Thursday, January 10, 2013

Brooks' defense; "Discipline referrals are down"

APS Supt Winston Brooks is upset with the Journal and other unnamed "reflexive critics" over our lack of appreciation for the success he has created at Rio Grande High and Ernie Pyle Middle schools.  He has penned a response to us, link.

Among the indicators of his success at these schools, Brooks claims; "discipline referrals are down" at the schools.  He cites no empirical evidence; none is available on his "award winning" website.

Discipline Referrals are the "press hard, there's four layers of carbon paper" opportunity that teachers and staff members have, to report disruptive students to the administration for consequences. What Brooks has said in simplest terms, teachers and staff members have filed fewer reports than previously. 

He would have you believe that the number of referrals is down because student discipline is improving.

Assuming they really are down, there is another reason why fewer discipline referrals are being filed.  Teachers and staff members may have been told overtly or otherwise, to submit fewer referrals.

Sidebar; In my own experience; I once filed a referral on a student.  He had been amusing himself one morning by throwing rocks at elementary school students walking by our campus.  The referral came back to me with a Post It note on it reading; Please handle this and all similar problems yourself.

A recent audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found, administrators routinely falsifying crime statistics to preserve their school's public perception.  Nothing has changed, link.  Another impartial audit will find the truth about student discipline and crime in schools is still being hidden, most often by deliberately not gathering meaningful statistics in the first place, Journal link, D6 link.

When I was teaching, there was clear contract language that placed the responsibility for enforcing discipline policies on the shoulders of the administration; on Brooks' shoulders.  It lies there still.

Brooks' idea of a discipline policy places insubordination among the least consequential of student misconduct.  Rule one is; you have to follow the rules.  If teachers and staff members have no authority over students, students cannot be compelled to obey any rules at all.

Brooks is not being candid, forthright and honest with stakeholders; not about the discipline issues at RGHS and EPMS, and not about student discipline district wide.  He can have read to you, a PowerPoint presentation on anything you want, except the truth about student discipline in the APS.

Students are in-charge in schools.
It is their will being done.

Brooks is hiding the discipline problem in order to hide his failure to deal with it.

A problem cannot be solved and hidden at the same time.  Student discipline problems will not be solved for as long as they remain hidden; by Brooks and by the Journal.

photo Mark Bralley

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