Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Truth Time


"You have a criminal-justice system that let's out too many people repeatedly who use guns. You have a father who's lost a child that should be cooperating with the police department in solving the crime of their child. And you have gangbangers without any moral compunction--without any moral remorse or responsibility shooting into a playground or shooting into a front yard as if it's their personal shooting gallery." -Rahm Emanuel in response to 7 year old Amari Brown's death.

"Antonio Brown, who police say is a ranking member of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang has been arrested 45 times on charges ranging from gun possession to burglary, and is not cooperating with detectives...'Quite frankly, I've never seen anything like this [arrest record], it's probably about 22 pages long.'" Garry McCarthy commenting on Amari's father, Antonio.

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Rahm Emanuel and Garry McCarthy have repeatedly used the words responsibility, values, and accountability when addressing Amari Brown's shooting and his father's inaction. Rightly so. Still, WCT can't help but wonder what policies schools have in place that encourage such inaction and shirking of responsibility.

Our previous post highlights the theatrics of the new grading and attendance policies as showcased in a recent Atlantic article. Grade inflation and attendance manipulation aside, these policies appear to promote the exact behaviors, in light of the weekend's events, that Garry McCarthy and Rahm Emanuel rail against: the denial of responsibility and lack of accountability for one's decisions. If, starting at a young age, one faces virtually no consequences in school, or in the case of Antonio Brown, 45 previous chances with law, what is the downside?

Further consequences, in the name of policies like restorative justice, standards-based grading, and on-track ratings, that foster limited student responsibility and accountability, while provoking continually emboldened student behavior:
  • Administration's feigned ignorance of known gangbangers in the building and their gangbanging in the hallways and classrooms because it would negatively affect the suspension rate.
  • Non-existent deans and disciplinary action to reduce the number of high-level discipline infractions. 
  • Principal intervention in police matters, such as advising students not to cooperate in ongoing investigations, lest it bring unwanted attention to the school and add to high-level disciplinary infractions.
  • Students stridently adopting the no-snitch policy when it comes to fights and other illicit behavior in school.
All in the name of rankings, accountability, and quality. This is only amplified when you add in charter schools and their "no excuses" drivel, despite the fact they expel students frequently. These same students go to their neighborhood school, and because said school is under constant pressure to remain off probation, their whims rule the day.

A charitable view, as the article indicates, is to see the policies as a means to provide students an opportunity to right their wrongs, experience success, and graduate. In a harsher light, these policies provide a haven for gangbangers and cultivate the intractable no-snitch mentality that stops a father from helping solve his own son's murder. 

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