16 July 2010

“The Tipping Point”

If you have not heard of The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell you might have been hiding from the book world the last year or so.  Or maybe its because my husband stays up on new releases of books more than I do.  Perhaps he reads more books than me and if I read something, he’s tippingpointusually read it. (Unless it’s Band of Brothers or Understanding Poverty.)

Either way, I recently (finally) finished reading The Tipping Point.  Not that it is an incredibly slow read, it is more like I am a slow reader and I am more easily distracted than my husband when it comes to reading. 

I found The Tipping Point to be a very valuable read if you are any member of society…yes that is all of us.  I believe it definitely contributes to making governmental decisions, and in this country it is all our duty to be a part of making governmental decisions, (which includes voting and writing our representatives.)  It is not all about governmental policy but it does show theories of how things can influence society in different varieties, such as government, economy, etc.

The section of the book I really appreciated was the section regarding the “Broken Windows Theory” which explained the idea that if we do not do anything to correct and fix broken windows in our neighborhoods and cities, it sends a greater message that crime is not well  managed. 

The book itself addressed the effectiveness of the placement of the Broken Windows Theory to the rising crime rate in New York during the 1980’s.  The city of New York addressed what seemed like small issues such as fare hopping and graffiti on the NY subway system.  They made it priority to clean up the subway system and as a result, crime dropped drastically over the next few years.  Eventually, addressing these small issues seemed to influence the bigger crime issues such as homicide, lowering rates overall.

I feel this theory really is interesting to me because I feel like the Broken Windows Theory is not addressed in many schools today, and probably not in the school that I work in.  We try so hard to get these kids to graduate from high school and pass the dreaded TAKS test, but how can we get them to pass if they don’t bring a pencil to class to write with or come to school every day without an ID on?  Some people say those are just small problems and we need to pick our battles, but it does not seem that “picking our battles” seems to really work.  Discipline forms still flood our principals’ offices, and we often start school with less than half our kids present, and we still have no Parent/Teacher association, (that’s right, no parents involved.)  It makes me wonder, if we started truly enforcing the consequences of tardiness, lack of wearing identification, coming to school in dress code, and addressing absences, would it overall affect our discipline problems and in turn improve our graduation rates?  Or, how about not just worrying about graduation rates but about the quality of education we are offering these children overall? 

There are so many children who are not taught to respect the rules at home and not taught to use words of respect for authority that it becomes a great challenge at school.  We have to do what we can to manage, and it seems our current system of picking our battles does not seem to be working.  Maybe it is time for a change. 

I know this post was not photography related, but it has to do with life.  Photography captures glimpses of life. I want the photography from my life to be pleasant glimpses and not those leading into despair.

‘Till Next Time

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