"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Detention First at Segregated Charter School Chain Gangs

On any given day, 20 percent of children at Achievement First's apartheid reform schools are doing time for the slightest infraction.  It's part of the penal pedagogy system perfected by KIPP and Martin Seligman's team of psychologists trained in the dark science of learned helplessness and learned optimism.  These are the corporate reform schools whose freedom to innovate and steal public money has become the license to imprison school children in segregated testing camps. 

It's all about total compliance and psychological sterilization, which is the chosen corporate solution to all the problems attendant to poverty, which is on no hedge funder's to-fix list or Hollywood propagandist's expose-list. 

When will the NAACP and the Urban League shut down these corporate welfare madrassahs that no parent in the leafy suburbs would allow for their children to be exposed to? 

From the Daily News:
She has served detention for slouching, humming and failing to look her teachers in the eye.

It's no surprise that former honors student Gianna Boone hates going to Achievement First Crown Heights Middle School.

The East New York Ave. charter school's strict rules have landed the 13-year-old girl in detention nearly every day this year. And her grades have dropped from an A average to a C.

"I get into trouble every time I turn around," said Gianna, an eighth-grader who has served detention at least four times every week since school began in August for humming, talking loudly in the bathroom and using a pen during math class. "It's killing me."

The five-year-old middle school hands out detention based on a system of demerits - which students earn for infractions such as putting their heads on their desks, not facing forward while walking in the hallway or going to the bathroom during class.

With every three demerits, a student must serve 45 minutes of detention.

Some behaviors are considered so bad - rolling their eyes, sucking their teeth or complaining after getting a demerit - students get an immediate 45-minute detention for committing them.

On an average day, one in six kids - about 50 - in the 300-student school stays after class, Achievement First officials said.

"We have high expectations, and we're really confident that what we're doing is in the students' best interests," said Principal Wells Blanchard, who instituted the policies when he took over the school this year.

Charter school advocates say the strict rules maintain order for kids.

But a group of parents with children at Achievement First Crown Heights say the rules are overkill. More than 20 of them met last week at the Crown Heights public library to discuss protesting the policies.

The group agreed to speak out at the school's next board meeting Nov. 22.

"I understand that schools need to have rules, but this is like Rikers Island," said Sarah Dickens, who said she will be at the board meeting to protest her fifth-grade son's daily detention for things like dropping a pen and failing to address a teacher as "ma'am."

"They've gone too far," Dickens said.

Education experts say charter schools with tough rules are a growing trend.

"These schools may seem extreme, but the idea is to create an optimal learning environment," said Chris Wynne, co-author of "Inside Urban Charter Schools." . . . .

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