but “he knew how to run a business.” Mostly, he said, all you have to know is when “to spend a nickel to make a dime”, his one-minute lecture.

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Safe Passage For Children Of MN (unintended consequences of legislation)

Guardrails Plus Guidelines

Legislation often has unintended consequences. For example a proposed Minnesota bill would eliminate smoking from foster homes. Makes sense for new licenses, but it could disrupt current placements where children are doing well.

Rather than addressing every situation with a law or regulation, consider ‘guardrails’ for ones that are clearly out of bounds, and guidelines for the rest.

A guardrail for example would be that an adult who has sexually perpetrated on children should never have access to kids. Guidelines would help determine if a father who had a felony 15 years ago gets consideration in a custody decision.

Guidelines require ongoing training, quality control, and accountability for outcomes. But they are more efficient than continually working around inflexible rules. Plus, they give skilled workers room to apply their expertise.

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