Monday, October 02, 2017

State Wants to Know Your Thoughts On School Discipline

From the Times via The Olympian:
In a series of proposed new policies to make school discipline fairer, the state’s education department has spelled out several guiding values. Parents, students and teachers will have a chance to weigh in at four public hearings over the next two months.

The proposed updates come in response to a new state law and mounting evidence that black students and those with disabilities are suspended and expelled at rates that far outstrip any other group — even for similar infractions.
Among the new rules:
  • No student can be suspended for being late or skipping classes.
  • No child younger than fifth grade can be expelled (except for those who bring firearms to school).
  • Any student who is suspended, even short-term, must receive schoolwork, a chance to make up assignments and academic help, if needed, while at home.
  • During any long-term suspension or expulsion, schools must work with the student’s family to create a tailored plan for returning that’s culturally sensitive.
  • Every district must track the race, economic and disability status of disciplined students, including those sent to in-school suspension rooms.
Many districts already have incorporated these policies, but not without some difficulties. In Highline, dozens of teachers resigned at the end of the 2015-16 school year, many complaining of chaotic classrooms that resulted from principals’ increasing reluctance to issue suspensions. Yet, the teachers said, administrators didn’t adequately address classroom disruption in other ways.
To much of this I would say, I understand the teachers' frustration.  Okay, what CAN they do?  If you have a student who is habitually late, can you lower their grade?  Is there enough room and staff to have in-school suspensions that work?

I understand about not taking a student out of the school because kids need to be in school to learn but if a student - on their own volition - is not in class, he or she isn't learning.  It goes both ways.

I absolutely agree that districts must track socio-economic data on students that they discipline.

Then there is this:
Discipline is “a tough and complicated issue,” acknowledged Rich Wood, a spokesman for the Washington Education Association. But the teachers union does endorse the thrust of these new policies, he said. In fact, they’d like to see “social justice being the primary goal.”

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/latest-news/article176125036.html#storylink=cpy
I'm confused - the primary goal of discipline is social justice?  I'm thinking Mr. Wood meant that in creating rules about discipline that social justice should be the primary driver but discipline rules are created in order for students and parents to understand how their school functions in order to provide safe, accessible instruction for all.

Hearings on discipline rules
Oct. 17, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Educational Service District 101, Classroom 1, 4202 S. Regal St., Spokane
Oct. 30, 3-6 p.m.
Educational Service District 105, Klickitat Room, 33 S. Second Ave., Yakima
Nov. 7, 1-5 p.m.
Educational Service District 121, Cedar/Duwamish Room, 800 Oakesdale Ave., Renton
Nov. 13, 1-4 p.m.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Brouillet Room, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia

Our region's opportunity to weigh it looks to be November 7 in Renton. 

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/latest-news/article176125036.html#storylink=cp

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/latest-news/article176125036.html#rylink

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/latenews/article176125036.html#st


Anonymous said...

My concerns on the need for discipline mirrors the complaints from teachers in Highline: keeping all kids safe and having an environment that allows learning. No one can learn in a chaotic environment.

I'm not so worried about kids who are tardy or skip classes. That's harms their own education and can be frustrating for the teacher, but doesn't keep other kids from learning.

However, if kids act out violently in school, it creates an environment where no one can learn. When articles on discipline don't mention these issues, they're missing the most important real-life problems.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I think that's the issue for teachers - okay, what can we do to help these kids decide to follow the rules of the classroom.

NNE Mom said...

There are two separate issues:
1. Discipline being handed out unfairly
2. Situations that prevent all the students in the class from learning anything

If a student's behavior is preventing other students from being safe at school and being able to learn there, something needs to be done. On the other hand, the evidence is quite clear that discipline decisions are not being made fairly.

How to fix both issues?

Anonymous said...

Any student who is suspended, even short-term, must receive schoolwork, a chance to make up assignments and academic help, if needed, while at home.

If I were a teen with a long commute, I might think about doing something that earned me a few "work from home" days!


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