Hope For America’s Public Schools

October 26, 2010

1) to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence
2) to believe, desire, or trust
3) to feel that something desired may happen

The  educational battle has heated up. Large foundations and “big money” people have entered the fray. Education reformers are to be found in many different forms with ever increasing passion and anger. Old voices and new voices argue passionately over every issue, every success, and every failure. The problems appear to be too big and too many to be solved. The arguments and anger of the combatants becomes more heated. On every issue there is less willingness to compromise or even to work together to solve the problem. The feeling of hopelessness, despair, and loss of hope grows in everyone. There appears to be no way to solve these problems.

Wait a minute, I have been through this process. This same educational battle was waged on a much smaller scale at Austin HS in the early 90’s. The Shared Decision Making Committee (SDMC)  made up of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community leaders had fought the same educational battles. The SDMC, after many heated arguments and anger, eventually  realized what was the real problem.

Austin HS had every educational problem. The SDMC set up sub-committees for every educational issue. There were sub-committees for the school budget, school pride, student achievement, teacher performance, discipline, dropouts, etc. The sub-committees  and SDMC argued and sought solutions for every school problem for weeks. After months of meetings, very few solutions had come forth to solve our school problems. One huge truth had emerged from all the sub-committees and SDMC meetings. The underlying cause of most of our school problems was the school discipline problem. Until we solved the school discipline problem , we could not solve the other school problems and educational problems. The same truth applies to America, if we want to solve our problems in education, we must solve our school discipline problem. Fortunately, for America there is a school discipline plan that can solve our school discipline problem.

One saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This saying rang true for the Discipline Committee of Austin HS. We, as a committee, argued and sought solutions for our discipline problems. Only when Ms. Judy Dew stood up and read a definition of discipline did we start to solve the problem. It’s the definition of discipline I still use today : a set of consequences for bad behavior, often unpleasant, that will make a person change their behavior. The ultimate goal of  discipline is to become self disciplined.” Contained within this definition are all the reasons America has a discipline problem and all the solutions to our discipline problems.

Eventually, I developed the Lecture and Pester methods and the Proactive and Persistent School Discipline System. The Lecture and Pester process delivers the unpleasant consequences that changes students behavior. The Proactive and Persistent School Discipline System is the process of identifying the biggest problems and going after these problems. The combining of the LP processes and P&P Discipline processes are efficient and effective in solving the school discipline problem. Quickly, 90-99 % of student discipline problems disappear without taking students to the office, detention halls, Saturday classes, etc.  The combining of these two systems puts time, numbers, and control of the discipline problem on the side of the adults.

Using L&P with P&P Discipline, I was able to, by myself, clear hundreds of students from the hallways, decrease the tardy problem to zero, increase in class instruction time by 20,000 hours each month, stop bullying, cut visits to the AP offices by 90-95 % , and save tens of thousand of dollars each month in vandalism and graffiti costs.

This is why I have hope for America. If I can affect these changes in a school by myself, what could parents, teachers, and administrators accomplish working this discipline system together in a school? What would be the results if every school in America used this discipline plan?

I believe every school in America can be made safe. I believe we can eliminate the bullying problem in schools. I believe the cost of disciplining students can be reduced by several billions of dollars each year. I believe this saved money can be used to solve school budgeting problems and other school financial problems. I believe that by solving the discipline problem, we will bring different groups together to solve other education problems. I believe solving the school discipline problem will lead to solutions for all other school problems.

There is hope for America’s public schools, and it is one discipline plan away.


2 Responses to “Hope For America’s Public Schools”

  1. George,

    Your article is well written and absolutely correct. I am very familiar with “Shared Decision Models” in schools. My school was the only school in Baldwin county, Alabama yo use that organizational structure.

    I have been deemed a “disciplinarian” as principal of Gulf Shores Middle School. In fact my claim to fame is that my school had the meanest student in Alabama ( Time Magazine).

    I would love to see a copy of your program. If you are trying to market it you may be reluctant to do so. I will understand.

    Hank Vest

  2. Hank,

    Thank you for the kind words. I have also been called a “disciplinarian”. When I work my discipline plan in a school, teachers and administrators often ask me if I was a drill instructor for the Marines.

    When you reach the rank of “Disciplinarian” many truths have been revealed to you. First, students are starving for, want, and need discipline in their lives. They want someone to bring them under control, which then provides stability, purpose, and goals to their lives.

    Second, good discipline in America is hard to find. When you establish good discipline in a classroom or school, people come running from all directions to be in that school or classroom.

    Third, as a disciplinarian you understand good discipline is not just handing out punishments. Good discipline is providing consequences that change student behavior with the goal of becoming self disciplined. A “disciplinarian” is the artist that has ability to find the right consequence for each student that changes his behavior.

    I don’t have copies of the discipline plan written down. My desire is to go into the tough inner city schools of Chicago or New York. The discipline plan can be explained, understood, and be ready to be implemented into the school in two hours. The real learning and understanding occurs over the first few days as hallmasters understand and see how the Lecture and Pester process changes the behavior of students. The whole process is a hands on experience more than a follow the book plan.

    So if you know a community or school scared to death about what may happen in their school today, let them know their is hope out there.


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