Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Restorative justice too little too late for APS students

The leadership of the APS will spend $4.3 million dollars in an effort to make student discipline “more educational and less punitive”, link.  They're calling it restorative justice.  In this context, restore meaning, reestablish, repair, rehabilitate, rebuild, reconstruct, redevelop …

The fundamental premise; the students in question are, for whatever reason(s) both within and outside of their control, are in need of restoration. And, certainly, we should spend money on their restoration.

Much better; we spend money on prevention. It is a given; dollars spent on prevention go further than dollars spent on repair.

So how much money will APS spend over these same three years on any district wide effort to develop the character in students that might help them minimize their involvement in criminal activity?

The answer; nothing, not one thin dime, not one red cent.

However much sense it makes to offer students restorative justice, it makes exponentially more sense to offer students some training in beliefs and skill sets that will help them “just say no”.

If Thomas Paine was right;

if character is much easier kept than recovered,
then it seems prudent to invest in keeping students from the need to be restored in the first place.

The leadership of the APS will not invest in character education for at least two reasons;
1. Character (education) is not measured in standardized tests, and therefore any attention paid to developing character would necessarily lower test scores in math perhaps, and more importantly,
2. The leadership of the APS cannot find the character and the courage to talk openly and honestly about student standards of conduct; ethical standards of conduct, and their honest to God accountability them.
They are unwilling to admit to, and deal with, the double standards of conduct in the APS; students are expected to model and promote honest accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct. School board members and senior administrators are manifestly unaccountable even to the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.

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