If Only Uninformed, Deluded College Students Had Workable Ideas

I’m a student teacher, and I still work at the school newspaper to get some extra money. We’re an O.K. student newspaper, and we still see our share of pap.

I thought the edublogosphere would be interested in a particularly offensive piece of pap. On the basis of a single trip to the local Juvenile Hall, he has saved us all with his three solutions to juvenile delinquency. The emphasis is mine.

First, decks of cards should be replaced with literature of ethical and moral philosophy. Instead of learning how to gamble, the youths can attempt to understand the role that they play in society and how their actions affect others.

Second, the juveniles’ detention experience should be funded entirely by the family. If the immediate parents can not afford the bill, then it should be dispersed amongst the next nearest relatives. …

Lastly, the parents should be forced to serve a portion of the sentence with their child. This time together could prove to enhance their relationship, be an educational experience, and maintain parental accountability all in tandem.

How would these solutions not exacerbate poverty in the region?

How do you expect to shove philosophy down the throats of high school dropouts when the bulk of graduating high school seniors in our area couldn’t choke it down?

How could even an extended family afford paying for the cost of juvenile hall, especially if they’re forced to serve a portion of their child’s sentence instead of working and making money?

Am I being too acerbic for my own good, or are these ideas really as bad as my gut tells me they are?


  1. Howabominable (aka Lindsey ^_^)

    I’m a deluded college student, and I was pretty shocked to see that that’s MY college newspaper. These ARE bad ideas, but I will try to show you how he came up with them.

    I grew up here in Fresno, and on my side of the town (near the college) we are generally a middle-class, upper middle-class area. In the public schools I attended parents were generally more active in helping their students perform better. They are great schools. However, the older section of town is a lot poorer, and often has parents that are not involved and students that do not perform well and have even gone so far as to bring knives to school in the 4th grade, etc. This is the district my aunt teaches in.

    Anyway, I think the author is looking at it from my district’s perspective – he sees every community the way his own community was growing up. You see, here, families COULD afford to pay for their kids’ juvenile hall stays. Here, we can usually afford to spend time on abstract thinking and philosophy because we’ve mastered basic reading, math, etc. Here, we may even be able to send family members to juvenile hall every once in a while as most people here aren’t working two full-time jobs just to survive. He’s also failing to understand that the majority of kids in juvenile hall don’t come from our district.

    In the other school district, families can’t afford to pay for juvenile hall. These are people who either work several jobs, or spend all day working in the fields of the central valley just to put food on the table. There’s a reason the teachers at the schools put money together to buy books to distribute to their students – it’s the ONLY way these kids will ever own a book. These students often tend to be failing at basic reading, math, etc. It’s not rare for there to be students in 6th grade who can’t even read at the first-grade level. So why should they be given books on literature and philosophy? They should replace the cards with lessons teaching basic reading and math skills, and teaching these kids the things they need to know for the future so they can hold down jobs and build skills that they will need. And lastly, when your father and mother work 12 hours a day in a field just to make a tiny bit of money to feed their children, no, they CAN’T spend time in juvenile hall with their kid. That is a ridiculous suggestion.

    I don’t mean to rag on the poorer district. I don’t think we’re better or superior, we just happen to live on the newer, “richer” side of town, and I count my blessings that my family was able to move out of that district while I was still young. But the author of this article needs to understand that we aren’t all the same and don’t all have the same living styles. While one of the biggest reasons that kids are in juvenile hall is lack of parental involvement, these suggestions won’t do a thing to help the situation.

    As for the Collegian, these option articles are hit and miss with me. There are a couple of writers I normally agree with, and some that I think are out of their minds.

  2. There are three school districts in the area, if you’re counting Central and Clovis, so I assume you’re talking about the Clovis v. Fresno rivalries.

    We don’t need to worry about rich, upper-middle class kids going to jail. They don’t, for the most part, jack cars or take up petty theft.

    Fortunately, this writer has solved for us the problem of upper-middle class poverty. We can finally move on to something else.

  3. Lindsey

    Yes, that’s what I was talking about. And you pretty much said what I wanted to say =P. I don’t know much about Central to be honest, I can only talk about Clovis because I went there and Fresno because half of my family teaches there and whines about it 🙂

  4. I’ve heard that there are a whole lot of teachers in Clovis who whine about their district, too. Grass is greener, and all that.

  5. Kathryn

    Sounds just a touch like a Vietnamese or Chinese “re-education camp,” what with the philosophy and all. Also rather like the political prisons in Iran, but they don’t bill the family; if the family doesn’t bring food, you might not eat. Just what we need.

  6. Comparisons to oppressive regimes might give him too little credit.

    He’s really, honestly trying to be the good guy. He just isn’t very good at it.

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