Violence: What do you expect?

They're talking violence over at The Ed Wonks

Why does school violence surprise anyone? If you treated an adult the way we routinely treat young people, you would be lucky if all you got was a black eye. Herd thirty adults into a room, and tell them that for six hours per day, 180 days of the year they will remain in their seats, do as you say, ask for permission to visit the lavatory, and speak only when spoken to or you will blight their lives with negative referrals to colleges and future employers: if they could not overpower you in class, they would slash your tires or torch your house. It's a testament to the instinctive decency of most people that so few children emerge from this system homicidally enraged.

"The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, and brutal violations of common sense and common decency." --H.L. Mencken

"The UC Berkeley-Stanford study found that all children who attended preschool at least 15 hours a week displayed more negative social behaviors such as trouble cooperating or acting up, when compared with their peers. The discrepancies were most pronounced among children from higher-income families."
"Children from lower-income families lagged behind their peers who didn't attend preschool an average of 7 percentage points on the measure of social behavioral growth. But children from higher-income families lagged 9 percentage points behind their peers. These wealthier children did even worse when they attended preschool for 30 hours or more: They trailed their peers by 15 percentage points."
" 'It's not clear why children from higher-income families exhibit more negative behaviors than their stay-at-home peers. Fuller speculated their peers might be in enriching home environments that include things like trips to the library as well as dance and music lessons. Other studies have found childcare centers negatively affect children's social development', said Jay Belsky, director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues at Birkbeck University of London, in an e-mail interview."
" 'It is time to come to grips with what all too many have denied for all too long, namely, that all disconcerting news about adverse effects cannot be attributed to low-quality care, which has been more or less the mantra of the field of child development and the child-care advocacy community for decades,' Belsky said." [__San Francisco Chronicle__, 2005-Nov.-01]

"Several studies of maltreatment by teachers suggest that school children report traumatic symptoms that are similar whether the traumatic event was physical or verbal abuse (Hyman, et.al.,1988; Krugman & Krugman, 1984; Lambert, 1990). Extrapolation from these studies suggests that psychological maltreatment of school children, especially those who are poor, is fairly widespread in the United States...."
"In the early 1980s, while the senior author was involved in a school violence project, an informal survey of a random group of inner city high school students was conducted. When asked why they misbehaved in school, the most common response was that they wanted to get back at teachers who put them down, did not care about them, or showed disrespect for them, their families, or their culture...."
"...schools do not encourage research regarding possible emotional maltreatment of students by staff or investigatiion into how this behavior might affect student misbehavior...."
"...Since these studies focused on teacher-induced PTSD and explored all types of teacher maltreatment, some of the aggressive feelings were also caused by physical or sexual abuse. There was no attempt to separate actual aggression from feelings of aggression. The results indicated that at least 1% to 2% of the respondents' symptoms were sufficient for a diagnosis of PTSD. It is known that when this disorder develops as a result of interpersonal violence, externalizing symptoms are often the result (American Psychiatric Association, 1994)."
"While 1% to 2% might not seem to be a large percentage of a school-aged population, in a system like New York City, this would be about 10,000 children so traumatized by educators that they may suffer serious, and sometimes lifelong emotional problems (Hyman, 1990; Hyman, Zelikoff & Clarke, 1988). A good percentage of these students develop angry and aggressive responses as a result. Yet, emotional abuse and its relation to misbehavior in schools receives little pedagogical, psychological, or legal attention and is rarely mentioned in textbooks on school discipline (Pokalo & Hyman, 1993, Sarno, 1992)."
"As with corporal punishment, the frequency of emotional maltreatment in schools is too often a function of the socioeconomic status (SES) of the student population (Hyman, 1990)." [Hyman and Penroe, __Journal of School Psychology__.]

"...(M)any well-known adolescent difficulties are not intrinsic to the teenage years but are related to the mismatch between adolescents' developmental needs and the kinds of experiences most junior high and high schools provide. When students need close affiliation, they experience large depersonalized schools; when they need to develop autonomy, they experience few opportunities for choice and punitive
approaches to discipline..." [Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of Education, Stanford University. American School Board Journal, September 1999].

"Furthermore, according to a report for UNESCO, cited in Esteve (2000), the increasing level of pupil-teacher and pupil-pupil violence in classrooms is directly connected with compulsory schooling. The report argues that institutional violence against pupils who are obliged to attend daily at an educational centre until 16 or 18 years of age increases the frustration of these students to a level where they externalise it." [Clive Harber, "Schooling as Violence",p. 9, __Educatioinal Review__V. 54, #1.

"...It is almost certainly more damaging for children to be in school than to out of it. Children whose days are spent herding animals rather than sitting in a clasroom at least develop skills of problem solving and independence while the supposedly luckier ones in school are stunted in their mental, physical, and emotional development by being rendered pasive, and by having to spend hours each day in a crowded classroom under the control of an adult who punishes them for any normal level of activity such as moving or speaking. (DfID, 2000, pp 12, 13)" Quoted in Clive Harber, "Schooling as Violence",p. 10, __Educatioinal Review__V. 54, #1.

"Violence at school is a prevalent problem. According to a national survey of school proncipals (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1998), over 200,000 serious fights or physical attacks occurred in public schools during the 1996-1997 school year. Serious violent crimes occurred in approximately 12% of middle schools and 13% of high schools. Student surveys (Kann et al, 1995) indicate even higher rates of aggressive behavior. Approximately 16.2% of high school students nationwide reported involvement in a physical fight at school during a 30-day period, and 11.8% reported carrying a weapon on school property (Kann et al, 1995)."
"Research on victims of violence at school suggests that repeated victimization has detrimental effects on a child's emotional and social development (Batsche & Knoff, 1995; Hoover, Oliver, & Thomson, 1993; Olweus, 1993). Victims exhibit higher levels of anxiety and depression, and lower self-esteem than non-victims (eg., Besag, 1989; Gilmartin, 1987; Greenbaum, 1987; Olweus, 1993). [Karen Brockenbrough, Dewey G. Cornell, Ann B. Loper, "Aggressive Attitudes Among Victims of Violence at School", __Education and the Treatment of Children__, V. 25, #3, Aug., 2002]

"Results showed that the over-representation of Black males that has been cited consistently in the literature begins at the elementary school level and continues through high school. Black females also were suspended at a much higher rate than White or Hispanic females at all three school levels." [Linda M. Raffaele Mendez, Howard M. Knoff; __Education and the Treatment of Children__, V. 26, #1, Feb. 2003.]

"The issue of social skills. One edition of Home School Researcher, Volume 8, Number 3, contains two research reports on the issue of social skills. The first finding of the study by Larry Shyers (1992) was that home-schooled students received significantly lower problem behavior scores than schooled children. His next finding was that home-schooled children are socially well adjusted, but schooled children are not so well adjusted. Shyers concludes that we are asking the wrong question when we ask about the social adjustment of home-schooled children. The real question is why is the social; adjustment of schooled children of such poor quality?"

"The second study, by Thomas Smedley (1992), used different test instruments but comes to the same conclusion, that home-educated children are more mature and better socialized than those attending school." ...p. 277

"12. So-called 'school phobia' is actually more likely to be a sign of mental health, whereas school dependancy is a largely unrecognized mental health problem"....p.281 [Roland Meighan, "Home-based Education Effectiveness Research and Some of its Implications", __Educational Review__, Vol. 47, No.3, 1995.]

"Criminal violence emerges from social experience, most commonly brutal social experience visited upon vulnerable children, who suffer for our neglect of their welfare and return in vengeful wrath to plague us. If violence is a choice they make, and there- fore their personal responsibility, as Athens demonstrates it is, our failure to protect them from having to confront such a choice is a choice we make, just as a disease epidemic would be implicitly our choice if we failed to provide vaccines and antibiotics. Such a choice-to tolerate the brutalization of children as we continue to do-is equally violent and equally evil, and we reap what we sow. ..." Richard Rhodes, __Why they Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist__.

"I'm sorry I have so much rage, but you put it in me." --Dylan Klebold

"There is too much education altogether, especially in American schools. The only way of educating is to be an example--of what to avoid, if one can't be the other sort." --Albert Einstein--, __The World As I See It__, p.22 (Citadel Press).

"Give into the power of the teacher the fewest possible coercive measures, so that the only source of the pupil's respect for the teacher is the human and intellectual qualities of the latter." --Albert Einstein--, __Ideas And Opinions__, p. 61, (Three Rivers Press).

"Why do I tell you this little boy's story of medusas, rays, and sea monsters, nearly sixty years after the fact? Because it illustrates, I believe, how a naturalist is created. A child comes to the edge of deep water with a mind prepared for wonder....Hands-on experience at the critical time, not systematic knowledge, is what counts in the making of a naturalist. Better to be an untutored savage for a while, not to know the names or anatomical detail. Better to spend long stretches of time just searching and dreaming." (E.O. Wilson, __Naturalist__ p. 11-12).

"Adults forget the depths of languor into which the adolescent mind descends with ease. They are prone to undervalue the mental growth that occurs during daydreaming and aimless wandering. When I focused on the ponds and stream lying before me, I abandoned all sense of time." (E. O. Wilson, __Naturalist__ p. 86-87).

A statistician in the State of Hawaii Office of the Attorney General gave to the Agenda's author a study of juvenile arrest data. A graph of ten years of juvenile violent crime arrests, by month, looks like a cross section of the Grand Canyon, with the floor of the canyon being the months June, July, and August, when school is not in session. Juvenile arrests for drug possession and drug promotion fall in summer (adult arrests for promotion also fall, while adult arrests for possession rise). Reported burglaries fall in summer. According to a study conducted for the Agenda's author by the Hawaii Health Information Corporation, juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma fall in summer.

Beth Clarkson, a statistically trained engineer and PhD candidate (Math) at Wichita State University found a similar seasonal variation in juvenile arrest rates in Wichita, Kansas.

Across the US, the rate of juvenile violent crime arrests (by State) is positively correlated with the fraction of total State school enrollment assigned to districts over 20,000 (or 15,000, depending on the year of the Digest of Education Statistics you use). Smaller is better. The rate of juvenile arrest for rape is negatively correlated with the age at which States compel attendance at school. Later is better. The correlation is fairly strong for a social science: Corr(age-start, rate) = 0.48.

No comments: