Monday, May 12, 2008

Discipline's cost

Tens of thousands of students are being suspended in Maryland for relatively minor infractions each year, the result of zero-tolerance discipline policies that critics say are harming some of the most vulnerable children.

One in 11 students in the state was suspended last year - enough to fill every seat in Anne Arundel County's public schools. The rates were much higher for African-Americans, special-education students and boys - who were twice as likely as girls to be sent home.

"What we see is that suspension and expulsion are overused and actually push kids who need education the most out of school," said Jane Sundius at the Open Society Institute, a nonprofit that has studied suspensions and expulsions in Baltimore schools .

The rate of suspensions in Maryland has risen over the past 15 years, as school systems responded with stricter discipline codes to rising violence in their communities and the fear fanned by the shooting deaths at Columbine High School in 1999. Many administrators believe a no-nonsense approach to misbehavior is needed to keep schools safe and ensure a good environment for learning.

Read more HERE


Anonymous said...

I attended a recent music concert put on by a CCBOE school.
The students in the performance showed a major lack of respect for themselves, the audience, and absolutely no professionalism during the performance.

Three years ago and before that, the students were much more well behaved, took the concert more seriously, and showed up to fulfill their responsibility as performers to not let the other performers down.
Half or more of these kids don't even have parents. Why are we allowing these kids into our schools? It's destroying the schools for the good students. The students that want to learn. They students that want to go to college.

Can the administrators grow some backbone and get these miscreants the heck out of our schools?
They are much better out on the streets and not in our schools, corrupting the good students, disrespecting our teachers, causing very poor working conditions for our teachers, forcing them to leave, and destroying the instruction for the good students?

Get 'em out!

Anonymous said...

I say hats off to the school system. So what if the kids are black, girls, boys or gender neutral. Who cares if their skin is purple, or if they have human or alien blood flowing through their veins. How many short redheads were suspended vs. tall blonds? Who cares? If they need to be suspended, kick them out and let mommy deal with them! That kid is NOT the school's problem, he or she is the PARENT's problem. Too often good kids face extremely harsh consequences for an offense that has a rational explanation. But since it is an "offense" the insane zero tolerance hammer falls. But these same jellyfish spined administrators will take the class thug and give him or her in school suspension. Big whoop! Zero tolerance means no common sense. When that happens thugs rule the school and otherwise good children that made one poor or unintended decision suffer severe consequences. Utter stupidity! It's just sad that our kids have to reap the problems that administrators sow.

Anonymous said...

The "zero tolerance" rules have gotten WAY out of hand. My Catholic all girls high school disciplinary policies pale in comparison to the intolerance of today's school environment. We expect near perfect behavior in our kids for 6.5 hours a day, 5 days a week, yet adults are not held to that same standard. A VP who berated my son for throwing a piece of paper at another kid (and gave him ISR), 3 weeks prior got a speeding ticket bordering on reckless driving (81 mph). Held to the same yardstick, this VP should have had his Driver's License suspended and removed from school because what sort of example is he setting for all these new young drivers??? But no, he got a fine...and at 30-something, I'm assuming he has a fully developed frontal lobe to manage impulsivity...
While we can't let kids run wild in the hall shouting expletives, the expectations that are being set with today's policies demonstrate no understanding of the psychological development of pre-teens and teens. As institutions that professes educational expertise, our middle and high school teachers and administrators have an appalling lack of understanding of what motivates pre-teens and teens. Teaching MUST apply to the heart and mind - they are connected. The most effective teachers, counselors, and administrators get it. Unfortunately there are enough of them in our schools. It's become volume control. Where's does celebration of uniqueness and individuality come into play?
It applies to temperament as well as academic talent. Impulsivity at this age is the nature of the 13-16 year old. It doesn't make kids bad and it shouldn't always result in punishment. Respect works both ways. Educators should be held accountable for THEIR behavior as well. They are not teaching robots - they are teaching works in progress. As a society, we will pay for this lack of understanding and tolerance way beyond high school. Most kids DO want to succeed - it's up to the adults to TEACH them how, not beat them into submission. Parents AND teachers. The schools are not there to only teach to the upper 10% of the bell curve.