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William’s pseudochoice: Obey or suffer

William’s pseudochoice: Obey or suffer

A teacher wrote to a parent: William had several hours to complete an assignment but chose not to. He will be sent to the room of opportunity for 90 minutes tomorrow to complete it. If he chooses not to finish it, it will be a zero. Not the best way to start the semester… Messages...

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Trading pills for recess

Trading pills for recess

For some reason, we have traded sunshine, wind on our faces, and running for more desk time and tests. Magically, older students no longer need to move and run. That’s what we pretend anyway. We’ve even started pretending that elementary students don’t need recess either, and then we wonder when our kids can’t sit still....

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Compliance remains the central goal

Alfie Kohn said: Whether or not it’s stated explicitly, compliance remains the central goal of most classroom management programs, character education initiatives, and parenting resources. Sure, we stress the virtues of independent thinking and assertiveness, but mostly in the context of getting kids to resist peer pressure. If a child has the temerity to resist...

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Bribing children to take our tests

Bribing children to take our tests

It’s standardized testing season again in American schools. And that means it’s also time for many schools to bribe and punish their children into submission because those tests are ones they don’t want to take. Over the past couple of decades, the political stakes attached to standardized testing have accelerated greatly. So too have teachers’...

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Suspended for a tweet?

Suspended for a tweet?

In Michigan, a student was suspended for using ‘profanity’ in a tweet that encouraged his district superintendent to clear the snow in the school parking lot. In Maine, a high schooler was suspended for tweeting that poor student treatment by administrators meant that “they’re asking to be the next Columbine.” And in Florida, a student...