I have always felt the same way about the use of so-called behavioral contracts. (Example here.) In the old days, the school told you what to do and punished you for not doing it. In today’s enlightened times, the school makes you sign a “contract” “agreeing” on what to do, then punishes you for not doing what you “agreed” to do. How progressive!
As someone who has taught Contracts many times, I can assure you: Nothing could be further from the concept of “contract” than forcing a minor to sign a document and then using her “agreement” as a basis for punishing her.
This attempt to paste a progressive face on the same old punitive coercion seems to be a common feature of current educational techniques. There is apparently no limit to the shamelessness with which schools will pursue the tactic. The “Make Your Day” program’s website, for example, contains the following song to be sung with the children:
The Rule Song
(Sung to This Land is Made for You and Me)
The rule is my rule.
The rule is your rule.
It is the student’s rule.
It is the teacher’s rule.
It is the parent’s rule.
It is the community’s.
This rule was made for you and me!
Yes, that spinning sound you hear is coming from Woody Guthrie’s grave.