Friday, September 05, 2008

Tackle what's dragging kids and schools down

What have I often said on this blog? I've often talked about my experience going to a public high school in Chicago. I talked about how I had to walk thru a metal detector to start my day! If nothing else you should know that to me, that never made any sense to me. I understood why some knucklehead was bound to bring some mess that occurred the night before to school with him/her the next morning. Why should school have to be no different than going to a prison or going to a courtroom? It shouldn't.

Here's a brief excerpt from the Sun-Times:
There are no metal detectors at North Lawndale College Prep High School.

Instead, students are greeted with a "days of peace" sign that lists the days racked up without any fights.

Promoting peace is a big deal at the school. Kids sign a contract pledging to it before enrolling. They take the lead in teaching alternatives to violence. And the school pushes students to police one another.

"You're encouraged to stop the violence -- and not promote it by laughing at a fight," said Hiram Moss, a student at the small public charter school. "They want us to be the person who breaks it up."

And North Lawndale actually hires enough adults to confront the social issues that often fuel violence.

Each counselor works with 100 students from ninth grade through the first year after graduation. At a typical Chicago public high school, each counselor sees 350 kids. Most high schools have full-time social workers, but they deal mostly with special education students.

As a charter school, North Lawndale spends its money as it chooses. It put money into social workers and counselors, not security.

In Chicago, it's an exception.

It shouldn't be.
If one wants to make school funding an issue it could be for what is being asked for near the end of this article. A counselor for instance should see less students at least 250 instead of between 350 to 1200. More school psychologists instead of one per school. And social workers that doesn't need to overseeonly special education students.

Of course school funding need not entail those staffing issues. I could include extra-curriculars as well. What could these students do after school? And also could we be sure that these activities are what interests them?

This article hits the nail on the head. Student behavior or actually I like to call it discipline is an issue in these schools. Those who thinks fights are more worth watching that sitting in a classroom and doing assignments. Those who get a kick out of disrupting class (they probably don't want to be there anyway). I could point to the parents as well, are they raising their children correctly.

You should read the whole article and this is the last in a series so as soon as I can I'll get thru this series. I hope that one day there won't be a need for metal detectors. Even at the downtown Jones High School on Harrison where I saw some security equipment right in the window. It's insulting because that school is supposed to be a good one.

Hat-tip Capitol Fax morning shorts.

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