In a recent article, Milwaukee Public Schools made the decision like many others to abide by a proposed Obama administrator mandate to decrease student expulsions. The mandate has caused many schools to overreact instead of taking a scientific approach. Milwaukee Public Schools, as well as other schools, would have better served their time and resources by first piloting any initiative with the purpose of eliminating school violence.
According to the article, Obama’s anti-expulsion policy increases school violence, Milwaukee Public Schools made the decision to embrace Obama’s mandate to decrease expulsions without ascertaining the consequences for teachers and students.
National conservative activist Stacy Washington contends that “The president is [jeopardizing] the lives of teachers and other students who aren’t violent … by basically just speaking out of the side of his neck and being very short-sighted — and reaching into areas where he has zero competency. Following the directive has resulted in 31,000 reports of fighting or aggressive behavior as well as 646 referrals concerning sexual assault and 399 for weapons.
How would a pilot group help Milwaukee Public Schools eliminate school violence?
A pilot group is a small group of stakeholders that begin the transformation process for any type of change such as eliminating school violence. The group normally conducts the analysis, identifies processes that will enhance the transformation, and root out those challenges that will hinder it. Without the usage of pilot groups it is nearly impossible for new ideas to surface that have the capability to ensure that theory meets practice. Pilot groups help to overcome the atrocities associated with a dysfunctional organization.
Dysfunctional organizations exhibit several characteristics that are detrimental to its existence. The foundation for the dysfunctional organization begins with each person’s use of defense mechanisms for coping. Defense mechanisms are the unwritten rules an individual learns and utilizes to effectively deal with circumstances that are upsetting, embarrassing, or threatening.
The second level is skilled incompetence, which is the outcome of the defense mechanisms we have internalized. When the defensive behaviors we’ve learned are transformed into a learned behavior, that behavior becomes a skill – albeit an incompetent skill – that we consider necessary in order to deal with issues that are embarrassing, threatening, or upsetting. A skill that is learned from the regular application of a defense mechanism has a high degree of incompetence embedded within it, because we are unaware of how this skill will impact our future.
Skilled incompetence transforms into a defensive routine. Defensive routines are the third level. When the skilled incompetence is automatically exhibited at all times, the behavior is now a defensive routine.
Defensive routines lead to fancy footwork. Fancy footwork is the fourth level. Fancy footwork happens when individuals try to deny the behavioral inconsistencies they exhibit, or else they place blame on other people, which results in distancing themselves from taking responsibility for their behavioral inconsistencies.
Fancy footwork leads to organizational malaise. Organizational malaise is the final level. During this phase the individuals in the organization will seek to find fault within the organization rather than accept responsibility for their actions and correct their behavior accordingly. The individual continues the process by accentuating the negative and deemphasizing the positive in an effort to cover up their actions. The organizational malaise is further exacerbated by a refusal of one or all the members to discuss their area of responsibility.
These characteristics associated of dysfunctional organization are exhibited by blaming the Obama administration instead of taking responsibility for not piloting the directive first to work out any kinks. Milwaukee Public Schools, as well as any other schools, would have better success with any initiative by using pilot groups to overcome challenges associated with school violence.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
The Raccelerate Phenomenon
Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President