Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fight Club & media beat up


Here we go again. Another beat up by the media of a topic that will waste immense amounts of time within schools. Here's a forum post on the topic.

Amount of research done by media? Positive outcome for the community? None.

I feel for John Forrest SHS as they were just the poor school that was focused on this time. Morley kids in fight after school - hardly headline news..

I wonder if the genius that suggested keeping all students in school until the end of year 12 (especially those students too lazy to get a job) thought through the consequences properly. Couple this to increased scrutiny on suspension rates and we end up with the situation of dangerous students being kept within schools and encouraging/bullying students into situations like the 'Fight club' scenario. How long before we have metal detectors looking for knives, police required on school grounds, security guards patrolling a regular occurrence and schools feeling bullied with little support, with blame pointed squarely at schools? Oh that's right - it's already happening.

We (parents, media, community, government) need to support schools not finger point. We need solutions (exclusion of troubled students is a starting point) not blame. That means parents taking responsibility for their children, programmes that empower social workers with real consequences (such as removal of welfare payments), society taking responsibility for ill prepared parents (like removal of the baby bonus), support for academic students (whether aimed at low or high ability students with grading on progress rather than state based comparison - abolish the smartie chart and myschool!), and no in-school baby sitting programmes (students, not clients/customers).

Senior school is now effectively many things: pathway to university, pathway to vocational studies, home of unsure students and a dumping ground for kids that don't wish for a job nor to study further. There is no pressure on these latter students to perform away from home and little leverage to ensure that they enhance the school environment by contributing to the school. They are disenfranchised, lack enthusiasm, see little in their future beyond today. They need babysitting to prevent them from causing social ill. This is a social problem, not an academic one; worse still it only defers the problem by two years and has significant negative impact on schools. Children that cannot be directed into contributing students (despite all attempts) of the school community need to be directed out of school so that they either come back wanting to be a student or find a new pathway.

Teachers are not social workers, entertainers or babysitters, they are academics there to guide the learning of students and should be valued as such. Schooling is a privilege and a responsibility offered to all but should never be seen as a right. If a student brings a school into disrepute - they should be looking for a new school with fairly tight restrictions placed before re-entry into the school system. If we want better schools we need desperately to make schools academic centres of learning with spotless reputations, place clear boundaries around students, provide power to principals to act; and empower teachers effectively as tools of learning.

1 comment:

Hi, thanks for leaving a comment.. it's good to hear what people think!