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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Is your 5-year-old an anarchist?

In Pasco County, Florida, parents don’t like “new behavior expectation charts that suggest conforming to peer pressure is positive, and that running in school is anarchy,” reports Jeffrey Solochek for the Tampa Bay Times.

The superintendent has put the new behavior system on hold.

The chart was posted in a kindergarten class, writes Peter Greene in a Curmudgucation post on “five-year-old anarchists.

“Equating considerate, compliant and conforms is just bizarre,” he writes. And why are bossy people “expected to grow into compliant people (who then become democratic people)?”

Consultant Marvin Marshall came up with the method, writes Greene. “Nancy Bailey does an excellent job of putting this in a larger context of school discipline.”

Greene suggests renaming Marshall’s stages.

. . . what if students were labeled “freedom fighters” or “soldiers of the patriarchy” or “weasely collaborator.” Heck, we could assign students to one of the four houses of Hogwarts every day. Or we could come up with a schema based on chaos and order muppets. I rather like the image or a small child coming home to announce, “Hey, I’m still a Swedish Chef today!!” And if you like your Muppet universe a little more complex, then there’s this chart:

Any school discipline system, “codifies somebody’s value system, sets in rules and regulations judgments like “being compliant is good” or “a good student is one who questions authority,” Greene concludes. “When a system codifies love of compliance (and can’t distinguish between compliance and cooperation) and negative labeling of any sort of age-appropriate behavior (five year olds running! zounds!!), my eyebrows go up. Frankly, I’d much rather see a system that codifies fuzzy Muppets.”

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