|Mr. Van Driessen: "Let's examine why you are having a bad day, class. What can I do to make things more fair for you"|
The kinder, gentler approach to discipline is exploding across America. Districts across the country are bowing to pressure from special interest groups and the Department of Justice, often being subjected to following highly prescriptive consent decrees that dictate the way discipline shall be handled. In some districts, this can cost as much as an additional $500K yearly--while simultaneously usurping teachers and administrators of authority with respect to meting out discipline for repetitive, disruptive, defiant and often abusive conduct by students.
Is Escambia County headed in this direction? It sure feels like it, the way discipline is being watered down and consequences are being eroded even for the most serious infractions.
Now we're hiring $200K consultants like Flip Flippen to teach us how to "get to know" students and examine OUR own behavior as adults and how this contributes to some students misbehaving. Sorry, I'm not buying into that ever. There are a plethora of less expensive, equally effective professional development systems with a focus on develping good student teacher relationships. Many are free. Why not use the free systems that are out there? Nope, we need to spend heaping piles of taxpayer cash on this system.....
And people wonder why many urban districts are devolving?
What we accept, we condone. What we condone, we endorse.
Instead of one set of expectations, where all students of all races are held to account, along with their families, we are now attempting a broken, simplistic approach to make discipline numbers look better. But it won't work.
When we accept disrespectful and abnormal, asocial behavior and force teachers to "self-examine"
|Van Driessen "You are all victims of a system that holds you down, your actions are NOT your fault"|
how the individual teacher's conduct may be a contributing factor to student misbehavior, or when teachers are force-fed garbage about how inexcusable behavior like cussing out-loud in class and willful defiance and disrespect towards teachers and staff must be tolerated by some students due to their "cultural" background---when we start genuflecting before the radical out of touch apologists who espouse this garbage, then we have tripled-down on a failed strategy that will lead to the destruction of many school districts. This is nothing short of a license for anarchy in some schools, and this will have the ancillary effect of hastening an already acute teacher shortage in these challenging schools, while concurrently shepherding the evacuation of such schools by any students with families of means. There will be an acceleration of flight from these schools, it is inevitable.
How do we win back the schools? How about starting with basic discipline and enforcing rules at the outset of the school year, a sort of "Broken Windows" approach to behavioral expectations in school. What is wrong with strict discipline--this would work, this would get parents to trust us again if they knew we were serious about discipline again-back to basics.
But we're not getting back to basics, we're going the other direction....
Trapped between all of this unleashed, unrestrained political correctness will be good students, good families, that do what they are supposed to do and only want to study and learn in school. We will be robbing these good kids of their future along the way. Oakland, CA, recently adopted a "no-discipline" strategy for willful defiance. I've been to Oakland on a number of occasions; I wonder what it will look like in 5-10 years after all of this comes home to roost.......
From SF Gate:
"Mouthing off in class or failing to follow a teacher’s instructions will no longer lead to suspension in Oakland schools, a ban that will be phased in and be fully in effect just over a year from now, the school board unanimously decided Wednesday night. As in other urban districts, African American students are disproportionately among those suspended, specifically for willful defiance in Oakland. “We’re getting pushed out of schools,” said Dan’enicole, 15, who is African American and Italian American. “They don’t care about us.” Oakland has been criticized for the disproportionate suspensions, leading to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and a 2012 voluntary agreement that required the district to employ a range of practices that reduced suspensions. Among them are the district’s Manhood Development classes for African American males as well as restorative justice, which requires victims and offenders to talk about the behavior and ways to address it. Willful defiance suspensions for African American students in Oakland declined from 1,050 incidents in 2011 to 630 in 2014, according to district officials. That number is expected to drop significantly this school year as well."