Is It ISIS or Corporate Education Reform?

Written by: Mitchell Robinson

Primary Source : Keep Talking, October 28, 2015

 

Muhammad Hassan Abdullah al-Jibouri, 35, one of the 69 prisoners who were freed from an Islamic State prison last week in Hawija. Credit Michael R. Gordon/The New York Times
Muhammad Hassan Abdullah al-Jibouri, 35, one of the 69 prisoners who were freed from an Islamic State prison last week in Hawija. Credit Michael R. Gordon/The New York Times

Let’s play a new game: Is it ISIS or corporate education reform?

Here’s how we play–I will present a series of brief passages from current news stories, and you guess which ones are reports from stories on ISIS and which are from reports on the horrible treatment of children and teachers in American schools. Let’s get started!

Our first category is “Humiliation & Degradation”

The men described an array of exacting restrictions imposed by the militants. Local residents were told down to tiny details what to wear — the cuffs of men’s trousers had to be rolled up over the ankle, for instance — and precisely how to position their hands and fingers when praying. Disobedience or carelessness in following the rules provoked suspicion, or even beatings.

Is it ISIS or corporate education reform?

Success Academy’s code of misconduct is six pages long with 65 infractions ranging from minor or Level 1 violations such as slouching or failing to be in “Ready to Succeed” position, to middle or Level 2 misconduct like forgetting to bring a pencil or pen to school, to more serious Level 3 infractions like play fighting or repeated littering. The most serious Level 4 infractions include continued violation of the lesser misbehaviors, bullying, and “blatant and repeated disrespect for school code.” In-house and home suspension from school starts with Level 2 infractions. Penalties for “scholars” accused of Level 3 or Level 4 infractions include immediate expulsion from school. Principals have discretion when meting out punishment. “A scholar’s prior conduct and his or her disciplinary history may be factors in determining the appropriate consequence for an infraction.” It is not clear how many times a student has to forget his or her pencil to be suspended from school.

Is it ISIS or corporate education reform?

Next up…”Physical Abuse & Torture“…

They said that new prisoners were subject to a methodical program of abuse — electrically shocked, beaten with hoses, smothered with plastic bags until they lost consciousness — even without any interrogation questions. Food was meager: pieces of bread pushed through cell doors. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/28/world/middleeast/freed-prisoners-of-isis-tell-of-beatings-and-torture.html?emc=edit_th_20151028&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=58352001&_r=0)

Is it ISIS or corporate education reform?

The FBI has been asked to investigate an incident at a South Carolina high school Monday in which a police officer appeared to body slam a female student and drag her across a classroom. The confrontation, captured on cellphone video at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., has drawn intense criticism on social media, from the school district’s Black Parents Association — the student is African-American — and the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, which called the deputy’s actions “egregious.” “There is no justification whatsoever for treating a child like this,” the ACLU said in a statement.

Is it ISIS or corporate education reform?

Finally, “Overcrowding & Inhumane Working and Living Conditions“…

Prisoners were kept in their cells day and night, and the rooms were jammed: Mr. Jibouri’s cell held 39 detainees, he said.

Is it ISIS or corporate education reform?

Last February, administrators began what they thought would be a worthwhile teaching experiment: combining three classes of kindergartners into one “hub” and instructing nearly 100 youngsters together for a good part of the day. Kids are tracked into smaller groups — determined by ability — for math and reading lessons as well as for homeroom, according to this story in the Detroit Free Press. Why would school authorities decide to buck overwhelming evidence that young children learn better in small classes? The newspaper said that EAA authorities contend the system allows the three teachers to give more individual attention to students, though it’s not exactly clear how they they are able to do that.

Is it ISIS or corporate education reform?

It’s well beyond time that we stop the obsession with testing and measuring our students, teachers and schools, and start thinking more about how we are treating our children and our friends and neighbors who have dedicated their lives as teachers to nurturing and teaching our children.

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Mitchell Robinson
Mitchell Robinson is associate professor and chair of music education, and coordinator of the music student teaching program at Michigan State University. Robinson has held previous appointments as assistant professor and coordinator of the music education area at the University of Connecticut; assistant professor of school and community music education at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.; and director of wind activities and wind ensemble conductor at the University of Rochester. Robinson’s public school teaching experience includes 10 years as an instrumental music teacher, music department facilitator and high school assistant principal in Fulton, N.Y.