Friday, January 11, 2013


I hope to write a post about our school district’s proposed diversity policy soon. In the meantime, one quick thought. Over the past few years, our district seems to have been roiled by one controversy after another, as redistricting plans have been proposed, rejected, modified, redrawn, and postponed, and different constituencies have lobbied for conflicting spending priorities, and now as the district considers a proposal to minimize socioeconomic disparities between school populations.

All that’s fine; there’s nothing wrong with conflict and controversy. Yet I can’t help but think: if the district gave all elementary schoolers a thirty-minute lunch period, starting today, absolutely nobody would complain. There would be no angry phone calls. Nobody would start a petition to cut lunch back to fifteen minutes.

If the district suddenly stopped requiring all the schools to implement PBIS—its behavioral reward program that uses prizes to get kids to be quiet and obedient—nobody would complain. There would be no controversy. Many parents would be happier; others would accept the change passively, just as they accepted the institution of PBIS three years ago. Even parents who like the program would be unlikely to make a stink. No petitions, no angry email chains, no packed school board meetings.

If the district cut the amount of standardized testing in half (or more!), no parents would protest. None.

But those ideas are the ones that are ignored, considered unrealistic, outside the mainstream? Please explain!

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