Wednesday, August 08, 2012

APS students sagging; so what?

For as long as there have been fun seeking children and fun spoiling adults, adults have been setting rules and children have been breaking them. It is to be expected.

There are different kinds of disobedience; deliberate and inadvertent. Inadvertent disobedience isn't the problem. A kid forgetting gum is not allowed, will get rid of the gum when they are reminded of the rule. The real problem is children, students, who deliberately break the rules.

We are no longer talking about chewing gum.

We are talking about bringing and using drugs and weapons at school. We are talking about intimidation and bullying. We are talking about chronically disruptive students who destroy educationally efficient environments.

There are two kinds of deliberate disobedience; sneaky and brazen. Sneaky disobedience implies some respect for the rules, those who enforce them, or at least some fear of the consequences for getting caught breaking them. Brazen disobedience is a kid standing in your face, telling you, you can't tell them what to do, even at school.

Sagging is brazen disobedience; deliberate, in your face defiance. Anyone who thinks you can find success in a school where students are allowed to defy the authority of adults is wrong.

I never once had to stop teaching because a kid was sagging. Those times when I did have to stop teaching to deal with a discipline issue, it was a kid who didn't think s/he had to follow rules or submit in any other way, to the authority of adults. It was their attitude more than their misconduct.

This will end one of two ways; saggers will or will not comply with Brooks' edict. Brooks will either provide certainty in likelihood meaningful consequences for defiant saggers, consequences that will actually end their willful disobedience, or he will fold in the face of their relentless resistance.

When APS Winston Brooks decided to pick another fight with saggers, he picked a fight he hasn't the stomach to win.

Ask any teacher, ask any adult who works with students, when has the senior administration in APS, ever provided certain and substantial consequences for deliberately disobedient students? Brooks himself, counts student insubordination and defiance of authority as one of the least consequential of student misconduct; a level one (of three) offense.

The issue is not kids breaking rules, it is the permission of prohibited behavior; making rules and then not enforcing them. The issue is of schools getting further out of control instead of less.

There's a reason the leadership of the APS doesn't keep, falsifies, or hides data on student discipline and its effect on individual and collective student learning and performance, link.

There's a reason Kent Walz and the Journal won't investigate and report upon student discipline in the APS.

photo Mark Bralley

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