of personal respoiisibilih’ for unacceptablernacts is encouraged, while guilt,rnshame, or embarrassment arc consideredrndetrimental to a child’s psychologicalrnand social development. Additionalh,rnteachers are discouraged from ever sa-rning “no” or usingan negahxe commentsrnwhen communicating with children.rnDuring class discussions, any answer isrncorrect.rnChildren, especiall)- adolescents, arerneager to learn. It is their natural tendenc.rnChildren need and, indeed, craxernstructure and rules. Proof of this can bernfound in the severe codes of conduct imposedrnupon members of juvenile gangs,rnfor w hich there appears to be no shortagernof recruits. Children instinctivelv seekrnallowable limits. ‘Ihc often irritating,rnsometimes shocking behavior of adolescentsrnis due simplv to their naturalrninclination to discover the borders of acccptabilih’.rnYet within our culture, establishingrnbehavioral limits is now consicbrnered tantamount to child abuse becausernit supposedK’ shfles self-expression andrndamages self-esteem, hi the absence ofrnbehavioral limits, children will seek anvrnguidance to which they have access. Ifrntheir sources are corrupt, their beha’iorrnwill be corrupt, hi schools, this translatesrninto disruptive, out-of-control studentsrnwho have never experienced the consequencesrnof their errant, aberrant ways.rnThe lines separating the acceptablernfrom the miacceptable have been redrawn.rnWe are witnessing a vast cidturalrnparadigm shift awa from decenc}’, honestv,rnand honor, to an acceptance of degeneratingrnsocial values, morals, andrnethics at all levels of socieh’.rnAdolescents are particularly vulnerablernto the appeal of the hedonisHc messagesrnpromulgated b mass media. “.Attitude”rnhas become a popular catchwordrnin sales promotions aimed at a growingrnpopulation that believes that contemptrnfor traditional values is socially acceptable.rnThis, coupled with die glamorizationrnof the “gangster” mentalifs’ and fashion,rnhas helped to create a generahon ofrnmisfits who are hostile to education.rnOnce, parents and teachers worked togetherrnto regulate, motisate, and educaternchildren; now, the hvo groups are diidedrninto opposing factions. I’eaehers’ handsrnarc tied by government edicts, while parents,rnencouraged by 40-plus years of progressiverntheories and propaganda, remonstraternabout a system that seemsrninsensitise and unable to educate theirrnchildren.rnParents, originally advocates and alliesrnof teachers, ha’e become surrogate enablersrnof capricious students and adversariesrnof public education. Liberals (withrnthe help of the press) ha’e brainwashedrnparents into belieing that public educationrnis the source of all the e il in thernworld. With right-sounding, seeminglyrnwell-intentioned arguments, New Agernchild-rearing experts have plaved directlvrnto the prejudices and fears of weU-meaningrnbut unenlightened parents. Contemporaryrnparents have been force-fed liberalrnphilosophies for so long that they nowrnmindlesslv latch onto every child-centeredrnconcept propounded by “experts.”rnThese so-called authorities operate fromrnpurely theoretical positions using flawedrnor biased research that supports their personalrngoals or prejudices.rnParents, reassured that they arc doingrnthe right thing b’ adhering to psychobabblernrationales about child-rearing, becomernincredulous and indignant whenrntlic” reeeie reports from school thatrntheir perfect progcii- are not performingrnup to expectations. Liberalism providesrnthese parents with a scapegoat in thernform of public education. If parents havernindulged their children and allowed unhinderedrnself-expression, then an problemsrnthat lia e dceloped are the result ofrnthe failure of public education. The liberalrnUtopia relie’es parents of guilt b}’ permittingrnthem to transfer blame for theirrnEiilures to schools and teachers.rnSchools tend to take the full force ofrnliberal eiiniih because thc have traditionallyrnbeen responsible for the literacyrnand socialization of the nation’s children.rnAs liberal social experimentation has engulfedrnmore and more of education, testrnscores have declined, graduation ratesrnand literac haxe plummeted, andrndropout rates, failures, and school violencernhave increased.rnLhe press, bolstered by a liberal biasrnagainst public education, leaves no stonernunturned in its effort to underminernschools while promoting the liberal agenda.rnThe failure of liberals to produce thernperfect educational utopia is lost on thernmedia. The press spews electronic andrnprinted vitriol upon an educational systemrnthat is the most visible example ofrnthe failure of liberalism to deliver asrnpromised.rnEager to prove that American publicrneducation is failing, the press energetieal-rn1 goes after anvthing negative that isrnrelated to schools. The unthinkable violencernof school shootings has a particularl-rnseductive appeal. School shootingsrnproduce a feeding frenzv among the liberalrnmembers of the press because the violencernplays to their entrenched antipublicrneducation bias. Like piranha,rnthese ghouls pounce on aii- morsel ofrncarnage and human suffering. Instead ofrnreporting objectively, thev spin tiie factsrnto fit their narrow view of realih’. Thevrnmake niart}’rs of the perpetrators, who arerndeclared the victims of a litany of injusticesrnthat can onK’ be o-erconie bv officialrnintencntion and regulation enforcedrnb- the goN’ernmcnt.rn’I’lie characteristic liberal reaction torndie tiireat of any offensive event ever beingrnrepeated, regardless of its raritv, is tiiatrnnew laws be quickly passed. Congress irresponsiblyrnyet solemnly reacts to thernopinion of the “people” with knee-jerkrnlegislation that adds yet more layers to thernalready sedimentary accumulation ofrngun-control laws (at least 18 state andrnfederal gun laws were violated at Littleton).rnBut school shooters are not marhrs.rnNor are they the victims of a failed educationalrnsystem. School shooters are the dementedrnproducts of the failed liberalrnUtopia. These tragedies happen whenrnchildren are indulged and allowed to expressrnthemselves in ever more outrageousrnwa s w itliout criticism. Their self-esteemrnis high, but their judgment, self-control,rnresponsibilit}’, and empathy for otiiers arernnonexistentrn”At-risk” students in many schools nowrnoutiiuinbcr those who are not hostile torneducation. School administrators, threatenedrnb’ antagonistic parents who are arnphone call away from a lawyer, routinelyrnfail to support facult}’ members in mattersrnof discipline. Teachers, often heldrnaccountable for tiie capricious behaviorrnof dieir students, are increasingly frustratedrno er loss of authorih and mountingrnlevels of chaos within classrooms. A liberalrnpress foments hysteria among thernpeople, adding fuel to the fire. No, morerngun-control laws won’t fix the schools.rnWhat is needed is another culturalrnparadigm shift—this time back to decency,rnhonesty, honor, and discipline.rnDonald Gniber, Ed.D., has over 20 yearsrnof teaching experience in public schools.rnAn executive board member of severalrnstate education associations, he receivedrna state-level teaching award in 1996.rn, / / ‘ )ff6-s'(7’/(>(‘:rn^iSVOJ S’/Z-n/nOrn46/CHRONiCLESrnrnrn