Via Tyler Cowen, a link about Texas schools being patrolled by police officers. This is a sad story because instead of stopping gang shootouts in the halls, what they’re actually doing is ticketing and arresting kids for minor school infractions like throwing paper airplanes. They defend themselves saying:
“There’s this illusion that it’s just a few kids acting up; kids being kids. This is not the 50s. Too many parents today don’t control their children. Their fathers aren’t around. They’re in gangs. They come in to the classroom and they have no respect, no self-discipline. They’re doing badly, they don’t want to learn, they just want to disrupt. They can be very threatening,” he says. “The police get called because that way the teacher can go on with teaching instead of wasting half the class dealing with one child, and it sends a message to the other kids.”
I think what’s happening now is a total disgrace, but I can see the point here. The problem is institutional; it’s much larger than any one teacher, principal, or school district can solve. The easiest tool at their disposal is the heavy hand of the state. To solve it properly would require rethinking the entire educational system in the US.
Right now the features of that system are a one-size-fits-all approach that works well for some students—typically students whose parents are involved, who are motivated, and who would do well in any system—and fails the rest. There’s no reason to believe that this government-run model is the optimal one. It has no means to measure success or failure other than certain standardized tests, a very poor measure given the factors that influence learning prior to the test. It has no means to provide different educational approaches to different kinds of students; its assumption is that there is only one way to teach.
The problem, in short, is that it is socialistic. It is run by the government without regard for differences in the students it is to be helping, and without any means to know if its actions are successful.
Given the obvious ways in which this system would fail to educate students, it relies on that other arm of the state to enforce compliance with its misdirected goals. If this system is failing them, they’d better act like it’s not or suffer the consequences. It’s not a flawed system!
The only real surprise is that it took this long.