Man, I've never had to deal with discipline on this level in all my many years of teaching. First week, and I've kept at least a dozen kids in at lunch, after school, copying the "Reality of School" consequences essay. Talking, pushing, punching, singing, dancing -- little baby foolishness that six years of elementary school should have remediated.
I get so pissed this time of year, wondering what the hell was going on over at those schools. Okay, fine, you didn't really teach them anything, but could you have at least taught them to get a drink of water without punching someone, or tickling them, or credit-carding them? And it's not like those feeder schools were slipping this time; on the contrary they were earning awards for growth, so what the hell? One decent sign: I made a request during a 4-school collaborative meeting that all incoming 7th graders at least know the alphabet, and it looks like there was some follow-through on that -- 95% of my kids passed the alphabet quiz.
It seems that our students are trending both higher and lower. More and more kids enter our school with increased ability and increased focus (not the ones I get, of course...) but at the same time, more and more kids are entering without the ability to focus, raise a hand, write a heading, spell their last name correctly, etc. It seems a contradiction, but I think what's happening is when discrepancies in ability become so pronounced, a teacher's ability to differentiate across a huge achievement gap is stretched and challenged. From the looks of it, many of those teachers are rather dramatically failing to reach every student in their class.
1 of my 61 seventh graders is able to read independently above fourth grade level.
33 read independenly below third grade level.
Seriously, what were their teachers doing? Yes, they're ELLs; yes they're poor; yes, some of them act like crapheads. But really, get the damn job done. Or at least do something.