"Children learn whatever you teach them, whether you've intended for them to learn it or not. "

School Issues

John's Most Recent Articles

School Discipline in Steady Decline

Posted on 2/12/2019

I receive a steady stream of missives from teachers, ex-teachers, and other folks who have insider knowledge of America’s schools. They all say the same thing – classroom discipline is falling...

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Public Education Myths and Facts

Posted on 2/6/2019

As regards nearly every public policy topic these days, myths abound, but few mythologies rival that of public education. A sample: Myth: Smaller classrooms promote better...

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9-Year-Old Daughter Says She Doesn't Like School

Posted on 11/28/2018

Q: Our 9-year-old daughter recently announced to us that she doesn’t like school, doesn’t want to go, and doesn’t want to do the work. We’ve been unable to get a coherent reason out of her and...

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Determinism Muddies Parental Judgement

Posted on 10/24/2018

As the current school year kicked off, I began hearing the same-old, same-old report from teachers and principals: children who have never lied. At least, that is what the parents of said children...

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What's a Young Teacher to Do About Discipline?

Posted on 9/4/2018

As another school year begins, one of many pertinent questions is “Has the per child or per-teacher (it doesn’t matter) rate of verbal and emotional abuse by teachers on students increased...

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The Great Pre-K Debate

Posted on 8/28/2018

It has long been known, but only spoken of in hushed tones by university professors sitting in darkened rooms wearing Fat Elvis masks, that pre-Kindergarten “jump-start” (aka, “push-down”)...

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Parents of Unmotivated Teen Should Stop Stressing

Posted on 4/25/2018

Q: Our 17-year-old son is flunking his junior year in high school. Flunking is not a possibility; it is a definite, a done deal. He has passed the point where he could turn this around. He’s very...

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Don’t Go Down the Road of ADHD Testing

Posted on 4/17/2018

Q: Our son, age 8, did fine in school in first grade, but has struggled in second. We’ve taken your advice and not helped much with his homework other than occasional and brief “consultations.”...

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Weighing the Options of Repeating Kindergarten

Posted on 3/28/2018

Q: Even though he had an early-August birthday, we started our son in Kindergarten this past Fall at a private Christian school. They did some testing prior to the start of the school year and...

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Are College Visits Necessary?

Posted on 1/3/2018

Q: Our 17-year-old daughter wants to begin visiting colleges. She’s a high-school junior this year and this is when the college visitations begin. We’re feeling like the Grinches Who Stole...

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Recent Questions

Time for Change

Posted 1 week ago

My mom has been babysitting my son while I am at work since he was a baby. When my son turned 2.5 she opened a preschool. He always had behavior issues but now at 4.5, he is even more disruptive....

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Morning Grumpies

Posted 2 weeks ago

Our son is just shy of turning 5 and attends a full day preschool. He is not always in the best of moods in the morning when I (mom) drop him off and is sometimes clingy. He receives good...

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6th Grade Boy Has Problem to Solve

Posted 2 weeks ago

My 6th-grade child has no drive. He is making poor grades, and I think we are caring too much...so he doesn’t have to care. My question is: how do we make HIM care?!

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Teacher Emails and When to Request a Conference

Posted 2 weeks ago

Hello, I received this email from my daughter's teacher today and am seeking your guidance. This all seems to have been precipitated by a tick bite (her first) that we took care of last week,...

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Homeschool Blues

Posted on 3/19/2019

I homeschool my 13 year old son. We are fairly new to our current city and have recently made friends by joining a local co-op. My son was asked, by his new friends, to join an additional co-op....

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Standing up to a Bully

Posted on 3/15/2019

My son is 7th grade and at a new school. Middle school has been hard. Today a very big boy in his class who he normally is friends with pushed him in the hall because he was trying to show out in...

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Kindergarten Homework Hassles

Posted on 3/7/2019

I have a young kindergartner (won't turn six until this summer), although he is doing good enough in kinder, he is very easily distracted - bright light distraction. During school and homework at...

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Bullying at Preschool

Posted on 3/6/2019

My almost 5 year old boy is in preschool 2.5 days a week. Last year, he was always enthusiastic about going to preschool but this year, he has encountered 2 boys (one of them is his cousin) - who...

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Lowering the Boom

Posted on 3/1/2019

I have been seeking help from this site for a long time and would appreciate you looking through our history for insight and understanding. My now seven year old son is still having behavior...

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7th grade boy and school tech use

Posted on 2/15/2019

My 7th grader boy is at a new school. He has gotten a detention for looking at baseball videos on his computer during class. So I grounded him and took everything away..once off being grounded he...

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