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Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs

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    Charter schools don’t suspend more students than nearby district schools, according to Nat Malkus, an American Enterprise Institute research fellow writing on RealClearEducation. “Charters have come under increasing fire in the media for their alleged disproportionately harsh discipline practices,” he writes. “A widely cited report by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA finding that […]

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    Better teaching can improve student behavior and close the racial discipline gap, suggests a new study published in School Psychology Review.  Virginia middle and high school teachers who received coaching in improving instruction referred fewer students for discipline: Blacks were no more likely to be referred than other students. The “teacher coaching did not explicitly focus […]

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    Credit: Seth Tobocman The case against suspensions is unproven, argues Max Eden, a senior fellow of education policy at the Manhattan Institute, who’s guest-blogging for Rick Hess. The attack on suspensions, writes Eden, rests on three assertions: “Disparate impact of school suspensions is evidence that they are racially motivated; (2) Suspensions do significant harm to […]

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    “Disturbing a school” or acting “in an obnoxious manner” is a crime in South Carolina, but the law is unconstitutionally vague, charges the ACLU. Thousands of students — disproportionately African-American — have faced charges, says the civil rights group. The ACLU is challenging the law on behalf of Niya Kenny, who was arrested last fall […]

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    “The demise of school reform has been greatly exaggerated,” concludes Education Next in reporting on its survey of 10-year trends in education opinion. “Public support remains as high as ever for federally mandated testing, charter schools, tax credits to support private school choice, merit pay for teachers, and teacher tenure reform,” the survey found. “However, backing […]

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    Replacing suspension with “restorative justice” circles is “effective but exhausting,” concludes Susan Dominus in the New York Times Magazine. Students and teachers “strengthen connections and heal rifts” by discussing their reaction to an incident, she writes. In Denver and Oakland, schools have lowered suspension rates, improved graduation rates and improved the school atmosphere, she writes. […]

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    Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City has made it much harder for principals to suspend students for defiance and disobedience, writes Stephen Eide in a look at the progressive mayor’s education policies. Believers in the “school-to-prison pipeline,” progressives nationwide are trying to limit suspensions, he writes in Education Next. “While below-proficient students are […]

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    To replace inflexible zero-tolerance policies, schools are adopting inflexible “no student removal” policies, writes Richard Ullman a high school teacher in Allegany County, New York, in an Education Week commentary. Keeping “dangerous and defiant students” in the classroom makes it difficult for teachers to teach and students to learn, he argues. If Johnny can’t read […]

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    Black preschoolers are far more likely to be suspended, according to federal data, mirroring the harsher discipline they’re likely to experience in K-12 schools. A new Yale study concluded that white and black preschool teachers expect trouble from black boys, reports Melinda D. Anderson in The Atlantic. However, white teachers tended to go easy on black […]

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    Many schools are reducing out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, but it’s not clear how discipline alternatives affect school safety, according to a study reported in Education Next. One of the only programs supported by strong research is Schoolwide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, authors write. “The approach aims to change school culture by setting clear behavioral […]

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    Schools are swinging from “zero tolerance” to softer let’s-try-to-reason-with-’em approaches,” reports the New York Times. “School safety did not improve” when zero tolerance led to more arrests, suspensions and expulsions, Steven C. Teske, a juvenile court judge in Georgia, told a Senate subcommittee in 2012. If anything, juvenile crime increased, the judge testified. “These kids lost […]

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  • 11/11/16--06:12: Trumpucation
  • Nobody really knows how a Trump presidency will affect education policy, but let’s speculate. Education Week interviews Trump education advisor Gerard Robinson, an American Enterprise Institute fellow and former state chief in Florida and Virginia, who says Trump may curb the Education Department’s civil rights office, impacting school-discipline disparities. Chickens will come home to roost, […]

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    School 27 is one of the Indianapolis schools given autonomy in a pilot program. Photo: Alan Petersime/Chalkbeat Given power over her school budget by Indianapolis Public Schools, Principal Tihesha Guthrie decided to increase class sizes to fund counselors and add 30 minutes to the school day, reports Chalkbeat. By adding five students per class, the […]

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    Maintaining order in the classroom was an issue in 1955, when Glenn Ford starred as a novice New York City teacher in Blackboard Jungle.  Under pressure to reduce racial disparities in suspensions and expulsions, schools are turning to “restorative justice” programs that encourage offenders to discuss their actions and make amends. Earlier this year, Indianapolis […]

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    Remember when a 13-year-old Albuquerque boy was arrested — taken in handcuffs to a juvenile detention center — for fake burping in P.E. class? His mother sued, but the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of the school district in July 2016. Judge Neil Gorsuch, now a nominee for the U.S. […]

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    Rescinding the joint 2014 “dear colleague” letter on school discipline should be a top priority for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, writes Checker Finn, Districts don’t have to obey the “guidance,” which doesn’t have the force of regulation. But they were threatened with federal investigation if their discipline practices had a “disparate impact” on minority or […]

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    Suspensions are down at New York City schools, but teachers and students report more disorder, disrespect, fighting, gang activity and drug and alcohol use, concludes School Discipline Reform and Disorder by Max Eden, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow. Eden relies on the district’s surveys, which ask teachers and students about learning conditions in their school. The […]

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    Orderly classrooms help disadvantaged students become achievers, writes Greg Ashman, who teaches in Australia. He cites an OECD working paper based on Programme for International Student Development (PISA) data. Researchers defined successful low-income students as “academically resilient.” . . .  the likelihood that disadvantaged students will be resilient is higher in schools where students report a good […]

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    Discipline reform may have contributed to the violence at Douglas High School, writes Erika Sanzi, who blogs on Good School Hunting, on Real Clear Education. . . . since 2013, schools have been under enormous pressure — for good reason — to lower their suspension, expulsion, and student arrest numbers. Broward County was part of […]

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  • 03/30/18--06:30: Safety last?
  • When he brought a knife to San Diego’s Lincoln High School, the student’s special education team decided he wasn’t responsible because it was “a manifestation of the lack of impulse control caused by his disability,” writes Mario Koran for Voices of San Diego. Two weeks later, the student used a knife to slash another boy’s […]

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