SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Confucious Thinks Whitney Tilson Is Always Wrong

Monday, January 10, 2011

Confucious Thinks Whitney Tilson Is Always Wrong

Rodney Dangerfield had his wife, I have Whitney Tilson. I owe this "man" such a debt of gratitude. He provides me, and others, with endless streams of free material. For this I say to Whitney, thank you.

Yesterday afternoon while sitting in the car, waiting for my family, on our weekly trip to Target for groceries (I highly encourage anyone to do their grocery shopping at Target, the prices and deals are out of this world!) I checked my email. Lo and behold there was one of Whitney's Adderall induced emails. I couldn't help but laugh. In fact I was laughing so hard, I actually inhaled a Doritio. But soon I stopped laughing and noticed a contradiction. Yes, Whitney contradicts himself ll the time, but this one was special. I started to think that Whitney has zero core beliefs except when it comes to money.

Whitney was touting an article written by Amy Chua, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior." Amy has also written a book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." Both the article and the book explain why the Chinese method of raising kids and the emphasis on their education is far superior than American ways.

An excerpt from Amy's book goes;
For example, if a child comes home with an A-minus on a test, a Western parent will most likely praise the child. The Chinese mother will gasp in horror and ask what went wrong. If the child comes home with a B on the test, some Western parents will still praise the child.
And from the WSJ article;
Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do: • attend a sleepover• have a playdate• be in a school play• complain about not being in a school play• watch TV or play computer games• choose their own extracurricular activities• get any grade less than an A• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama • play any instrument other than the piano or violin • not play the piano or violin.
Whitney is beside himself. Whitney writes; I find what Chua describes (no sleepovers, playdates, or ability to make any decisions at all) to be extreme, but if one were to put parental expectations of/pressure on/control of kids on a 0-10 scale, with 10 being what Chua describes, I think the ideal is much closer to 10 than 0 – maybe an 8.

I agree with Whitney. Oh no, I must dip my fingers in acid. But seriously, he does have a point. But right away we can see him talking out the side of his mouth. He is admitting that parental expectations play a role in a child's development in school. He at one time said the single most important person in a child's education is the teacher. But right here he has agreed that it is the parent. Yes, it begins in the home, as well as the community, but the home is where the values, the mores, are introduced.

But there is even more blabbering by Whitney.

In a world filled with endless, cheap, mind-rotting entertainment via hundreds of TV channels (heavily weighted toward 24/7 sports, cartoons and other junk), the internet, video games, music and movies, I’m firmly convinced that nearly all children will spend every waking hour messing around with these activities and wasting their lives, unless their parents AND schools (but the former much more importantly) keep a very close eye on them, tightly restrict what they can do, and make them to do many things they don’t want to do...

I didn't paste the entire paragraph he wrote. I am saving that for a surprise. But Whitney is right. There is a lot of crap on TV. There are many shows I will not let my son watch, and we do restrict his watching TV. But to whine about sports? C'mon Whitney. Sports are good for kids. I know you never played team sports (Polo does not count, though I am sure you tried out for the wrestling team. Wink, wink.). My son watches SportsCenter every morning. But Whitney, here is the problem. When children are having children, the parents lack parenting skills. They lack the wherewithal to be a parent to that child and too often are that child's friend. And this is not just in poverty stricken urban areas. This happens, is prevalent, and ignored by people like you in Appalachia (which can be explored in another posting.). I know of 1st graders who consistently go to R rated movies, of 2nd graders staying up late watching TV, of the TV being the babysitter, of students watching Bret Michaels on TV.

And what I have been saving......

such as study hard, read books, have a reasonable diet, go to bed on time, dress decently, etc.

Yes, Whitney!!! Study hard and read books!!! You hit the nail on the head. As teachers we are forbidden by law to enter a private residence and demand that both studying and reading go on everyday. But it is up to the PARENTS for a child to do these things. Not the teacher. The teacher can cajole, facilitate, encourage, but what happens behinds ones closed doors we have no control. I wish we did, but we don't. I make my son, do his assigned reading every night. We all eat dinner together. He has Cheerios for breakfast, not grape soda and Cheetos.

I would argue that this has been true forever, but it’s especially important for parents and schools to have very firm oversight today given the decline of social values/norms and the exponential increase in the availability of mindless entertainment.

The schools Whitney do have a grasp on it. More than you will ever care to truly know. But again, we can't control what happens outside the school. I am not saying this as an excuse or a cop out, but an explanation. Gee Whitney, you are parroting everything teachers have been saying. Yet, because you say it and agree with it, it is gospel.

Very firm oversight combined with high expectations and a no-excuses attitude is sorely lacking in the United States, both among parents and schools (with many wonderful exceptions of course; among schools, for example, the no-excuses charter schools like KIPP (I’m on the board of KIPP NY) are successful in part because they do that same things that Chinese mothers do).

Want all the schools to be like KIPP? Tell the lawyers at Tweed to let the teachers teach the same way as they do at KIPP. But allowing for critical thinking and higher order thinking skills. KIPP students and parents sign contracts and can be removed from KIPP. Can, does this happen in a traditional public school? No. If a student does not maintain his or her grades and test scores what happens at KIPP? Yeah, they say bye-bye to KIPP. Does this happen in a traditional public school? Oh one more thing, and this is why I think you are about yourself and have zero core values. WE GET IT ALREADY! YOU ARE A KIPP BOARD MEMBER! Everyone who gets your emails knows that, why do you find the need to flaunt it and remind what we already know?

Whitney, it is time to stop wetting your finger and sticking it in the wind. You are all over the place, no convictions, no values, no true beliefs. You are always and forever about one person. Yourself.


CarolineSF said...

And here is a sobering, heartbreaking response from a Chinese-American woman whose sister met those demanding parental expectations right up until she committed suicide:
"If you were to ask my mom today if this style of parenting worked for her, she'll point to a few boxes of report cards, trophies, piano books, photo albums and Harvard degrees and gladly trade it all to have my sister back."

El Che said...

Good article (as usual) B, thanks To bad Tilson
and the other pricks who are in it for the money and to bash working people (teachers) don't have the balls to come out and say we're going to hold students and their parents accountable. They don't realize that they could really turn around our schools, have teacher unions support their reforms and make it a win win for everyone.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. Kennedy