Jim, I think I understand much of what you've said, but I think it's completely unfounded.
1) School isn't just about learning. It's about developing young people into broadened and well-adjusted human beings. Not everyone achieves at the same rate...not everyone always will. Sooo, the answer is to turn schools into concentration camps devoid of any distraction or activity unrelated to the rote memorization of facts in which most schools have become entrenced? Nice. I guess it's not a lot of fun where you work. Don't tell me - high burnout rate, lots of turnover. Sweet.
2) Not every school in America is unable to weather a distraction like a Halloween party. I defy you to show me the school that could exceed state or federal testing benchmarks if only they had Easter, Halloween, and Christmas breaks with kids free of distraction. Whatever.
3) Calling these things a "Halloween Celebration" does them too much justice. Halloween is a tradition shared by a vast, vast majority of families. Kids are going to be distracted that day - in costume or not - thinking about the candy and the fun of being with friends & family going from house-to-house in the dark, wondering which house in the neighborhood will freak them out, wondering how far they can go this year, or how much they can collect. It's plenty distracting, and it's not the school's fault.
4) Given point #3, why in the fuck do we need to water down Halloween into a "Fall Festival"? Kids don't give a fuck that it's fall - they give a fuck that they're about to haul in twice their weight in Tootsie Rolls and fun size Kit-Kats.
5) Why should every kid 'suffer' because one or two families are petulant assholes? Two words - home school. Fuckers.
So to all of the apologists for the ignorant Colorado assholes who thought this particular travesty against our children was a good idea, I offer that you should keep your case of compound grumpstein whogivesashititis to yourself and let the kids be kids, following unabated in the traditions like school parties on Halloween that knit together to form the blanket of our beloved, unique, treasured culture.
Yeah, much more important than learning how to read, write and do arithmetic is ensuring our kids pick up on those great American traditions, like learning only to "give a fuck that they're about to haul in twice their weight in Tootsie Rolls and fun size Kit-Kats" at Halloween.
I think you want our kids to be underperforming, self centered thugs looking only learn instant gratification and chemically induced "feel good" tactics. Not my view of a healthy upbringing. I think the quality of people churned out by today's education system and parenting practices on average falls way short of what they were a few generations ago when Halloween and other "great" American traditions were being established, outside of school.
The other issue is these kids will have to compete with people who are going to be much better prepared to compete with honest effort. The other kids in the world won't be so coddled and trained to be happy on cue with sugar treats and plastic costumes from Walmart. They will be able to be happy because they got self esteem and satisfaction from their effort to achieve something.
Hey, my kids and their teachers had to learn to deal with me. Kids are really resilient. The teachers less so. Jim