SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Is PS 154 in the Bronx Safe for Students?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Is PS 154 in the Bronx Safe for Students?

Lots going on at PS 154 in the Bronx that sources have shared with The Crack Team.

Dr Alison Coviello; PhD. and Principal of PS 154 has begun a groovy peace bus. What is a peace
bus?  A peace bus is a big, cute, groovy, faux bus located on the wall by the office. Every day that PS 154 is violence free, a day is marked. When 5 days are marked, the students of the school win a prize!! YAY!!!

Where does such a groovy idea come from? Those wonderful people at Responsive Classroom, that's who. Go look at Responsive Classroom's website and find them on YouTube. See how much inner city videos they have. How many students get free lunch. Remember, not everything works in Peoria.

As actual reality based, non liberal, educator shared with me recently about Responsive Classroom;
"...find it frustrating that we don't hold kids accountable anymore - my admins believe the kids who act out need 'a hug and a cookie'. How about a suspension and a boot in the butt (figuratively, of course). My classroom was student centered, but there were rules and there were consequences. We deal with many on free lunch, very dysfunctional homes, but that's all the more reason why they need some discipline in school - some lack any structure at home"

I guess when one is liberal and one doesn't understand the workings of children of the inner city and when one believes that since one is white, has a Ivy League pedigree, and was raised in opulence and without want, one can be condescending enough to the families and children of color. 

Back to the peace bus. The peace bus was christened on October 7. How well did it work? It worked so well that the first day without violence was October 15!! YAY!!! A week of violence, followed by a lull? Keep reading. 

There was a lull, but it the violence returned to the school, October 16-22, yet resumed October 25. Oooh, a two day lull. Gee, that peace bus really is working wonders.

But of course this is to be expected. But as Anthony Cody wrote in "Punished by Rewards,"
"....rewards can be seen as punishment in the sense that rewards both manipulate behavior and are a form of doing things to students rather than with students"
 Yeah, it is really nice to have meeting with students and explain to them how in the professional world fighting will not cut it. But when you are sharing this with 3rd graders, or dare I say, 5th graders, you are giving them a concept that is far too in the future for them to genuinely comprehend. Not saying that none of them will absorb it, but at that age in which students live in the moment, does it hit home?

Even more so, especially as the students get older, there is a certain pride in not being one of those that needs to be rewarded, that they do not care about momentary rewards. It is a source of pride for them to be the "bad kid," the kid that will get in trouble or ruin the rewards for everybody else. 

From the Psycho-Educational Teacher blog; 
External rewards may temporarily inhibit disruptive behaviors but they do not teach appropriate behavior and will not help children outgrow the disruptive behavior. Teachers need to be aware that rewards appeal exclusively to students’ extrinsic motivation (“I do _____ so that I can get _____”) having little or no effect in strengthening children’s intrinsic motivation (i.e. self-pride, self-confidence, self-efficacy, and a sense of accomplishment among others). Consequently, even when the teacher uses rewards consistently, a discipline system that only takes into consideration giving rewards while ignoring children’s perceptions, attitudes, and feelings may have a strong short-term effect in winning compliance, but no long-term effect in helping habitually disruptive students learn new and more productive ways of behaving. 
In my opinion, rewards do serve their purpose, but only once the teacher has established themselves as no nonsense and has the respect of the students that are the most troublesome. The rest of the students in the class, believe it or not, look to those students on how to behave. The most troublesome students must be won over first. 

But talking to these students in a patronizing, condescending voice won't work. They see through the bull. They know when they are being conned. Stickers and rewards won't cut it with them, unless it is right there in the moment. And even that is daunting for I believe that their behavior will adjust just for that reward, for that momentary grasp of getting something. But long term, rewards won't work alone.

I know these kids are hurting inside. I feel for them. But what they need more than anything else are boundaries. Not stickers, no pizza or ice cream parties, but boundaries.

But this is how Dr Alison Coviello; PhD. and Principal of PS 154in the Bronx wants it. Kind of like socialism, All students must be treated the same, and all teachers must respond in the same manner.

So with that, the violence will prevail at PS 154 and students will not learn nor will they be safe.


Anonymous said...

We have Responsive Classroom at my school. I am a liberal and I know of three kids who have been arrested. The fourth floor is now on lockdown. It is working very responsively in my view.

Pete Zucker said...

^^^ please email me and share more with me.

Anonymous said...

When you group 800 kids together in a rewards program with one outcome that is more show and tell for the Principal than real administration.

Anonymous said...

Blaming the principal for trying to promote peace is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Even if it is ineffective, it is hardly the basis for an accusation of racism. I'm sorry but this is a dumb post.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Peter is saying there is anything wrong with promoting peace. What he's saying its a false peace, a peace that doesn't solve the underlying problem.

As for him calling our principal a racist I read this article many times and can't find anywhere he called her a racist.

Perhaps you should read better?

RuJo said...

Responsive classroom is NOT a rewards based program. Your description sounds nothing like what I know it to be. You seem to be describing PBS. That said, I am very interested in this model of classroom management, but I have read that it is not for "urban" classrooms. I am trying to understand why. I can't see how harsh, authoritative classrooms are better for students of this demographics.