Walter E. Williams

The teacher's union is part of the problem, as well. During the 1990s, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) deemed that forcing teachers to supervise home rooms was unprofessional. Through contract negotiations, this method of student control was abolished. UFT also argued that it was unprofessional for teachers to have cafeteria supervisory duties; they were replaced by school aides. The cafeteria quickly became student gang turf, where fights and other disorderly behavior became routine. School aides are easily intimidated by students, and for fear of retaliation, they rarely confront gang-affiliated students.

According to an August 2002 Department of Education report, "School Crime Patterns," "High schools with the highest levels of violence tended to be located in urban areas and have a high percentage of minority students (black and Hispanic), compared to high schools that reported no crime to the police." The report also said that 60 percent of violent school crimes occur in 4 percent of the nation's high schools.

Is there a sane reason for today's adults tolerating student behavior unimaginable 50 years ago? Don't try the poverty excuse. I attended Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin High School from 1950 to 1954, along with students who, myself included, were among the poorest of the city's poor. Yes, there was the occasional after-school fight, with fists, but I can't recall a single incident of a student cursing or assaulting a teacher.

What to do? It's a no-brainer. Students who are alien and hostile to the education process ought to be removed.

You say, "What will we do with them?" I say that's a secondary issue. The first priority is to stop thugs from making education impossible for everyone else.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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