Saturday, December 17, 2011

Some company in Maine

In the comments to this post, Emily G. mentioned that she was working on an article about parents’ objections to PBIS in her small town in Maine. That article is now available here.

The parents’ objections to the program are very similar to those raised here:
“It felt to me like they were frequently sort of at risk of getting in trouble for being too loud,” [one parent] said. “Of all the things I would like my kid’s school to emphasize, I would like them to emphasize academic effort ... and being a good friend,” not quiet and obedience.
Parents also complained about lunchroom aides “yelling into microphones for students to be quiet,” and the “a huge disconnect between the culture of the school this year and the culture of the schools last year.” The article also contains the usual euphemisms and excuse-making on PBIS’s behalf – that it’s about feedback to create “social confidence,” and that if there’s any problem, it must be with how the program is being implemented, not with PBIS itself.

Check out the article’s sidebar as well – apparently a school board member criticized teachers for presenting only a one-sided picture of PBIS rather than discussing both the program’s strengths and drawbacks. The board member later apologized for using terms like “dog-and-pony show” and “rah-rah session” to describe the teachers’ presentation, but maintained that the school department had highlighted only “the positive side of an issue rather than making a balanced presentation.”

Sound familiar? The main difference seems to be in how actively the school board members are scrutinizing what’s going on their schools.

Maine readers: A more complete statement of my objections to PBIS appears here.

1 comment:

KD said...

I saw this post a while ago. Thinking about how little our school board does to get involved, or investigate any issue...not sure what to say really, but it has been a source of disappointment ever since I realized there is a certain "culture" to our school board, and no one wants to seem to change it.

We tossed around a few options for school before our oldest before she started kindergarten. A few months before we changed our plans related to my spouse's job and decided to move to Iowa City. I thought/assumed we couldn't lose with enrolling our kids in the ICCSD. Who knew years later we'd be in a school system who can't even figure out how to lengthen the lunch period.

As to the subject of PBIS, I'd have no problem seeing it dropped, especially after reading how it is implemented in your school. I initially thought it sounded like a good idea, but now not so much.