The Problems in Schools Cannot be Fixed by ESSA/CCSS Mandates
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A factual, albeit politically incorrect article has been written by Heather MacDonald on what’s wrong with public schools, Violence in the Halls, Disorder in the Malls, and here is a spoiler alert about its findings: it’s not anything that ‘higher’ standards and federalized educational mandates can fix. The public school problems are not because of low state standards, faulty state/locally written assessments, or lack of technology. The proponents for nationalized standards and assessments have insisted for seven years that the passage and implementation of CCSS standards and assessments would ensure an equitable education for all and ensure that American children could competently compete on a global stage. The blueprint was written by non-governmental actors (who also funded the unceasing PR missives informing us of its necessity) and the politicians enacted the NGO policies in ESSA.
The tweet below doesn’t address the CCSS/ESSA issue directly, but it demonstrates the fallacy of ed reform proponents touting ‘critical thinking’ (one of the main reasons CCSS was needed) as they are the ones creating the massive ‘misinformation’ about the problems of public education. The ed reform think tanks/special interest groups are funded via the taxpayers now providing the programs/technology the ed reformers determined were necessary. They are the propagandists:
Discarding NGO PR propaganda and actually studying statistics and using authentic critical thinking might just explain the fundamental problem of school chaos/failure. From the linked article:
The Obama Justice and Education Departments have strong-armed schools across the country to all but eliminate the suspension and expulsion of insubordinate students. The reason? Because black students are disciplined at higher rates than whites. According to Washington bureaucrats, such disproportionate suspensions can mean only one thing: teachers and administrators are racist. The Obama administration rejects the proposition that black students are more likely to assault teachers or fight with other students in class. The so-called “school to prison” pipeline is a function of bias, not of behavior, they say.
This week’s mall violence, which injured several police and security officers, is just the latest piece of evidence for how counterfactual that credo is. A routine complaint in police-community meetings in minority areas is that large groups of teens are fighting on corners. Residents of the South Bronx’s 41st Precinct complained repeatedly to the precinct commander in a June 2015 meeting about such street disorder. “There’s too much fighting,” one woman said. “There was more than 100 kids the other day; they beat on a girl about 14 years old.” In April 2016, a 17-year-old girl in Coney Island, Brooklyn, Ta’Jae Warner, tried to protect her brother from a group of girls gathered outside her apartment building who were threatening to kill him; one of the group knocked her unconscious. She died four days later. At a meeting in the 23rd Precinct in East Harlem in 2015, residents asked why the police hadn’t stopped a recent stampede of youth down Third Avenue. In April 2012, a group of teens stomped a gang rival to death in a Bronx housing project.
The idea that such street behavior does not have a classroom counterpart is ludicrous. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic males of the same age. The lack of socialization that produces such a vast disparity in murder rates, as well as less lethal street violence, inevitably will show up in classroom behavior. Teens who react to a perceived insult on social media by trying to shoot the offender are not likely to restrain themselves in the classroom if they feel “disrespected” by a teacher or fellow students. Interviews with teachers confirm the proposition that children from communities with high rates of family breakdown bring vast amounts of disruptive anger to school, especially girls. It is no surprise that several of the Christmas riots began with fights between girls. School officials in urban areas across the country set up security corridors manned by police officers at school dismissal times to avoid gang shootings. And yet, the Obama administration would have us believe that in the classroom, black students are no more likely to disrupt order than white students. Equally preposterous is the claim that teachers and administrators are bigots. There is no more liberal a profession than teaching; education schools are one long indoctrination in white-privilege theory. And yet when these social-justice warriors get in the classroom, according to the Obama civil rights lawyers, they start wielding invidious double standards in discipline.
…The Trump administration must tear up every guidance and mandate in the Justice and Education Departments that penalize school districts for disproportionate rates of school discipline. Absent clear proof of teacher or administrator racism, Washington should let schools correct student behavioral problems as they see fit. Students in classrooms where disruption is common are far less likely to learn; that is the civil rights problem that should get activists’ attention. Taxpayer dollars should not be funding specious federal crusades against phantom discrimination; school districts might have more resources if their local taxpayers were not also being hit by federal levies, which are redistributed around the country in the delusional pursuit of “social justice.” Until the two-parent family is reconstructed, classrooms remain the only hope for socializing children and for preventing the teen violence that broke out across the country this Christmas. Schools can only accomplish that civilizing mission, however, if they are allowed to insist on strict rules, respect for authority, and consequences for misconduct.
The last sentence does not read: Schools can only accomplish that civilizing mission, however, if they are are mandated to require more technology, nationalized standards/assessments, and teacher accountability to NGO written policies. Have these technology requirements, nationalization of curriculum/standards/assessments, teacher accountability measures created a better education for public school students? What difference do these mandates really make when schools can’t even provide a safe environment for those students who want to learn? Are these mandates primarily empty PR marketing exercises costing states and districts enormous amounts of money with no improvement in education? Will CCSS/ESSA social emotional mandates delivered via required technology/assessments and civil rights educational policies ensure that all schools are ‘equitable failures’ in providing an excellent education?
The article is thought provoking, but what is most interesting are the reader comments. The first comment was extremely dismissive of the author’s contention and is typical of propagandist derision:
LOL — do you mean to tell me that these people get paid for writing this junk?
The majority of the readers (unlike the first commenter) had substantive thoughts on the article and many relayed their experiences with school violence. A few are listed below. Do you believe these problems of school violence are solved in current ESSA legislation? Can/should the Federal government mandate how schools respond (or don’t) to school violence?
Richard, Can you enlighten us on where you found fault with the article? As a former school teacher and gang intervention worker, I found the article well written and reasonable. How did you come to your conclusions?
The article is just fine it defines what Obama has done, but I disagree with the premise of suspension of students. They should create a classroom for these students with a teacher in charge that can control them if their classroom teachers can’t. Allowing them to “stay home” is what they are after.
In order to discipline them further (not let them get out of school free) they should then have to spend their Saturday’s with a volunteer officer who can talk to them about behavior that get’s them arrested and spend time picking up trash on the streets. Giving children who don’t want to go to school a get out of school free card only encourages more bad behavior.
If they are doing damage to their schools that Saturday exercise should include washing graffiti off walls, washing lockers, ie do what janitors are forced to do to clean up after these young animals.
Children are born without morals, and behavior patterns that are acceptable in society it is up to the parents and society to teach them what is acceptable.
Your comments are all good in theory. Twenty-one years ago, I taught in a “self-contained room for students that chose not to behave in the regular classroom. I have a degree in education and a masters degree in behavior disorders. I could control my classroom for several years, then my population became over-populated and the behaviors became worse. There was no parent support. We have these classrooms for elementary kids on up. Teachers have to deal with the out of control behavior for a long time and go through numerous protocal before student’s can be moved out of the regular classroom.
My building also tried after school classes, Saturday school, and in-school suspension. We have school programs off-site for expelled students. Students refused to attend. Those that did refused to comply there too. Most of these kids were involved with the court system. Scare tactics didn’t faze them. We aren’t allowed to have them “pick up trash, wash graffiti off walls, wash lockers, ie do what janitors are forced to do to clean up after them” because those are humiliating chores and doesn’t build their self-esteem.
The juvenile court system is overloaded and has turned most of the problems back to the schools. Administrators can’t do anything due to the rules and teachers get the brunt and abuse of it all. We continually have to change the labels for kids that misbehave in the classroom because we get labeled racist due to the discrepancy in race. These behaviors, done by anybody, in any country, would not be condoned.
Natural consequences such as failing grades aren’t allowed either. Students can’t graduate if they fail classes. This makes the district look bad. Teachers are responsible for making sure the student pass their classes whether the student attends class or not, or does the work or not. Graduation rate is all important.
We are even having prison riots because someone has disrespected them and they didn’t get their way. I’m not surprised by the behavior in prison. These are the same men I in my classes that were given an assignment with the rest of the class and refused to do it. If I requested them quietly one on one to do as I had asked – then I had disrepected them.
Teachers do not have the support of parents, administrators, or the court systems.
The racial undertones within this bigoted article are absolutely ridiculous!! So, basically what you’re saying is that these Black kids need to be “civilized” through moral instruction and discipline. Damn, that sounds a lot like…oh yeah, SLAVERY and COLONIZATION!!
I find it comical that many people, especially Whites, don’t want to discuss historical and current policies that create social control and domination in addition to dismantling Blacl families and communities. Black codes, peonage/vagrancy, Jim Crow, COINTELPRO, War on Drugs/Poverty, Anti Drug Abuse Act, Violent Crime Bill, NAFTA, etc.
As a former HS teacher, I implemented restorative justice strategies with students and it produced great results. Instead of just looking to send youth off through suspension and expulsion does nothing but create more opportunities for crime and violence. Instead, focus on getting to the root causes of why young people behave in such a way. Holistic education should be a driving force to build our young people, but instead, kick them out of school is your solution! But you want people to believe that the school-to-prison pipeline is a mythical concept???
Respect for authority and strict rules?? What about the teachers who verbally and physically assault students?? Or what about the teachers whose biased outlook on students of color prompts intentional substandard teaching, as reported by the Center for Academic Progress?? Many students are derived from unstable homes lacking love and validation so it is easy for them to identify similar characteristics in some teachers and administrators.
Policies and systems were created to establish White superiority and dominance, both through race and class. So instead of proposing solutions that dispose of social injustice, you’d rather discipline those who are victims of these systems. In addition, you write articles and editorials fixated to blaming the victim and not exposing malpractice.
According to the Student Peace Alliance, a peace circle consists of “a minimum of 3 participants sit in a circle of chairs, ideally without tables or other obstructions between them. They use a talking stick to take turns speaking and determine (1) what happened and why, and (2) how it can be fixed.” Meanwhile, according to MacDonald’s article, “Over the last year, a Seattle school district in the throes of “restorative justice” experienced an alleged gang rape and several student deaths. Criminal charges, including murder, were filed against a group of students not yet out of middle school, reports the Seattle Times.” Do the murder victims get to join in the peace circle to talk about what happened and how it can be fixed?
Ask yourself whether children receive a better or worse education today than before the federal police agency called the Department of Education was created by Carter in late 1979. The federal government now dictates by both regulation and finance: Mr. State, you can have these billions for roads and highways IF you do what we tell you in hundreds of areas that have nothing to do with transportation; Mr. State, you can have these millions for public education IF you do what we tell you in hundreds of areas that have nothing to do with education.
This is an article which invites looking at actual policies in public schools and trying to determine whether or not these policies are providing solutions or creating more problems. That’s more than you can say for the NGO PR misinformation to parents, administrators and legislators that we can fix our problems with CCSS, and that we need more technology, more data mining, more standardization and Social Emotional Learning curriculum to provide the 21st century education students need. If you can’t even control your classrooms, protect students and teachers, all these expensive mandates are just a diversion from the core problem of educational failure. Talk about ‘LOL’! Take the first comment from McDonald’s article and address it to the NGOs insisting CCSS/ESSA is the panacea for ailing public schools:
LOL — do you mean to tell me that these people get paid for writing this junk?