Sunday, June 04, 2006

It Wuz YOU!

Placing the blame is an important part of American culture, and we see it at work from the President on down. It's important to be the first to say "It's not my fault," which is why each one of my beginning ESL students can say this as readily as hello or goodbye. For the next level, we progress to "It's his/ her/ your/ Mayor Bloomberg's/ Unity's fault."

After that, of course, we move on to the tough part--giving viable reasons to support your contentions. That's called rationalization. Many school administrators have no need to bother going that distance, finding it easier to simply ignore problems altogether by conveniently pretending they never happened.

Every teacher in New York City knows that to be standard operating procedure, but it's apparently news to many. This includes readers of the Daily News, which informs us PS 611 failed to report disciplinary problems. According to the article, in-home suspension is illegal, and apparently every school in which I've ever worked has been breaking laws with impunity.

According to a Klein mouthpiece:

"We are required to give children and adolescents access to education - and to a quality education - whether or not they're behaving," she said. "It is not permitted under any circumstances for a principal or anyone else to send a child home."


Suspensions are supposed to be served in a classroom and run by a certified teacher.

I've never heard that before, and I've received dozens, if not hundreds of letters informing me that kids were to be suspended and that I was to send homework assignments for them. Kids under suspension are banned from coming to school, and I can't imagine they're supposed to be anywhere but home.

Perhaps this has never been a problem before. But an 8-year-old boy under home suspension got on a bus, released the emergency brake, and actually managed to kill another child.

Is that the fault of the school system?

Thanks to Schoolgal for the tip.
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