Everything Counts.

January, 2015


Happy New Year! 



"You can jump into the fire but you'll never be free."
     Harry Nilson, 1974 

The Goal

There are many definitions of mental health, but I've always preferred Fromm's definition:


A mentally healthy person is "independent, responsible, able to work productively in the fashion demanded by society, and able to participate in the perpetuation of that society" (Fromm, 1941).


Projecting Fromm's definition to students in schools...

A mentally healthy student is (or is productively working toward becoming) "independent, responsible, able to work productively in the fashion demanded by society/school, and able to participate in the perpetuation of that society/school."


So what about mental illness? Everyone seems to think they can recognize it when they see it, whatever it is. True behaviorists and reciprocal-determinists reject (or at least de-emphasize) the concept of mental illness.  Just say no to mental illness!

Everything Counts

Reciprocal Determinism (Bandura, 1986) examines the whole human as s/he functions within the environment. This model accounts for [everything] cognitions (T = Thinking), emotions (F = Feelings), behaviors (D = Doing), the environment (E = Environment), and the complex interactions between and amongst them all. Reciprocal Determinism (null hypothesis is reciprocal indeterminism) is contrasted with the behavioral model, which accounts for one targeted behavior occurring within an environment, ignores the human, and merely manipulates the environment in their reductionistic and overly-simplified S-R model.


Which Model Do You Prefer?

Educational Model (1st Line):  Student is struggling with reading (A) - reading instruction (B) is provided.


Labeling Model (2nd Line):  Student is struggling with reading (A) - reading instruction (B) is provided - school calls the student a horrible name (C).


You have an important choice.  Stop the School-To-Mental Health and the School-To-Prison Pipelines!  XP advocates for an empowering and noncategorical educational model.

Do You Want Real Research Or Not?

Everyone wants research, research, research! Everything has to be research-based and data-based the behaviorists say. But schools still develop and use "hot lists" based merely on test scores, developed by the vice principal on the Thursday afternoon before the first day of school. That seems to be their current vision of RtI: a three-tiered intervention process that usually means three meetings need to be held before the poor kid is shipped out to a special education class. I completed this research in 1993. It utilized teacher perceptions (phenomenology) to identify students "at risk" and envisioned a three-tiered system from prevention to intervention to postvention. This research appears to have been twenty years ahead of it's time, incorporating both universal screening and progress monitoring (and real research). It looks like maybe I invented RtI (if so, sorry). Maybe now it's time for you to take a look at it, especially as your current RtI system continues to flounder. It seems many educational decisions are made based on politics, money, or power, but if you do instead want real research, go to the Documents Page and download the PDF document (11.5 MB) for free! Contact me if I can help your district implement an effective, research-based, system to help humans.

"If" Is A BIG Word...

It's always been a given that the end result of school for thousands of students every year is prison.  The School-to-Prison Pipeline is a reality for males in particular and minorities in general.  There is plenty of research backing that statement and PBIS is trying to address this modern-day tragedy by encouragiing more positive and supportive school climates and social interactions by the adults who work in the schools.  You know how I feel about the behaviorists coming into a district like a bull-in-a-china-shop but in this case, I'm okay with it.

I think less glaring, staring, threatening, yelling, screaming, suspensions, expulsions, quiet tables, evil eyes, sad faces, exclusions, and punishments in general is a good thing.  A kid shouldn't have to end up in the pen just because he doesn't like his teacher or homework.

PBIS is  start and AB 420 (which officially becomes law on January 1st, 2015) puts an official stamp on it.  Yet schools seemingly have a long way to go.  Adults treating students with respect and dignity would be a great start toward necessary changes but I'm speaking as a humanist (so that'll never work).  There are risks to PBIS:  at the present, one of the behaviorists' primary recommendations for positive interventions seems to be "counseling," so instead of going to the vice principal's office for a a referral (and continuing down the path to prison), the student will instead be sent to the counselor or school psychologist* setting him down the School-To-Mental Health Pipeline (Asbridge, 2014). "We're not gonna suspend you for talking back to your teacher but you must be crazy so we're sending you to the shrink instead."  In the long run, there are pros and cons to every approach and legislation, but PBIS and AB 420 seem to be well-intentioned.

Ultimately, maybe if more humans just treated each other with respect and dignity (yes, I know I'm looking at the world through rose-colored glasses), things might be, um, better?  If children could just go to school for an education rather than a prison term or a mental health diagnosis...


*Source (Seth Bramble, California Teachers Association Legislative Advocate) re: alternatives to suspension and expulsion outlined in current law: "Paraphrasing EC48900.5 - other means of correction include, not limited to (1) a conference with parents and student (2) referrals to the school counselor, psychologist, social worker, etc. (3) study teams, guidance teams, resource panel teams, etc. (4) referral for a comprehensive psychological or psycho educational assessment, including for purposes of creating an IEP or 504 plan (5) Enrollment in a program for teaching pro-social or anger management (6) participation in a restorative justice program (7) positive behavior support approach with tiered interventions that occur during the school day on campus (8) after school programs (9) community service."

NEW Resource For Schools & Districts

All it would take is a little vision, understanding, and courage by the right person in the correct zeitgeist... Maybe that person is you? Download and check out XP's FREE Parent Letter (40 KB) on the Documents Page to see how easy ARWOL ([Asbridge's Version of] Rights Without Labels) could be. We spend a lot of time and taxpayer's money trying to find valid methods to diagnose an invalid construct.

Who's Watching The School Boards?


You thought school boards spent most of their time addressing educational issues? You might want to check out the NSBA's political agenda.  It's ironic that the small-time Republicans are fighting the big time Republicans for, you guessed it, control (local vs. federal).  Who do you want controlling you? I've always advocated for local control but by that I always meant professional freedom.  But forget that!  If you work in education you'll always have some Republican looking over your shoulder controlling everything you do.

A Big XP Welcome to AB 420!

AB 420

(XP Blog, Saturday, January 3rd, 2015)  Effective as of January 1st, 2015, AB 420, Section 48900 of the California Education Code is amended to read:  "A pupil shall not be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion, unless the superintendent of the school district or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has... more"

It looks like no one will be suspended or expelled unless the superintendent or principal gets really mad at the student.  So nothing is really changing with AB 420.

XP's Opinion

Moved from XP Sports on January 9th., 2015

Video: The State Of Sports Betting (James Surowiecki, Posted by The New Yorker)


Online Sports Wagering Should Become Legal in the USA

For many reasons, XP feels online sports wagering should be legalized and regulated in the USA.  Why does everyone else in the world get to wager online, but you and I can't?  Why is gambling on Bingo and Fantasy okay but gambling on sports isn't?  Who is it that keeps protecting us from ourselves and why?

I'm not going to write a million words trying to persuade you; you know how I feel.  As always, you can make up your own mind.  I'm guessing you already have made up your mind:  it seems apparent that the vast majority of Americans want online sports wagering legalized, but we're, um, only allowed to play Bingo. 

You can continue to rest assured that someone much more powerful than you has once again protected you from yourself, so not to worry, everything will be okay. 

Everything is, I guess. 

Right Now

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