In today's NYTimes, Charter School Sends Message -- Thrive or Transfer.
The article is about a young boy who was pressured to leave a Harlem Success Academy charter school.
The boy was made to stay after school to "practice" walking in the halls correctly. According to a spokeswoman for HSA:
“Practicing walking through the halls is the opposite of a punishment,” she wrote. “Just as in math, when a child does not get a concept, we re-teach. We don’t let the child fail. We ensure he gets it. We take the same approach with behavior. If a child is struggling, we re-teach. This is an example of when the school went out of its way to help Matthew be successful.”
Oh, please. If you force a kid to do a boring, repetitive, pointless task, that's a punishment. You can call it "practice", you can call it "consequences", you can call it whatever you want, but it's still punishment. No, it isn't less punitive if you smile and speak with a gentle voice when you tell the kid he's going to practice walking silently in the hallway. It's the same old abuse that's been perpetrated by those with power against those without power for centuries.
I'm not surprised young Matthew was throwing up most mornings and asking his mother if he was going to be fired from school.
The good news is that Matthew is now doing very well at his local public school.