Dr. Sid T. Womack's ATU Home Page______________
Office: Crabaugh 211
Summer 1 2015 office hours:
9 - 11 Mondays through Friday. I am typically in the office much more than these official office hours. Most days, drop-in visits are acceptable.
I had an enjoyable career in education for 43 years. In 34 years of teacher education, I helped to prepare enough teachers and administrators to minister to well over one million children. I encouraged and gave technical assistance to more than a dozen people who are walking around today with their Ed. D.s or Ph.D.s. Today I am giving of myself mainly through the Dover church of Christ. I enjoy hobbies such as gardening, archery, and hunting.
I spent 8 years teaching in the public schools of Texas and Oklahoma. Four of those years were intentional, designed to help me become a better college professor of education; the last four were not intentional. They happened during the economically chaotic years of the early 1980s. I changed sides of the college professor's desk to be a public school teacher three times before I finally settled into higher education for the rest of my career, beginning in 1986. Never let it be said that I got my doctorate in order to escape the public school classroom.
I began teaching in 1972 as a band director in a small East Texas town. I retired in 2015 as a professor of secondary education at Arkansas Tech University. I recently had an opportunity to visit the the school where I began teaching 44 years ago. I wondered what, if anything, had changed in the town, the school, and the students, in the space of two generations since I left.
There is all kinds of research on education. Some of it borders on the mundane; other on the profound. I would like to see some research done on the effects of a district's self-discipline on student achievement. As I have tried to re-connect with the four school districts that I taught in--in today's rankings, a class A school, a AA, a AAA, and three years in a AAAAA-- I believe that I have seen the differences in how much their students learn, based upon how committed the parents and the town were to having discipline and order in their schools. There needs to be a way to quantify this, if in fact it exists. Self-discipline of parents is not a politically correct topic. The researcher who gets into this topic will need to have some back bone.
Calling for discipline sounds perfunctory. It seems that every parent wants discipline until it comes time for their child to get some of it. Then there's every excuse in the world to overlook the actions of their particular child. We don't achieve orderly learning environments that way! Net result, we have schools which do not effectively educate their students year after year, generation after generation. This is how it is possible to predict ACT scores by Zip codes. Which Zip codes have discipline, which do not? People like me with 40 or more years in the profession have become aware of this.
Forty-four years ago as a new teacher in an East Texas town, I was appalled at the lack of discipline in one school where I taught. Two generations later, the school's own high school graduates lament on social media that their teachers were not able to help them more because there was no discipline in the school. They complain that there are one or two fights every week (same as in the 70s; nothing learned in 40 years). The school is on the state's MUST IMPROVE list. Its high school graduates average an 18 on the ACT--This means that the average graduate is 76th in line out of every 100 students when they try to go to college or get a job. One classification system ranked the district as "two stars" on a scale from one to ten. This is what happens when helicopter parents insure that their own children are above the law.
School reform is about this very thing. Stop the misery. Halt the failing schools. The methods involved in having a winning band, athletic team, senior play, or classroom are not elaborate or difficult to learn. But it takes work. Do things that the research shows are effective. They amount to a little more work than telling students to read the chapter and answer the questions at the end. But if you care about your students--if you want to stop the misery--do it. If you are a parent of a child in school, back your teachers and administrators as they try to apply the techniques that work.
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