Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No Child Allowed Behind

I try to teach my kid that not doing things has consequences and that you don't always get a second chance. In a nation of no-fault divorces and abortions and probation and expunged records, it's hard to teach that. But if I give her until bedtime to get something done or else, then or else kicks in at bedtime, not the next day.

Ryan didn't do an English assignment. The teacher wants to giver her a detention every day until she turns it in. Now, the thing was supposed to be done today and to my mind, one due date means one detention. But the school says "You WANT your kid to get a zero?!" and says she can turn it in any time before the end of the term. It's not that I want my kid to get a zero,but I want her to get what she earned. In this case, she earned a zero and I think it's counter-productive to keep giving second and third chances just so she doesn't have to actually accept the consequence of not getting the work done on time, all while continuously punishing her with detention every night for 3 weeks.

How many kids go off to college to learn that they can't hack it because "mean" teachers won't grant them extensions on papers or let them take make-up tests? Kids who got good grades in high school because instead of a safety net their parents and teachers provided them with safety harnesses. And what happens when people who have never known any rigidity in rules miss deadlines at work?

Look, I accept that my kid screwed up. I left her to do her homework on her own, sink or swim, and she sunk. Give her a detention for not doing it if you must, and reflect it in her grade as a zero. But don't simultaneously coddle her with endless chances and punish her with endless detentions. And when I explained to the principal that I considered work ethic and responsibility to fall under character development, which is my jurisdiction rather than the school's, he told me that my chance was back when the assignment was handed out and now it was their turn.

Any tutors out there want to homeschool my kid?

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