There is concern that some students are just not succeeding in mainstream schools, that their behaviour problems are simply too extreme and that it is becoming a health and safety issue for teachers.
This in the Herald today…
Graham Young, president of the Secondary Principals' Association, says schools are increasingly having to act as social welfare agencies.
He believes it is time to ask whether teenagers with serious behaviour problems should be educated separately.
Here’s what I think – yes there needs to be some type of alternative education centers set up for kids who would drop out of school anyway or get expelled because of their behaviour issues. I’m on the board of trustees for Youthline, and we run an alternative education center that has some amazing kids in it, but who simply don’t work in ‘mainstream’ education. But alternative education needs to be seen as a last resort, and my beef with Graham (I was arguing with him on Radio NZ last week) is that he is the sort of guy who would use alternative education as the first resort to disruptive teenagers as opposed to the last resort.
I don’t think ‘mainstream’ education works for everyone and difficult kids do need extra resources and help, but in a world of education as business, troublesome students become a problem to the bottom line by supposedly damaging their precious bankable reputations. Of course you can’t have teachers threatened or other students held back – but the threshold has to be high so as to not allow schools the ability to just dump the problem kids and keep the ones that will make them look good. Alternative Education centers for those deemed too much trouble have to be heavily resourced with very low teacher/student ratios, and the Government would have to cough up a lot more cash for this to be feasible.