U.S. Department of Education Issues Resource Document that Discourages Restraint and Seclusion | U.S. Department of Education

My initial response to the title of this article was, “There go the last vestige of dealing with severely dangerous and disruptive behavior…” I was thinking about some of the kids I worked with–severely behaviorally disordered children who suffered from PTSD brought on by early childhood abuses. These kids needed to be restrained and moved to a time-out area where they could work out their aggressions on padded walls.

But these are not the students at which this legislation was targeted. That is, their disruptive behavior was not what brought about these new guidelines. Rather, the release of the document was in response to the cases of abuse and death at public and private treatment centers. I followed the link below to the announcement; then followed another link to the explanation and document itself.

U.S. Department of Education Issues Resource Document that Discourages Restraint and Seclusion | U.S. Department of Education.

When I downloaded the 45-page PDF, I was not certain what I would find. Rather than a set of “don’t do this” statements, I found a thoughtful and careful delineation of alternative means to eliminate seclusion and restraint. It does not say “don’t restrain.” Rather, it says, “These are the guidelines for when you must restrain, and these are the things you need to document when you do so.” Interestingly, there were few differences from what we had to do when I was teaching in a day treatment program, when the only way to guarantee both the individual’s safety and that of the other students (and classroom adults) was to take down and restrain. Of course, there were never any apparatuses used. These kids didn’t need physical restraints–just time to calm down. I didn’t even know it was legal to put restraints on a child outside of a psychiatric ward or institution, where supervision for the entire period of restraint was available.

The main focus of this document is for states to use it as a model for their own guidelines for restraint and seclusion. Personally, I don’t see that the US DoE’s guidelines can be improved on, but each state is different and has different needs. Which is why the guidelines also establish a recommended schedule for review of adopted guidelines. Needs change, after all.


Repost: Rethink Teacher Appreciation Week | ED.gov Blog

“True appreciation means understanding what teachers bring to the table and creating meaningful opportunities for them to contribute to the policies and practices that affect their school communities.”

via Rethink Teacher Appreciation Week | ED.gov Blog.

Reading this US DoE blog made me think back to the Stone Age, to my own K-12 education. Back then, there was a great deal more respect for teachers, and I think more involvement of teachers in whatever school they were in. If a teacher sent a disciplinary note home–and they were usually disciplinary–parents supported the punishment and brandished home-based discipline as well. Parents seemed aware of how little teachers made for their level of education, and actively supported teachers’ efforts to educate their children. Today, too many parents seem as antagonistic toward teachers as their children. Instead of assuming the teacher has accurately described the problem, it is assumed that the child’s view is correct and the teacher is out to get the child.

Only a decade after I was in school did some laws change. In the mid-1970s when I was looking for my first teaching position, principals still were allowed to ask if a female applicant’s marital status. A married female could get pregnant and leave teaching at any time, and there would go the money the district invested in training her. For years after marital status became a legal no-no question, male principals continued to ask it and base hiring decisions on the response.

As then, a teacher today is still more likely to be hired if he or she can coach a sport or advise a major student group, such as yearbook or drama club. Knowledge and teaching ability are secondary considerations. Schools claim that this is a way to maximize the value of their teachers, but the truth is that there is no reason why part-time coaches could not be hired. Sports, arts, and other extra-curricular activities are very important, but there may be a reason why so many students hate social studies and why US academic performance is lagging behind that of other modern nations.

Back then, classroom teachers had no say in the curriculum or educational policy, even within their own schools. Teachers’ unions like the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) tended to concentrate on “labor relations” issues, like pay, break time, and how far into a pregnancy a female teacher could work. General policy and curriculum issues were reserved for the school district administration and the school board. Today, the US DoE is encouraging active contribution by teachers and teacher associations to the discussion on educational reform. But it has taken an uncertain economy and diminishing education funds to bring this about.


“Common Core Makes Waves” in Education

The Common Core State Standards have been designed to standardize educational content across the nation. So far, these standards have been accepted by 46 states, and are apparently close in the rest. Yet, the standards are suddenly under attack by ALEC, a conservative political group that believes so strongly in limiting government that it is willing to attack the one sure way to ensure equal educational quality across all US schools. The blog author ends this post with the following questions:

What do the standards symbolize that is so important? What should the public know about Common Core if they are to make an informed judgment about them?

I’d like answers, too.

via Common Core Makes Waves – Education Experts – Education Experts.

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