Failed Parenting

One of the most important things a parent can do is lead by example. Any time a parent does something that is not above board, it is a pretty good bet that their child will learn that it is okay to take shortcuts that may not be entirely honest. Unfortunately there seems to be a group of parents that despite their success has not yet figured this out.

The Associated Press is reporting today that federal authorities have charged a number of wealthy and famous people with falsifying information to make sure their children got into their schools of choice. I understand the desire of any parent to provide the best education possible for their children, but this scheme definitely stepped over the line.

The article reports:

Fifty people, including Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were charged Tuesday in a scheme in which wealthy parents allegedly bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into some of the nation’s most elite schools.

Federal authorities called it the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department, with the parents accused of paying an estimated $25 million in bribes.

“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in announcing the results of an investigation code-named Operation Varsity Blues.

…At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents, many of them prominent in law, finance or business, were among those charged. Dozens, including Huffman, were arrested by midday.

The coaches worked at such schools as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles. A former Yale soccer coach pleaded guilty and helped build the case against others.

The article continues:

The bribes allegedly were dispensed through an admissions consulting company in Newport Beach, California. Authorities said parents paid William Singer, the founder of the Edge College & Career Network, the bribe money to get their children into college.

Prosecutors said Singer was scheduled to plead guilty in Boston Tuesday to charges including racketeering conspiracy. John Vandemoer, the former head sailing coach at Stanford, was also expected to plead guilty.

Colleges moved quickly to discipline the coaches accused. Stanford fired Vandemoer, UCLA suspended its soccer coach, and Wake Forest did the same with its volleyball coach.

Several schools, including USC and Yale, said they were victims themselves of the scam. USC also said it is reviewing its admissions process to prevent further such abuses.

This is a sad commentary on where we are as a society. Obviously some parents want to take the guess work out of college admissions. What is the lesson they are teaching their children? I wonder exactly how much of these scheme the children involved were aware of. Certainly if a child is recruited for a sport he has no knowledge of, he might notice that something is amiss. I hope the penalties for the parents are severe. As much as I can sympathize with the stress of getting children into good colleges (all three of my daughters are college graduates, two have advanced degrees), what these parents did is inexcusable–first of all because it is patently dishonest and second of all because of the example it sets for the students.

Fact Meets Theory

John Sexton posted an article at Hot Air today about some parents who decided to try to raise their children ‘without feeling a lot of cultural pressure related to gender.’ It was an interesting experiment–eventually nature took over.

The article reports

At a time when more kids and teens are raising questions about the meaning of gender, Bonnie and Brian made a point of bringing up their children — Eliot and his sisters Toni, now 10, and Lena, 7 — in relatively gender-neutral ways. “It irked me when people said you can’t play with that because it’s a boy toy, or you can’t play with that because it’s a girl toy,” Bonnie says. They didn’t dress the girls in fancy pink baby clothes, for instance.

But no matter what Bonnie and Brian did, what happened looked a lot to them like nature taking over. The first time the family went to the local children’s museum, the parents laughed as 3-year-old Toni discovered princess dresses for the first time. She pulled them on with astonishment, as if to say, “Can you believe this?” Eliot, not yet able to talk, toddled away from her and right over to the train table.

“It’s funny,” Brian says. “I feel like I read stuff and listen to interviews with people that are like ‘Disney executives are driving little girls to want princess dresses!’ And I’m like, ‘Nope, little girls love this, and Disney’s making money off it.’ ” He laughs. “They just gravitated toward those things. They like what they like.”

Obviously not all little girls or all little boys will gravitate toward the same toys, but it is interesting to know that in most cases, there are some very basic differences between boys and girls. We need to recognize that all children are different and although they will have different strengths, there is more to the concept of gender than just a label.

What Does This Say About The Future Of American Society?

Today’s U.K. Mail online reported that there has been a spike in fights recently at Chuck E. Cheese restaurants. Now I will admit that it has been a few years since I was in a Chuck E. Cheese–my youngest child turns 39 this year–but I don’t remember fights being part of the entertainment.

The article reports:

The elements within the environment can stimulate aggressive, impulsive behaviors,’ Dr. Dean Leav, told HLN. Not to be underestimated, Leav said, is the indulgence of alcohol.

‘Situations that involve a group of excited people and alcohol can often lead to acts of violence. A classic example is the fights that frequently break out during baseball games,’ she said.

But Chuck E. Cheese hasn’t always been a place where fights routinely happen. According to the company, in its more than 35 years, there has been a relatively small amount of violence.

In 2012, 99.99% of approximately 65 million guest visits at Chuck E. Cheese’s occurred without incident and resulted in smiles,” the company said.

Leay said that witnessing these types of incidents can be harmful to children long-term.

‘Many adults have poor impulse control,’ he said. “They frequently fail to consider the consequences of their actions even when kids are present.’

The last statement above is a bit scary–if adults have poor impulse control, how can they teach their children to have good impulse control.

No one is a perfect parent–they don’t exist, but there are many resources available to help parents with their own impulse control and to help parents become better parents to their children. Chuck E. Cheese should be a place to have fun–fights are totally out of order.

Just a note–as I said–I’m past the Chuck E. Cheese stage, but when I retired, my boss allowed me to have my retirement party at Dave & Busters. I told him I was retiring–I wasn’t dead–and wanted to have fun. That was a wonderful way to retire!

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What Does This Have To Do With Reading, Writing, And Arithmetic?

CBN News posted a story today about a recent anti-bullying presentation at Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook, New York. I would like to go on the record to say that I oppose bullying. I do wonder why it seems to have become such a major problem in our schools in recent years. Back in the age of dinosaurs (the 1950’s and 1960’s) we had bullies too, but somehow it didn’t seem to be as much of an issue. Has the concept of conflict resolution caused us to forget how to deal with a bully? I don’t consider myself a violent person, but I have learned that the only successful way to deal with a bully is to stand up to him. Evidently our schools are suggesting an alternative approach.

The article at CBN reports:

The workshop for 13 and 14-year-old girls focused on homosexuality and gender identity. They were also taught words such as “pansexual” and “genderqueer.”

Parents say their daughters were told to ask one another for a kiss and they say two girls were told to stand in front of the class and pretend they were lesbians on a date.

“She told me, ‘Mom we all get teased and picked on enough. Now I’m going to be called a lesbian because I had to ask another girl if I could kiss her,'” parent, Mandy Coon, told reporters.

What in the world does this have to do with how to deal with a bully? Parents of the students who attended the workshop were not warned in advance or given the opportunity to opt out of the workshop.

The article further reports:

Superintendent Paul Finch told The Poughkeepsie Journal the presentation was “focused on improving culture, relationships, communication and self-perceptions.”

“We may require more notification to parents in the future,” Finch said.

He claimed the sessions are required under the state Dignity for All Students Act, which prohibits harassment and bullying in the classroom.

I would have no problem with teaching the students to report bullying incidents so that the school administration can deal with the bully involved. I would have no problem with teaching the students how to ignore bullying and encouraging all students to be kinder to each other. I would have no problem teaching students interpersonal problem-solving skills that would help end the bullying. I do, however, fail to see how making two young ladies kiss in front of the classroom relates to education. There is a reason parents are fleeing the public schools in favor of home schooling and private schools. This sort of behavior on the part of school administrators is part of that reason.

 

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