Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Prisoners of the System

You can't help but feel bad for the students and parents at Washington Middle School in Green Bay that really are committed to getting a good education there.  Thanks to the dramatic testimony from a former teacher at the school earlier this summer, the dire situation those kids and faculty members face at Washington was exposed to the rest of the community--and they too can now demand action from District officials to improve the situation.

But imagine the frustration that those parents and kids must feel when the District and the School Board decide to take actions that in no way, shape of form will address the problems or their root causes.  Last night, an assistant superintendent was more than proud to announce that the district is working on "new expectation guidelines for students" and that it will conduct their "culture and climate survey" more often.

I know that if I was a trouble-making kid looking to disrupt the education process or to intimidate my classmates and teachers I would be quaking in my boots at the prospect of a survey being done more often.  And revisions to a behavior expectation policy that I ignored before would certainly get me to stay on the straight and narrow from now on.  When those concerned parents who are begging for improvements went to that meeting last night they were probably expecting to hear words like "increased in-school suspension" or "immediate expulsion" as the tactics that would be used to restore order at Washington.

The reason actual disciplinary actions will not be recommend nor taken by the Green Bay School District can be summed up in one buzzword: Optics.  Cracking down on those terrorizing Washington Middle School could make the School District look bad--well at least in the eyes of those promoting the agenda of "social justice".

The one issue that everyone on all sides have danced around very carefully in the Washington Middle School controversy is that it has the highest percentage of minority students in the district.  That means that if disciplinary action falls along those percentages, it will appear that the Green Bay School District is punishing student of color more often than white students.  And presenting each case individually and laying out the facts in each case will not counter the blanket accusations that "institutional racism" exists in Green Bay schools.

And so those who can, use the state's open enrollment law to pull their kids from the Green Bay School District to attend classes in the surrounding districts--to the tune of a loss of more than 15-hundred students last year.  That means the "bad actors" make up a larger percentage of the remaining student body--further skewing the numbers when it comes to disciplinary action.  And those who can't "escape" via open enrollment remain prisoners of the system.

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