Hello, I teach at an inner-city elementary school in Washington, DC. Our test scores are terrible. I've only taught for one year at this school (my second will start next month), but I see one of the problems as school climate. We have a sizable number of students who are coming to school and doing just as they please. They refuse to do work, they laugh and goof-off with others, and they walk out of class. Most of these kids are not emotionally disturbed or prone to angry outbursts - they juse see school as play time. I teach 5th grade. I spend at least 50% of my time (at some points in the year, far more) fighting children to get them to be willing to be taught. It is exhausting and wastes the precious little time I have to actually educate them. I find the parents of these students to be largely unconcerned about playful and defiant behaviors. The ones I have talked to just don't get the importance of school or what they should be saying to their children about the importance of learning. Of course, I have just as many children, if not more, who have excellent behavior, if only because their parents would discipline them were they to get a bad phone call home or bad report of any kind. These children work hard because their parents expect it and encourage it. I shouldn't have to tell you that just 4 or 5 kids goofing-off and doing no work COMPLETELY destroys the learning atmosphere. Even if I tried to "ignore" the goofs, the other children and I would not be able to concentrate on anything meaningful. My school administration is not supportive with these problems. Students get suspended for fighting and that sort of thing, but students get away with "running the show" in most other areas. I have taught for five years, and I do not believe the problem strictly to be my "classroom management," a term which I believe to be a misnomer anyway. I really need help to learn how to deal with these students, and how to encourage (mandate?) a positive, structured learning environment.