Friday, February 24, 2012

The Noble rules

Chicago's outstanding Noble charter school network fines parents and students for various infractions, which the unions are attempting to make hay out of – for selfish reasons of course, as this Chicago Tribune editorial correctly notes:

Nothing poses a greater threat to the status quo than charter schools. So charter schools get targeted with nonsensical claims like this, that Noble Network is "dehumanizing" students.

If these schools are dehumanizing students, why are students lining up to go to them?

What does Woestehoff dismiss as "nothing that really matters"? Crucial keys to personal success. Focus. Discipline. Respect for others.

All those little violations — gum chewing and rowdiness and tardiness — matter. They matter because good conduct creates an atmosphere of responsibility and accountability in a school.

"Kids learn punctuality, dependability, and that there are consequences for behavior," says Michael Milkie, the former teacher who founded and runs Noble. "If kids feel they're going to be safe, if they're in a protected environment, they are more likely to develop the habits that make them successful in class."

Schools that let the small things slip can find themselves with a chaotic school environment. What do kids learn in those kinds of schools? They learn to duck.

PURE and other critics claim the Noble Network gouges students to raise cash. Last year, the 10 campuses of Noble raised nearly $200,000 from disciplinary fees. But those fees cover only part of the expense of staffing those classes and detention periods, Milkie says. "If we didn't have the fees, we would divert dollars from everyone's education to staff these classes and detentions."

To see a local TV report on this, see:,0,5102701.story


The Noble rules

Why discipline matters

February 16, 2012,0,5102701.story

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