Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Government doing nothing to stop violence in schools

Teachers are complaiging that there is too much violence in schools. The media is reporting the complaints of child attacks on teachers in lower decile schools. Teachers are so fed up that they say they need rules telling them how far they can go when restraining aggressive pupils, to avoid leaving themselves open to accusations of assault.

But if you have a look at Government strategies for curbing antisocial behaviour you`ll see why things are getting worse. This inter-agency report recently published by the MSD, Health, Justice and Education ministries is a plan to improve conduct in those kids with a serious behavioural disorder, many of them in decile 1 schools. (Hat tip Lindsay Mitchell)

The report says is the people studied in the Christchurch Health and Development study, 13% of children raised in the highest 5% of high risk family situations reached adolescence with no obvious disorders or behaviours, learning or psyche.In other words, 13% of kids with serious behavioural difficulties turn out okay!

Well, that's alright then.

And it is just as well they turn out okay because the others will never be assisted with Government intervention if you look how these Ministries are looking to minimise adverse behaviour at schools. They see a pathway as modifying teachers behaviour, non-violence programmes, and frequent praise and rewards. Not surprisingly, for those 12 and over, the effects of this intervention is "not demonstrated" and for those aged 12 and under, improvements were "not shown"

This obviously means that this strategy does not work, which is why the policy will have no formal and meaningful evaluation. Could it not be working because the kids were not asked or encouraged to modify their behaviour in a way they could relate to? Yet it is the strategy up to 2012, which would be more relevant in addressing naughty behaviour in Sunday School children.

Oh, and while we`re on the subject of silly research, the media release of the latest Christchurch Health and Development study notes that single parenthood is not a risk factor for a child's development - it's how that family functions, and they dont function so well due to lower socio-economic status - and probably being on the dpb. I thought the way a family functions was a consequence of its form. The university is proud that they got their report published in some hot-shot US psychiatry journal. Yet if these sole parents had a live in partner, that won't change the fact that some kids had kids when they were kids, it won`t change the fact that they have lower education levels, and it won't change the fact that many of them are Maori. But it would provide more options for positive change, and they won't be on a benefit for the next 10 years.

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