In his most recent blog post for the Campaign for America’s Future, Jeff Bryant focuses on troubling trends in what is passing for education reform, including “school discipline policies gone wild.” Bryant writes that “school poverty, punishment and teacher experience are combining to create prison-like apartheid schools that condemn young people to low education attainment and greater risk of dropping through the cracks.” He adds “government defunding” as another troubling trend that is sweeping the nation and cause for concern for all who want to see the country restore itself as a world-class leader in education.
Jeff Bryant's blog -- which we are reprinting here in part and including a link to the fuller text -- was originally published on Campaign for America’s Future website, OurFuture.org, at http://www.ourfuture.org
By Jeff Bryant
Ask yourself if this is the type of school you'd like for your son or daughter:
* At one charter school, an array of 48 "infractions"-- such as "Lying/falsehood” and "Sleeping in class" -- will get students suspended or expelled.
* At another charter, students and parents are warned that "cutting class, school, detention and related mandatory school events can lead to suspension or expulsion. Other offenses that warrant out-of-class dismissal include possession of electronics and printed text deemed vulgar or profane … items confiscated can be held by the school permanently, irrespective of costs and fees."
* Another threatens parents that "a child with 12 unexcused absences for the year can lead to the school reporting the parent to the Louisiana Department of Social Services."
* And one more, a KIPP charter school, mandates that "five or more instances of the student being tardy or absent can result in a $250 fine, an official police report, a summons to perform 25 hours of community service by the parent, guardian or child or permanent removal from the school."
These examples of school discipline policies gone wild are from a stunning new article in The American Independent. Reporter Mikhail Zinshteyn explains how three trends -- student poverty, punishment, and teacher experience -- are combining to create prison-like apartheid schools that condemn young people to low education attainment and greater risk of dropping through the cracks.
What's even more disturbing, however, is to see how this trend for New Orleans schools is being writ large across the nation.