|Image from Flickr, by Sebastian Bergmann
The Noble Network, which runs 10 charter high schools in Chicago, raised nearly $200,000 last year (and $400,000 since 2008) from discipline penalties, the Chicago Tribune reported this week. The Network, which has been praised by Ed Deformer Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has been charging students $5 per violation for such trivial infractions as having untied shoelaces, bringing chips to school or dozing off in class.
Critics are accusing the network of using the fines to cull low performing (and lower income) students in order to boost graduation rates. Last year the network lost 473 students, more than twice as many as the previous year.
The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves
Noble CEO Michael Milkie believes that by enforcing all rules, even the little ones, he has made the school safer. He has also said that students who behave poorly should be forced to pay, arguing that bad behavior takes away teacher attention and resources from those who are behaving appropriately, thus justifying the fines to recoup students’ costs to the school.
In addition to the fines, students must serve three hour detentions, even for little infractions like not having their shirts tucked or being caught with potato chips or energy drinks. Furthermore, if behavior doesn’t improve, the costs go up. Students with more than 12 detentions must pay $140 to take a discipline class. One student was forced to take a night behavior class for not shaking a visitor’s hand.