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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Knox County Schools – Your lack of creativity astounds me April 7, 2009 3:45 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Education, Family, Health, Noah, Of Being Dad
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Yesterday my middle schooler came home with a permission slip for a school field trip to Dollywood with a catch: The price is $43 and only the first 75 students to return a check and signed permission slip get to go. That’s not right! Additionally, the field trip will not allow the students on the water rides because Knox County Schools got all trippy after the death of a student at the waterfall 6 years ago. Yes that was a tragedy but we should have learned from the failings of supervision at that trip and continued water related activities but instead Knox County Schools decided bubble wrapping the children will protect them. Guess what? That won’t protect them either. I suppose Knox County Schools is assuming that of the 2.5 million visitors to Dollywood, our trip will be the one where highly inspected, super safety protected, engineered to simulate danger in the most cautionary way, equipment will fail at the same time all the trained and licensed lifeguards happen to be taking smoke breaks. It could happen! Denying water rides at a theme park? That’s not right! Can we make it better? What about not allowing digital cameras? Yes! Let’s prevent our children from the memorializing their time with their friends by not allowing them to take pictures. Granted, the school is afraid of being responsible for loss, theft or damage to a digital camera. Well guess what Sherlock! If I send a digital camera to school with my child and he loses it, that’s between him and me. I have an old digital camera sitting on my desk wasting away. If it got lost I’m out nothing. Of course, you want me to go buy an antique point and shoot disposable camera that is limited to 24 shots and cost an arm and a leg to print some thumbs over lenses. Brilliant! No wonder our children lag behind. Banning cameras? That’s not right! Eventually we will ban, regulated, lock up, and overprotect ourselves to being scared to death. What will you deny then? Don’t be scared or we’ll suspend you! Well guess what? That’s not right!

Oh, and today, my son brought home a permission slip for the band field trip. Guess where they’re going? Dollywood! (different day) That’s not right! For all the wonderful things we have in East TN, can our schools find nothing fun and mind expanding for our children? Oh, no, of course not; Knox County Schools is too worried about my digital camera. That’s not right!

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1. Barry - April 7, 2009

Has nothing to do with fear of anyone getting hurt or cameras lost – it’s fear of overzealous parents, their unscrupulous lawyers, incompetent juries and judges more interested in clearing their dockets that administering justice. It’s fear of lawsuits that are 99% of the time frivolous and should be tossed out of court. It’s fear of expenses just to show up in court, and have your name trashed in the media because Junior doesn’t follow common sense instructions.

And as for the band trip, see Economic Situation, Current.

2. LissaKay - April 7, 2009

It’s also how government agencies manage the recipients of their services. Just imagine how this same government will manage your medical care, business enterprise, banks and all industry and commerce once they get their grubby power-hungry paws on all of that …

3. Doug McCaughan - April 7, 2009

Barry: I concur. Maybe if lawsuits involved shooting the losing lawyer..nah..shoot, I can’t agree with that. But we are far too litigious a society. How do we make people responsible for the own actions and eliminate those frivolous lawsuits? We can’t price lawsuits out of reach because then the poor cannot fight for their rights.

LissaKay: I think the government will manage medical care just fine. We can have national health care and still provide private health care for people who do not want the national health care. After watching Michael Moore’s Sicko, I had the pleasure of speaking to an older visiting Canadian. She has experienced both the US medical system and the Canadian system. She said our system is scary and costly and she had only praises for Canada’s health system. Her description matches Moore’s and I’m willing to try it.

4. Morgan - April 7, 2009

Is that at BMS?

That really upsets me that they would let kids go on a field trip on a first come, first come basis. That is wrong on so many levels, I can’t believe the teachers would go along with that.

I can only assume thats a decision made by the genius they’ve got as a principal.

That just makes my blood boil. There are PLENTY of free and cheap places they could take the kids and I know parents would pay a few dollars for gas for the buses. McClung Museum, Ijams Nature Center, East TN History Center, etc etc.

I was thinking the other day that I can’t remember the last educational or even really fun fieldtrip Damon went on. It must have been elementary school.

5. Doug McCaughan - April 7, 2009

Yes, this is BMS.

There are manufacturing plants some which will close up in the coming years that our children should be touring..News sentinel, Alcoa, and so many more . I can imagine my children telling their children “believe it or not we used to have printing presses the size of buildings and fork lifts would move rolls of paper onto them..what’s that? What’s paper? Oh, well…” of course his conversations will be more like “when I was your age we actually rode the roller coasters..no, we weren’t wearing virtual reality headsets…they were real!”

We have Oak Ridge with its WWII history. What about letting the children participate in a WWII reenactment? Or a civil war reenactment? Tour one of the mines. Visit the Gatlinburg artist colony. Arrange a tour up Wind Rock Mountain to see the Wind turbines and take a day to talk about recycling and conservation. Really, opportunities abound. I bet the home schoolers could offer some great insight into such opportunities.

I know Dollywood is fun and it does offer some educational value. Praise Dolly! As a student that’s where I’d prefer to go. But it seems like the school should have planned all its Dollywood trips for the same day rather than having some students attend twice on two different days. And it should be striving for 100% participating instead of creating a system of exclusion. The whole thumbs thing seems like a very subjective way to leave “undesirable” students out. First come, first serve to me says “bring the wealthy, bring the fee waivered. good luck to those just scraping by.”

6. brian brinley - April 8, 2009

this just goes to prove my point that school is only partly part of the educational process.

if you want true education it extends to home.


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