The answer is always no. It is like I'm the caller trying to get David Spade in the Capital One commercials above to say yes!
When I bring initiatives to this school board that deserve at least some consideration--it seems like the first answer is always NO. That's okay, I know how to be persistent.
But discipline and policy enforcement as it relates to discipline are areas of concern, expressed by teachers and parents to me in increasingly large numbers in the wake of the publication of my recent viewpoint in the PNJ; Despite this-- it appears as if this is a discussion that the board and administration does not want to have. "We're doing all we can" is what I'm hearing at the meetings. "We are limited in what we can do" is a common refrain
I disagree and think we can and should be doing more. I don't want any students to be subjected to some of the things mentioned in Lee McNulty's video below....
While we in Escambia county schools are like James Hilton's Shangri-La compared to Patterson New Jersey--we DO share some of the same problems described in his video above. Teachers discouraged from administering discipline, infractions minimized and not coded correctly, students pushed through the system, etc. etc. (Disclaimer--I'm not linking this video to say that we are anything close to Patterson NJ public schools--thank God we're not).
Although I know we are nowhere near Patterson and that the majority of our schools are very, very good, many of the issues expressed by this 27 year high school teacher in his video above are relevant to a discussion on school climate and school violence that I am trying to foster locally---particularly when they ask Mr. McNulty what he would do if he were in charge--from minute 9:35 on to the end at minute 13:00. Some of what he is saying is relevant to some of our schools and anyone who would deny this IS living in James Hilton's Shangri-La mentally or they are not being honest.
I'm not tackling this issue to be divisive, I want us to tighten up on this like we've done with the district drug plan and first grade reading engagement. I want us to truly do everything we can with a comprehensive plan on school climate, discipline, and violence. And no, I don't subscribe to the failed notion that "discussing" this problem is "attacking" leadership or the schools. Trying to improve and organization does not equal not supporting the organization.
I simply don't want to see us devolve to a point that we are like Patterson NJ with respect to the way misbehavior is tolerated and students are allowed to run the schools and for this receive a promotion to the next level. I don't want our enrollments to continue to stagnate while our neighbor Santa Rosa county enjoys geometric school system enrollment gains. I don't want to continue seeing some schools churn out staff to the point that every three years there is an 80% turnover. These issues are all inter-related and that's why I want to listen to the concerned voices from the classroom that I am hearing on the subject of discipline and school climate. That's why I'm staying on this issue because teachers, particularly the young ones, "are afraid to speak up and they feel like they are not protected if they do." That's a direct quote from an Escambia County classroom teacher, by the way.