Barraged with time constraints of "Be there at 1:00:00pm," 3 hour weekly staff meetings to make Sharon Liszanckie feel better about herself and her favorite staff members, excessive paperwork requirements, and e-mail reminders to not send a lot of e-mails, this place makes an effective teacher ineffective.
The "one fits all" attempt at Boston Prep alienates students, especially those in special education. I watched teachers tell students that were significantly impaired that they were going to attend a four year college. How does this teach persistence, determination and grit when the expectations aren't realistic?
The strategy taught to the teachers is to tell a student they have earned a demerit, not give them an opportunity to explain themselves, and then give them detention after this occurs 5 times. The students have no respect for the staff, no respect for each other, or for their building space (although who would, it's disgusting!).
I have worked in several inner city schools, and I can attest, hands down, that the students in this school are the angriest, most stressed, and most disrespectful students I have ever worked with. I now work in an even rougher district and the students are so much more caring, compassionate and empathetic.
A military style behavior system that shuts the student down and treats him or her like a second hand citizen does not develop honesty, integrity, and fairness in its students. I observed many students to plagiarize repeatedly, earn suspensions for cheating, etc. If the discipline strategies worked, why were so many kids repeat offenders?
I don't think that homework is the only effective way of teaching. But sadly, so much class time is spent sending students out of the room or silencing a disruptive student that actual teaching time is a half to a quarter of what it should be. This leaves a huge gap between what was taught and what a student should know. And there is no teaching of effective methods, so things that could be done quicker and more efficiently take a lot longer. And the students that need the most help are often the ones putting the least effort towards homework. One student told me that if she didn't think homework would take her as long, she might try doing it. But instead, she gave up before she even started. She also had a part time job, which is common for a lot of our students. But sadly, life challenges are rarely taken into account. Obviously, this cannot be the driving force in education, but how can you be effective if we recognize a problem and do NOTHING to fix it?
For driven students, and more importantly, parents, this school can be great. But drive is only harnessed here, not developed. And because students are beaten down and discipline is so paramount, students that are defiant are never developed to improve. They learn how to follow rules and lose their grit and determination in the process.