It is no surprise that the concept that gained the largest support in the Public Agenda poll of teachers was alternative schools for disruptive students. Overall, 68% of teachers predicted the proposal would be "very effective" while 27% thought it would be somewhat effective. A previous poll by the same organization showed that the idea is even more popular with teachers in high schools and high needs schools. Only 6% of this poll's teachers said that a safe, orderly and respectful atmosphere was a serious problem in their own school, while 39% said they faced a "manageable" problem. But 88% of high school teachers say that "the most pressing problems come from social problems and kids who misbehave."
I never got around to writing a long review of the handling of urban education in The Wire (mostly because it would take a long time to explain why Dan Meyer's reading was so far off), but these poll results point to the two things that stuck out to me as off-key.
- Everyone's astonishment at the idea of pulling disruptive kids out of the classroom for a special program, as if they'd never conceived of such a thing. In real life, they might be for or against it, but they'd be talking about a dozen similar initiatives that had been tried over the years.
- The existence of, what, a psychology grad student (?), who could just stroll in and do a very good job of handling those kids. I don't remember her name, and she's just referred to as "the teacher" in the otherwise detailed plot synopses on the HBO website. She's a total deus ex machina. People like that -- academics seemingly without specific experience with kids in schools, but still experts in the classroom -- don't exist. Which is why we don't get a chance to look at her very closely. If people like her did exist, it would open up all kinds of possibilities.