Thursday, February 4, 2010

L. A. Times Interview

Yesterday, I was interviewed by the L.A. Times regarding the Beverly Hills Unified School District.

For those of you that are not aware, BHUSD had a policy of allowing students to attend their schools on a waiver, even if they did not live in the district. The BHUSD school board voted to discontinue this practice due to the current fiscal crisis.

Their new policy is as follows:
1 - Anyone at Beverly Hills High School can remain until graduation.
2 - K-8 Students may finish out the school year, but then they must move into Beverly Hills or transfer to their district-of-residence over the summer.

This has lead to accusations of "emotional abuse" as such.
Lawsuits? In California?

I was interviewed as a representative for the California Association of School Psychologists (CASP). My talking points were as follows:

1 - CASP has no formal position on the district's policy.

2 - A move may induce stress in the life of a student that transfers (ask anyone that has been the "new kid"). However, it is impossible to predict how a student will react to that stress.

3 - How the student responds to the transfer is mostly a function of that student's resiliency and mental health, support systems, and ability to establish connections at their new school. This is consistent with literature.

I found this interview interesting because:

A - It is my first interview in a long time that was not a direct result of one of my students dying in a tragic manner.

B - I suspect that most of the article was already written. I am interested to see how I will actually be portrayed. When this article is published, I want to compare and contrast my talking points with the article.

This is not an exercise in ego. Rather, I see it as a caution in reading mainstream media accounts of scientific research. I know what I said, so I will know what deviations were made. The greater the deviation, the greater the cynicism that I will have with media reports on scientific research.

However, this is where many people get their information.
How many of you read original studies cited by others?

On a more selfish note, I am very worried about becoming part of "They". You know "They" - as in "They said..." At work, I am already part of "They" AKA the "District Office". According to most parents and employees in my district, the District Office is not a building that houses dozens of different individuals. The District Office is a living organism that is responsible for all unsavory things that the district produces. Those familiar with this monster like to call it the "D-O". Invoking the name of the DO relieves any individual of any personal responsibility.
It is not my choice. The DO says...

Oh well, I digress.

Anyone want to make bets on how much hate mail I get?


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