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May 19, 2013

John Tullius’ cartoon is wrong about education

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

John Tullius’ last Saturday cartoon has jumped up and stepped right on my toes, along with, I suspect, the toes of teachers and school personnel all over town: “Growing up — we learned good morals, values and responsibility in school. My son said they skipped that part and went right into safe sex, drug prevention, self defense and gun safety.”

My interpretation of it is that schools just don’t much care about the character development of kids anymore. If one looks hard enough and in the worst of places, one may be able to find a few in which that is true, to the degree that the job is just too big to even address while keeping kids physically safe and trying to teach them something academic. But Tullius’ cartoon tells me two things, upon which I will expound a little bit.

As a frame of reference, I have been involved with Norman Public Schools since 1984, as a parent and then a school board member. Once again, I am involved on an almost daily basis, with grandchildren who go to Norman schools.

It sounds to me like you have not been involved in a Norman (or any other) school for a very, very long time. Schools are very much dedicated to helping parents develop good character in children and youth.

They are taught friendship skills and they are instructed in respectful behavior, along with the virtues of truthfulness and honesty.

Teachers help children learn to be responsible for their actions, words and work, plus how to express anger without hurting people. That’s not all, but you get the idea.

Given that some of the kids have been exposed to family violence, too much sexual content on television and worse, you can bank on the idea that schools are helping kids learn a whole lot that they need to learn, on top of their academics. 

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