My Child’s Room Is a Pigpen: Three Strategies That May Clean It Up

My Child’s Room Is a Pigpen: Three Strategies That May Clean It Up


James L. Casale, Ph.D.

Your child’s room is neat, clean, and always tidy. You never have to remind him or her about taking care of their personal space. Good for you. Read no further.

I use the word child in the title because children who refuse to tidy up their rooms or help out around the house are not bound by gender. My son slept on top of his bed so he didn’t have to make it in the morning. The rest of his room was tidy except for the moss growing in the dust on every flat surface.

The condition of my daughter’s room caused us to contact FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and apply for funds to hire a cleaning service. When we were showing off our new home to friends, Stephanie’s door remained closed and posted with a “Do Not Enter” sign.

Even after endless reminders, demonstrations, and bribes, the following conditions prevailed: clothes, shoes, and sneakers strewn on the floor, dresser drawers ajar, bed unmade, enough dust to be scooped up with a shovel, other unidentifiable things on the floor including books and pencils (at least she tried to do her homework), and a closet so full of her stuff that it defied entry. If any of these sound familiar, these three strategies will help and may just lead to spending less money on a cleaning service.

  1. Be specific and start small. What exactly does “clean up your room” mean? Do not use general terms when explaining your expectations for a tidy room. And don’t expect to conquer Mt. Everest in one day.Choose what vexes you most and start there. Will it be to make your bed each morning, bring all your dirty clothes to the laundry room, vacuum the floor, dust all surfaces, hang up your clothes, or place all books on the shelf or desk? If she has a private bathroom, that might not be the place to begin her metamorphosis. But learning how to properly clean bathroom surfaces can become a lifelong skill.
  2. At all costs, remain calm and civil. Avoid screaming, yelling, and throwing things. If she needs demonstrations or directions, provide them in a calm manner. Show her where the vacuum cleaner is stored and how to use it. Show her where the washing machine is located and where to place her soiled clothes. Again, start small and be specific.
  3. Provide choices and consequences. Do not clean her room or pick up after her again. For example, if her dirty clothes are not brought to the laundry room, they will not be washed. Anything on the floor that does not belong there will not be picked up by anyone but the room’s resident slob. New clothes, shoes, or accessories may not be a future option for someone who does not take proper care of what she already owns.

Stephanie: “Mom, I need a new outfit I saw at Urban Outfitters. I want to wear it to Debbie’s party next week.”

Mom or dad: “First you need to learn how to take care of the clothes we have already purchased for you. You can start by picking up the clothes from your floor, bringing the soiled ones to the laundry room, and organizing your closet.”

Let’s Review

I read a story about a mom who convinced her husband and sons that each night, they had to set the table. Then and only then would she make dinner. It went as planned for a while, but soon dad and the boys started shirking their duty.

 When the table was not set, mom did not cook. The arrangement soon returned to the original agreement as mom reminded them of their pact and dad and the kids were hungry. This was all accomplished with a calm and civil tone.

It’s never too early to teach your children to be responsible not only for their own space but as a family member and part of the team. Before I was ten, my mother showed me how to make a bed with hospital corners, sew a button, and mop a floor. Of course, that was in ancient times, but teaching responsibility never goes out of style.

Parenting is a struggle, but it can be rewarding as you teach and model expectations for the next generation. However, it requires a positive attitude, courage, determination, a modicum of leadership skills, and a plan. Everything else is boring. Go for it.

Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator: Florida Teacher of the Year and a National School of Excellence Principal. He is a published author and a national speaker. His website is www.commonsenseparenthood.com. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.


Why School Choice Matters But Not to Teachers’ Unions

Why School Choice Matters But Not to Teachers’ Unions


James L. Casale

Five catholic schools are closing their doors in New York City.The parents are sad; the students are sadder. These parents don’t trust public schools to protect their children. Parent José Marin said, “Public school is very dangerous. Here (St. Rose of Lima Elementary School), everybody’s safe. At another school, you’re just a number.” Another parent, Marilu Rodriguez (St. Brigid Elementary School), added, “It’s horrible. It’s affecting low-income families. Now we’ll have to deal with the public schools.”

The archdiocese of NY currently operates 91 schools and serves 28,000 students. They are especially affordable for poor parents (about $300 per month for elementary schools) who are seeking alternatives to public schools. And students do not have to be Catholic.

Who is against school choice?

 Teachers’ unions and their Kool-Aid-drinking-members are against anything that infringes on the status quo, their turf, and their obsession with mediocrity. The charter school movement and the voucher system, which permits parents to choose a private or parochial school, are testaments to parent dissatisfaction with local public schools. Throughout the country, there are pockets of successful public schools. Charter schools are not always successful, and neither are private and parochial schools, but shouldn’t parents who are seeking safer environments and a better education for their children have a choice?

Who is for school choice?

 Joel Klein, former chancellor of the NY City School System, and Rahm Emmanuel, the mayor of Chicago, have different views on the charter school movement than the teachers’ unions. Their opinions are anathema to the liberal cities they represent. In Joel Klein’s book Lessons of Hope, he reveals that “poor parents deserve options for their kids; smaller schools are better than large schools, the self-esteem movement does not provide the tools and knowledge kids need, teacher preparation programs are weak, and teachers’ unions and their contracts that include tenure are obstructionists to progress.” This is not a revelation. His comments were true 50 years ago.

Mr. Emmanuel recently commented on the teachers’ unions in Los Angeles and West Virginia, who are going on strike to protest charter schools. He stated, “The brain-dead debate between charter schools and neighborhood schools should be replaced with a focus on quality over mediocrity.” He gets it.

Charter schools are an affront to the culture of mediocrity, and they have been perpetuated by teachers’ unions for as long as I have been in my profession as an educator—more than 50 years. If you need more evidence about the debate, view the award-winning documentary, Waiting for Superman.

 Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator. He is a national speaker and the author of two five-star-rated parenting books. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. His website is http://www.commonsenseparenthood.com.

Raising Kids

Is Your Child Safe at School: What Did Parents Learn from the Parkland Massacre?

Is Your Child Safe at School: What Did Parents Learn from the Parkland Massacre?

Is Your Child Safe at School: What Did Parents Learn from the Parkland Massacre? 


James L. Casale

The recent interview in the Wall Street Journal with Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack, who was murdered by a psychopath at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day in 2018, is must reading for every parent who has a child in any type of school, from pre-school to college.*

The facts surrounding the horrific event that killed 17 people, 14 students and three adults, reveals the ignorance, negligence, incompetence, stupidity, and cowardice of those we entrust with the safety of our children. In this case, it was the police officers who would not enter the building, the sheriff’s deputies who were well acquainted with the killer, and the school district officials who, for want of federal dollars, bought into the Obama administration’s foolhardy program called Promise (Preventing Recidivism through Mentoring, Interventions, Support, and Education), a politically correct attempt to protect all types of miscreants and lawbreakers on school campuses and spare them a police record. When the federal government waves dollars in front of school districts, the districts usually take the money without scrutinizing the details and/or repercussions.

If parents don’t wake up, smell the gunfire, and accept their sacred responsibility to protect their children and hold accountable those they think have their children’s best interests at heart, this will surely happen again. Parents must be proactive and should not rely on others.

Three Strategies

First, obtain accurate information, starting with copies of all the safety and security policies and protocols of the institution your child is attending. If you have concerns, don’t limit yourself to the principal’s office or whoever is in charge of the campus. The BOE, via the superintendent, determines school policies. They are more culpable than the principal if updated policies are not in place. There is an enormous amount of solid information on the internet. Start with NCES (National Center for Education Statistics).

Second, as an individual or with a group of like-minded parents, do your homework and compare what is going on in your school to the “best practices” statewide and nationally. Keep written records and official documents of your search and prepare questions ahead of time before any meetings are scheduled.

Third, collaborate with those who work for you and are paid with your tax dollars. Meet with school staff and local police and fire departments to make sure the school district protocols and procedures reflect the best practices.  If possible, join safety committees and make your voice heard.

There are no guarantees that anyone is ever safe from a deranged psychopath, bully, thief, or predator, but you do have control over what is in place to best protect your child.

Flashback to the Mid-Eighties

When I became the principal of Purchase School in Harrison, New York, in 1984, I was immediately besieged by faculty and staff about the number of strangers wandering the halls of our school looking for the main office and seeking directions for local addresses. Our school’s large parking lot on the corner of two busy streets was easily accessed by anyone, including the drivers of large commercial trucks, to stop and ask for directions. I was determined to put an end to our school’s AAA service.

Though school shootings like Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland were still yet to come and school violence in a quiet suburb in 1984 was unthinkable, protecting students and staff was always the top priority.

My first response was to secure all entry points after the children entered the building and maintain only one during the school day. Signs were installed to direct visitors to the only point of entry. My next step was to install a system that required visitors to buzz in and state their name and business before they were allowed to enter and report to the main office. I also wanted a camera installed for visual identification, but this was denied by the superintendent. If you were merely looking for directions, no entry was provided, and we tried to accommodate the person through the intercom.

This system might have been groundbreaking at the time. All the schools in our district soon followed suit, but by today’s standards, it was only a baby step in the right direction. According to a recent study, more people have died in mass school shootings in the United States in the past 18 years than during the entire 20th century.

Current Safety Examples

 In early January, 2019, I visited four local high schools to deliver college scholarship applications courtesy of the Sons and Daughters of Italy Lodge in Tequesta, Florida. At one school, I had to pass through an attended gate and show my ID, which the attendant made a copy of. Then I was allowed to park and enter the campus. At the second school, I was met by a security guard in a golf cart. He asked me about the purpose of my visit before allowing me to park and enter the campus at the main office. The last two schools had similar precautions. I was able to park my vehicle and approach the main office without being accosted. Both campuses had tall chain-link fences at the entrance preventing anyone from entering the student section without passing through the main office. In all four locations, not being acquainted with the layout, I would not have been able to tell if other access points were secure. Which of these examples appears safest to you?

Parent Report Card

How much responsibility do parents inherit in order to keep their kids safe and secure? The only environment parents can fully control is their own home. When students have access to other places such as outdoor areas in the neighborhood, other kids’ homes, parks, malls, recreation centers, shopping areas, and schools, parents must remain diligent by learning about and assessing the risks of each venue. Have you noticed those street signs, with accompanying graphics, posted in local neighborhoods that warn drivers to “Drive like your kids live here” or “Slow Down”? These parents have concerns and have taken action.

Parents must always be alert to potential danger wherever their children roam. But that is not sufficient. Get smart. Become proactive. Work cooperatively with likeminded people and local authorities. Don’t be shy. Nothing trumps the health, safety, and security of your child. Never let the schools or any organization that assumes responsibility for your child off the hook. You are accountable, and so are they.

*You can read the full interview here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-parkland-fathers-quest-for-accountability-11547249451

Dr. Casale is both a state and national award-winning educator, speaker, and the author of two highly praised parenting books. The third book in his Common Sense Parenting trilogy will be released later this year. His website is www.commonsenseparenthood.com.

Raising Kids

Are Parents Too Soft on Their Kids?

Are Parents Too Soft on their Kids?


James L Casale, Ph.D.


Part 1-Three True Stories

Part 2-What to Do? What to Do? (coming soon)


Part 1- Three True Stories


Story # 1

While dining in one of our favorite restaurants in Juno Beach, Florida, my wife and I observed the following episode:

A mom, accompanied by her toddler son, the boy’s grandmother, and the child’s humungous toy fire engine, were seated at a table near us. The boy placed the fire engine directly on top of the table, leaving little room for anything else.

The server arrived to take their order. The server may have assumed that the toy truck would no longer be on top of the table when she returned with the food. WRONG, the toy remained on the table and the server had to figure out where to place the food other than on top of the heads of mom and grandma.

Where are the adults in this situation? Who is teaching whom? What is this kid learning?

  1. Casale’s Rule # 17-No toys, games, or electronics are allowed at any table anywhere when food and family conversation are being served.

True Story #2

A kindergartner was in the principal’s office with his parents listening attentively to the principal and the teacher. These two professional educators were calmly explaining the reasons why this child should not be taking things from other kids’ desks and claiming them as his own. When the conference concluded and the participants were leaving, the mother was overheard saying to her child, “It’s no big deal.”

What is this boy learning? What goes on in this home? Dr. Casale’s Rule # 2-No stealing.


True Story #3

A young man in his early twenties decided that it would be nothing more than a prank to throw a live alligator through the drive-in window at a local Wendy’s. He easily qualifies as a moron, even though, when being interviewed by a local TV organization outside the police station, he appeared to be sane as well as remorseful.

He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and theft. When his mother heard the charges, she thought them to be extreme and said. “Well, I mean, how could you not think that something like that was a prank.” 

This young man lives with his parents and has never heard of Dr. Casale’s Rule # 7; Don’t be stupid even if your parents will defend you at the gates of hell.


Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator, author, and national speaker. His popular podcast, COMMON SENSE PARENTING, airs each Thursday at 2:00 PM on w4wn.com (The Women for Women network). All shows are available on iHeartRadio.His website is www.commonsenseparenthood.com. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.





Profiles in Attitude: Effective Parenting Begins Here

Profiles in Attitude: Effective Parenting Begins Here


James L. Casale


If you think parenting is a struggle, and mostly an uphill one, you are correct. However, you may need an attitude adjustment. There’s a reason that Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking sold five million copies. He was onto something so basic that all of us can identify with it: attitude not only matters; it’s the building block for the experiences that follow. Without it, parents have no starting point for their parenting journey. Hopefully, the following vignettes will inspire and encourage parents with the “I can do it” mindset.

You Must Believe in Yourself and Your Abilities

On September 11, 2014, a baseball thrown by Mike Fiers crashed into the left side of the batter’s face at 88 miles per hour, resulting in broken bones, smashed teeth, and unimaginable pain. How did the batter survive the physical and mental trauma, return to baseball the next season, and, in 2017, become the MVP and hit 59 home runs?

Other men hit by errant baseballs above the neck never returned to the “bigs,” and if they did, they were not the same players. But Giancarlo Stanton overcame his physical and mental injuries with exceptional resolve, courage, determination, and grit, all based on a foundation of believing in himself and his abilities. He had and still has attitude. He did make a minor adjustment to his batting helmet, which indicates lesson learned and good judgment.

Alvin Hall is probably unknown to you as one of the many thousands of thalidomide babies born with physical deformities. He was born without arms. This handicap did not deter him, because he still had a fully functioning brain and an ample supply of attitude. He did not grow up feeling sorry for himself. He charged ahead with the same determination and resolve that Giancarlo demonstrated and taught himself to play the drums and piano with his feet. He also became a motivational speaker.

Tom Dempsey, despite his physical handicaps, made history and was admired for what he had to overcome: a deformed right foot with no toes and a right hand with no fingers. He not only played in the NFL but was a star. On November 8, 1970, his 63-yard field goal as time expired won the game 19–17 for the New Orleans Saints over the Detroit Lions.

Have you ever heard about the Major League pitcher with no right hand? In 1986, he was presented with the United States Sports Academy’s Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Award for his courage in overcoming adversity to excel in sports. A year later, he won the Golden Spikes Award for being the best amateur player in the United States. In 1992, he was presented with the Tony Conigliaro Award, given annually by the Boston Red Sox to a Major League player who has overcome obstacles and adversity through spirit, determination, and courage. I will unabashedly substitute the word “attitude” for the word “spirit.” Oh, by the way, James Anthony Abbot also pitched a no-hitter for the New York Yankees against the Cleveland Indians in 1993. Yes, he was a good fielder too. He believed in himself and his abilities. He exuded attitude.

Have you seen the movie The Darkest Hour? Have you read the book? Winston Churchill was a rock of self-confidence, determination, commitment, and courage in the face of possibly being destroyed by the Nazis. He listened to advice and his critics but didn’t waver from his position of not giving in to Hitler’s demands. He would not capitulate, and later, during WWII, his famous words would resound around the world: “Never, never, never, never give up” He didn’t. He won. Hitler lost.

J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected 140 times. You know the rest of the story. Taylor Swift had her mom drive her around to every country radio station in the English-speaking world so she could give the disc jockeys a copy of her homemade CD. You know the rest of that story too.


Effective parenting is not brain surgery; it’s harder. But you are not alone. Accurate information is available in a variety of forms: books, magazines, research studies, podcasts, experts, websites, and sometimes grandma and grandpa. You chose to have children; your children didn’t choose you. Raising lifelong learners and men and women of character and virtue within a family culture that emphasizes kindness, respect, self-control, responsibility, and humility is your sacred duty. And it requires a positive attitude.




Raising Kids

Was It the Gorilla’s Fault the Kid Fell into the Zoo Enclosure?


Commentary:  (May 2016) A three-year-old at the Cincinnati Zoo fell into a gorilla’s zoo enclosure. This incident or lack of judgment made national headlines. The police were considering charging the parents with negligence. They didn’t. The boy was unharmed but the rare gorilla was executed.

An article in the Palm Beach Post by a clueless author prompted my response which was also published in Palm Beach Post on 13 June 2016. A local police chief sent a lengthy email to me supporting my position.

Was It the Gorilla’s Fault the Kid Fell into the Zoo Enclosure?

A recent article in a local newspaper titled, The Shame of Parent Shaming, reveals a total lack of understanding about a parent’s first mission; the safety and security of your child. The author’s dismissive and flippant remark; “If it hasn’t happened to you, your parental helicopter must be low enough to clip the tops of trees.” proves the point.

The author continues to shield the parents of the three- year- old that fell into the Gorilla’s enclosure by recounting her own horrific experience. Her 14- month- old child, standing next to mom, slipped through the railings of a bridge and landed in the creek below. The good news regarding both incidents is that both children were rescued unharmed and returned safely to the arms of their parents. The bad news is that these incidents happen too often with tragic endings.

Losing track of your child near a potentially perilous situation is not to be taken lightly. In fact, if you are one of those parents who lost sight of your toddler in a supermarket or big box store, the potential for danger is real if the child wanders out into the parking lot. Speaking of parking lots, I have witnessed- on numerous occasions- the “la dee da” body language of parents who are not properly connected to their toddlers while strolling through parking lots.

A critical component of watching out for your child is the parent’s ability to assess possible harmful situations. Pools, parking lots, amusement parks, beaches, playgrounds, and zoos are examples of the locations where helicoptering is appropriate. Remember that the toddler’s world of suspecting and assessing danger does not exist. Parents are the first teachers and role models who are charged with protecting their children as well as teaching them about harmful situations.

Bad things happen when parents are not paying attention to their number one responsibility. Witness the number of children who are left to suffocate in cars because of the ignoramuses that are in charge. These stories and others tell the tale of neglect and abuse. Some outcomes are happy and some are tragic. But let’s not give these parents a pass because, as the author quotes one of her sources that, “Children are attracted to the forbidden and are the consummate escape artists.”  Even gorillas and mama bears know better than that.


Three Bozos in China


Three Bozos in China: Where’s the Parenting?


James L. Casale, Ph.D.

Actually, I would be insulting Bozo the clown by calling the three shoplifting UCLA basketball players, Bozos. Clowns are always trying to act funny or foolish as a means of entertainment. They aren’t criminals.

There is nothing entertaining about the actions of these three embarrassments to their country, their university, their team, their coach, their league (PAC 12) and of course, their parents.

They deserve the ridicule they are receiving for demonstrating to the world that they have learned nothing about virtue and are being judged on the “content of their character.” They are now part of those other pillars of the amateur sports society, the Olympic swimmers arrested in Brazil in 2016.

In this incident, the light shines brightly on the role of their parents and their upbringing. Mr. Ball, the father of one of the shoplifting culprits, LiAngelo Ball, has become a mini-celebrity for guiding his son, Lonzo, to the NBA. He is even asked for autographs by the ignoramuses that think basketball is important. Mr. Ball may have a talent for coaching but,

based on his recent public comments, it appears that he is limited to basketball and knows nothing about effective parenting.


The lesson here, especially for parents, is as clear Gabrielle’s horn. The smallest school in America is the family. That’s where real life lessons-character, morals, virtue- are taught. While there are no guarantees, parents are required to be their child’s first teachers and role models. But unfortunately, as Bill Bennett reminds us, “Parents are their child’s first teachers for better or worse.”

Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator and the author of the highly praised book published by Skyhorse Publishing, Wise Up and Be the Solution: How to create a culture of learning at home and guide your child to succeed in school and life. It is available at bookstores and online. His second parenting book, “Family Pledge; Raising life-long learners and good citizens” has also received five-star reviews. He is available as a speaker.

Website – www.jamescasalephd.com

Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Who Is Ron Schaich and What Does He know About Parenting?


Who Is Ron Schaich and What Does He Know About Parenting?


James L. Casale, Ph.D.

I never heard of Ron Schaich and I’m betting that you haven’t either. Since I’m a foodie, a self-taught cook, and the author of a family cookbook, a newspaper article about a pioneer in the “fast casual’ world of dining attracted my attention. His extraordinary story as a successful entrepreneur reveals a few notable lessons that can be applied to effective parenting.

What is working and what is not working?

The former CEO of the Panera Bread Company started his food service career by opening a 400 square foot cookie store in Boston in the early 80s. But no one was buying cookies in the morning. He hooked up with a small pastry chain called Au Bon Pain and his business picked up significantly in the AM.

Every parent wants to be successful but not every parent, on a regular basis, assesses their effectiveness. Ron’s company grew exponentially. Your family may grow beyond one child. As parents are you ready and willing to adjust to be more successful? Ron had a business plan. Do you have a family plan? If not, create one before your first child is born.

Why was Ron so successful?

Ron eventually acquired Au Bon Pain, took it public, and bought the St. Louis Bread Company which became Panera Bread. He recently sold Panera Bread for 7.5 billion. He owned 6% of the company and netted about 400 million for himself. But he wasn’t always successful.

Panera was fraught with many problems: long lines, long wait times, and frustrated customers. He left the company for several years but came back to lead the company again with a plan to restructure it with about 100 million investment in technology.

There’s that word plan again. But a plan must be accompanied by strategies. Parents who want to raise life-long learners and good citizens in a family culture that emphasizes education, morals, and virtue must own a set of strategies that work. Parents are not in the food business. They are in the child-rearing business. The strategies they must own and incorporate are not rocket science or brain surgery. No special skills are required. What is required to execute your plan are: accurate information, love, commitment, courage, and stamina.

The information is within easy reach via books and professional advice from those you trust.

Do parents ever take the time to reflect?

Despite his windfall, Ron is still working today. He treasures his time with his wife and two teenage children. At the end of the newspaper article, he laments the death of his parents who were suffering from chronic diseases. He feels strongly that the time to reflect on your life and what you have done or not done …”is not in the ninth inning, on your deathbed. It’s while you are going through life.”

The best and most successful teachers and parents are the ones who always think they could do better. They are always self-assessing and reflecting on what they have done. They will try new things and take risks to perform better. What could possibly be more important than raising your children to be literate and upstanding citizens? Based on your plan and strategies, regularly ask yourself this simple question. How am I doing?

Note: The source for this article written by Alexandra Wolfe appeared in Weekend Confidential of the Wall Street Journal. (7/29-30/17)

Dr. Casale is both a state and national award-winning educator and the author of two parenting books: Wise Up and Be the Solution and Family Pledge His first book was acquired by Skyhorse Publishing and reissued in 2015. His second book, Family Pledge is expected to be available in September.


He is available as a speaker. Contact him at jamescasalephd77@gmail.com. Visit his website, www.jamescasalephd.com and receive a FREE copy of his eBook, Four Basic Back to School Priorities That Have Nothing to Do with Shopping. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Red-Shirting Kindergarteners


Red- Shirting Kindergarteners


James L. Casale, Ph.D.

If you are a sports fan, you may be familiar with the term, “redshirting”. In college football, it represents the practice of keeping an athlete out of the competition for a year in order to further develop the athlete’s skills and extend his eligibility period.

When I was an elementary principal, I often conferred with parents who wanted to delay, for one year, sending their eligible kindergartener to school. With few exceptions, I usually agreed that it would be to the child’s advantage to become one year older before entering kindergarten.

What are the advantages?

Redshirting has particular advantages for a kindergartener. It usually contributes to the maturation process both academically and socially. This practice has been fortified by school districts on a national scale that changed their kindergarten eligibility dates from turning five years old before December first to turning five years old before September first. According to research, the distinct advantages are:

Being older translates to better performance in school socially and academically.
Reduces the possibility of being retained.
Increases the odds of graduating from college
According to Chris Karbownik, an economist at Northwestern University, “It does seem to be the case that the effects of redshirting persist, at least, into young adulthood and manifest outcomes that are relevant for the labor market.”( I think that means getting a decent job)

To do or not to do; that is the question

It seems clear-cut, a piece of cake, or no biggie but, it isn’t. To redshirt or not to redshirt still requires thoughtful consideration. First, no one knows their child as well as parents do. But sometimes parents lose their objectivity about their child’s skills, especially social and emotional skills. “My child can read the Wall Street Journal” claims one mother. Excellent, but can she sit still long enough to complete a task? Can she follow directions? And does she get along with others?

If you are considering redshirting, talk to education professionals you trust and read Chapter 7 in my latest parenting book, Family Pledge: Raising Life-long Learners and Good Citizens.

Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator and the author of the highly praised book published by Skyhorse Publishing, “Wise Up and Be the Solution: How to create a culture of learning at home and guide your child to succeed in school and life.” It is available at bookstores and online. His second parenting book, “Family Pledge; Raising life-long learners and good citizens”, will be available soon.

He is available as a speaker.

Website – www.jamescasalephd.com.

Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Dumb Nick (1920-2017)


Dumb Nick (1920-2017)


James L. Casale

As a child, he was initially considered a slow learner. Relatives dubbed him “dumb Nick.”  The nickname was retired when, at age four, he defeated his uncle at a game of checkers.

Who reads obituaries?

I do. I especially like to read about successful and accomplished people from all walks of life. I usually find these fascinating stories in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. Dumb Nick turned out to be Dr. Nicholas Bloembergen, one of three scientists who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981 for physics.

He came to America after World War II from his ravaged homeland in the Netherlands. He said he survived the war by eating boiled tulips but, they tasted awful.  He applied to three prestigious universities. Only Harvard accepted him. He became a professor and researcher.

His work with lasers was used on me

That’s right. I’ve had two surgeries that required the use of a laser. He was the scientist who devised a more practical way to use lasers for surgical procedures. He also figured out how to use lasers for computer storage and printing. These accomplishments are more than noteworthy since their applications are world-wide.

Don’t rush to label your child

Children are not people to be molded but rather-as flowers- to be unfolded. Avoid terms such as gifted, disabled, slow, bright, impaired etc. Parents must allow their children to unfold in a home that is committed to raising life-long learners and men and women of character. They may not turn out to be Nobel Prize winners but our schools, communities, and our country needs them anyway.

Dr. Casale is both a state and national award-winning educator and the author of the highly praised book published by Skyhorse Publishing, Wise Up and Be the Solution: How to create a culture of learning at home and guide your child to succeed in school and life. It is available at bookstores and online.

His second parenting book, “Family Pledge; How to raise life-long learners and good citizens”, will be available soon.

He is available as a speaker.

Website – www.jamescasalephd.com.

Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.