Tuesday, May 23, 2006
School officials lie? Perish the thought!
School officials would never lie about violence at schools, disciplinary incidents, attendance, dropouts, or anything...
Back in my younger days, I served as a computer consultant to a coalition of school districts. My deal was helping them meet state reporting requirements via database applications for collecting attendance, discipline referrals, etc.
So it's October 1, and time to report to the state. I get a call to a small rural district where the attendance officer is the discipline officer is the bus officer is the school lunch officer with a stack of paper 2 feet tall on his desk that needs to get filled out every month to meet federal requirements for all those various things. He ran my audit against this year's data and last year's data, and it popped out about 200 students who disappeared between last year and this year, which would get flagged by the State, which wants to know where those kids went.
I told him that under state law, he had to contact the principals and attempt to contact the parents and find out where all those kids went, whether they dropped out, etc.
He said, "F*** that, I don't have time to do that with all the other unfunded mandates that have been slammed onto my desk" and marked them all as "Transferred out of state." The state didn't provide funding for a full-time attendance officer, and the state got what it paid (or didn't pay) for.
This school district has a low dropout rate. Hmm, I wonder why? Could it be that "Transferred out of state" rather than "Dropped Out" code? Naw, couldn't be :).
Anyhow, there's a lot of reasons why school administrators lie, but the most important one is because *IT PAYS*. If a school gets paid on ADA (Average Daily Attendance), and already doesn't have enough money to meet all the needs of its students, of *COURSE* the administrator's going to lie. He's going to justify it to himself by saying that the majority of the students at the school shouldn't get punished just because a small minority play hooky. Same deal with disciplinary incidents. If a school will get punished (have money withheld, etc.) for having a lot of disciplinary incidents, of *COURSE* he's going to lie. Same deal -- he's going to justify it to himself by saying that the majority of the students at the school shouldn't get punished just because a small minority are gang-bangers there for lunch and entertainment.
And thing is, I don't know if he's wrong.
Until we get rid of the "punishment" mentality when it comes to children and schools, and instead focus on *what do we need to do*, we'll continue to see lies, evasions, and no better school performance. You can't punish a child -- or a school -- into excelling. At best you can punish them into being passive and sullen victims who excell at nothing at all. You look at the top performers in our society, they're never the kids who got a whipping every day for every day of their childhood for dozens of offences large, small, or imagined. They're always people who came from loving homes with a lot of encouragement to do new things and improve themselves. That's just as true for schools as it is for children. But because of the "punishment mentality" of the Christopaths who control our nation today, it ain't happening. Instead, schools that are already down are punished and become even worse -- which, now that I think of it, might be the point. After all, we wouldn't want their heathen unwashed children to be competing witho ur good white Republican children for those precious slots at Hah-vahd, would we?!
-- Badtux the School Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 5/23/2006 12:13:00 PM
You look at the top performers in our society, they're never the kids who got a whipping every day for every day of their childhood for dozens of offences large, small, or imagined. They're always people who came from loving homes with a lot of encouragement to do new things and improve themselves.
Which is why people who don't desperately WANT to have children should be given every incentive and support to give that experience a pass! Believe me, it's hard enough to be a good parent when you very much want to be one... to be forced or dragooned into it is a recepie for disaster.
# posted by SB Gypsy : 25/5/06 1:37 PM
My state, which shall remain nameless due to my shame of living there, came up with a way to track students from pre-k thru high school graduation.
They make them get weighed and measured every year and then send their parents a letter telling them how fat or underweight their kid is. (mostly too fat)
These poor kids, besides the humiliation of being weighed and measured in a gym in front of the entire student body by nurses and coaches who are pissed off that they have to do this extra work anyhow (which I don't blame them), are tracked by their social security number, their address (and however many address changes they have during the year) and the names of their guardians (however many guardians they may have in a year). It is noted in their record if they have disabilities or are pregnant. I fight like hell to have the records of the deceased children removed from the database so the grieving parents don't receive some inane letter from the government telling them their child is fat 6 months after the child has passed away.
So far they aren't tracking every movement of college students but that can't be too far away can it? I guess tracking dropouts has its place but man I just hate tracking our kids like this. Maybe it would be easier to just put RFID tags in their ears when their born or something. (snide humor, that last comment)
# posted by : 3/6/06 8:36 PM
- Name: BadTux
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