ERIC Number: ED201068
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Unrigging the Schools. One Approach to Improving Discipline.
Howard, Eugene R.
Many factors that contribute to a negative school climate also cause discipline problems. Our schools are "rigged," like gambling casinos, in that they must produce a certain percentage of losers. The present school system, in performing its screening role for society, demands that some fail. Students today are aware of this rigging and the unsuccessful ones often withdraw or rebel. The spiral of awareness of rejection, isolation, hostility, and acceptance of failure eventually leads to crime and violence. This spiral can be reversed at any point by intervention of a caring person. Administrators can substantially change the nature of schools and personally intervene in the lives of children. Nine ways in which schools are rigged include promoting successful students and detaining those who fail, relying on standardized testing, emphasizing competition, using artificial rewards and letter grades, grouping and ranking students according to ability, devising special courses for less worthy students, and limiting pupils' choices regarding their courses and teachers. The pupils' social systems, based on a rigid hierarchy of cliques, reinforces negative self-perceptions. With a modest amount of "unrigging," administrators can make a positive impact on school climate and pupil behavior. (Author/WD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Colorado State Dept. of Education, Denver.