If student A’s fist ‘impacts’ student B, they don’t need ‘to dialogue.’ Student A needs to be disciplined.
Eighth-graders in a Queens, N.Y., public elementary school recently organized a “fight club” for first-graders, beating up those who wouldn’t participate. This disgraceful episode comes at a time when many across the country are engaging in a misguided campaign to diminish the school discipline needed to ensure a nurturing and productive learning environment.
Leading the pack is New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a disciplinary code due to take effect this month in the city’s district schools. The code is full of edu-babble. For example, the code promotes “restorative circles.” What is that? It’s a “community process for supporting those in conflict [that] brings together the three parties to a conflict—those who have acted, those directly impacted and the wider community—within an intentional systemic context, to dialogue as equals.”
This is nonsense. If student A “impacts” student B with a fist, they shouldn’t “dialogue as equals.” Student A should be disciplined.
“Collaborative problem solving” is another strategy. Teachers “articulate the adults’ concerns about the behavior and engage the student in a collaborative process,” the code explains, to “decide upon a plan of action” that is “mutually acceptable to both.”
New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioPHOTO:BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS
You read that correctly. Teachers’ views on proper conduct are mere “concerns” that must be explained, and students get to decide what resolution is “acceptable” to them.
The new disciplinary code also undermines principals. Under the old code, they could give out-of-school suspensions of up to five days; only a superintendent could impose longer suspensions. Under the new code, a principal can only impose a pretend suspension in which the student receives “alternative instruction” at school. Previously such instruction would be provided at an alternative location, which is preferable.
Suspensions convey the critical message to students and parents that certain behavior is inconsistent with being a member of the school community. Pretend suspensions, in which a student is allowed to remain in the school community, do not convey that message. Many students actually feed off the attention they get for misbehaving. Keeping these students in school encourages that misbehavior.
Proponents of lax discipline claim it would benefit minority students, who are suspended at higher rates than their white peers. But minority students are also the most likely to suffer the adverse consequences of lax discipline—that is, their education is disrupted by a chaotic school environment or by violence.
This is a real concern. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 4% of New York City high-school students carry a weapon to school; 2% carry a gun. Thus, in a high school of 3,000 students, 60 may carry weapons, posing an enormous risk to their classmates.
Last year at Success Academy Charter Schools, which I founded in New York City in 2006, we suspended 11% of the 7,000 students in our 22 schools, a rate higher than the 4% average for the city’s district schools. Yet strict discipline has not dissuaded parents. This year there were more than 20,000 student applications for 2,688 spots. Most of the Eva Moskowitz: Turning Schools Into Fight Clubs - WSJ:
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2015 National Conference – Chicago
The Countdown to Chicago Has Begun!
The Network For Public Education | 2015 National Conference – Chicago