Analysis: Charter schools kick out far more problem students, but what is the alternative?

Many educators on this blog complain that charter schools enjoy a critical edge over their non-charter counterparts: They have far more freedom to kick out problem students.

The Washington Post decided to test that claim and found that the District of Columbia’s public charter schools expel students at a far higher rate than the city’s traditional public schools. Those problem kids often return to the traditional public school down the street, which has far greater pressure to keep all students.

I am not sure what the answer is here — should charter schools face more hurdles before they expel students or should traditional public schools face fewer? Should we hold public schools to a higher bar for the expulsion of younger students?  And where should be put those students once they are expelled? Are alternative programs effective?

The Post investigation is lengthy, and I would recommend that you read the entire piece before commenting here.

According to the Post:

D.C. charter schools expelled 676 students in the past three years, while the city’s traditional public schools expelled 24, according to a Washington Post review of school data. During the 2011-12 school year, when charters enrolled 41 percent of the city’s students, they removed 227 children for discipline violations and had an expulsion rate of 72 per 10,000 students; the District school system removed three and had an expulsion rate of less than 1 per 10,000 students.

The discrepancy underscores the freedom that charters — publicly funded schools that operate independently of the traditional school system — have from school system policies. That autonomy defines the charter movement and gives its schools considerable latitude to decide what student behavior they will — and won’t — tolerate.

Parents and activists say some charters expel excessively and with little oversight, shedding disruptive students who then end up enrolling mid-year in the traditional school system, which is legally bound to take them.

The D.C. school system can compel students to transfer from one school to another. But unlike charters, the school system cannot truly expel anyone because of its mandate to serve all students. “Expelled” students are sent to an alternative middle school or high school for one year. The school system does not expel elementary students, officials said.

Many charter schools — 60 out of 97 campuses — did not expel students in 2011-12. That same school year, seven expelled at least 10 students.

YouthBuild, a school that targets high school dropouts and students older than 16, expelled 30 that year, nearly one-third of its enrollment. Friendship’s Collegiate Academy expelled 56 students, or 5 percent of its student body.

Charter advocates deny that the schools are trying to push out challenging students. They point out that D.C. charters enroll a higher proportion of poor children than the traditional public schools and that poor children often come to class with greater needs than their middle-class peers. Charters are open to all students across the city, with admission by lottery if there is more demand than space available.

“My goal is zero” expulsions, said Shawn Hardnett, an administrator for Friendship Public Charter School, which last year expelled 70 students across its six campuses, which are located in some of the city’s neediest neighborhoods. “At the same time, I have to be reasonable and wise about the fact that there are kids who are coming to our schools with behaviors that are very simply unacceptable and unsafe,” Hardnett said.

The District’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education in August proposed rules that would govern discipline policies at all public schools, including charters. They called for minimizing suspension and expulsion of children 13 and younger and outlined due process rights for students. Charter leaders mounted a vigorous opposition, saying the federal law that established D.C. charters frees them from such local mandates.

Adele Fabrikant, deputy chief in the school system’s office of youth engagement, said it sometimes appears as if the system serves as a safety net for students who can’t make it elsewhere. “In some ways, it feels like we will always have to have a set of district schools, regardless of how successful charters are, because charters will always expel their students,” Fabrikant said. “There will have to be some network of schools that will serve those students.”

Fabrikant also commented on why the school system does not expel children from elementary schools. “Research has shown that that kind of disciplinary response for children who are that young is actually ineffective,” Fabrikant said. “It doesn’t work to teach students to learn the valuable lessons that they can learn.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

133 comments Add your comment


January 6th, 2013
10:31 am

I’d like to see each system have alternative schools starting in elementary school. These would be very stringent boot camps, where no child would ever want to be placed. Intensive counseling, mandated for parents also, would be provided. You see, I DO believe that even 6 year olds can learn that certain behaviors cannot happen once you walk in these doors. I believe six year olds ARE smarter than dogs, who can be taught how to behave, and can distinguish correct behavior at the park from correct behavior in the house. Waiting to place disruptive students in alternative schools until middle school allows these kids to hijack the education of too many classmates for too many years, not to mention that when these alternative schools are not available, the other children learn that nothing will be done if they act out. And if the alternative school cannot handle the student, the student is sent to a YDC sort of place, and parents billed for the services.


January 6th, 2013
10:34 am

I totally agree with catlady. Middle school is often too late to change a child’s behavior.

V for Vendetta

January 6th, 2013
10:35 am

Nothing matters if the home life is in shambles and/or the parents don’t care–which includes not holding their children accountable for their actions.

Level the playing field? That’s precisely why we’re in the mess we’re in–in regards to a great many things.

V for Vendetta

January 6th, 2013
10:37 am

catlady and COWL,

In some respects so is elementary school, depending on the grade. A child who enters kindergarten without basic knowledge of the alphabet and numbers–which happens far more often than you might think–is at an enormous disadvantage when compared to kids whose parents taught them these basic skills. And how do you correct this? IT IS THE PARENTS’ RESPONSIBILITY TO TEACH THAT INFORMATION.


January 6th, 2013
10:49 am

Couldn’t agree more with Catlady. Some 6th graders come to middle school not knowing how to do school, because they had light consequences in elementary school and needed a bit more … same with the parents too.

Pride and Joy

January 6th, 2013
10:51 am

“IT IS THE PARENTS’ RESPONSIBILITY TO TEACH THAT INFORMATION.” V for vendetta says kids have to know kindergarten skills before they get to kindergarten.
V, if that is the case, then we should stop expecting kids to know kindergarten skills before they get to kindergarten — because many kids simply don’t get that kind of help at home.
We KNOW that kids come to kindergarten knowing very little or nothing about those skills. So why beat a dead horse? Why not just assume kids come to school without those skills and teach them?
We know kids start off not knowing these skills so why keep beating on that dead horse? Why not just assume (correctly) that kids don’t know those skills and teach them in kindergarten? JUST LIKE I DID!
I didn’t know anything academic when I went to kindergaten. I learned my ABCs and my 123s in kindergarten. I was that blank slate. My paents did not read to me as a kid and never got involved in anything I did. I learned to read in first grade. I graduated high school on time with a scholarship and then graduatde college.
What is wrong with that for today?
Why do you keep insisting that parents teach their kids when you know they won’t or can’t? Just get over it and teach the kids!

Pride and Joy

January 6th, 2013
10:57 am

OK, I read the whole article as Maureen suggested. I think it is right to expel the kids that cannot or won’t adjust and send them to an alternative school where they can get the help they need — and what I would suggest as well – for those parents — get them the help them need too.
And of course charter schools expel more kids. That’s why kids go to charter schools — just like they do parochial schools — they bomb out in traditional public schools and they want a fresh start so they go to charter schools.
Charter schools get more kids who have problems so of course they expel more.
The issue here isn’t that charter schools are being unfair. The issue here is universal — how do we teach and fairly treat kids with problems? For now, until we have somehthing better, we have to get the kids with problems away from kids who don’t simply for the safety of everyone and for the benefit of everyone. We cannot allow dangerous kids to come to school and threaten other kids and teachers. Those kids without problems NEED and DESERVE a SAFE enviornment.


January 6th, 2013
11:12 am

While I agree that suspension is not appropriate for children in grades K-2, there must be some form of punishment. Kids as young as 5 are coming to school without knowing how to behave in school. We are now seeing kindergartners fight like 5th graders. The parents support the violent behavior, because of the “nobody better touch my child” mentality. Schools are not handling the situations appropriately. Instead of dealing with the poor behavior, they’re allowing it to continue to happen. There should be alternative schools for the elementary level. There have to be expectations and consequences.

I also find that some charter schools will expel students they don’t expect to pass the CRCT right before testing. It’s not a coincidence that we receive students from KIPP every February and those students don’t pass the CRCT.

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

January 6th, 2013
11:30 am

@V (and it’s both spooky and neat to address something to the hero in that film)

I agree that this should come from the parents. BUT… what’s your backup plan when it doesn’t, because that’s often the case.

I think there’s something in the teenage mind that skews probability logic. If one kid out of 100 doesn’t get in trouble for some certain action, then the teen mind says “I’ll be that one.” Gotta be clear and consistent – and SERIOUS with consequences. Take several hundred teenage and early twenties males, put them in confined circumstances under high stress and hope they won’t fight each other – never work – except that it often does! That description was of the ship I was on in the Navy during the Gulf War. You fight, you go to Levenworth and make big rocks into little rocks in the yard. And, it worked!

V for Vendetta

January 6th, 2013
11:30 am


Sure, if it were just a few. But it’s more, and more, and more….

I don’t think it’s above and beyond to expect parents to, you know, teach their children something. However, I’m sorry to hear that yours were clearly deadbeats.

Maureen Downey

January 6th, 2013
11:35 am

@RJ. Re midyear transfers: I thought it was interesting to read in the Post investigation that midyear transfers are often couched as “withdrawals,” as parents understandably prefer their child’s record shows a voluntary withdrawal than an involuntary expulsion.


January 6th, 2013
11:36 am

As a kindergarten teacher for twenty years, I was not worried about academic skills my students needed. However, I did expect them to be CIVILIZED–to know how to use the bathroom, how to feed themselves, how to ask for what they needed, an enthusiasm for learning new things, and about the respect a child owes an adult in charge. Although I have lived in a poor area, with few middle class families, I did enjoy the children, because, with a very few exceptions, they came to school with these skills and attitudes. Then, I could teach the students, and frequently their parents.

However, when you are presented with basically feral kids, and have no apparent interest evidenced by the parents to civilize their progeny, it becomes more difficult. Children from these homes CAN be successful.

However, for NO REASON should a child (or several children) be allowed to hijack the education of other students repeatedly. I repeat: NO REASON IS GOOD ENOUGH.

been there done that

January 6th, 2013
11:37 am

No Child Left Behind has handcuffed the schools’ ability to do much of anything about the problem kids at all levels of education.

drew (former teacher)

January 6th, 2013
11:39 am

Yeah, what Catlady said.

The best way to improve the learning environment for students who WANT an education, is to weed out those who, for whatever reason, can’t seem to grasp how to “do school”. There are a certain percentage of students at every school that are nothing but deterrents to learning. Looks to me like the non-charter schools just need to kick out more students. Those who have no desire to learn, and disrupt the learning environment should be placed in an alternative environment, for the good of the school. But don’t hold your breath…the PC “school to prison pipeline” crowd” is not gonna let that happen. You know…no child left behind and all…

mountain man

January 6th, 2013
11:54 am

HELLO? I am GLAD that charters expel many more students that traditional schools. It shows that they are taking discipline SERIOUSLY. If “traditional” schools expelled more of their troublemakers, they would see their problems diminish drastically – the ones left behind could then LEARN.

Pride and Joy

January 6th, 2013
11:57 am

V, you’re making my point for me!
If it is “more and more and more” kids that come to school without knowing their ABCS — then that has become the customary — the normal. So teach the normal kids.
Begin where they are!
EXPECT to teach kindergarten IN kindergarten.
It is downight illogical and ridiculous to expect kids to come to kindergarten already knowing kindergarten skills.
Expect the kids to know nothing and THEN TEACH THEM! It can’t be that hard!
If a parent can do it then certainly a trained, professional, teacher should be able to do it.
Kindergarten is PRE first grade. That is what kindergarten is for — it is FOR learning ABC and 123 and colors and shapes!
Those are exactly the skills I was taught in kindergarten. so as you say since so many kids come to school without knowing anything — then TEACH THEM ! THAT IS YOUR JOB AND WHAT YOU TAKE MY TAXES TO DO SO STOP WHINING AND TEACH!!!


January 6th, 2013
12:05 pm

@Pride and Joy, I often hear parents discuss how school was when they were growing up. Today’s curriculum is different. When I was in kdg in the 70’s, we went for half a day. Today they go all day, no naps, and are expected to do what used to be part of the first grade curriculum. This is why we have a push for pre-k. Waiting to recognize letters and numbers until they start kdg is too late. Your kid is already behind. Parents do have a responsibility to work with their child. My dad, a graduate of an HBCU (couldn’t resist that one!), read to me all of the time. It’s called parenting.

Pride and Joy

January 6th, 2013
12:08 pm

What is important to know — if a fact missing from this article — Maureen — can you find out — how many of the charter school kids who were expelled from charter schools — how many were also expelled from the traditional school and how many were problem children at the traditional school.
The issue here in Atlanta metro schools is that when a child is suspended, expelled or disciplined, parents often blame racism.
Parents will point out that white kids aer not expelled as often as black kids and that is the cause of the expulsion/suspension/discipline.
The truth is therre is a huge cultural difference in how blacks and white view fighting — the main reason kids are expelled from school.
I had many black friends in high school and I do today in the work force and they told me if they got into a fight and didn’t “win” it they would get in trouble at home. their parents encouraged them to know how to fight and expected them to win.
My parents told me that if I ever got into a fight I would get in trouble at home — we were taught the biblical message to “turn the other cheek” and so were my white friends.
So the behavior exibited in Tucker Middle School — where a black girl and her parents followed the school bus on which where another black girl rode home — and the parents got out and encouraged their girl to fight the other — is a common occurrence in terms of attitude.
Generally, white families discourage fighting, expecially for white girls. it is considered unladylike, deplorable and “trashy” to fight. Black families don’t have this same attitude. Fighting is encouraged among both girls and boys.
So when you have a cultural difference like this, where one group expects and encourages fighting and one group doesn’t, more of the fighters will get into trouble — and that’s why blacks get into trouble for fighting more than whites — it isn’t racism — it’s cultural.
Trouble is, in APS, if you try to suspend/expel a black kid for fighting, you will be called a racist and you will likely lose your job.

V for Vendetta

January 6th, 2013
12:10 pm

I completely agree, RJ. It’s my kid; I want to be his or her first teacher. The benefits of knowing these basic skills before entering kindergarten is not mysterious. It’s a clear advantage. However, I think catlady is right on point as well: it is NOT too much to expect children to behave in a civilized (age-appropriate) fashion when entering school. And that has been tossed completely out the window.


January 6th, 2013
12:12 pm

Mtn Man- I agree with you….to a degree. Heres the issue with that: A charter expels a student who doesn’t behave and the traditional public school is required by law to enroll that student. Now, when the public school expels them b/c they “take discipline seriously” the student has nowhere else to go. Then the graduation rate for said public school takes the ‘hit’….not the charter. Our school has been “weeding out the issues” and the environment is definitely better, but our graduation rate is going to drop. We’ll graduate approximately 95% of students who complete their 4 years, but our rate looks poor because we “take discipline seriously”. I think you and I agree, however I’m just pointing out the irony is the way the grad rate is calculated. The drop-out only counts against the last school they’re enrolled…..


January 6th, 2013
12:15 pm

Keep in mind that those mid- year transfers come to the public schools with no money. Their enrollment “allotment” went to the charter school that has already spent the money. These kids then show up at the public school which is mandated to take them. There is no extra money to fund teachers or books or supplies. What little there is is simply stretched futher to accomodate them. Now, the charter school has the money, but no kid to educate, and the public school has to kid but no money. I’m not against charter schools, but if they get public money, they should be a public school. They should be mandated to keep the kids they enroll. But of course if they did that, they would get the same results as the public school down the street, now wouldn’t they?

Pride and Joy

January 6th, 2013
12:15 pm

RJ it doesn’t matter what your father did nor what mine did. The FACTS are that kids come to school not knowing their alphabet and their letters.
Those are the FACTS and we cannot change them. So what should we do? Just ignore the facts?
No, teachers and schools have a responsibility to TEACH the kids regardless of what their parents have or have not done…
and kindergarten is NOT TOO LATE to start teaching!
If the curriculum expects the kids to know their alphabet and numbers before kindergarten then the CURRICULUM and the TEACHER need to change.
We cannot change the parents and all the whining in the world won’t change the parents.
And about your HBCU claim — so glad your Dad got involved in your life and cared about you — but many don’t — and it isn’t little white kids that come to school not having skills — it is overwhelmingly the black kids who don’t…so to brag that you are black and had a good upbringing is a sour boast.
That’s what we citizens pay schools to do!

Pride and Joy

January 6th, 2013
12:18 pm

Mirva, assessments are taken twice a year for financial purposes.
And let’s get real here. The opposite is also true — kids leave traditional public schools mid year and go to charter schools and charter schools don’t get the local tax dollars either.
When kids leave traditional public schools to attend charters, overwhelmingly, traditional schools win the money — better bone up on your facts.

Concerned DeKalb Mom

January 6th, 2013
12:24 pm

That’s an interesting point, @Mirva…if a child who attends a charter school–and whose $$ allotment goes to the charter school–is expelled, and then re-enrolls in the neighborhood school, does the child’s money follow the child? Does a child who is enrolled in a neighborhood school at the beginning of the school year and then transfers to a charter school bring their money with them?

Like so many other things involving charter school policy statewide, the devil is in the details.


January 6th, 2013
12:41 pm

Pride and Joy- I do have my facts. I was teaching at a public school when we were flooded with post Katrina students. Our classes were crammed, we shared books and all of us pulled extra duties (for free) that entire year. Now maybe someone in the central office got some extra money- but none of it went to those of us on the ground. The fact is, these kids kicked out of charter schools are needy and expensive to educate. They receive services long before any “recounting” is ever done.

Fred in DeKalb

January 6th, 2013
12:52 pm

**A child who enters kindergarten without basic knowledge of the alphabet and numbers–which happens far more often than you might think–is at an enormous disadvantage when compared to kids whose parents taught them these basic skills.**

The irony of this statement by V is to recall some wanted a part of a teacher’s evaluation based on the CRCT results of their students. Regretfully a higher percentage of these students also become discipline challenges as they progress in school, which impacts learning for all students.


January 6th, 2013
12:58 pm

why not drop kids from public schools if their grades fall below C level and if they have behavior problems stick them in work camps and teach them a trade… the kids that cant keep a C level grade average should be sent to schools for kids that cant keep up with the smarter children. of course this would end up being deemed racist because the majority of the children struggling to learn would be black and of lower income and im sure a majority of the kids with behavior problems would be hispanic and black also. so we might as well forget about this idea and just continue with the social engineering of public education by sticking all the kids good , bad, black white, and hispanic together , in turn making them all dumber in the process!!! all for the sake of EQUALITY and fairness!!


January 6th, 2013
1:01 pm

@Pride, your racist rant won’t get to me today. It’s no HBCU claim, it’s a fact. I also graduated from the same HBCU! I am quite proud of my father, grandfather, neighbors, uncles, aunts, friends, and colleagues that are black and educated. Continue to live in your little bubble and believe what you want. It’s not my goal to change your mind. I couldn’t care less what you “think” black kids are like. But for the record, it DOES matter what my father did in my life. You make the claim that black kids come to school unprepared, yet your parents were in V’s words, deadbeats. Mine were involved.

Teachers are teaching every day. However, students should come better prepared. They shouldn’t know how to fight better than they know to how read. They should understand consequences. They should know how to behave. It’s becoming more and more rare to have students ready to learn. That is of great concern to me. Since teachers don’t develop the curriculum, we have no say in changing it. If we had a say, NCLB wouldn’t exist.


January 6th, 2013
1:03 pm

Or, here is an idea: If a charter expells a kid, the kid is replaced with a problem kid from the traditional school. THAT might change things LOL! I have had a few kids I would have loved to have sent somewhere that can “fix” them, as charter schools are supposed to be able to do(to hear some people tell it)

concerned resident

January 6th, 2013
1:14 pm

Does the expulsion rate for charters include students who are removed because the parents or students didn’t follow the guidelines of the charter? My guess is that the numbers would be higher if other reasons for student removal were included.

Many charters include the ability to remove students because the parent didn’t come to meetings with the teacher or sign homework assignments etc. Charters also have the leeway to remove some students who don’t follow the charter and keep others. For instance, a charter could remove student A who didn’t follow the charter guidelines and keep student B who also didn’t follow the guidelines but his test scores were higher. Of course public schools do not have the ability to remove students with such ease.

Makes one wonder why charters who have these advantages over public schools don’t fare any better educating students.

Beverly Fraud

January 6th, 2013
1:14 pm

I think any child that misbehaves should get a self-esteem ice cream sandwich because the major problem that these kids have is a lack of self-esteem and lack of positive reinforcement. This self esteem ice cream sandwich if given in all the schools, would greatly reduce the “school to prison” pipeline, plus (if vitamins were added) would be a nutritional benefit to students.

Beverly Fraud

January 6th, 2013
1:16 pm

Of course the major problem with the 1:14 post…the number of educrats and others in positions to influence education policy who think the 1:14 post actually has merit


January 6th, 2013
1:20 pm

1) I agree that we need to have schools with far more discipline for the kids who can’t do well in public school. We used to have them – and now we don’t. And the schools are suffering for that.
2) charter schools enroll students by lottery – so there’s no ‘they get more discipline problems’ – they get the same as other schools.
3) if you kick the kids out of public school – where is it you think they should go? that’s the craziest thing I have ever heard. Kids aren’t getting something at home – and the answer is – well, not educate them at all and have them stay home MORE?
4) for the kids with the worst discipline problems – at some point, we have to take those kids away from their parents, if only there was somewhere to put them. *sigh*
5) is there a way to find out if the parents of these kids get some sort of govt check and take it away? We already have a program in place with the schools re: free/reduced lunch, so it shouldn’t be that difficult.
6) Again – the biggest thing to do is to create more schools that know how to deal with kids wrt discipline problems. Not all kids need that – so REMOVE those that are creating problems/
7) our school systems are a mess because we seem to think that each and every child learns one particular way. if we have different ways of educating students (and charters are a start) – then perhaps kids and their parents would be able to find out which ways work for them and choose the appropriate school. What we are doing isn’t working.
8) even if a kid arrives in kindergarten not knowing certain stuff – they are not hopeless. Starting a child’s education at 5 can work – some countries don’t start til 6 (different places, those, though). BUT we are so tied to the idiotic notion that kids of the same age are all the same. Why not group kids according to ability rather than age? For the kids that need a little more – they could get it in kindergarten without having some other kids be bored because some kids need to catch up. Kids that age learn quickly – so it’s not crazy to think they could catch up very quickly.
but putting everyone together and having teachers individualize all the lessons to each student is absurd.


January 6th, 2013
1:37 pm

another thing, when my kid got in school suspension (because he had it up to here with bullying and he finally did something to the other kid – who all the parents knew was a problem, but the school would do nothing about it…) – they gave him twizzlers and candy. And he got to do all his work in the vice principals’ office. so he was perfectly happy – didn’t have to deal with the kids who weren’t behaving, got to sit and read – and didn’t have to keep listening to the teacher teach something he knew already because she had already gone over it several times.
(this was in an APS school).

Then when he got actually suspended for two days – NOTHING. I heard NOTHING. I got NO INFORMATION from the school as to why it happened. NOT ONE PEEP. I saw the principal out and about and she said she’d call. And she didn’t. This is a very responsive wonderful principal. My kids weren’t going to be attending that school the next fall (this happened last spring) – had we stayed in Atlanta I would have home schooled them. We moved elsewhere with it’s own issues, but they are much better that atlanta, by far.

In any event, our public schools are broken. we can sit and discuss all this ad infinitum and nothing will be done. no one cares. I did speak with some homeschoolers here and one said she went to the local school to talk with them about enrolling her kid – and she basically came away from that meeting with the idea that the school was there to pull in whatever local/state/federal funds they can from various govt entities. educating the kids isn’t even worried about – it doesn’t matter to the administrators.

Pride and Joy

January 6th, 2013
1:39 pm

Mira, you still haven’t grasped teh concept. When kids leave the traditional public schools to go to charter schools, the traditional public school benefits because charter schools DO NOT RECEIVE local property tax dollars which is significant.
Secondly, assessments are done twice yearly (head counts) so that federal and state dollars follow the child where they are enrolled.
And…to be resentful that the kids washed away from katrina ended up in your school and you didn’t get extra money to teach them…
is beyond deplorable.


January 6th, 2013
1:39 pm

and i know that the above poster was just kidding – but really…every study you look at now says that focusing on self esteem is awful and has had terrible consequences for our children. We have been doing this for decades.
So now, with ‘new’ studies we’re supposed to believe that these ‘educators’ have any idea what they are doing on how to educate our kids?


January 6th, 2013
1:43 pm

I am a former principal of a public middle school and experienced the same pattern of behaviors on the part of charter schools; they would even, in many cases, make it look as if it was the parent’s decision to withdraw from the school voluntarily We, on the other hnd, tookl every student that was assigned to our school and worked hard to improve every one of them with a significant measure of success.
It is far easier to turn you back on troubled kids and let them go, than to work on making positive change in our most at risk students. Charter schools enjoy a number of privileges over public schools because that is the way that states like it; their ultimate goal is to make public schools look bad by comparison. Charter schools are free of many regulations and contraints that are not enjoyed by their public counterparts.

Pride and Joy

January 6th, 2013
1:49 pm

RJ, A high school teacher has a valid argument or even a third grade teacher has a valid argument when they say they need the kids to come to third grade and beyond, with knowledge but for a kindergarten teacher to complain that kids don’t know much is just insane.
If you can’t teach a five year old his or her ABCs and 123s then you need to leave the profession.
It’s easy.
I came to school knowing nothing and went to a very poor school yet I learned and went to college and flourished. I also had no parental support…so your argument that kids NEED to know kindergarten skills before kindergarten is ridiculous.
Imagine, does a physics teacher complain that he cannot teach physics because the kids didn’t come to school already knowing physics? No, of course not.
Teachers aer expected to teach.
ABCs and 123s ARE kindergarten material and if you cannot teach kindergarten to kindergarteners — get out of the way and let someone else who can.


January 6th, 2013
1:56 pm

As we have made it more and more difficult to deal with problem kids in school, the result is that we more and more of them. Think there might be a connection?

We might think about creating real consequences for bad behavior and unpreparedness and see if we would get less behavioral problems as a result.

What you subsidize you get more of.


January 6th, 2013
2:03 pm

Am an old lady (in my 70s). When I grew up, school was a requirement for some ages (8-14?) and home schooling was not an option. Kids who were expelled either went to private school (there were private schools who specialized in “bad” boys – none for girls that I remember) with parents paying tuition or reform school (which were a free boarding program). You can bet that parents backed up the schools in demanding that their kids behaved. One of my 5th grade classmates went to reform school.


January 6th, 2013
2:06 pm

Catlady for state school superintendent!

bootney farnsworth

January 6th, 2013
2:08 pm

I got zero problems with charter schools putting kids out.
pity we can’t do the same

Beverly Fraud

January 6th, 2013
2:08 pm

“another thing, when my kid got in school suspension…they gave him twizzlers and candy.”

Yes, the freezer was broken that day, hence to self-esteem ice cream sandwich.

“(this was in an APS school).”

Is anybody surprised by this? Who anybody expect anything less from the charter member of The Four Horsemen of the Incompetence?

And if you think a sizable number of educrats wouldn’t take the “self-esteem ice cream sandwich” seriously, then ask educrats out there how many times they have used the Teddy Stoddard story in “expert training” and how many of them (trainer and staff) without questioning bought the story, hook, line, and sinker.

bootney farnsworth

January 6th, 2013
2:10 pm

what is the alternative?

behave and don’t disrupt the class is a good start.
part of why I endorse school being voluntary after middle school


January 6th, 2013
2:11 pm

Not sure that I have agreed with catlady before on an entire comment.

rookie math teacher

January 6th, 2013
2:18 pm

I teach 9th grade math in Dekalb and it aint easy. Teachers get all the blame and none of the credit. No instructional resources and a lot of ‘you better do this’. If we are not careful we will run the remaining serious teachers out of teaching all together. Dekalb has already begun the process. Funny thing is they act like good teachers grow on trees, we dont.
Wonderful principals are not enough yet they are few and far in between.

bootney farnsworth

January 6th, 2013
2:19 pm

really, what are we asking here?

for students to exhibit the most basic of civil behavior towards fellow students and teachers. this should not be too much to ask in exchange for a free education

bootney farnsworth

January 6th, 2013
2:24 pm

in any other aspect of life, disruptive and violent behavior is not tolerated (except when management does it). try acting out in an airplane, an office, or even a sporting event.

why are schools different?

David Granger

January 6th, 2013
2:26 pm

That’s one of the reasons that the students in so many other nations far surpass the U.S. in academic achievement. Other countries kick students out regularly, both for behavior and for lack of educational advancement. (Although to be fair, many other nations have much more homogenous societies than we do, and that eliminates a lot of social and behavioral problems.) But in most other countries in the world, if you don’t make sufficient academic progress each year then you can either attend tech school and learn a trade, or else go right into a training program as an apprentice.

bootney farnsworth

January 6th, 2013
2:28 pm

@ atl mom

what you were dealing with was a school which knew your child was in the right, but knew it didn’t want the headache of dealing with the real problem.

schools don’t deal with bullies for two basic reasons: 1) it would require admitting to a problem, something professional education admin types refuse to do and 2) fear of dealing with the parents, who are usually bullies themselves