Are minority and poor kids disciplined more harshly in Georgia schools?

Does it make sense to pull kids out of class to punish them? (AJC file)

Does it make sense to pull kids out of class to punish them? (AJC file)

One of the most volatile topics on this blog is school discipline and whether there’s too much of it, too little and whether it’s applied equitably and sensibly.

The Georgia Appleseed Center for Law & Justice released a report Wednesday called “Effective Student Discipline: Keeping Kids in Class.”

The study examined state Department of Education discipline data and interviewed 200 people to see how discipline is used, particularly out of school suspension (OSS) in Georgia schools. Confirming other research, the study found that African-American students, poor kids and children with learning disabilities are more likely to be disciplined.

Some of you will respond that the higher rate of discipline and suspensions mirrors higher rates of infractions. But major studies suggest that offenses by minority kids are treated more harshly.

“And Justice for Some, ” a 2000 study by the U.S. Justice Department and six major research foundations, reviewed all phases of the nation’s juvenile justice system — from arrest to sentencing — and found that minority youth face more severe treatment at virtually every turn. The national data reveal a system in which children can expect to endure harsher outcomes if they’re black or Latino.

For example, African-American children with no previous time in a juvenile facility are locked up at six times the rate of white kids charged with similar offenses. Looking only at drug cases, the admission rate of black kids to juvenile detention centers is 48 times the rate for whites. The gap continues once kids are jailed. African-American children are incarcerated an average of 85 days longer than white youth, and Latinos are incarcerated an average of more than 140 days longer than white youth.

What has always amazed me is the difference among teachers in discipline referrals. There are teachers who hardly refer any students in their class. But that same group of kids can cross the hall and prove overwhelming for another teacher.

According to the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law & Justice report:

While there is great variability among districts and schools, in some Georgia districts OSS is imposed on more than 20 percent of the school population annually and in some individual schools may affect up to 40 percent of students. Most such suspensions are for non-violent offenses.  In relation to other populations, African American students are three times more likely to receive out of school suspension.  Not surprisingly, schools with high OSS rates tend to have lower than average graduation rates.

Effectively maintaining a safe learning environment while upholding each student’s right to a reasonable opportunity to graduate is a challenge facing public school administrators and teachers every day.  Integration of “positive behavior support,” a pro-active school wide approach to discipline, has worked for many schools. Rob Rhodes, Georgia Appleseed Director of Legal Affairs and the author of the report explains, “We observed success stories where commitment to a comprehensive school climate program that reinforces and integrates positive student behavior into the curriculum can be an effective way to attack the graduation rate problem. After all, the point is not to keep kids in school for the purpose of failing them out at the end of the process. The goal is to keep them in school and on the path of the “school to success pipeline.”

Among the findings:

● In school year 2009-10, 8.1 percent of students in Georgia’s k-12 public school system received at least one out of school suspension (”OSS”) disciplinary action. This reflects an overall reduction from the 9.3 to 9.5% rate experienced in the first five years of the period under review.

● During the most recent school year for which credible national data are available (2005-06), Georgia ranked tenth highest among all states and the District of Columbia in the rate of OSS discipline.

●Use of exclusionary discipline is highly variable among the school districts in Georgia. In some districts, its use is rare. Other school districts consistently impose OSS on more than 20 percent of the school population annually. In some individual schools, the percentage of OSS actions can affect up to 40 percent of the students per year.

● OSS rates and graduation rates are negatively correlated. That is, schools with relatively high OSS rates tend to have lower than average graduation rates. For example, in chool Year 2009-10, the cohort of schools with the highest OSS rates for the seven year period that we analyzed had an average graduation rate of 74.8 percent. This was six
points lower than the reported state average graduation rate of 80.8 percent. It was also almost 15 percentage points lower than the average reported graduation rate (i.e., 89.4 percent) of the group of school districts with the lowest OSS rates during the same period.

● The vast majority of OSS actions were taken for nonviolent actions. For example, in School Year 2009-10, 69 percent of the OSS actions were imposed for such behavior. A very substantial percentage of the incidents were not described with specificity but were categorized as “other discipline incident.”

● Male students received two-thirds of the OSS actions and three-quarters of the expulsions during the period under review.

● African-American students were consistently more than three times as likely to receive an OSS than students of other racial classifications. This is a state-wide phenomenon with more than 90 percent of all school districts regularly reporting OSS data suggesting potential disproportional use of this disciplinary action. Poor African-Americans were markedly more likely to receive OSS than more affluent African American students.

● Other student subgroups may also be disproportionately subjected to OSS discipline:
▪ Students eligible to participate in the free or reduced meal payment program (a status often used as a surrogate for children in poverty) and English Language Learner students were subject to OSS discipline at a rate more than twice as high as students who were not in these subgroups.
▪ Special Needs Students received OSS at a rate slightly higher than 1.5 times the rate experienced by General Education students.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

155 comments Add your comment

Peter Smagorinsky

June 16th, 2011
6:01 am

Thanks to Maureen for continuing to invite discussion on some very challenging topics.

David Sims

June 16th, 2011
6:09 am

Maureen, there probably isn’t any racial unfairness in the administration of the punishments. What’s going on is a predetermined rise in the severity of the punishment in response to repeated perpetration of the same crime by the same offender. That’s normal.

A person doesn’t get the “maximum sentence” on his first offense, usually. He might even get off with a warning. But on the 2nd offense, he gets hammered. If that doesn’t correct the offender, who goes on to commit a 3rd offense, then he gets hammered harder. And so on, until the death penalty or life without parole, should things go that far.

Although it might appear that a demographic group with a high per capita rate for crime perpetration is being singled out for unjustly harsh punitive measures, that’s probably not really how things are.

drew (former teacher)

June 16th, 2011
6:26 am

I couldn’t care less how the numbers break down…fact is, if a student is not capable of “doing school”, they NEED to be out of school, and I don’t care what their skin color is, or what their families income is. If they are disrupting the learning environment, they need to be OUT OF SCHOOL.

Simply doing away with the compulsory nature of schooling would go a long way towards ridding schools of those who have shown repeatedly that they have no interest in getting an education. The sooner we can get these kids out of school, the better our schools will be.

Enough with all the hand wringing over the “numbers”. Those who obviously have no interest in obtaining an education have no place in our schools. We have other institutions to accomodate them.

WillieV

June 16th, 2011
6:43 am

@drew (former teacher) – I’m sure glad you are a former teacher!

Time4change

June 16th, 2011
7:02 am

My understanding is that part of a principal’s evaluation is based on the number of students in ISS and OSS. They are viewed negatively with a high number. As a teacher, I feel that if the number is extremely low, administrators are not doing their job in my school where I know there are many referrals. I need to have consequences for inappropriate actions. Maureen, do you know anything about these ideas?

teacher&mom

June 16th, 2011
7:12 am

Several years ago, I had to opportunity to listen to Ruby Payne. I bought her books and applied her suggestions to my classroom….using an adult voice, not a parent voice….building mutual relationships, taking the time time to look at the “why” behind behavior.

It worked.

There is an old saying that goes around the school…90% of all discipline referrals come from 10% of the teachers.

edteach

June 16th, 2011
7:42 am

There are students that are allowed to be display continous disruptive conduct because there are not any positive or negative consequences enforced by the administrators. It is completely unfair to the students who are there to be educated in a safe, conducive to learning environment.negative behaviors are reinforced constantly by staff members that are tired of the lack of support from administration. Society does not accept these behaivors, when these students become legally accountable for their actions, so why is the school system not preparing our children for the “real world”? As we teach these kids that negative behaviors are excusable and acceptable, we are failing our future adults.

Dr. Monica Henson

June 16th, 2011
7:42 am

Maureen, the simple answer to your question is “yes,” and the data supports it. The bigger question is “Why?” drew (former teacher)’s attitude is surprisingly prevalent among currently practicing teachers, particularly at themiddle and high school levels. This kind of thinking also accounts for the perspective that special education, English language learning, and other (more challenging to teach) students should be pulled out of the mainstream and taught by specialists rather than general educators. One way to help teachers modify this thinking is to provide them with specific training and support in how to teach ALL the students, not just those who are easy to teach because they bring the advantages of affluence and strong parental support. Public schools are supposed to be learning institutions for children, not employment agencies designed for the comfort of adults. Most teachers are themselves products of the middle class and are not well-prepared for the challenges presented by children of poverty and chaotic homes. The answer is not to remove the difficult children, except in the most extreme cases (violence, for example), but to equip teachers to meet these challenges. Those who cannot (or will not) should reconsider their choice of profession, or seek employment in private school, higher education, or other venues where they can use their instructional skills for audiences that do not pose the kinds of challenges that some public school students present.

Jerry Eads

June 16th, 2011
7:47 am

It’s been 4-5 years since I reviewed the research on this one, but the gist of it was that to some extent both white and black teachers tended to discipline black male students more readily than others. Agan, that was a TENDENCY, not a fact of life, and I don’t recall any of the studies being done in Georgia (not that that should matter). Some of the research noted that cultural differences sometimes affected white female teachers’ response to black male students’ transgressions, and that training on the matter helped the teachers understand the cultural issues, reducing discipline problems.

I also remember that the research pretty much reflected the “lore” cited above, which shows that the universities do a rotten job of helping teachers with classroom management issues during their preparation, and that, OF COURSE some teachers are better at it than others.

Worst, and this comes also from my own work, is that teachers very clearly see HUGE variation across schools in the willingness of administrators to help them with tough discipline problems. If you have one kid who disrupts a class all the time, either the teacher has to spend her time with that problem instead of teaching the rest, unless the administration helps – perhaps by removing that student from the class. Where administration has the competence to support teaching – rather than low discipline counts – learning happens. It seems likely that this is one of the “achievement gap” problems between upper and lower income schools. Years ago I remember suffering a phenomenally stupid meeting at the Dept of Ed in which the clearly clueless DOE staff (who supposedly had experience in public schools) saw absolutely no consequence to collecting discipline data from schools and reporting those data – lower counts being “better.” I can only hope those individuals are no longer there, and, even more importantly, NOT back in our schools.

Jerry Eads

June 16th, 2011
7:57 am

Speaking of validity issues in research (well, okay, we weren’t) – I didn’t see any discussion about the disposition of administrators in REPORTING incidents, nor in the vast differences in either (a) teachers’ capacity for classroom management or (b) administrators’ willingness to support teachers when necessary. It’s always very dangerous when “think tanks” take data at face value. I’m not at all suggesting that their research is worthless – I haven’t reviewed their work yet. I AM suggesting that readers be VERY cautious in taking an unrefereed think tank report as unblemished truth.

www.honeyfern.org

June 16th, 2011
8:10 am

This has been the case for years, but the issues start prior to a student entering the school. We may not have separate water fountains or asylums for students with disabilities anymore, but the institutional underpinnings are still there. I still saw teachers speaking loudly and slowly to ESOL students (you know, because if you speak English more loudly and slowly they will understand). Some of these same students ended up in my gifted classes, even without speaking fluent English.

Agree with studying Ruby Payne to understand poverty better. It is an eye-opener.

really?

June 16th, 2011
8:12 am

that’s funny: most teachers i know are hesitant to write up black students because they don’t want any racial-profiling nonsense to even be considered. is it even remotely possible that black youths have a propensity for inappropriate behavior that directly leads to more discipline reports? nah, let’s blame something else as usual….

S. GA Teacher

June 16th, 2011
8:19 am

As a teacher and a teacher of the lower end of the spectrum (by choice I may add) I rarely have true discipline issues. 95% of my referrals come from infractions like tardies and cell phones. I cannot force a student to come to class on time, and when they are using their phones in class, I have to take them up. The majority of the tardies come from the students who drive to school, and those are the “better” kids by and large.
As far as the harsh discipline, I would surmise I have one to two a year. Harsh being defined as a fight, cussing, etc.

Doris M

June 16th, 2011
8:27 am

Yes they are and everyone knows it. It’s the same as in society. The poor and the minority always get the worst punishment. If you’re white or have money, then you’ll escape unscathed. Society chalks it up to immaturity and gives the “second chance” that the poor and minorities never get.

Fedup

June 16th, 2011
8:35 am

Right vs. Wrong is generally a lesson learned early in a young person’s life, and the individuals who are responsible for teaching this lesson are the parents. Basically, school disciplinary issues stem from a young person’s decision to make a poor choice – that would be wrong defeating right…very basic. After spending 34 years in public education as a teacher and administrator and working in urban and suburban settings, I am of the opinion that most students who frequently get into trouble at school also experienced poor parenting. Yes, there is a lot of poor parenting going on in suburbia, with wealthy parents who throw money at their kids rather than spending time with them, but the youngsters who come from homes where there may be one parent (usually the mother) who is also responsible for the financial support of a family that may include several children, the lesson is more related to survival vs. not than right vs. wrong…draw your own conclusions.

GrannyCares

June 16th, 2011
8:43 am

Well, the question might be, “Are they greater discipline problems?” The inference is that minority kids are being singled out. I do not buy that argument. Have seen a number of minority kids excel; they have self discipline and self respect (taught in the home); and then, I have seen just the opposite. Way too many of our minority kids are not supported, encouraged or provided needed childhood discipline in the home. It shows up in the school, and administrators have to take action. As an extension, just look at the prison population!

AlreadySheared

June 16th, 2011
8:46 am

hmm…

I wonder how racially disparate rates of OSS and expulsion compare to racially disparate rates of conviction and incarceration.

“I don’t think you’re seriously considered the fact that the problem JUST MAY BE EVERYONE ELSE!”

JF McNamara

June 16th, 2011
8:47 am

What? Black people are treated like Black people when they are young too? Who knew? They better get used to it, and get better.

For those making excuses about this, the data looks pretty solid. She used rates and not figures which answers most of those excuse makes anyway. This is not a problem to be explained. Its a problem to be solved.

old school doc

June 16th, 2011
8:49 am

Agree with “fed up”. Many kids today are poorly parented, no matter the SES level or race/ethnicity. I personally think that since 75% ( or whatever the number, shamefully) of AA kids are coming from homes with no father, these are the kids that may require tighter discipiline in other avenues.
Discipline, with love, may really impact these childrens’ lives. The problem comes in when the discipline is meted out unfairly or without caring, or without true consequences. Children can see exactly what’s going on and respond accordingly. Wasted potential, and it is a shame to see. If we teach kids early that there are consequences to their actions then they won’t likely be fools in their older years, when the consequences are much greater.

Dekalb Oldtimer

June 16th, 2011
8:51 am

Basic Principle of Research Stats:

Correlation does not mean causation !

Zane Smith's teeth

June 16th, 2011
8:51 am

@ Dr. Monica Henson:

Let me guess, you are no longer a classroom teacher. I’m guessing you got your doctorate in Educational Leadership or Curriculum and fled the classroom at the first opportunity. I agree in theory with some of what you say. However, you clearly have not been in a high school classroom in some time.

Dr. Who

June 16th, 2011
8:51 am

Make school voluntary! Drop the the age limit to graduate high school. Those families who do not keep their kids in school will create a worke that will eliminate the need for illegal immigrants. After all, only the school teaches kids get the awards and recognition in school.

AlreadySheared

June 16th, 2011
8:55 am

So I think we can safely put JF McNamara in the

“I don’t think you’re seriously considered the fact that the problem JUST MAY BE EVERYONE ELSE!”

club.

KJ's Mom

June 16th, 2011
8:58 am

I’m usually a lurker here, but wanted to agree with David Sims. This past school year my 7th grade son was suspended for the first time ever for 3 days during the LAST week of school. Why? Being a “boy” and throwing books with a couple of his knuckleheaded friends. They all agreed they got carried away and it was all in fun ~ until one kid got hit in the face and wanted to fight. They were all punished the same. BUT, when I spoke to the Principal I found out that my son was in a group of kids that were reprimanded on another occasion for “rough housing” at the wrong time. I had NO idea the incident even happened. The principal told ALL of them it was their first time being in trouble and it was just between her and them, but next time she wouldn’t be so nice. He and his friends were all lectured on safety and acting appropriately in school. True to her word, she wasn’t as nice the 2nd time around. Bravo for her! He spent his last 3 days of the school year doing DOUBLE the Math and Reading at home, cutting hedges, mowing lawns (ours and the neighbors), and my husband had him write an entire report on violence in schools… IN SPANISH! Now, his school is about 90% black so I can’t say if we are punished more harshly because there’s nothing to compare it to. But one of his compadres that was suspended with him… last name Rodriguez.

Maureen Downey

June 16th, 2011
9:07 am

To all,
Years ago, I wrote about corporal punishment in the home, including research about higher incidences of corporal punishment by African-American parents in the South. I interviewed some sociologists from the AU colleges who offered an interesting rationale: Historically, wrongdoing by black kids in the South could have fatal consequences.
These parents knew that if their kids spoke back to a cop in a small Southern town, the kids could face beatings and jailings that white kids would not. So, black parents felt that ensuring their kids behaved was critical; it was an effort to protect them from a society that imposed far more severe penalties on them for even minor wrongdoings. (As one of the academics noted, 14-year-old Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi after reportedly exchanging harmless banter with a white woman. The terrible and fatal attack on Emmett would create fear in any parent’s heart.)
I wonder if some of these well-founded historic concerns have spilled into school discipline.
Maureen

KJ's Mom

June 16th, 2011
9:07 am

GrannyCares: You sound like a granny who gets it. I agree with you 100%! Unfortunately, it’s not just evident in schools & prisons… watch during your trip to the grocery store, restaurants, malls, etc. The kids WITH hometraining are quite evident and those without it are… well, evident as well. The lady with the kool-aid colored hair behind me in Kroger a couple of days ago questioned me on making my kids divide the items in the basket while my son wrote out a check for me to sign for the part he “purchased” and my daughter used cash for the other items and I made her figure out the change while we stood in line. She said I was taking too long holding up the line and needed to do it “somewhere else”. My reply, “Perhaps you should try it instead of having yours run wild.” She starting getting loud and it took every ounce of composure I had to ignore her and not slap her with my package of bacon.

justbrowsing

June 16th, 2011
9:10 am

Disproportionality in suspensions may point towards how education is valued by the student. It is a travesty when impediments are created and caused by others- but at what point is the child responsible for coming in, closing their mouths, listening, and learning? Let’s not make excuses for those who flagrantly disrupt the learning environment. Rules are enforced to protect theirs and others right to learn and to be safe. When a student makes the personal choice to cede their right to learn, it does not mean that others must do the same; nor any of the affected “make room” for the BS they stir up when they give up that right.

Local School Leader

June 16th, 2011
9:11 am

The statistical data is not alarming. There has been a pattern of sensationalizing numbers and responding to the same. The fact of the matter is that non-practictioners have a tendency to theorize regarding cause and effect. The essence of school has been met with entitlement without accountability from all stakeholders, including students and parents. Our systems have embraced poor student conduct with lines of demarcation. This analysis of the data is one such example. The lack of “respect for a quality of life” and the “failure to exercise personal responsibility” has destroyed many school cultures. The Mayor of the City, the Governor of the State and the President of the United States must take an authentic stand on developing school cultures that will eliminate these concerns. Until then, we will look at the response to the problem, not the causes. Schools are not “junior correctional institutions”. However, they are Condmned for the failure to have all the solutions that keeps other students’ learning opportunities from being disrupted.

Involved Parent

June 16th, 2011
9:11 am

I’ve long suspected this with my own children. Even when I know for a fact that her teacher is not a racist, it seems like my brown child stands out and is disciplined more often than the fair skinned one even when the children are behaving equally. I suspect many will not want to admit this, but experience has shown there is some truth to it.

justbrowsing

June 16th, 2011
9:12 am

**nor should any of the affected “make room” for the BS they stir up when they give up that right.

KJ's Mom

June 16th, 2011
9:12 am

Dr. Who ~ do you realize what would happen to the crime rate, birth rate, welfare rolls, and jail system?? To think that these kids would opt to pick fruit instead of snatching purses and robbing stores for high-end weaves (in today’s paper!) is naive… or were you being sarcastic?

Incredulous

June 16th, 2011
9:12 am

It seems that the diploma mill psuedo doctors are weighing in on the need to qualify teachers based on whether they can “keep” a student in class whose behavior guarantees that they impede other students’ learning. THPPPPT! What hogwash. We have an undisplined society that refuses to take responsibility for it’s actions. There needs to be a statewide discipline plan that holds students, parents, administrators, and teachers accountable, in that order. Strict guidelines coupled with consistency and transparency would go a long way in shedding our need for fraudulent degrees and studies that only serve to line pockets.

Tony

June 16th, 2011
9:18 am

Here we go again. Throwing up statistics in a manner that leads people to a predetermined conclusion. The use of the term “disproportionate” with regard to the discipline issues might be appropriate for getting conversations started that lead to action to improve the outcomes for the kids, but the approach usually turns into an opportunity to beat schools and teachers over the head.

So, how do we have a conversation on the matters of student discipline and talk about ways to get kids to participate in class appropriately? What are the behaviors that lead to the disproportionate numbers of referrals in the first place? Why do these behaviors persist among certain groups of children such that there becomes disproportionate disciplinary actions? What should families and schools do to reduce the behaviors that lead to the referrals?

By focusing purely on the statistics, it is too easy to jump to the wrong conclusions about schools, their cultures, and students’ responses. The second thing that is problematic in reports like this is a lack of attention to the causes of the problem. In this case, inappropriate student behavior is the true concern.

Student discipline issues must become part of the discussion in school improvement and schools should be better supported in setting and maintaining high expectations for behavior. There are too many stories from teachers on the front lines about kids with behaviors that disrupt the learning of others. These are the kids who truly lose learning opportunities and the removal of disruptive students helps to bring order to classrooms for those kids who want to learn.

Instead of talking about these descriptive statistics and how horrible it is that teachers and schools kick kids out of classrooms, let’s talk about what the students’ responsibilities are and how to foster better behavior. Positive discipline strategies can be effective, but there will still have to be negative responses when dealing with student misbehavior.

Progressive Humanist

June 16th, 2011
9:21 am

It appears that all of this data is correlational, so by definition and in practice, we cannot draw causal inferences from it. But for the sake of debate, I’ll provide a few other variables that research has consistently shown to correlate: Students from lower socioeconomic levels are more likely to be more impulsive and to have behavioral problems at school, and minorities are disproportionately represented at those socioeconomic levels. Students in special education and boys also show higher incidences of impulsivity and behavioral problems. There is an inverse relationship between early language skills and impulsivity, meaning the more advanced students’ language skills are the less likely they are to be impulsive and vice versa. And which students are most likely to have poor initial language skills? Boys, students in special education, students from poverty, and minorities.

I don’t think it can be disputed that minorities (and I fall into that category) are disciplined at a higher rate, but we cannot pretend to draw causation on correlation alone. We cannot simply say, well, it’s because the system or the people in charge are biased. That’s not a sound conclusion based on the evidence. You are ignoring a broad range of other variables that certainly play into the equation.

Truth

June 16th, 2011
9:23 am

I wonder how many of these students come from homes without a father. This is a problem for all people groups.

Dekalb Oldtimer

June 16th, 2011
9:23 am

@ “Dr. Henson RE:

“The answer is not to remove the difficult children, except in the most extreme cases (violence, for example), but to equip teachers to meet these challenges.”

Sorry, Dr. H., but your statement above is just , well, just fallacious.

Perhaps you meant :”equip teachers to ENDURE/tolerate these challenges in silence.”

As far I can tell, from my very rewarding, successful, and relatively peaceful 32 years in teaching..[oops, that would be 30 because the 2 after NCLB arrived were nightmares, not because of any student misconduct, but due to ADULT incompetence.],
most teachers were very good at managing student behavior/misbehavior in the
classroom.

However, one should not be required to tolerate repeated and/or violent and/or disruptive conduct that takes teacher attention away from the primary task of teaching the class.

It is , in fact, an ADMINISTRATOR who decides the consequences of the behavior. It is only reported by a teacher. The administrator is the ” DECIDER ” as well as the one who assures consistency in application of the measure.

In addition, in every system, the consequences of such behavior is prescribed and described in detail in the discipline brochure signed by the student and usually the parent.

old teach

June 16th, 2011
9:24 am

Well said, Dekalb Oldtimer! We have to be very careful in interpreting data.

Gator

June 16th, 2011
9:25 am

KJ’s Mom, I would buy your bacon for you if you would let me watch you slap that woman with it.

DwayneL

June 16th, 2011
9:26 am

Schools need to bring back the paddle like when I was in school. These kids get away with way too much and don’t know what real discipline is today.

justbrowsing

June 16th, 2011
9:27 am

We are often criticized when we are tooooo strict- I watched the National Geographic Bee on yesterday and saw some of the most disciplined, and well prepared students compete. The winner of the Bee from about 10 years ago, a black male, is now an environmental researcher with 2 degrees from Ivy League schools. It is not a race issue at all- it is a discipline and values issue. Unfortunately, so many parents want A and B grades for students who sit at home and watch TV , play sports, listen to ipods, facebook, text, and Twitter all day- not ever lifting a finger to read or study for enjoyment anything intellectually stimulating.
To think we have the gall to believe these students have the capacity to compete with children across the world who dedicate hours on end towards improving him/herself intellectually.
We are so blind.
Please watch 2,000,000 minutes if you can.

Jacksmum

June 16th, 2011
9:28 am

This has less to do with the disciplinarians and more to do with lack of parental involvement, and lack of respect for authority by the offenders. It’s time to stop allowing the minority to overshadow the majority. Decisions about learning environments, public safety and government funding needs to be focused on the greater good for all, not quieting the disrespectful squeaky wheels.

Georgia

June 16th, 2011
9:31 am

My child goes to a public school in a predominantly white, working-class, middle-class neighborhood. The school is not very diverse – maybe 15-20% minorities and maybe 25% low income (if that – just guessing here). Given those stats, I will say that our experience is that the minorities and low income are rarely disciplined. If they are a bully or show disruptive behavior, the ‘victim’ child and parents are given a sad tale of how bad their home life is (one parent, divorce, etc…) So, to support one theory – there is a “why” to the behavior – but when your child is the one who has been bullied, then you do not really care about the ‘why’, you just want the disruptive kid to settle down or be removed from the school. How can a school or teacher be expected to fix what is wrong at home? I do think all children and all adults should be responsible for their actions – period! When excuses are made for bad behavior, then no one wins.

oh_please

June 16th, 2011
9:37 am

Yes, crying about the ancient Emmitt Till incident will do WONDERS for the underachieving fatherless black children of Georgia. Why not have a march, too?

stooge

June 16th, 2011
9:38 am

The numbers probably reflect the truth because certain groups cause most of the problems in school but no one wants to come out and say it..they CANT come out in say it, actually.

Dukester

June 16th, 2011
9:39 am

My thoughts are that the issue with education today is all cultural and a outdated educational system. Teachers are trying to compete with a face paced world. Cell phones, facebook, reality tv, computers, a overally sexual society, and just plain old rebellion. So you have a education system thats 50 years old, that your trying to fit in the minds of some of the smartest aggressive children in american history. 25 years ago you might have had a couple of fights, marijuanna but most children had more stable homes and we were not as exposed as these kids are today. They are coming to school as products of their homes and communities. You think they will become angels at school when they see hell at home.

joe

June 16th, 2011
9:41 am

Back in the day when I was in school, the disrupters, no matter their skin color, we dealt with accordingly. First, by the teachers. If the bad behavior continued, then it went to administration, where suspension or expulsion were possible scenarios. It didn’t matter one iota if they were rich, poor, black, brown, white or any other color. Time to stop being so darn PC all the time and deal with trouble makers accordingly. Also, if I was the one who got in trouble, my parents made darn sure it didn’t happen again by ‘tanning my hide.’ Today’s parents are not giving a hoot what their kids do…

Ron

June 16th, 2011
9:43 am

Simple. Do you want me to educate or parent? If I parent I am taking away from the other students in the class. As a parent I do not want the teacher to take away from my child’s education due to disruptions from another child.

lsmith

June 16th, 2011
9:44 am

There is a simple solution to this problem. Parents, regardless of your race or income level make education a top priority. Put education above all else. Sell it as the only way out of poverty. Sell education as the one thing people cannot steal or take away. Forget being a friend to your child and be a parent. If your child misbehaves let him/her know you will deal with it in a fierce way. If all parents committed to doing this we would not have problems in schools. We throw millions of dollars at the problem. Recently we have been obsessed with bullying in schools. If parents don’t take responsibility for allowing their children to post mean and obscene comments on phones and social media there is not a darn thing schools can do about it. Schools don’t buy phones or ipods, parents do. Schools can’t police what goes on at home before a child enters school. Schools can’t go home with the kid everyday and make sure they study. AT SOME POINT PARENTS MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

A Conservative Voice

June 16th, 2011
9:45 am

@Maureen Downey

June 16th, 2011
9:07 am
To all,
14-year-old Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi after reportedly exchanging harmless banter with a white woman. The terrible and fatal attack on Emmett would create fear in any parent’s heart.)
I wonder if some of these well-founded historic concerns have spilled into school discipline.

These parents knew that if their kids spoke back to a cop in a small Southern town, the kids could face beatings and jailings that white kids would not. So, black parents felt that ensuring their kids behaved (ior) was critical; it was an effort to protect them from a society that imposed far more severe penalties on them for even minor wrongdoings.

C’mon Maureen, incidents like the above are the exception, very widespread and certainly do not happen on a regular basis. As long as you’ve been in Atlanta/Decatur, have you ever see any of this happening? You know, you can find examples of “everything” everywhere if you look close enough, but that does not mean they are a regular ocurrence……As the Bible says……”There is nothing new under the sun”. This is a very liberal statement and is meant to incite…..I know it made me furious. As to blacks being locked up at a greater rate than writes, do you ever look at the evening news?

mmm, mmm, mmm Barack the LIAR Obama

June 16th, 2011
9:45 am

You know, it could be that they NEED it.