Saturday, February 23, 2013
Strict Discipline in Charters - Is It Worth the Price?
Urban minority children are increasingly being educated at public schools run by charter management organizations (CMOs) characterized by a highly rule-ordered and regulated environment. These rules, enforced through continuous streams of reinforcements and penalties, while contributing to a tight focus on academics and a safe culture, have associated costs.
This report, Charter Management Organizations and the Regulated Environment Is It Worth the Price?, scrutinizes four CMO commonalities, along with their implications: the pervasive adult monitoring of students, targeting behaviors tangential to learning, attributing independent agency to children who deviate, and student derogation by adults.
The report concludes that rules can indeed be protective, but if not counterbalanced with opportunities for genuine choice and personal agency, the rules may quell students’ desires and shrink their aspirations. A blanketing emphasis on obedience can create conditions for accepting instruction, but alone, it is dangerous, for students will not have developed their own compass to resist negative models.