little bit safe and knowing the routine and they were to the point where they were going to start dealing with some things that matter to them. And that's when it was all stopped [by Gerald].... I still think it's because he had that close relationship in the summer. And that he couldn't separate himself, he couldn't abide. Because he had trouble enough with it the year before, but we successfully kept him out of our hair. Because he never really had his foot all the way in with the kids. That made it hard. Makes it very difficult.
Louise is arguing that Gerald feels a certain ownership of the kids' loyalty that he develops during the summer. She believes that he terminated her counseling because it competed with his special relationship with these young people. The salient point is that the curriculum in practice in this area (as in the others) departs significantly from the formal curriculum. Counseling, like job-trailing and OSRP classroom experiences, is an element of programming that fails to live up to images outlined in the formal curriculum.
OSRP, then, is a program that the state endorses as a success, and yet fails to accomplish its central goals. This chapter has identified some of the factors that may be responsible for this program's failure, including lack of staff time (possibly related to inadequate funding), ambiguous job-trailing organization, weak written curriculum, and special events that do not truly engage students. In chapter 1, I outlined a perspective of compensatory education that argues that many of these programs have the potential to succeed if enough planning and resources are poured into them. Some readers might agree with that perspective, arguing that Gerald and his staff have made tactical mistakes, that if corrected, would likely turn OSRP into a success. Some might blame the personal outlook of individual staff members for program weaknesses. Further, some might argue that increased funding would make a positive contribution to OSRP outcomes.
However, in subsequent chapters, it will become evident that OSRP's inability to realize its goals is more related to ideological and staff-student relational issues than to the above-mentioned elements. I found an underlying set of attitudes among staff members about the nature of the program that make its inability to fulfill its goals inevitable. I call that set of beliefs a "conservative ideology, of hope." Future chapters will explain the precise meaning of this set of ideas, and will show how it impacts upon OSRP curriculum in practice. Once some of the hidden underlying perspectives and practices within OSRP are better understood, it will be clear that superficial changes in programming or personnel are unlikely to produce positive outcomes.