Saturday, October 31, 2009

Journal editors, Winston Brooks at odds.

Journal editors and APS Superintendent Winston Brooks
are not the same page; they're not even in the same book.

There is a charter school in town who's goal is to serve "at risk"
students. The students are "at risk" of anything between not
getting a high school diploma to, "at risk" of spending most of
the rest of their lives in prison.

Within their walls, the school is having some success. They
are making annual yearly progress for example, a feat that
a number of other schools are not able to accomplish.

Some of the students are making trouble in the neighborhoods
surrounding the school. They are making so much trouble
the city is seriously considering shutting the school down.

In handling the problem, the editors are damn near spot on, link;

"... disruptive students who refuse to follow the rules can,
and should, be kicked out — permanently."
Winston Brooks has a far different take. In his opinion,
students who refuse to follow the rules should receive a
"verbal/written warning".

I hold in my hand, the Jimmy Carter Middle School Cavalier Code of Conduct. It is apparently identical to the codes of conduct for every other APS middle school. They are identical because Winston Brooks thinks every school is identical, or should be, to every other school.

Nobody at Jimmy Carter had any input on the code of conduct. Nobody at any school has any input. The district admits to, never surveying teachers to ask them what they think they need from the administration, in order to succeed in their endeavor to educate almost 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters.

There are more than 70,000 years of teaching experience in the APS, and no seat at the table where decisions are made. They are not asked what kinds of student conduct help or hurt them in their struggle in classrooms district wide.

Winston Brooks has decided that student misconduct can be arranged in three levels. The number is completely arbitrary. The law provides for two; misdemeanor and felony misconduct.

The levels are arranged according to the relative severity of the misconduct.

At level one we find the likes of; tardiness, horse play, profanity, violations of the dress code.

At level two we find the likes of; profanity toward staff, bullying, cheating, and vandalism.

At level three we find the likes of; theft, possession of alcohol or drugs, fighting and gang related activities.

Brooks parts company with the Journal editors and the overwhelming majority of teachers by having at level one; insubordination, defiance of authority.

If adults are to succeed in school, they must be "in charge". There is little doubt that in most, maybe all APS schools, students are "in charge".

Need proof? Here is the test; an adult makes a rule, the student disobeys it, deliberately. Who is "in charge"?

The editors have it right; if a student will not submit to the authority of teachers and other adults at school, the environment is disrupted to the point where even obedient students can no longer be educated. Chronically disruptive students have no place in regular classrooms.

Brooks has it wrong. Students cannot be educated if they are not willing to do as they are told.



Anonymous said...

Well said and absolutly true!

Anonymous said...

The APS admin puts all the responsibility on the teacher so the administrator only has to hadndle "extreme" issues.
It's a severe "stacking of the deck". The teachers, who are not given attorneys or legal representation by APS are the ones to now take more of the liability.
The administrators, who do have automatic legal protection in APS, have less liability.
Let's follow the money trail...Brooks must be saying to himself "If there's a lawsuit about discipline, why not have the teacher's take the monetary hit because they have to pay for their own lawyers? Therefore, APS can save time and money."
This is basically true, and the teachers become the sacrificial lambs, under the guise of "You all need to improve your classroom management plans!"

Anonymous said...

And to top it all off, APS won't even provide a sub for your day in court.