We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
From this read it appears that the schools are not only trying to instill a code of acceptable behavior for school, but also trying to reach back to what should have begun at the cradle in developing a child able to hear, understand, and accommodate to some extent the rules of a civilized society. Perhaps, they are trying to get too much done within the wall of the school, and some of this effort should have been put into programs that require the participation of the parents as well as the early learners. As the father said toward the end of the piece--they did not do a good job of explaining the goal--big mistake in any effort. Either not explaining clearly, or lying about the objective will doom any effort--just ask Obama. Well, let me add to that--it will certainly doom any effort within a free society. Once we are all docile and obedient like the Chinese then you will be able to get away with that--soon, perhaps if Seattle has it's way.
It is a simple fact of life that people flourish under a strong and just code of conduct and high expectations consistently and relentlessly applied. It is the wishy-washy-ness of standards and expectations that is harmful. It is the exceptions and the uneven enforcement of these ideals that creates a problem and fails our children/students. The very simple reason that so many inner city black students fail to learn in school is that we allow it. The black students reject the code of conduct and the teachers are unwilling or unable to enforce that code of conduct. It is the equivalent of allowing your toddler to control your actions by simply throwing a tantrum. The solution to inner city school problems is a stonger code of conduct, higher expectations and the will and ability to enforce it.