NY Times, Chicago News Cooperative weigh in on Noble discipline

Crude. Absurd. Double Taxation. Noble?

Today’s New York Times reports on our challenge to Noble Charter Network’s discipline policy, with an education expert calling it “double taxation” that could “push away more disadvantaged kids or more disruptive kids.”

Today’s Chicago News Cooperative offers an opinion piece  by James Warren who quotes two researchers:

James Heckman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at the University of Chicago whose research has identified the important role that social and emotional skills play in developing human capital, from birth to job training, said he thought the Noble approach was a crude one. “There are probably better ways to motivate people than with cash,” Heckman said, “and it’s unfair for really poor students and parents.”

Colin Greer, a Scottish-bred educator who is president of the New World Foundation, which pursues a politically liberal agenda, reiterated such qualms…. Greer said the Noble system undermined two critical aims of public education: preparing children for living in a democracy and learning to live with one another. He likens it to teaching by Pavlovian response, referring to Ivan Pavlov, the Russian psychologist who did pioneering work on conditioned responses. “You’re responding to punishment, like one of Pavlov’s dogs,” Greer said. “You’re not teaching how to behave in a democracy, where you behave in the best interests of a larger community.” He said the fines were absurd, and at best they created rote, reflex responses and not the sort of flexibility and self-motivation needed in a modern economy. ‘Haven’t we learned the lessons of getting tough on children from the criminal justice system’s high recidivism rates?’ Greer said.


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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.