Transform Education: John Stossel Is a Liar
Interesting post by Peter Campbell about Ben Chavis and the Indian Charter School in Oakland, which will be featured on ABC's 20/20 again on September 1st. Peter has a 2-minute teaser on the program, and you can link to it here: Transform Education: John Stossel Is a Liar .
From the teaser and the title of the segment, one has to assume that it is another rip-job on public education in general, and I certainly don't appreciate that. However, I can't bring myself to be nearly as hard on the things Chavis is doing at his own school as Peter is. The guy does seem to be getting results. It sounds like Chavis is very demanding on his students with hours of homework and public humiliation if they fail to do it or if they misbehave. In July, Peter did a post on KIPP Schools where they have similar practices, and make great demands on parents. Although Peter questioned the statistics, it sounded like they were also getting results. My question is this: Can't we find a happy medium?
I have no desire to humiliate students for any act of misbehavior, but I would like to be able to refuse to tolerate students who will not follow reasonable rules unless I have my eye on them one-hundred percent of the time. I have no desire to force students to do "hours" of homework, but I would like to be able to refuse to tolerate having kids in my classroom who clearly are making no effort to pass.
Do kids have to be totally regimented in order to learn? I don't think so. I just think they need to come to school with a desire to learn and to be successful, a willingness to do a reasonable amount of work, and a willingness to follow reasonable rules. They need and deserve to be able to do those things in a healthy learning environment, free from other kids who won't do those things.
It irritates me that schools like the Indian Charter School and the KIPP schools can basically hound students into leaving, because where do they end up going? To their regular old public school, of course. Public schools should not have to be the junior varsity of education.