Anti-belonging. Greet newcomers with “report to office” warning signs. Orient new students and their probably irresponsible parents by making them sign the discipline policy manual. Emphasize that the automatic response to “serious” behavior is exclusion in its many forms including in-school suspension (ISS), out-of –school suspension (OSS), or after school and Saturday (ASS) detention. If students quit, call them “dropouts” (pejorative). Be very businesslike lest you get entangled in “unprofessional” relationships. If kids don’t respond, ship them to segregated “alternative” and special education programs to “get them out of our classrooms.”
Teachers should not have to wet-nurse students, so get rid of that values clarification crap we are supposed to handle in homerooms. Put troublemaking Special Ed students, who can’t be expelled on homebound. [Authors note: 40% of all students on homebound instruction are those with emotional and behavioral problems.] Make schools as large as possible to build better bands and ball teams. Ring bells every 50 minutes to mix 2,000 kids in narrow hallways. If they become hard to manage, hire more security guards so teachers are free to “teach.”
Anti-mastery. Organize instruction tightly around separate specialized subjects. Switch to a different group of students each period. You won’t know them well, but at least one kid can’t ruin your whole day. If students say are having fun in a class, or if a teacher takes field trips, spread word in the lounge that no learning is going on. Make them work by themselves so they don’t copy one another, follow a tight schedule, and have the shortest possible breaks between periods. Fill the policy manual with get-tough rules such as, “Students who skip school will be suspended” and “in-school suspension days will be counted as unexcused absences” and “students with 12 unexcused absences will fail the semester.”
Emphasize competition with tough grading systems, tracking, and reduced expectations for difficult students. In all “real” classes make all students listen to professor-like lectures that are brain-antagonistic even in the university. Of course, we don’t mean those “popular” shop, art and PE classes, because they are activity courses, not real education. If they don’t hate it, they won’t learn anything. What’s all the fuss about outcome-based education? Let’s stick to what has worked in the past. Use only the textbook and the “approved” curriculum. Maybe we need some more trophies for the top “winners” in sports and studies.
Anti-independence. Impose system wide discipline policies so we know who really runs this place. Give students a token student-government game to play so they won’t challenge our control of really important issues. Make examples of troublemakers by announcing detention lists on the intercom. One thing we don’t want is violence, so come down hard on bullies and let them know who’s boss so they learn not to pick on others. Assume that if students engage in a spirited discussion about some current event, they are dodging real learning. Pace the room to keep on top of the class. Keep students anchored in their desks. Impose rules by fiat, put names on the board, and have surprise locker searches to keep them off-guard.
EDMS 512, Hood