detention essay

My daughter was in low spirits tonight after being assigned a detention essay because she did not bring a worksheet to class.  She and 17 others were assigned the 4-page essay on something like why doing things on time is best.  The essay was assigned because the students did not bring the worksheet to class today, as assigned, even though the worksheet is not due until tomorrow.  There were only 4 problems on the sheet and my daughter copied these four from someone else after trying to download the worksheet the previous night.  The link didn't seem to work.  I doubt she spent a lot troubleshooting to make the download happen. It seems strange to do a bunch of detailed networking to download and print a worksheet to take it to class to prove you have it and then take it home to do the four problems on the sheet.  From network engineer to robot and back.  Why not just write the 4 problems on the board?

Grades are routinely used for all sorts of punishment purposes and collective punishment in also used within the inner-city school system my daughter is attending for the first time this year.  Grades are pernicious enough when used in a straightforward manner.  As a weapon of crowd and class control, as the only tool hapless teachers feel they can wield, grades have become a behavioral management system for a system filled with students from communities under stress who are forced to attend.

Families have little or no say in how these factories run and have become increasingly drafted into endless projects, computer fix-ups, and fund raising all the while being told they need a doctor's excuse to confirm that their child is really sick.  Funny that.

Schools may have seemed a wonderful alternative to child labor 120 years ago but they have become labor camps whose injustices and cruelties become internalized and whose huge bureacracies are now unraveling and unmanageable.
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