Friday, March 6, 2009

Child See, Child Do

Anybody want to bet that the type of behavior we see in schools doesn't start at home?

Here's a lovely story about a mother who showed up at her kids' elementary school today and threatened to have her older daughter beat up another student. While being escorted from school grounds, she saw the student she was angry with and "struck them in the face."

We can't possibly believe that the children involved in this incident won't be colored by it. If this is what they see parents doing, why would they want to do any differently? This is precisely why it's so difficult to establish order in too many schools.

Let be be clear: I am not saying that it's impossible or that we shouldn't try, but I am saying that these discipline problems are starting at home -- meaning that schools don't start with a blank slate in September.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a reminder of your recent post, also excellent, of the differences between urban and suburban schools. Outrageous parental behavior occurs everywhere but in the inner city it reaches a critical mass. Ive seen students beaten so badly AT SCHOOL BY MOTHERS so the I did not recognize them through the bruises.

I'd like to double back to your post on grading. There are two sides, at least, to those grading arguments. The thing that bothers me most, however, is the mixed messages that the send. Teachers are supposed to raise standards while we continually get new policies that send the messages (inteneded or not) that we should just pass kids on. If we want better grading practices without unintended consequences we need the type of detailed discussion found in your blog.

And the discussion must go outside of the schools. I've always believed that no new grading system - and no new disciplinary code - can work without investing a summer in visiting churches, neighborhoods, and community leaders, and making sure that we aren't divided by mixed messages.