Reward and Punish Gone Amok?

Where you and with whom you eat is one school’s answer to improving its graduation rate. Florida’s top down, test driven education policy rewards those who succeed and punishes those who fail. Bonuses go to schools with high grades and teachers whose students have high test scores. If you are stuck in a low income neighborhood, the state provides a charter school so you can get away from ‘those’ kids who are struggling. Or, parents can send their children to a magnet school so they be in a program with kids ‘like’ them. It all sounds so logical. Children most definitely need to be challenged and have positive feedback for their accomplishments.

Hudson High School in Pasco County has taken this policy to extremes. Children who are not on track to graduate must eat in the school cafeteria. Children who are successful get wrist bands that allow them to leave campus during lunch. Take a picture in your mind of the two mostly poor and minority, with many children with disabilities, and the other the opposite.

Policies at the extremes have extreme consequences. We need a better balance.

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One Comment

  1. What happened to the concept that public schools were a place that all children, regardless of parent income or education, would be in a place where they would be supported and could learn?

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