These days, I rarely listen to NPR. I'm just not all that interested anymore in hearing lots of talk, especially now that the little guy is of an age where he can listen and regurgitate what he hears pretty accurately. The only reason Dan listens to it is because it broadcasts between the traffic updates that the local public radio station spits out every half hour...otherwise, he has always said that the letters NPR stand for National Palestinian Radio. Yes, they are a bit biased towards the Palestinian side of things in the latest Intifada, but I wouldn't go as far as this guy does in systematically knocking nearly every single report that is broadcast. Yeah, it's one of the few things I miss about NYC: having a radio station such as this on my dial. Sigh.
Instead, down in these parts we get one public radio station that broadcasts at least eight hours of NPR News every weekday (well, technically speaking, it's four - two in the morning, two in the evening - but they repeat those broadcasts). I listened to some of the "coming attractions" for today's All Things Considered, and I heard about this report. Having read the online blurb about the Texas schools and how they handle discipline, a few things come to my mind right off:
- I'm thanking my lucky stars I don't live in Texas anymore. I'm thanking those same stars that this wasn't implemented when I was in the Houston schools, because I woulda been sent to an "alternative" school in a New York minute.
- I read this little bit of examination in the article:
Lightsey's group conducted a study on the effects of Texas' "zero tolerance" approach to discipline in schools. It found that students sent to alternative schools are five times more likely to drop out — and they're more likely to end up in prison.
and I realized that I could well have ended up helping people with their airline reservations from behind bars if the "alternative" schools had been in effect when I was of schooling age. It also occurs to me that this is another way for the whole "prison industry" to keep going in Texas.
- I also checked this out:
The Pasadena Independent School System, outside Houston, has one of the highest student-suspension rates in the state. Over the past five years, Pasadena administrators have sent more than 500 kids under age 6 to alternative-education centers.
Pasadena officials defend their approach, saying that many younger students are sent to a "counseling center," not a disciplinary school. Spokeswoman Candice Ahlfinger says the goal is not strictly punishment: Some kids thrive in an alternative setting, she says.
Ladies and gents, regardless of how deeply my son goes into therapy from anything I've done in raising him, he can never ever hold the "alternative" school thing against me. That's the straw I'm grasping at if things get reeeeeally bad in terms of modifying my son's behavior.
Some days, that's all any parent needs...