Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Discipline in the Touchy-Feely Nation

I ran across the following article reposted here for reference and I had to laugh.
So she made one visit to a middle school class a year ago. She watched one student get disciplined (maybe - she has no idea what happened in that VP's office) and now she's an expert? When are we going to learn?

Ms. Steiny claims that the "kinder, gentler, more supportive strategies" will be an improvement but can't seem to mention any of them, or how they might have made a difference in the one discipline situation she witnessed. She doesn't take any time to demonstrate even a hypothetical. All she has is "factory-model", "die-press discipline", "circumstances, relationships and feelings don't matter" and "retribution."

Not much of an argument, if you ask me.

I especially like the principal who, having tested this in middle school, is now confidently applying it to the high school because everyone knows the two groups of people are identical and will respond in the same ways. I can even hear the rationales later ... "Of course this is working. We don't have nearly as many detentions or suspensions as we used to." (Because they banned them?)

Ms. Steiny will be happy, too, because the school will be "safer". Why? Because they only track detentions, suspension and "hard numbers." The problems will still occur but since detentions and suspensions are no longer listed in Admin Plus, the school will be considered a happier and safer place. Information Works! will have lots of happy and safe little zeroes to report on their happy and safe little website.

Old method: someone punches your kid = suspension.
New method: someone punches your kid = talking-to in a supportive way.

I'd enjoy hearing that explanation to the parents. "He's got a tough life." "So do we. Why are you letting him punch my kid?"

Life goes on. and so does school reform.

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