Saturday, June 25, 2005

So many good ideas, so hard to pick.....

The Education Wonks highlighted a Chicago columnist who thinks closed campuses and tighter authoritarian controls will help hormone-happy freshman succeed. It is feared too much freedom is not healthy and productive for a whole set of kids unprepared for the academic and social rigors of the high school scene.

According to Sue Ontiveros “We've given high school students enough freedom to hurt their grades, enough that they often fail and often drop out. For their own good, we should rethink those freedoms.”

But let me play devil’s advocate. According to high school principal Frank altiwanger, we can cultivate (teach) the responsibilities of independence…. And academic success is increased overall.

From the June 20th Washington Post article, the unconventional “Haltiwanger speaks with reverence about the school's unusual qualities -- for example, the faith that adults place in students.”

“We trust kids," he said. "We teach them about choice . . . and making judgments about themselves that are beneficial to them." As they spend time at the school, he said, they begin to hold themselves to the expectation that they will be trustworthy; that is why optional attendance works. "There's a real positive peer culture here to get there on time," he said. "They want to be with their group."
Walking past a senior wall, Haltiwanger pointed at the school motto, which someone had painted. " Verbum Sap Sat ," he said, grinning. "A word to the wise is sufficient, and that's the theme -- that they should be developing their own internal compass and not depending on external rewards and corrections to do the right thing."

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