School districts don't really care what parents want, especially if they are chronic complainers (i.e., any parent who complains more than once.) — Guy Strickland, Bad TeachersThis post is a response to Chris' recent post at A Blog About School. To recap: the public elementary school attended by Chris' kids has brought in an authoritarian classroom-management system (PBIS), and, among other problems, has turned lunchtime into an exercise in trying to prevent the kids from talking normally to each other through constant scolding and punishment. Chris is engaged in a discussion with the principal at his local elementary school to discover why this policy was agreed to in the first place. The principal is increasingly refusing to interact with Chris.
This strategy of avoiding public answers genuinely puzzles me. It just makes the district look defensive, as if it lacks confidence in its own practices.I don't think the district is being defensive, or lacks confidence in its practices. From the point of view of the district, the fact that a policy has been adopted means that it's right. PBIS is the latest and greatest, and will continue to be until the next fad comes along. The idea that parents should be able to question it, or demand answers as to who made what decision, is completely foreign to them.
Imagine that you had an irritating neighbor who was always coming around to complain that you don't mow your lawn frequently enough, or your porch needs to be repainted, or you shouldn't let your kids leave their bicycles out. Would you be interested in an ongoing public dialogue with this neighbor? Of course not. You would say to yourself, "who does he think he is telling me how to run my household?"
This is exactly how a public school district thinks about parents. Who do they think they are telling us how to run our schools?
I close with one of my favorite Guy Strickland (op. cit.) quotes:
Bastions of ignorance aren't bastions for nothing.