Edd Peyton Guest ColumnistI recently read about the astonishing high number of students at Yazoo City High School who are in danger of not graduating this year.
As harsh at it may seem, I suggest that Yazoo City High School’s administration let the children fail.
At some point in life, parents and their children should learn and realize that special accommodations cannot and should not be made in every instance where a child fails to live up to his or her potential.
A Yazoo Herald article suggested that Yazoo City High School offered after school and weekend programs to assist the failing students to achieving the necessary qualifications for graduation. The school board also went to apartment complexes and handed out flyers explaining what was occurring and requesting parental intervention.
I do not know whether these acts are effective. What I do know is that every time a child is bailed out of a hard spot, the child becomes one step closer to developing an expectation of being bailed out of whatever issue they face. These children are destined to become dependent on a paternalistic system until the day that no one is willing to extend a helping hand. It is at that point that these children in extremis (or perhaps young adults) hit rock bottom and will finally be forced to make a personal decision to accept failure or to work to overcome the obstacles they face.
I am not one who believes that there shall never be cause for exception. In the cases where exception arises, the exception should be driven by proactive steps taken by the parents and the students, each requesting help before they reach the point of no return.
It should be the children and their parents who reach out to the school system with a mutually agreeable solution, instead of the school system expending resources to inform parents and students of a situation that they should already be aware of, having seen poor grades on tests and report cards.
The school system is charged with educating our youth to minimum standards. Parents should send their children to school ready to learn, already at or near the minimum standard. Parents and children should then strive to push the school to offer more complex and better course offerings. In this day and age there is no excuse for failure. Technology has made the answer to almost any question available by simply typing a plainly worded question into Google. Google is available at school, the library and on the cell phones in the possession of many youth. Through Google and YouTube, parents and students can find lessons on almost any subject.
Yazoo City High School, through the Class of 2013, can send a message to all classes that follow. That message shall be proclaimed as follows, “When you walk through these doors, come prepared to learn. We will do our best to teach you. We ask that you do your best to learn. If you are having problems, ask for help. If you do not timely ask for help, we will not hesitate to fail you. The responsibility to learn is upon both you and I.”
This year’s graduation should be held highlighting both those who graduate and those who fail. There should be a seat on the field for every student who was enrolled in the Class of 2013. If that student failed, his or her seat should be reserved and covered with a black sash. Their name should not be read aloud. Instead the announcer shall read, “Failed.”
Perhaps upon witnessing fifty empty chairs and hearing “failed” fifty times, the school board, parents and citizens alike will become motivated to do better next year.
One way to do better is to demand more of every student. Beginning in the younger grades, expose the children to a variety of experiences. Figure out how to incorporate field trips and interactive learning into the curriculum. Increase participation in extracurricular activities. Instill pride in participating in school sponsored activities.
Expose children to places different than the neighborhood they grow up in. Work with Parks and Recreation to provide year around recreation and positive mentors for children. Sports provide an excellent opportunity to develop team work and leadership skills. Teach well above the minimum.
While the child may not become proficient in every item that is taught, the student will become aware of a greater universe of knowledge. I’ve passed a many of tests, not because I was intimately familiar with the subject matter tested, but because I had a life experience that I could relate to the subject being tested. With more academic and life experiences in his or her bag, Yazoo City public school students may become better suited for success in school and in life.
Edd Peyton, Attorney, currently serving as a Rule of Law Field Force Officer in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorI grew up with an old fashioned grandmother.
She was the kind of woman who prepared a homecooked meal every night. She snuck me an extra soda pop. She made me milkshakes whenever I asked.
She took me to church every Sunday. She tortured me with every “at home” remedy from days gone by.
And...her switch for us kids was her favorite companion.
I still see a good switch every now and then. But not like those grandmothers had when I was coming up. Every elderly lady within the town limits of Monticello had a long, skinny switch with a few leaves at the end of them.
They took them everywhere. Maw Maw carried hers in her purse. She placed in on the dash of her car on every road trip. She left it in the purse holder of every shopping cart. She even carried that thing in between the pages of Proverbs inside her Bible at church.
Sometimes only a quick shake of it would make us stand at attention. If you were acting up, all Maw Maw had to do was make a quick move towards that switch and you straightened up real quick.
I don’t like to let on like my Maw Maw tortured me with a switch, but it was most certainly her favorite form of discipline. And, believe me, it worked.
I can remember the day when my cousins and I thought we would outsmart my Maw Maw by destroying her beloved switch.
My great aunt had dropped her own grandkids off at the house so she could take her husband to a doctor’s appointment. The two boys didn’t mind staying with Maw Maw. I was a tomboy and would hold my own during any wrestling match or exploration in the back yard.
But, like many Southern families, they were open to any and all punishment from any other close kin. In other words...they were fair game.
It was a hot, summer day when our scheme began to brew in our little minds. We had just been spanked actually for knocking on the neighbors door and running away.
“I hate that switch,” Chris said, rubbing his leg. “Granny has got one too. That’s all they do is switch folks all day.”
“No kidding,” I replied. “Maw Maw tried to get me the other day because she forgot that I talked back to her at breakfast.”
“Well, I don’t know,” Junior said. “I would rather get it over with than something else.”
“What do you know,” Chris asked, with a sneer. “You’re the favorite anyway. You barely get touched. Meanwhile, they beat Jamie and me.”
I shook my head in agreement.
It was then that Chris and I decided to steal Maw Maw’s switch and destroy it. We would even try to do the same with his Granny’s switch next time.
Maw Maw was on the couch, taking her daily afternoon nap. Chris and I eased up to the kitchen counter and snatched that switch as fast as we could.
All three of us raced out the back door and made our way behind the barn. As if we had pulled off a great mission, we celebrated.
Jumping in the air, patting each other on the back...we were unsure of what to do with it.
And then Chris just started snapping the switch in two. Breaking it off piece by piece, it took him a minute to finally destroy the slender stick of pain.
We never heard her coming. We never saw her shadow. But Maw Maw came around the corner like a Major Leaguer stealing homeplate.
Junior just fell to the ground and started crying. I admit that I abandoned everybody because I took off running.
Maw Maw’s elastic arm caught Chris by the neck of his shirt. I am not sure what happened because I never looked back but I heard his cries of anguish.
I stayed away as long as I could. But when I heard Maw Maw bellowing my name, I knew it was time to face the music.
When I made my way to the back porch, Chris stood by Maw Maw with a red face and the sniffles. Junior wouldn’t even look me in the eye, but I can tell he was let off easy. Besides, it was Chris who tore the switch up.
“Well, the three amigos here thought they would outsmart me,” Maw Maw said. “When you ran out giggling, the screen door slammed shut. I woke right up. Came outside to find ya’ll making a fire pile here behind the barn.”
“Get her good,” Chris yelled, looking at me. “It was her idea.”
“Get real, creep,” I replied. “You always try to drag us into stuff.”
Maw Maw broke it up before Chris and I starting rolling in the dirt.
Then she told us to go pick our own switch. I hated when she did that.
As the sun went down that summer day, we accepted our defeat. Maw Maw had won the battle. The switch was returned to its throne.
And the world kept turning.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistMany years ago, I taught an American history course to a group of high school juniors. The first thing I did was get this group a copy of The Constitution of the United States of America. The second thing I did was require that they read it.
When is the last time you read or re-read our Constitution? I suspect that many have never read it and others have not read it since they left either high school or college.
The Constitution is truly a remarkable document. The men who wrote it can only be described as “brilliant” because they crafted a document for self-government like nothing that had ever existed. They had experienced personally the heavy hand of government, and they knew that people function best when government is small and its powers are limited. Otherwise, like in Europe, it takes only a short time before the politically powerful grow corrupt and begin to oppress the common man.
Unfortunately, there are those among us who would like to do away with our Constitution; specifically, senators and representatives in our own congress. They would never admit it because they are aware that the American people would throw them out of office so they carefully couch their words to mislead the voters.
Today, the Chuck Shumers and Dick Durbins of the Senate want to eradicate an important portion of our Constitution, the second amendment. This is echoed by President Obama who wants to limit “gun violence.” He is careful not to call what he wants to do “gun control” because he knows that members of his own party will not support such a draconian measure.
But away from Washington, you see wild-eyed liberals advocating that guns be confiscated or that severe restrictions be placed on the type of gun Americans can purchase, or even worse, that all guns be registered.
The founders of this country understood that “a man without a gun is a subject. A man with a gun is a citizen.” They envisioned a time when citizens may have to defend themselves against an oppressive government. Something is going on in America today. Why is Homeland Security buying billions of bullets? Why is the Social Security Administration buying billions of bullets? Is it because Obama in 2008 declared that we needed a “civilian army equal to the regular army”? For what purpose? Does he intend to form a civilian army that will enforce his edicts? Will he establish himself as “dictator for life?” Does he plan to do away with the Constitution and rule by fiat? I have no idea what his plans are, but I do know that Homeland Security does not need a billion bullets – hollow points at that.
Have you noticed that in some large cities, the regular army has been conducting maneuvers? Los Angeles is the latest example. Why? Is the government preparing to put down civilian unrest? Does Obama already know that his policies will cause the American economy to collapse thus insuring civilian unrest that must be put down by deadly force?
The liberals have introduced a bill in Washington State that would allow the police to come into the home of legal gun owners once a year for an official inspection. The incompetent police chief of Chicago says that the Second Amendment is a danger to public safety, and all gun shows in a Maryland county have been banned.
Washington State is a bastion for leftist, Chicago is near collapse, and Maryland is in the control of leaders who suggest that we are living in a post-constitutional democracy. All of these places are in the control of Democrats and have been for many years.
The Constitution was written to protect individual freedoms. Unlike Obama who claims that the Constitution has a list of “negative powers” saying what the government can and cannot do, he wants a list of “positive powers” that tell what the government can do. When we reach that point in our history, we will be living under a monarchy or dictatorship.
The Second Amendment was never written to protect hunters. It was written so that private citizens could protect themselves from an oppressive government or from those who would do harm. The American people know this, and this is why they are arming themselves. For that reason, I think we will remain citizens – not subjects, and that is a good thing.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorI was sweeping the floor when our son James can tumbling in the back door, out of breath and on the verge of being out of his mind.
“Momma, did you see that,” he asked, with his eyes about the size of baseballs.
Normally, I would have kept on sweeping. But something was out of place.
James was breathing in and out like a mad man. His hair was sticking out in all sorts of directions. His tan face had changed into a deep shade of red. Grass stains were all over his sweatpants. There was even a stick lodged in his shoelaces.
“See what,” I asked, putting my hand on my hip.
“Nothing,” he shouted, running back outside.
I looked out the window and saw my husband Jason standing there in a state of confusion. It was as of he was waiting on something.
I later found out that evening Jason was waiting on something....for me to ring his neck.
James had almost killed himself coming down the hill behind our house on his Big Wheel. And it was all Jason’s fault.
You can’t blame a kid for doing something ridiculous. They don’t know any better. But when a grown man still thinks like a kid, they deserve a good lashing sometimes.
I was cleaning the house, and the boys were outside tending to yard duty when I saw the accident happening before it did.
While Jason was raking leaves, James was barreling down a steep hill while driving his plastic Big Wheel.
Jerking the back door open, I yelled my typical-Momma warning.
“Don’t let him go down that hill,” I shouted to Jason. “He’s gonna flip and break his neck.”
“He’ll be fine,” Jason responded. “You worry too much.”
“Do what I said,” I said, closing the door.
What I said was not done because James did flip down the hill.
Going a hundred miles an hour down down that steep hill probably was a lot of fun, but it didn’t take long before his luck ran out.
On about the fifth trip down the hill the front tire fell into a hole created by a mole in the hillside. James went flying into the air, before rolling down the hill. He flipped forward with his feet over his head as he was thrown from his Big Wheel.
I didn’t see any of this because I had foolishly believed the boys were going to follow my orders and had returned to my sweeping.
Jason snatched James up, checked for broken bones, cuts to the head or any other serious injuries. He then dusted the boy off as if flipping down a hill at a high rate of speed was a perfectly normal activity.
When Jason wasn’t looking, James ran inside to me to see if I had seen his Evil Knievel stunt. He described the whole thing with great enthusiasm as if it were a notable accomplishment.
When I later discovered what happened, I gave Jason a lecture once James was tucked away in bed that night.
“I told you what would happen, but I am the one who doesn’t know what I am talking about,” I said. “When will you learn that mothers see things happening before they actually happen. I knew he was gonna come tumbling down that hill.”
Jason continued to blame the mole hole. He even had the nerve to say James “took it like a man.”
That is when it dawned on me that Jason must have had plenty of similar accidents when he was a child because he clearly wasn’t thinking straight. I am all for boys having fun, but when you start getting into the broken bones department...let’s tone it down a little.
I know James can’t help it if he does a couple of ridiculous tricks. He’s a boy, and that’s just what they do.
And considering I usually see Jason laughing right behind James and often actually participating during all these escapades...they must all be born that way.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistI heard the State of the Union speech last week, and I still don’t believe what I heard.
Talk about a disconnect. It is clear that Mr. Obama has been hanging around Steny Hoyer, a far-left Democrat from Maryland, and Nancy Pelosi, a leftist Democrat from California, too long.
Hoyer, earlier in the week, stated, “This country has a paying for problem, not a spending problem.” That great sage and political siren, Nancy Pelosi, stated, “We don’t have a spending problem, we have a budget-deficit problem.”
Now this might sound logical to a low information voter (LIV), but I must tell you as humbly and as honestly as I can that this kind of talk is emanating from two people who are either insane or they do not care if they lie in front of millions of Americans. No one, not even a liberal Democrat, can say with a straight face that what Hoyer and Pelosi said was logical or true.
The United States is undergoing an economic meltdown, and the Democrats don’t seem to see or care about what is happening. We are nearly $17 trillion in the red, and yet, Obama wants to spend even more. He used all of the “focus group” language in his State of the Union address to persuade the LIVs that more spending is the answer to our economic woes. The speech was filled with words or phrases like “level playing field,” “fairness,” “equality,” “safety net,” “government investments,” “ the rich need to pay their fair share,” “living wage,” “affordable health care,” “mean- spirited,” and “infrastructure repair.”
He proposed 29 new spending programs that if enacted would cause our national debt to skyrocket and result in catastrophic destruction to an economy already reeling from his socialist economic policies. Naturally, he claimed that none of these programs would cost a dime, but when have you seen a government program come on line without huge tax-payer funded “investments.” The answer, of course, is that you never have and never will. Like Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s statements, his, too, are totally illogical.
Obama failed to mention that when Obamacare is fully implemented that, according to the Internal Revenue Service, the average family of five will pay $20,000 per year for coverage.
Obama failed to mention that if you are a smoker, then a $4700 penalty will be added to your insurance premium. If you work for a tobacco company, I suggest that you find other employment – like “smuggler,” for example.
Obama said, “If you like your doctor, you can keep him.” “If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it.” Both of these statements are as true as Pelosi saying, “We don’t have a spending problem, we have a budget-deficit problem.” I have a feeling that when the bill finally comes due, the “low information voters” will simply blame George Bush – not Obama. They fail to realize that Obama’s policies are destroying the economic fabric of this country.
Obama failed to mention that 11,629 people go on food stamps each day. Over 7,000,000 individuals will lose their health insurance coverage when Obamacare finally kicks in. He touted “clean energy” and “global warming,” but he conspicuously failed to mention that gas prices are the highest they have ever been this early in the year. The United States has more oil than Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, yet this administration is clinging to the already scientifically refuted notion of “global warming” or as the leftist say, “climate change.”
Obama spent as little time as possible talking about the economy and employment for Americans. Since he has not produced any job growth, he recognizes that this discussion would not be helpful to his radical agenda.
Our economy is in a downward spiral. We do have a “spending problem and a budget deficit problem.” The Democrats who say otherwise are doing permanent and perhaps irreparable damage to this country and to its people. We simply cannot continue on the track we are on. The good news is that the American voters are beginning to get the message. According to Gallop, over 65 percent of the American people think that the country is on the wrong track; 57 percent disagree with Obama on taxes; 65 percent disagree with Obama on the budget deficit; 60 percent disapprove of the way he is handling the economy.
The only problem is that the low information voters (LIVs) still blame George Bush. It is just a fact of life that some people will believe anything.