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We have been told that this student is not legally entitled to any more “Special Treatment”so we are returning him to Kindergarten.  At this Title I school, a four month sentence in administrative isolation is called Special Treatment.  J-Block is what they call it in the adult prison system.
 
SPECIAL TREATMENT
 
A five year old boy shut up in a tiny room from November to March.  Imagine!  Each and every day meant no recess, no Circle Time, no eating at a big table with other children.  The simple, socializing joys that he so urgently needed were extinguished before ever being experienced.   

His special treatment was a purgatory called In School Suspension where he was cycled through the same worksheets day after day, memorizing how to count and color Pilgrims, Native Americans, cornstalks and hay bales.  On a b&w gingerbread house, he graphed crayon-coded gumdrops, candy canes, sugar plums and butterscotch wafers.  He cut and pasted columns of numerals in ascending and descending order.  Over time, he got very good at this flat work. 
In the early days of his confinement, he defied the ruling junta by grabbing a chunky-chubby black crayon and scribbling over every detail with such ferocity that he shone with perspiration before finishing.  One day I pried the frustration from his fingers and smoothed his determined grip into a relaxed receptivity.  “Let’s start again and make one of these beautiful.”
We began by taking turns, bent over and absorbed as if collaborating on a paint-by-number, John Henry Man Versus Machine. We chatted away like the most synchronized of study buddies.  “I think I’ll make my sky mostly blue with some white mixed in.  May I borrow the green when you’re finished with it?  If we cut right along the big, fat line I think the teacher will be able to read the numeral.  And remember we’re only using baby dots of glue.  Baby Dots Not Glops! That’s our motto.” 
This was satisfying work, repetitive but civilizing and the only preparation there was for a return.  It took all of November to gentle him and after that he followed every rule of customary deportment but still was not permitted to even visit the Kingdom of Kindergarten until the end of February and only then with me as bodyguard. 
But then came the March Declaration of Special Treatment when he was abruptly dropped behind enemy lines, told to sink or swim, and forced to jump with no back-up parachute.  It was a perilous insertion.  I would hear him wailing in protest across the vast, central rotunda., screaming and kicking in protest as he was drug, adult escorts on either side, always back like a boomerang, no matter how successful the launching. 
I can safely say that he remained in this disruptive dance until May. Another boy from the same grade level remained in ISS from November until June, a total of six months. No field day for this one, no end-of-year picnic, no parade through the hallway with happy noisemakers and hip-hop music to celebrate the going home.  The piped in soundtrack was joyous and my young sidekick sparkled with an excited grin as he showed me his talented dance moves while dutifully stationed in his chair. 
Most importantly, this was all off-the-books.  The district software repository for registration data, grades, attendance records and disciplinary infractions revealed that none of the in-school months of classroom separation were ever recorded for official eyes. Intentionally, the long haul was virtually untraceable by state and federal authorities.  No one will ever know that no one knows what they are doing.
This organization hurts children.  It retards growth and it injures spirits. The logical conclusion of its terrible trajectory is a chaotic country full of incapacitated citizens.  But the reality is that situations like this are scattered across poor neighborhoods throughout the United States.  Led by CEO’s/Chief Education Officers and propped up by well-paid corporate consultants, policy wonks and super-rationalized schematics for “school reform”, these folks don’t intend to be re-fashioned or fixed.   In fact they financially benefit in a very personal way from funding formulas that follow their failure. Here, terrible is profitable and a good way to go. 
 
 
We can whenever, and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need, in order to do this. Whether we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far.
Ron Edmonds Telling It Like It Was And Like It Is!
 

 
 
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