Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Opus 2017-104: New Terms: Trauma, part 3 of 4, Charts and Graphs

Be careful when someone starts showing you statistics with charts and graphs.  Benjamin Disraeli put it well:  “There are three types of lies -- lies, damn lies, and statistics.”  That doesn’t mean that the statistics are wrong, just that they are presented in such a way as to prove the point of the speaker.

Sporleder evidently reached “national attention” levels because he had improved the performance of his school.  I had never heard of him but that doesn’t mean much.  He then showed how dramatically he had reduced the number of suspensions and expulsions in his school.  I do not question that he could document the numbers.  The charts were impressive.  The problem is that unlike the masses of educators in the auditorium, I was not born yesterday.  He lost me when he claimed it was done by simply being sensitive to students and letting them know he was listening.  The numbers looked dramatic but I have been at a school where we could have duplicated the same graphs.  We did it by redefining terms, changing forms and ignoring facts. 

We redefined terms by calling what used to be a suspension an expulsion.  When I started teaching “suspension” meant being sent home to the care of your parents for a few days.  It was supposed to get you thinking about the seriousness of your action and force your parents to acknowledge that all was not roses and Student of the Month.  “Expulsion” used to mean that you were never to darken the doorways of our district again.  Now it means what suspension used to mean and it is very rare for someone to be totally kicked out of the district.  Sent-home suspensions have been replaced by “ISS” which is an acronym for “In School Suspension”.  Since they are still on campus we not only don’t count them as being suspended we get the money for their bodies, too.  It is a win/win for everyone except the student.

We used another way a few years ago.  We “ran out” of referral forms.  Those are the legal forms that must be filed and tabulated.  They are the same across the district.  We were told to use a locally prepared detention form instead.  We were told they were the same as referrals and for us in class, that was true.  For the school and district it made us shine because detention forms were not required to be tabulated and reported.  We were looking good.  Another approach is requiring a student to be 30 minutes late to class before it becomes a truancy.  It did not take students long to realize that they could be 25 minutes late and no one would care.

Then we ignore facts.  I have one student that I usually see every period, except the period he is supposed to be in my class.  He is failing every class and a known trouble maker.  As a penalty he has been made a teacher’s aid for the counselor.  That means he has access to information he should never see and actually can wander around the campus with impunity.  I also have classes where half the class is tardy on a regular basis and I keep hearing how we don’t have a problem with tardy students.  If you are on a ship at dock and stand on the seaward side you can claim there is no land in sight.

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

To be concluded...

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.