Safety nets- A necessary evil?

Posted: April 19, 2012 in Writing

Welcome back to the blog. Today I am going to voice an opinion that may not be very popular, but controversy is good. If we all agreed all the time it would quickly get boring.

As a teacher for the last 12 years I would be lying if I said there was only one thing about the industry that troubled me. It would be impossible to go through all of them, yet I love my job. This week, however, I was reminded about one of my biggest issues of the modern education world. That would be all the safety nets that exist in education. Now, I fully understand the desire to get every student to pass, but I have a problem with the idea that it should be impossible to fail.

I have two students who have behaved in a manner that caused them to be suspended. One of them has made it a goal all year to be suspended. I can’t say that I blame him. You see, when you get suspended all the teachers need to send work to the tutoring center where you go for 2 hours a day and do the work for all of your classes as opposed to sitting through a 7 hour school day. Imagine if you could get in trouble at work and be told to work for 1/4 of the time at home and get the same pay. We would all jump at that opportunity. Years ago, if you got suspended, it was up to you to get caught up on your work when you got back to school. If you failed to do so, then it was on you.

I am not saying that all safety nets are useless. IEPs and 504 plans are plenty helpful. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t use these nets to make it impossible for a student to fail. All students have the right to a public education. We, as teachers, are here everyday to give them what they need to be successful. What needs to happen is students need to realize that they can squander that right by not taking advantage of it. Poor behavior can cost you many of your rights. If more students saw these consequences in high school and earlier then there may be a decrease in those that squander their right to freedom by committing crimes.

It’s just an idea.

  1. I agree. there are too many safety nets, sometimes a student needs to repeat a grade before they ‘get it’. It might be that they need that extra year to mature enough to grasp the concept or to even learn the discipline of study.If my son is doing poorly in school I see no reason why the teachers cant at least suggest it.

    As for the suspensions…. I always hated school…it was too slow for me, I got a two week suspension and loved it…I worked at my own pace and then did what I wanted to. The problem was that by the time I got back into class I was so far ahead that I had actually done more than the remaining curriculum required, so once again I was bored, after that I tried to get suspensions too….at least until a few teachers cut deals with me. As long as I remained ahead of the class and passed all my tests with 80% I could miss 50% of the classes.

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