But sometimes bad schools are the fault of the kids who go there, and no amount of funding or idealism can change that.
Edublogger Kimberly Swygert points to a New York Daily News story about one Harlem school that's too dangerous for Teach for America, which thinks of itself as the Peace Corps for inner-city America. [Teacher corps flees |School too violent for group, By Kathleen Lucadamo , March 6, 2006]
The teachers at this school dodge hurled chairs and wear earplugs to block out the noise. One expressed concern at why the DOE wasn't doing anything. Short of enforcing martial law, I'm wondering what could be done when the students apparently care so little.In a similar vein, see How I Joined Teach for America—and Got Sued for $20 Million,[ City Journal, Winter 2003]
Numerous new friends and acquaintances who have taught in D.C.'s inner-city schools—some from Teach for America, some not—report the same outrageous discipline problems that turned them from educators into U.N. peacekeepers.
I've learned that an epidemic of violence is raging in elementary schools nationwide, not just in D.C. A recent Philadelphia Inquirer article details a familiar pattern—kindergartners punching pregnant teachers, third-graders hitting their instructors with rulers.
Pennsylvania and New Jersey have reported nearly 30 percent increases in elementary school violence since 1999, and many school districts have established special disciplinary K-6 schools. In New York City, according to the New York Post, some 60 teachers recently demonstrated against out-of-control pupil mayhem, chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho; violent students must go." Kids who stab each other, use teachers as shields in fights, bang on doors to disrupt classes, and threaten to "kick out that baby" from a pregnant teacher have created a "climate of terror," the Post reports,