Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How To Waste Stimulus Funds

A school in Omaha is using their federal stimulus funds to stop behaviour problems preemptively. Gosh, that sounds great, I wonder what they have in mind?

From the article:

"The behavior program starts with developing buildingwide standards of behavior and consistent expectations for all students. Some can be as simple as laying out how students can pass safely through hallways — forward, not backward — or as complex as establishing acceptable ways to express feelings."

No really, this didn't run in the Onion. So no stomping your foot in anger in the hallways kids-at least not backwards.

Wait, it gets worse:

"Ten percent to 20 percent of students will need more help, either in the classroom or in small group sessions. And 3 percent to 5 percent will need individualized plans to address behavior problems, Johnson said."

Lesson plans for learning to walk the hallways in a forward facing manner? Heck, they could just use those stimulus funds to buy a few stun guns-that'll get those disobedient backward walking students into compliance! And stimulated! "You! You are not in compliance!" Then, ZAP! So much cheaper than employing school psychologists, and you still end up with the students beaten into mindless submission-at half the cost.

"Next year's training will focus more on intervention for students who aren't responding to such instruction. That can range from an adult checking in with a student twice a day to providing additional services to families or even alternative placements."

Great! Micro-managing students and dragging social services into the family will really give these students an incentive to stay in school. This isn't stopping behaviour problems early, this is labeling and branding children as defective in primary school over terribly minor things. Zero tolerance is awfully punitive, and I've yet to see evidence that it is effective, unless effectiveness is measured in mindless obedience.

Kind of a shame, with teachers in Omaha being laid off, that the money couldn't be used for more academic uses.

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