Monday, December 31, 2007

How About Logical Consequences?

I was reading the headline article from our Sunday's paper in the pullout section for our county when I decided it was time to dust off the ol' soapbox. The article addressed a new school program for a local middle school that aims to help struggling students.

They had my attention.

The program is called, CARE (Carver Activities Remediation & Enrichment Period). The school's principal, Don Ashburn admits that the school has fallen behind the standard for No Child Left Behind and previous attempts at improvement had yet to produce adequate results.

Enter....CARE which provides 125 minutes per week within the school day where students can make up work or get some extra help. If the students are caught up on work they can participate in "more than 60 different activities ranging from basketball to yoga to scrapbooking".

My issue?

My issue is with the school's "instructional strategy". (I prefer words like crutch, band-aid, or the easy-out)

The strategy is called the "Power of I". The I stands for incomplete, which means that instead of a student receiving failing grades for not doing their work OR turning in poor-quality work, they would receive an incomplete. The allotted "CARE" time will provide the opportunity for the student to redo their work.

So let me get this straight. The lesson is.....

Don't Do Your Work = More Chances To Do Your Work

Do Shabby Work = Opportunities To Do It Again

I'm not sure where this flies in the real world....the job force....or the natural order of cause and effect, but then again it's our public school. Their primary job is to churn out adequate test scores.

It doesn't end here. They are also using the CARE time for students who need to serve detention.

Call me old-school, but shouldn't detention involve some sort of detaining process? You know, all your friends are going home to eat pop-tarts and watch MTV and you are stuck here at school in "detention". I was even thinking that detention might serve as a deterrent of some sort?

Nope. It's more like:

**Hey! Let's provide laxity opportunities for students who need help and rather than apply actual consequences for their actions let us instead provide more *chances* for their success.**

Honestly, the only success this program is driven for is the success of the standardized test (No Child Left Behind) and an improvement in the grading curve.

If behavior (remember we are talking about children in need of a Savior who will most likely always choose the fleshly desire) is not addressed then actual change will NEVER take place. Things like respect for authority, responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment cannot be taught within the school day if they are not first taught at home. Hence the vicious circle of programs and gimmicks aimed to "solve" the problem.

Ashburn tries to clarify, when he says, "In a way, we have to be more like parents and say you have to do your work and you have no choice."

The problem is, they certainly do have a choice and a rather lucrative one at that. A second chance during the school day when the incentive for correct answers outweighs the benefit of a child learning the true consequences of reaping & sowing.

I understand that there are students within this system that are not being parented well or at all for that matter. So does it make sense to lower the standard to accommodate the lowest achiever?

This article serves as another blessed example as to why the state should not decide what consequences look like for my children or what the standard should be for them either.

Our standard for parenting and teaching our children is the Word of God and I am once again reminded how far removed that is from our public school system.

Oh, and by the way...

The middle school that is highlighted in this article is where my oldest attended 6th grade.

Stepping down now....


Jenn said...

So sad...

Tracy said...

I hear is SO frusterating to see what the kids get away with. My husband is known as one of the strictest teachers ...because he actually requires the kids do their work. He assigned a book for the 9th grade to read last year (they have one a month to read it...not that bad) and ONE kid read it...O N E!! He was so mad (now, this class was one of a kind...all the teachers were celebrating at graduation...they graduate out of our school in 9th) he made them sit in lunch detention and listen to HIM read the book to them for as many days as it took him to finish it. Then he gave them another book and a few extra assignments. He said it gets worse each year, although not usually THAT bad, but just the level of not caring that comes from the kids. THere are no consequences at home and very little even at school. In his 9th grade class THIS year over half the kids have some sort of "label" which requires them to receive extra help or allows them special something (such as taking a test orally etc.) I could go on and on...I'll stop before I get all fired up again! :)

Kim said...

I'm right there with a past public school teacher, now homeschool mom, I know it has progressively gotten worse with little to no consequences for slacking off....I'm all for giving children a chance to learn and do well, but not that way. That will cause the lazy apethetic students to wallow in their laziness a little more.


Jill said...

Thanks for getting on the soapbox Kim. It is so good to know that I am not the only crazy momma out there that has high expectations for my kids and their friends. It makes me say 'Argh!'

5honeybunns said...

AMEN!!! What does a child left to his own devices do? Shame his mother.
Thank you, Lord for the opportunity to train our children.

Kelly said...

Preach it! I am a big fan of logical consequences. They seem ... well, logical.