The Nitty-Gritty (Part One)

Things were proceeding well in Florida as school districts brought their reopening plans to completion and planned to share them with parents and teachers.

Impeachment watch: Trump used unsecured cell phone in scheme to ...
Connected to Twitter by an umbilical cord.

Then the president put his thumbs on his phone and shouted in all caps that schools must open in the fall. Swiftly, Florida’s governor had its commissioner of education put out an executive order that upended almost every district’s plan to move to a hybrid model of half on-campus, half-off campus for at least their secondary schools.

Today’s post is not to recapitulate that decision. Today, Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) wants to discuss the nitty-gritty of delivering instruction, planning curriculum units, and meeting student needs, both in general and in specific situations such as IEPs and 504 plans. (These specify instructional practices to support the needs of individual students to meet educational standards for their courses and grade level.)

In one way, the torpedoing of the hybrid model comes as a relief. Among the many questions GOT had about the specifics of how that would work, the most crucial one was how the district could tell him to teach in-person and online simultaneously. The spring experiment with distance learning showed that teachers could not replicate the in-person experience online and expect success. The two different models come with very different characteristics and the instructional design must take into account those differences. One will not look like the other.

Thus, a simultaneous delivery would mean little more than the students at home watching their lucky classmates get instruction, teacher feedback, and intervention while they observed. Schoolhouse Rock featured catchy tunes, but did it really deliver in-depth understanding?

Ready to pass your state writing exam, kids?

With the change to in-person schooling five days a week (as if the pandemic had never happened or has disappeared), GOT can move ahead with designing an instructional plan with built-in flexibility so he can move between in-person and remote learning as circumstances and his superintendent dictate, one that can be adapted and customized to either format.

Duval’s new theme song: the pivot as discussed during the July Board meeting with the superintendent.

After the ‘distance learning’ of the spring, GOT’s students asked that they be given their assignments at the beginning of the week and have them due at the end of the week, for example Sunday evening.

After pondering this request for a while, GOT realized that this would work for in-school learning as well as distance or remote learning.

The nitty-gritty: In the new school year, GOT will assign units to cover five instructional days, which is a week if we convert to a daily schedule or two weeks if we retain a block schedule.

That means a careful design considering how new knowledge is introduced to students, the exploration and practice needed, and the assessment to wrap-up the unit and determine who needs more help and practice.

Thus, for the coming year, my mathematics units will begin with an introduction of key concepts and examples. Not only will GOT present his own lessons, but he will also provide links to online videos by others for students who need more explanation or review.

There will be a requirement to verify that the student participated in a minimum amount of instruction. GOT plans to have parents sign a confirmation (not necessary if students attended one of his lectures in person) as evidence of completing this part of the unit.

This will also work well for absent students because students rarely come for tutoring when they miss a day of class. They will have video resources to use as an alternative. Distance learning has shown us that students can continue to learn at home if guided in effective ways to do so. Not all absent students are able to attend to learning, but for those that are, it will help maintain continuity.

As another piece of accountability, GOT will ask students to submit notes on the lesson presentations.

Then, we need exploration and practice. GOT plans to make students justify their work–explain their reasoning. Partly to make them engage on a deeper conceptual level; partly to forestall the inevitable cheating that takes place. A student can find answers on the internet, even a solution with all the steps to copy. But they cannot find an explanation. They have to come up with that themselves.

Finally, at the end, there will be a performance task for assessment. How well did the student understand? It will require solving unique problem situations or applying the mathematics under study and providing an explanation of how the student is reasoning about the work.

Again, the goal is to design an assessment that resists cheating.

With this framework, students can work in the classroom or at home, engage as we want them to, and achieve growth.

What’s that? How will it help them to pass “The TEST?”

Haven’t we gotten over that now? Didn’t we learn anything from the shutdown?

Damn the Torpedos! Full speed … glug, glug, glug.

Today, Monday, July 6, 2020, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, issued an executive order requiring all traditional and charter schools to reopen in one month for students to attend five days a week as they normally would in the pre-pandemic days.

He argues that the picture is not as bad as it seems: more cases come from more testing, the positivity rate varies by county but is stable (spoiler alert: it’s not), and hospitals are not being overrun (another spoiler alert: they are.)

Pontius Pilate (Passion of the Christ) | Villains Wiki | Fandom
That confused look–aren’t we supposed to wash our hands?

Someone bring the governor and commissioner of education a bowl of water so they can re-enact the scene from Matthew 27:24 by washing their hands and claiming that they are free of blood, that they bear no responsibility for the illness and death that will result from their orders.

So much for local control. So much for respecting the role and constitutional authority of school boards to run the state’s schools. So much for following CDC guidelines and health department advice.

Where are the extra resources needed to accomplish this order? Suspending/altering the Fall FTE count to determine school funding for the year does nothing to provide the money needed for the extra bus runs, maybe double or triple what would be normal, the extra teachers and staff to reduce class sizes to the point where they can occupy a classroom, or the adjustments needed for meals, movement, and elective classes.

We cannot call them clueless. They know damn well what they are doing.

Too much has been written, discussed, and debated over the past several weeks for them to say they had no idea. If they try to make that claim, they will only confess a staggering incompetence to hold the offices that they do.

The news cycle moves fast. Perhaps tomorrow they will have to walk this back as the enormity of the consequences of this decision lands on them.

But Florida, O Florida! Do any of you still indulge a fantasy that these politicians care about children, your children, and their lives?

Covid-19 is moving through our state at an exponential pace. It is seen in new cases, the percent of tests coming back positive, and the increasing rate of hospitalizations.

It’s bad. But the governor has an answer for you:

The Great and Wonderful Donald has spoken and what Donald commands must be done.

Meanwhile, back on the Good Ship Florida, the torpedos are colliding with the ship’s hull … glug, glug, glug*.

*Glug: a hollow, gurgling sound like when liquid is poured from a bottle. It is the gulps of air rushing inward or outward from a vessel as the liquid fills or empties.

Risky Business

Risky Business - Hollywood Suite
You’ll have to find the famous underwear dance scene for yourself.

Risky Business was a 1983 teen movie about a young man left home alone and trying to figure out what to do with his time. Things get out of hand and he ends up trying to get on top of a situation that is out-of-control. (Parental alert: it is an R-rated movie.)

While there are few parallels between the movie and Covid-19 impacted schools, the title fits. Reopening schools is a risky business as community spread accelerates, the positivity rate for tests climbs, and increasing knowledge about how the virus acts to infect and then damage bodies even for children, teens, and young adults tells us that the risk of the virus is not limited to death.

What follows is a summary of information gleaned from days of reading reports, listening to broadcasts, and monitoring stats. While normal blogger practice provides embedded links in a post, perhaps in an attempt to establish pseudo-journalism status, which is not really practical as links to secondary sources do not qualify as quality journalism, this post will not include them. Partly because Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) hasn’t kept track and partly because GOT encourages you to search and read widely as well.

ONE: Covid-19 is not a respiratory disease. While its most obvious effects show up in breathing difficulty from pneumonia complications, Covid-19 attacks all the major organs in the body: heart, brain, kidneys, spleen, liver, etc.

This explains odd symptoms like loss of taste and smell as the virus infects the brain. Strokes and cardiac problems have resulted from Covid-19 causing blood clots as well as kidney failure.

The idea that Covid-19 only affects older people, in particular, those older than 65 is not true. Anyone who catches it at any age runs the risk of surviving with life-long health problems that have the chance of shortening their life as well as impacting their quality of life.

We cannot say children are safe returning to school because even if they catch it and have symptoms, it will be a mild sickness and they soon will recover. A Covid-19 infection may condemn a child to a lifetime of illness.

TWO: The coronavirus has different characteristics than influenza virus. It is much smaller than influenza, which is why it tends to linger as an airborne virus than fall onto nearby surfaces. The risk of infection from touching a surface and then one’s face is low; the risk of infection from breathing virus-laden air is high.

To reopen schools, mitigation is crucial. While continual cleaning of commonly-touched surfaces such as door handles, light switches, desks, and books is helpful, what really counts is to stop airborne transmission.

This requires the wearing of facial coverings, either masks or shields, plexiglass barriers where appropriate, good ventilation in indoor spaces with outside air–it may be hot, Florida, but open those classroom windows–eating outside, not in classrooms, physically distancing as possible but! with the awareness that a virus that lingers in the air will move much farther than six feet. By the way, buses transporting children should also do so with the windows open. A little sweat is an acceptable trade-off for remaining healthy.

THREE: The community spread of the virus has resumed exponential characteristics. Every day, new records for identified cases, percent positive for conducted tests, and now, hospitalization rates are occurring.

We flattened the curve and then let it rebend.

Study the data. Although sources vary as to exact counts, all data dashboards are approximately the same. Florida has 210,000 identified cases, 16,000 hospitalizations, and 3,800 deaths.

Forget all the rates you’ve been quoted. 16,000 divided by 210,000 means that 7.6% of people who test positive have wound up in the hospital. 3,800 divided by 16,000 means that 24% of people who are hospitalized die. One out of every four persons whose case is severe enough to require hospitalization die. 3,800 divided by 210,000 means that the death rate is 1.8%.

FOUR: Mitigation of risk requires the cooperation of all. The behavior we have seen so far–refusal to wear masks, gathering in large groups, not maintaining physical distance–combined with the normal behavior schools see–sending sick children to school because parents have to go to work, reluctance to visit a urgent care center from lack of insurance with which to pay, etc.–means that the measures schools take to limit attendance by sick children will be difficult for school personnel to maintain their effectiveness.


We have not licked the coronavirus. What we are learning comes down to this–

Reopening schools is a risky business. Very risky, indeed.

Keep the Polls Open

Yesterday, the news dropped that Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has issued an executive order urging schools to close so that they may be repurposed for the days of August 18 (primary) and November 3 (general) as polling places. He also encouraged state and school employees to serve as poll workers on those days.

Social media reaction, especially from teachers, was swift and ran along the lines of “no,” “hell, no,” and <unprintable.>

Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) dissents.

Even before the executive order, GOT was considering becoming a poll worker. Things don’t happen in a vacuum and to understand the background of the story, let’s revisit why the executive order was issued.

Florida’s Supervisors of Elections, who are county officials elected by the residents and have the status of being constitutional officers, asked for more flexibility in being able to meet the demands of conducting an election during a pandemic.

In particular, they asked for more early voting days and for the authority to consolidate polling places as needed to meet staffing needs. The fear is that many poll workers, being retired senior citizens, will not work on the scheduled election days for fear of being exposed to Covid-19.

The governor did not agree, but decided to ‘urge’ schools to close so that they may serve as polling locations and ‘encourage’ teachers et al. to be poll workers on those days.

You will find GOT agreeing that any mandate for teachers, even one along the lines of you-got-the-day-off-you-should-work-anyway nature, is out-of-order. Not even given that fact the poll workers are paid a stipend.

Poll workers work long days. They must report by 6 AM to their assigned location. Polls open at 7 AM and close at 7 PM. Already, we have a 13 hour shift. But even then, once the polls close, the workers have to secure the ballots and tabulating machines, tidy the location, do other duties for the purpose and until the count is reported to the central office, etc. Even without problems, they often work for 15 hours for a stipend of $225, or about $15 an hour.

Better than minimum wage, you might say, until you realize that ought to be the minimum wage.

But GOT will stay on topic. Why would he volunteer for such a day when he could sit at home and relax?

Protests and demonstrations have broken out across the nation, “from the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam …” or “from California to the New York Island,
from the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters …”

All to say that Black Lives Matter. Critics say they shouldn’t demonstrate on the streets because that carries the potential for violence, in particular theft and arson. (No, I won’t use the emotionally-laden terms usually applied in these situations.)

What about kneeling for patriotic displays of song, flag, and military? Nope, ask Colin Kapaernik how well that worked out.

The fall-back advice is that the way to effect change is at the ballot box: Vote!

That brings us to Georgia, whose voter suppression moves came in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that vacated key parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. What good is a vote if you can’t cast it?

Then, this year we saw what happened in Wisconsin and then Georgia (again!) as voting officials claimed that they needed to consolidate voting places in response to Covid-19. People waited for hours to cast their vote; some got discouraged and went home.

Milwaukee opened only five polling places. Five places for a city with an estimated population of 590,000. Then, Georgia also experienced long lines.

Let’s put all this together. Covid-19 gives election officials the excuse to consolidate polling places, which impacts negatively the right of all persons, especially black persons, to exercise their 15th Amendment right to the ballot box.

Florida’s Supervisors of Election asked for the same. GOT is not impugning their intentions in any way; nevertheless, consolidating polling places will suppress voting if for no other reason than voter confusion when their usual polling place is closed and they don’t know how to find the new one.

Black people are risking their lives marching in the streets to demand what they are due: equality under the law and in our society.

Should GOT stay at home because of a fear that the virus represents a risk to health and life?

Or should GOT do his part and become a poll worker to keep all precinct polls open and operating? Yes, it involves a risk, but really, it is nothing in comparison to what other people are doing.

GOT will risk his life and health to see that people have access to a ballot. He has applied to be a poll worker in his county and will take personal leave if necessary to do the work.

It is the least he can do.

In closing, GOT would like to ask other teachers, “Won’t you do the same?”

Quick Notes from the DeSantis Presser

It came after 20 minutes of announcements and speeches about Melbourne hosting the AAU Junior Olympics this summer. The governor spoke so quickly it was hard to keep up. Here are the highlights as best as possible:

  • Schools to return to on-campus instruction for the fall.
  • CARES funds will be used to address learning losses during the spring and gaps between achievement groups.
  • “Florida fell less behind than other states because its distance learning was one of the most effective in the U.S.”
  • $64 million will be used to close achievement gaps through ‘fortified’ K-5 learning programs for the summer.
  • New goal: 90% of students to be proficient in reading by 2024.
  • $20 million for K – 3 reading curriculum as vetted by Just Read Florida.
  • $15 million for highly effective reading coaches and support by regional teams.
  • $29 million for transition to kindergarten programs.
  • $45 million for safety net programs, including $30 million for tax scholarships to protect traditional K – 12 schools from a huge increase in enrollment if private schools close. (Emphasis mine.)
  • $69 million for childcare providers.
  • $223 million for early learning programs, including safety precautions for Covid-19.
  • Free ACT/SAT for 2020.
  • $35 million for technological certification programs at state colleges.
  • $10.9 Million for K – 12 plan for technological prep for post-graduate programs.
  • $2.3 million for telehealth services.
  • Survey districts for PPE needs.

Then it was Corcoran’s turn:

  • Safe plan to open; schools fully open in the fall.
  • Must have teachers in front of children, but keep everyone safe.
  • Emphasis on in-person learning versus distance learning.
  • Focus on 3rd grade, where we need to ‘grapple’ (that was the word he used–several times) with getting them to a 90% literacy rate.
  • Something about credentialing personnel in 20 weeks where they would have high skills and high wages.
  • Then he waved a huge foam finger. (OK, I made that up, but he emphasized about being number one.)

A link to the recording via the Florida Channel is not yet available. Update: link now available.

Also, please offer corrections if a detail is wrong. It’s hard to keep up when they talk so fast.

Flashback: How About It?

Finally, a post from the end of 2019 about Jacksonville and its broken promises:

Image result for st james building jacksonville fl
Looking at you, Mayor.

My city is broken. No statistic is more telling than that, despite the extra spending for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Cure Violence nonprofit initiative, and the handwringing, my city continues to experience more murders per capita than any other place in Florida.

Yet our politicians and leaders remain focused on privatization as the solution that will bring relief.

The now-aborted process of selling off our city-owned utility, the blocking of a school sales tax to rebuild and reinvigorate our city’s public schools, the vision of a city that is 50% or more charter in schoolchildren enrollment, the proposal made by a Downtown Investment Authority board member to privatize parking meters (by himself, of course, but at least he had the decency to resign from the DIA before immediately making the proposal … but wait, for the sheer chutzpah of the action, he was immediately nominated to a board position on the city utility), the condemnation of city (public) owned buildings and the fencing off of the resulting grass lots … how is this helping?

My city is broken.

2019 has not been a good year for Jacksonville. The “Bold New City of the South” has been spiraling backwards to the days of pre-consolidation, when every city leader had his own barony, a fiefdom of corruption, the stench in the city was not merely pollution from the paper mills.

The new American feudalism.

Fortunately for Jacksonville, the attempt to sell the utility brought about a public fury that even the chief baron himself, the overlord Lenny Curry, had to back off.

That doesn’t mean he has changed, either his philosophy or his intentions. He will have to try a different way.

Wait a minute, Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT). You started this post talking about the murder rate.

Yes, I did. All the privatization mentioned above, even if it does take place, how will this change the circumstances in Jacksonville’s neighborhoods? How will despair change to hope? How will this cause young men to throw down their guns and see a future in which they can make a living wage, establish loving relationships, and be fathers to their children?

GOT is not blaming the young men. They are making the best choices they can under the circumstances in which they find themselves. GOT does not condone the choices, but! to change the choices means we must change the circumstances.

How about a city that provides resources where they are needed?

A rich, gentrified downtown will not save Jacksonville from the violence. Better opportunities in its neighborhoods will.

A public-owned utility can help rebuild neighborhoods by upgrading water and sewer systems without the need to satisfy a ROI (Return on Investment) that a privately-owned company must meet. It can replace failing septic systems. It can improve the quality of water throughout the city.

How about it?

Good neighborhoods need a school. Public schools are more than centers of learning; they are community institutions. They provide identity, they provide meeting space, and they provide programs that communities need outside their operating hours.

In Jacksonville, public schools and city parks go hand-in-hand. To lose the former is to lose the latter, access to green spaces, access to places where community sports teams can practice and compete, access to recreation.

If we turn our public school facilities over to charter schools, will they provide that access? Anyone playing basketball on KIPP’s courts over the weekend, please speak up.

This points out how the city only works well when resources from disparate sources are combined to meet the needs of the citizens, those whom do ‘most of the living and dying’ in the town. (Obscure reference to a line from the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.)

How about it? How about, instead of shutting schools down, we brought the resources to bear that would make them a success?

How about establishing enterprise zones in the places they are needed instead of the sports complex so that people needing jobs could find them in the places where they live instead of providing subsidies to a certain billionaire who wants to develop property next to a stadium? How about it?

How about we stop judging our schools by test results, nay a test result, singular please, a once-a-year stress-off-the-charts failed exercise that fails to capture student learning and achievement due to bad standards, bad practice, and political pressure to perform? A test that most closely correlates to the income levels of the families of the children.

How about it? How about we use our city resources to bring all agencies to address the trauma of children that leaves them biologically less able to learn?

How about a mayor more concerned with helping the least of his people rather than leaving a legacy?

Years ago, GOT lived in Chicago. The public housing projects were a mess. Crime-ridden, forlorn, no one wanted to address the issues.

Then a mayor made a splashy move. She moved into the worst of the projects as she reasoned that if the mayor lived there, the city would focus its efforts on making the project an outstanding place to live.

How about it? What would happen if Lenny Curry moved his family into the northwest corridor? Grand Park or across the river in Arlington.

Would his priorities change? Would the city’s?

How about it?

Flashback: Again, Harry?

From February 2019:

[Video clip of the Mirror of Erised from the first Harry Potter Movie.]

I must ask you not to do this again.

Stop looking into that mirror for a world of your deepest, most desperate desires.

Because when you do so, it’s all about you. What you want, what the supporting cast around you should be like, … how you will create a lesson for black history month that checks all the boxes on your administrator’s checklist.

Yet again, we have a lesson on black history that has gone terribly awry. Michael Harriot of The Root provides the best explanation with his usual sardonic humor why it is a bad idea to have school children reenact any part of America’s history that involves slavery.

This time, a school in Northern Virginia had its P.E. teachers set up an obstacle course for children to run that depicted the underground railroad.

The lame (my interpretation) explanation from the school district was that no children were designated as slaves or slave-owners as groups were made to run across the course.

As if that prevented children of color, those who experience the racism of America every day, from feeling powerful emotions about what it means to be black, not in the quaint days of yore, the antebellum South, does anyone know what the word means today? … Back to the point, black children still carry an enormous burden of America’s racist history.


It doesn’t matter how you try to frame it. To do something like this is to force them to undergo a distress of history and experience.

Because this history is not the past for our students of color. It is the reality of the lives they live now.

So, white teachers, I have a suggestion. The next time you think you dreamed up a great idea for February, the month designated for Black History, before you go about it, run it by your black colleagues first.

And when they say, “No, HELL no, stop that stupid racist <ahem>,” listen.

And don’t do it. Just don’t.

Flashback: MLK Holiday

From January 2019:

Put in I in those letters and you discover what too many people have done: homogenized and pasteurized the remembrance of a man who pushed America to do right for all its people.

This is the quote often used, but used too often by people who are doing exactly that: judging character by the color of skin.

That they may be unaware of it is not an excuse.

Anyone who believes Dr. King would approve of the retreat into racism, segregation (if you don’t believe that, you haven’t been paying attention to charter schools and ‘choice’), and violence against black persons by institutional forces is foolish.

Anyone who believes that Dr. King would excuse unjustified killings by police of innocent, no even guilty, black people because of the violence tearing apart urban neighborhoods is intellectually lazy and foolish.

Anyone who believes that Dr. King would smile upon talk radio trashing workers and unions has forgotten why he was where he was when his life was taken. They are foolish.

His greatest wonderment was why poor whites persisted in prejudice and hate. Why can’t they realize that the movement for social and economic justice would benefit them, too? They should be the greatest allies.

To this day, they are not.

If he was alive today, he would have harsh words for us but spoken in love.

https://www.yourtango.com/2018309763/best-martin-luther-king-jr-quotes-mlk-civil-rights-activist

Image result for mlk quotes

Don’t be silent. Raise your voice.

Image result for mlk quotes

Image result for mlk quotes

That fierce urgency has not diminished. This is our time and we need to be getting on with it: justice and fairness and an eradication of systemic racism from our lives.

Image result for mlk quotes

Flashback: Ten Days: the Maximum!

From January 2019:

Oh, Georgia! Voter suppression by the candidate who had the responsibility of oversight over his own race. And you ignored the conflicts of interest as Brian Kemp purged the voter rolls of black voters and closed numerous polling places in majority-black counties–all to keep them folks from turning out and voting for his opponent.

I suppose I should be thanking you, Georgia, because you make Florida look good, but I am not.

An “old sweet song” of racism and white supremacy keeps Georgia on my mind.

This is what the school-to-prison pipeline looks like. A 12-year-old boy is given cash by his parents to pay for his school lunch. (Let’s not imagine what might have happened if his parents had not given him money for lunch. There are too many lunch-shaming stories floating around as it is.)

The cashier runs the counterfeit pen across the bill and the streak turns blackish or brown. Counterfeit! (The iodine solution in the pen reacts to wood-pulp-based paper, but does not react to the fiber-based cotton and linen the U.S. Treasury uses to make currency.)

What happens next? The straight A, honor roll student is punished with a 10-day suspension. Although the investigation reveals he had no idea and his parents did not know either, that did not matter.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, boy! Neither is your tender age and innocence that kept you from questioning the cash your parents gave you for your lunch. Possession is nine-tenths of the law (as the saying goes), you possessed, you will be punished.

Sadly, tragically, this young man is innocent no longer. He now understands what it means to bear a black skin in America.

Oh, Georgia! Oh, America! How can you be okay with this?

Flashback: Unleashed or Off the Chain?

From January 2019:

DeSantis advisory-committee member Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, said Thursday law enforcement should have authority over arrests on school grounds.

“We need to be unleashed into the schools, show consequences to the kids, so that when they grow and turn 18, we’re not actually creating a pipeline to the prison system,” Bell said. “We need to show there is accountability for your poor decisions and your poor actions. Curb behavior at the beginning, instead of when it’s too late and we let someone like Nicholas Cruz to flourish within our school board system.” (Source: News4Jax, TV station in Jacksonville.)

“Bureaucrats don’t understand policing or police work,” said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed in [Parkland] shooting. “We need to take bureaucrats out of the mix of policing in the schools.” (Source: Tampa Bay Times, January 3, 2019.)

“We have substituted the judgment of school administrators and educators for law enforcement,” Petty said. “We need to stop looking at law enforcement as the enemy. They are part of the solution, and we need to approach it that way.” (Ibid.)

Are we ready to unleash these people to take discipline measures out of the hands of school administrators? GOT can see a dystopian alternate universe where police officers burst into a classroom, slap handcuffs on a student, and drag them out of the room. The ‘crime’? Too many tardies.

It is interesting, this call to be unleashed as educators are also hearing a message from some law enforcement personnel that they must carry guns because they cannot expect law enforcement to show up in an active shooter situation.

As an educator, GOT admits he is not an expert in the law or law enforcement. Persons in law enforcement often come with a college degree in criminal justice or political science. They have gone to training academies. They spend weeks in professional development every year to understand how best to police a community, identify threats, and enforce the law as they maintain peace and order in our neighborhoods.

But law enforcement also lacks expertise in education, school environments, and child development, especially the development of adolescents. The very idea of police walking the hallways of a school to show consequences to children with the idea that they will become adults too afraid to break the law is naive at best.

Peace and order in communities is not maintained by fear. Only tyrants think otherwise.

Peace and order is maintained when all persons in the community recognize their membership, their role and place in the community, and the interconnectedness and reliance of all members upon the others. A breach in the relationship injures the community. Peace and order comes when offenders go through a process of restoration to their place in the community, not removal from it.

Then there is this: The Trump administration wanting to void civil rights protections dating back to the 1960s. The Secretary of Education moving to erase previous guidance to the nation’s schools about replacing zero-tolerance policies with restorative practices.

Look at the quote above: We don’t want kids to turn 18 and be creating a pipeline to prison.

The speaker got it right, but in a way he did not intend. No, you don’t want schools to be a pipeline to prisons; you want schools to become prisons!

They want to be unleashed, but isn’t it more true that they’d like to be off the chain?