This will be hard for the kids.
DODGEVILLE (WKOW) — Close to 30 educators have left Dodgeville schools since the end of last school year.
Dr. Jacobson says the mass exodus comes down to teachers wanting more money, and a challenging district-wide punishment rewards behavioral system. He says the program is currently being modified, and the school system is looking into other ways to discipline behaviorally challenged students.
“It has become the impetus for some who have left,” Dr. Jacobson said.
Bell says she saw more fights break out last year than ever before, and understands why teaching would be difficult with that climate.
“There were just a lot of kids that thought they could get away with whatever they wanted and they wouldn’t get punished like the way that they should,” Bell said.
The superintendent says the reason is pay and safety, but the story does not supply any details on the pay situation. I suspect that the new discipline policy is the primary reason with some teachers leaving with an exasperated, “they don’t pay me enough to put up with this!”
I can’t find details of Dodgeville’s “punishment rewards behavioral system” on their website, so I don’t know how it is implemented. In general, such systems are not necessarily bad. They simply provide a structure to reward good behavior and punish bad behavior. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
For example, if the school rewards expected behavior, like being attentive in class, behaving appropriately, etc., then kids will act out in order to receive the rewards. Rewards should only be given for exceptional behavior. Also, if punishments are weakened in favor of using more rewards instead, then the system breaks down. Essentially, kids should behave according to an accepted standard. Then they are given rewards for exceptional behavior and punishments for not meeting the accepted standards.
Judging by the comments in the story about the dramatic increase in fights and unruly kids, it sure sounds like the school district’s behavioral system has been poorly implemented leaving teachers to fear for their safety and ability to do their jobs effectively.