Are the Inmates running the Asylum?
Imagine being in charge of people that are less than 15 years old and you have been charged to teach various subjects and to instill in them a sense of integrity, honor, hard work and a love of learning. Now imagine that you have to do this with 100 percent of them passing standardized tests. Now imagine that ALL of these students have to pass, that ALL of these students should be afforded access to the classroom, that ALL of these students should have EQUAL access.
This sounds great! If you are a politician perhaps. Because we as educators have been tasked with this job all the while being unable to:
- Ticket much criminal behavior
- Expel for persistent misbehavior
- Use corporal punishment without parental permission
- Generally teach students how to behave in the REAL world
Is there any punishment?
Now imagine a student who cares nothing for learning, has little or no support from home and has figured out all of the above (kids are smart, they figure out the system). That they can do whatever they want (short of bringing drugs or a weapon to school) and have few consequences, read ALMOST NOTHING!
A circular event begins to occur whereby the student now dishes out their own punishment as THEY see fit. If a suspension is wanted, then the appropriate behavior is exhibited to get this result. The student knows that the most severe punishment to be meted out is suspension, and this is what they desire.
So as a teacher I can threaten our students with detention (they laugh) or an office referral (which is exactly what they want) and they end up in an office that has several students awaiting the same fate as the student you have sent by an administrator who was realized the same thing the students have realized, the students are running the show.
Thank you Texas Legislature
Last year in Texas one of our brilliant legislators didn’t want our students given citations for behavior that certainly warrants it. The thinking was a citation was too severe to have on a juvenile’s record. At the same time the legislature has taken away the ability for schools to expel when a student’s behavior persistently is poor. Instead, ISS (in school suspension) or AEP (alternative education plan) is administered (insert laugh track here). So a student goes to these places with no threat of going anywhere else, except home, which is where many of these students would rather be. So a vicious circle ensues and here we are.
What if a student WANTS to learn?
Now if you are a parent of a child who is in school to learn and to, ostensibly become a better person by the experience of education, you are not happy with the current arrangement. Your student suffers for the behavior of a few. This is where we are in education today; the rights of one trump the rights of the many.
I am all for the minority having rights, but not at the expense of the majority. And this dear reader is exactly where we find ourselves today. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who teaches in public school, at least here at MISD.
What about the REAL World?
How do we fix it? Treat our students how they would be treated in the “real” world. Do you think telling an authority figure in the real world to &^%$ off is going to be tolerated? Hardly. You are fired at any job. You are punched by any person on the street and you are arrested by any policeman you say this to. But in school? Often nothing, sometimes AEP, but NEVER a consequence that is commensurate with the action. Don’t believe me? Try this on your job or better yet, stop a cop today and say *&^% off and let me know how it goes.
Because of this, many teachers are leaving this setting, I may be one more before the year is over. Anyway, that is what I think, what do you think? Until next time, peace.