‘Pilot a 1.0 feeder-pattern’
The Madison Board of Education recognizes that its Behavior Education Plan (BEP) has been a total failure —a recipe for chaos (just add kale and capers).
In response, the school board is squeezing the air out of the plodding, bureaucratic behemoth to get it down to 32 pages. (“Down to”!)
That’s the good news. The bad news is that it remains the recipe for chaos in the classroom (just add hamburger helper). Because the plan pre-empts the classroom teacher’s authority with an overly lawyered and abstruse administrative nightmare. If only it came with a Flash Gordon secret decoder ring!
The BEP is why student suspensions are down 15% in the last five years while “behavior incidents” have nearly doubled. The purpose was to make the racial numbers work but needle on “racial disparity” remains stuck at embarrassing while the school cafeteria remains a No-Go zone for anyone not a fan of Ultimate Boxing.
Blaska for Safer Schools teaches this lesson in restorative justice: return control of the classroom to the teachers. But the new and un-improved BEP remains top-down command and control. It contracts out discipline to Doyle Administration Bldg. educrats.
The Progressive Dane-dominated Madison school board will consider the new BEP Monday, January 28. Meeting starts at 5:45 PM with citizen comment registrations.
Here is a sampling of the new and unimproved Behavior Education Plan:
“Verbal putdowns” are now defined.
Social media threats are downgraded a couple of “response levels.” More jargon from the BEP fix-it:
Consider revising targeted policy language within the response grid: Inappropriate Physical Contact (non-sexual).
Combine fighting and physical attacks into “Excessive Physical aggression.”
Inappropriate Touching, Exposure, and/or Sexual Contact: Further define inappropriate touching and sexual assault for a progression from Level 2 through 5.
Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco: Combine “electronic cigarette” and “vape pen” with tobacco and nicotine offenses.
Separate marijuana from other drugs and reconsider the 1 gram threshold.
Recordings/images of another person: Adjust language and levels to reflect what was recorded and whether or not it was shared.
Remove “refusing to cooperate” as a code, given overlap with other more definitive codes.
Inappropriate Language and/or Expression: Separate the use of inappropriate language towards staff, including profanity, racial slurs, and protected class references to begin with response level 3.
Inappropriate Clothing: Update the dress code to reflect current practices in schools and other guidance and policy.
Got it? That’s just a sampling.
‘Deepen our collective mindset’
Any document containing jargon like “Deepen our collective mindset” should be consigned to the Seventh Circle of Implicit Bias training hell.
How to render this bureaucratic lard into soap? Spend more money, handcuff more teachers (rinse & repeat):
Expand the Behavioral Health in Schools program for elementary and middle schools by adding four new schools in the 2019-2020 school year ($90,000)
Pilot a 1.0 feeder-pattern social worker centered on supporting families with students across schools, including partnerships with neighborhood centers, and collaboration with our MMSD Intensive Support Team and Building Bridges ($86,649)
Continue work through the Office of Youth Re-Engagement to provide additional supports for students with intensive needs, expanding our internal capacity and systems, partnerships in support of opportunity youth, and innovative alternatives
Additional funding to expand training on foundational universal practices to deepen our collective mindset and values related to the philosophy of the BEP, including issues of race, equity, and disproportionality ($200,000)
Clear expectations and calibration on documentation and progression of discipline.
Finally, Don Pardo, we have this Priz de la Concourse winner:
Expand and deepen our use of Restorative Practices, including both the pro-active and reactive components, with a focus on Social Emotional Learning supported by Developmental Designs in every school.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: None of the other nine candidates for Madison school board has criticized the Behavior Education Plan. David Blaska continues to do so.