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I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.








Thursday, March 19, 2015

Federal Discipline Schemes, Dictated Downward To States Through DOJ, ED, and OCR Increase Violent School Incidents Nationwide



I've talked about this problem for years.  I finally had enough so I wrote an honest viewpoint on the subject of the negative consequences of weak discipline----and I received massive support from people that work in schools!  I heard from teachers, parents, and yes, administrators that are frustrated with this situation.

Then I got beat up by ideologues that are detached from reality and have a flawed, incomplete understanding of the issue of violence, bullying, and harassment that is happening in our public schools.

Most rational thinkers see right through the flimsy, weak arguments these apologist partisans make; most correctly point out that these naive rubes would not last a week --or even a day-- in some of our district classrooms!

So Tuesday night while flipping channels-- the subject of weak discipline nationwide, being dictated downward from Eric Holder, Barack Obama, and Arne Duncan, appeared on one of the news programs I watched. The segment   was entitled "Chaos in our public schools".

violence in schools is demoralizing teachers and leading to more staff churn and student flight to private schools nationwide. Some liberal, feel good restorative justice models are exacerbating this problem.   Imagine that!?!  I've been saying this for years and nobody listens as we continue to acquiesce on this issue and water discipline down in our schools more and more while simultaneously "wondering" why enrollments are stagnant and staff churn is a constant problem at some schools.

Breitbart did a piece on this, describing the political correctness that drives many of these kinder, gentler programs that sound an awful lot like what we've implemented here in Escambia County over the last 6 years.....

From the article:

"The new “restorative” policies often suggest that teachers are to blame for the high rate of suspensions and discipline actions among black students.In Portland, Oregon, Sperry reports, where millions of dollars have been spent on restorative justice and “courageous conversations about race,” a black high school student repeatedly punched his white teacher in the face, sending her to the emergency room. Subsequently, the teacher was reportedly counseled by the assistant principal not to press charges against the student, and was “lectured … about how hard it is for young black men to overcome a criminal record.” Additionally, the teacher said, according to the Willamette Week, the administrator told her to examine what role she, “as a white woman” with white privilege bias, played in her 


own attack.  As Breitbart News reported in November, the Minneapolis School District also announced that suspensions of non-white students must receive the approval of the superintendent of schools, a practice some education and legal experts say is the outright establishment of 'racial quotas.'”
The New York Post has an excellent article on this subject as well.
From this article:

"Misbehaving kids are handed a “talking stick” and encouraged to emote about the issues underlying their anger. More often than not, they are treated as victims, even if they start fights or threaten teachers.  No longer can teachers in these programs deal swiftly with a disruptive child by removing him from class. Conflicts take days, even weeks to resolve as schools coordinate talking circles around the schedules of teachers, principals, counselors, parents and even campus police — all of whom must take time out and meet to deal ever-so-delicately with a single problem student.  And that doesn’t include the in-class circles also required under the restorative approach. Teachers are trained never to snap at a mouthy student interrupting a lesson but rather to gather students in a circle to share their feelings about the problem."

What is so difficult about demanding and accepting nothing less than school appropriate, normal behavior in our schools from ALL students of all races?  We have the right and duty to do this, and if we don't ---our schools, no matter how much we spend, will not improve.


8 comments:

Gulagathon said...

There are too many people who don't work in the classroom making rules for those working in the classroom. More people need to stand up to fight this because this is a true battle that needs people to fight. Teachers don't have time to be a psychologist, dean, and teacher at the same time; that's just too much to take on. At the end of the day, with all of this ridiculous testing, it's impossible to take on if one is going to remain sane.

Anonymous said...

Teachers dont give a flip about students. All they do is yell at students, and it's no wonder students don't respect adults. Adults have no idea how to relate to a middle school kid, except for the times when firmness is neeeded. Kids are just shuffled through the system because that's all theyre capable of doing. I am a teacher, and I see it.

A kid jokes during class, disrupting instruction. A teacher flips out, not handling it correctly. The problem is only exasperated. The innocent jokester becomes increasingly agitated and disrespectful because the teacher is always angry toward him. Why give a hoot what this lady says when she always yells at me?

There are cases of violent or very disrespectful kids; they are rare in the sense that they are totally incapable of functioning with people in general.

A real teacher knows how to lead people. Sadly, finding those are rare.

Anonymous said...

This isnt a direct response to your position, but it's a common problem I see as it relates to discipline.

Anonymous said...

I should rephrase. I don't think teachers don't care as such; they do care, but sometimes they give the wrong message when all a student see is some authoritarian spouting demands. I think in many ways how teachers commonly respond to students only aggravates the problem. There is a degree of firmness and assertiveness required in an institution of control like our public school system, but really working to build connections with students is important because if the kid feels a teacher cares, a teacher gets more respect when they are firm. If consequences are effective (e.g. If you juge a susoension will deter a kid, then use it. Otherwise, it's pointless and you need another option). I think in many ways you fail to see oir discipline doesnt really work, but we dont have resources to implement alternatives. Regardless of what you say, restorative justice, when implemented correctly, works. It is why, for example, the superintendent in San Francisco is expanding it district wide after ten years of use. If it didnt work, then that would be extremely poor judgement on the superintendent's behalf, since millions of dollars would be wasted,

Anonymous said...

This anonymous person exemplifies the problem. Blame the teacher instead of the student.

The fact is it shouldn't matter how the teacher responds. It should matter how the students behave. Period.

Teachers with who can tolerate incessant interruption or at least be really nice about it are great for the bad kids. What about the good kids?

What about education? Sadly our schools have many teachers who make excuses for "innocent jokesters", like anonymous does, instead of good lessons, because excuses are easier to make. Kids totally pick up on that FROM the teachers.

We need better screening.

Thank you,

Paul DeWise

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dewise,

This isn't a blame game. If you really think about it, blaming a parent could be a problem too.

The traditional school structure exerts control over students and forces them to be in an environment that is, in many ways, against their nature. We force students to sit in desks for hours at a time, when we know the medical problems associated with excessive sitting. We force kids to learn subjects and academic skills they may not be developmentallly prepared for, yet would be better served with exploratory learning so they find *purpose* in going to school. We label kids as "failures" if they arent up to academic standards by a certain age, when learning acquisition is so much more various than some strict, linear notion of human nature. For the kids who are academically inclined and learn academics with more ease, that's great, but their capabilities and personality conform better to the traditional structure.

But if you are a kid that likes movement, for example, and you can't stay still, youre going to be sent straight to ISS.

Our traditional school structure demands students to stay in their seat, remain reticent, gives students no choice nor sense of empowerment (unless you have a teacher that offers choice, and is heavily authoritarian based). "You follow the rules, kids. You have no voice." Then we wonder why kids have no idea what they want to be when they grow up. They have no sense of purpose nor understand the things that makes them thrive. That's why most kids hate going to school; it gives them no meaning. They are fussed at and labeled failures when they can't solve an algebraic equation.

On one hand, our limited school structure (i.e. traditional cultural expectations of how school ought to be ran) doesn't provide for many options. In addition, while operating within this structure, I can even understand why rules are in place to work optimally within the structure. I must comply so long as I work within the structure. I am not even mad at people who enforce the structure; they are operating within the structure too. On the other hand, I can see the structure outside of itself, and can see how we label nonconforming students "disciplinary problems."

Maybe if kids had more time to explore, they'd have meaning going to school, instead of always being forced to learn things they arent interested in. As it is, some kids have trouble conforming to this structure, and it's kind of like making a circle fit into a square. Some kids are squares and will fit into the school structure, others are circles. Yet, if school was like a circle, the squares would end up being the rebels with disciplinary problems. You see what I mean?

My point is, I truly believe if kids had more purpose going to school, had more exploratory options, truly were in a school structure that offers support, and wouldnt have the crazy requirement to stay still all the time, "misbehavior" dramatically decline. In fact, I bet kis would conform to many rules in place. When *anyone,* not just kids, feel valued and have a sense of meaning within a community, they are indeed very likely to conform to social norms. I think the failures dont feel valued, nor have a sense of purpose.

It's complicated, but I think the only real disciplinary problems are those people who truly have an intent to cause harm because they are just....sociopathic. All others are a result of kids rebelling against a public instituiton of control that doesnt truly serve human purpose.

As a teacher myself, I sometimes feel the need to write an apology lettter quite similar to this one: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lizanne-foster/dear-students-apology-from-teacher_b_6640108.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Sometimes, I feel like someone who basically makes people sit, listen, and shut up. This is why I wont be able to work in a public school for long, and have other ieas in mind for the future. The experiene will be helpful, though.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a blame game. If you really think about it, blaming a parent could be a problem too.

The traditional school structure exerts control over students and forces them to be in an environment that is, in many ways, against their nature. We force students to sit in desks for hours at a time, when we know the medical problems associated with excessive sitting. We force kids to learn subjects and academic skills they may not be developmentallly prepared for, yet would be better served with exploratory learning so they find *purpose* in going to school. We label kids as "failures" if they arent up to academic standards by a certain age, when learning acquisition is so much more various than some strict, linear notion of human nature. For the kids who are academically inclined and learn academics with more ease, that's great, but their capabilities and personality conform better to the traditional structure.

But if you are a kid that likes movement, for example, and you can't stay still, youre going to be sent straight to ISS.

Our traditional school structure demands students to stay in their seat, remain reticent, gives students no choice nor sense of empowerment (unless you have a teacher that offers choice), and is heavily authoritarian based. "You follow the rules, kids. You have no voice." Then we wonder why kids have no idea what they want to be when they grow up. They have no sense of purpose nor understand the things that makes them thrive. That's why most kids hate going to school; it gives them no meaning. They are fussed at and labeled failures when they can't solve an algebraic equation.

On one hand, our limited school structure (i.e. traditional cultural expectations of how school ought to be ran) doesn't provide for many options. In addition, while operating within this structure, I can even understand why rules are in place to work optimally within the structure. I must comply so long as I work within the structure. I am not even mad at people (e.g. school admins) who enforce the structure; they are operating within the structure too. They dont have much options either,

On the other hand, I can see the structure outside of itself, and can see how we label nonconforming students as "disciplinary problems."

Maybe if kids had more time to explore, they'd have meaning going to school, instead of always being forced to learn things they arent interested in. As it is, some kids have trouble conforming to this structure, and it's kind of like making a circle fit into a square. Some kids are squares and will fit into the school structure, others are circles. Yet, if school was like a circle, the squares would end up being the rebels with disciplinary problems. You see what I mean?

My point is, I truly believe if kids had more purpose going to school, had more exploratory options, truly were in a school structure that offers support, and wouldnt have the crazy requirement to stay still all the time, "misbehavior" would dramatically decline. In fact, I bet kids would conform to many rules in place (rules like, respecting the dignity of others). When *anyone,* not just kids, feels valued and has a sense of meaning within a community, they are indeed very likely to conform to social norms. I think the failures dont feel valued, nor have a sense of purpose.

It's complicated and these ideas need to be better hashed out, but I think the only real disciplinary problems are those people who truly have an intent to cause harm because they are just....sociopathic. All others are a result of kids rebelling against a public instituiton of control that doesnt truly serve human purpose, very generally speaking. Ky position is more nuanced than this, but I only have 4096 characters.

Sometimes, I feel like someone who basically makes people sit, listen, and shut up. Kids need an apology: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lizanne-foster/dear-students-apology-from-teacher_b_6640108.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Anonymous said...

Second, is what I am saying drawing the conclusion that I think kids shouldnt be held acdountable, or will lack self-responsibility? Hardly. There will always be a degree of adult input, but I truly believe our school system is authoritarian based. You could call it obedience training. Some people liken it to a prison. I probably wouldnt go that far, but there are similarities. I think we could design a school structure that could truly serve a variety of student personalities, and which would make them well-rounded civil adults. At this point, something like that is only a philosophical dream, and I must conform to the sit down and shut up method.

https://roymondous.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/a-revolution-in-education-part-2-school-is-not-a-human-right-its-a-prison/