Please see the following report from WBUR, which reveals the type of strict student behavior (some may choose to call the behaviour “robotic”) expected at UP Academy Holland, which is one of our two Level 5 schools (the Dever is the other) run under the auspices of state — not Boston — authority. This is a must read.
(The BTU, along with the MTA which represents two non-BPS Level 5 schools, has challenged the state’s authority on employee rights, and we’ve both lost, at least for now.)
Second- and third-graders walk in silence through the hallways of UP Academy Holland. A student speaks to his classmate, and a teacher gives a soft but stern warning. UP Academy Holland’s rules are explicit: No talking in the halls.
Teachers walk along with the groups of students. Each teacher clasps a stick striped in rainbow colors, with clothespins bearing the students’ names clipped on from top to bottom. If your clothespin is at the bottom, in the red zone, it means you’ve misbehaved. And everybody knows it.
It’s all part of the ‘broken windows’ theory of discipline at UP Academy Holland, a Dorchester public school that was declared ‘failing’ in 2013. It’s now run by a nonprofit network under state supervision.
The theory, borrowed from policing, holds that cracking down on minor offenses will create a culture with fewer major ones. UP Academy Holland embraces that philosophy in the school turnaround plan created by state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester and UP Education Network CEO Scott Given.
So UP instructs teachers to ‘sweat the small stuff’ and meet every single infraction of the rules with an immediate consequence. Often, this means issuing an ‘automatic’ — an automatic consequence for rolling your eyes, or wiggling in your seat, or disputing an automatic, on up to fighting and other dangerous acts…
(The CEO of UP has written a rebuttal, which you can read here.)