Seattle School Board Promoting Disruptive Classrooms & Less Learning

Among the many problems facing public schools these days is the disruptive behavior on the part of students. Spanking has been outlawed or banned in all public schools as far as I know. Teachers are limited on what kind of discipline they can enforce on disruptive and unruly students. The end result is that more students are disruptive than ever before which causes more classroom disruption and interferes with effective teaching and hinders the learning of students who want to learn.

However, the Seattle school board has just placed a moratorium on suspensions of elementary students. Why? They believe that there is a direct link between students who get suspended and those who end up in prison later on. Therefore, if they stop suspensions, they feel they will break the ‘prison pipeline at its source.’

That’s the same kind of logic I heard several years ago by a politician who wanted to do away with suspended driver’s licenses for repeated DUIs because drunk drivers still driving with suspended licenses get into more accidents and injury more people.

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Hello? What happened to common sense?

Don’t these educators realize that the kids who get suspended and eventually end up in jail have behavioral issues that have nothing to do with suspensions?

Chester Finn, former Assistant Secretary of Education realizes the damage the moratorium will have saying:

“[The moratorium] will make it harder for teachers to run orderly classrooms that benefit the well-behaved kids and for principals to run orderly schools of the kind that parents crave so that their children can have learning environments that are both safe and learning-centered. It basically signals to teachers and administrators that misbehaving, disruptive kids must be ‘kept in class’ (or at least in school, which is often the same thing as in class) until they slug someone. The overall long-term effect will be less learning.”

To back up what Finn says, all one has to do it is look at the disciplinary policies of charter schools versus public schools and then compare their student success rates. Naomi Schaefer Riley of the New York Post did just that:

“Take Success Academy Charter Schools, which in 2014 suspended 11% of the 7,000 students in 22 schools, almost three times as high as the 4% average for the city’s district schools. Ann Powell, a spokesman for Success, says, ‘We think suspension is not the only tool, but it’s one of the ways in which we can work with families and ensure that we have an orderly, safe school.’”

“Even at the elementary-school level, Powell says, ‘Young children will be violent and can use inappropriate language.’ The results of the orderly atmosphere at Success schools are clear.”

“Students, even from some of the worst neighborhoods in the city, are outperforming kids in Westchester on New York state exams.”

“It is not only violent offenses that merit suspension. Marc Epstein, the recently retired dean of Jamaica High School in Queens, notes, ‘Thing that destroys a school is insubordination. It makes it impossible for teacher to run a classroom. If you ask a kid to be quiet and he tells you to shut the f— up . . . and then a dean comes in and takes him out for two minutes and brings him back, and he does the same thing. You can’t run a classroom like that.’”

“The problem with preventing schools from effectively disciplining kids who are disruptive is that, ‘it elevates the rights of the disruptive students above the needs of their peers,’ as Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute notes. ‘The well-behaved kids — the serious learners — are the ones who will pay the costs.’”

A very good friend of mine was a 6th grade teacher for many years. He took an early retirement because of the inability to properly discipline disruptive and dangerous students. He told me one time that a student pulled a knife on him in the classroom. He eventually managed to get the student to the principal’s office. However, the student was back in the classroom before he had a chance to finish the required paperwork to report the incident. That’s one of the many incidents that led to his taking early retirement, even though he loved teaching.

I’ve heard similar stories from other teachers and yet very little is being done in the public schools to curb disciplinary issues. The problem seems to be getting worse, not better.

When I was in elementary school, we started every day with prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. We often read from the Bible in class and were taught things like respect and obedience. Teachers were allowed to give swats and yes, I had my share of them, but the teachers were always allowed to keep control of their classrooms.

Then God, the Bible and prayer was banned from the classrooms. Many public schools stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Then social do-gooders said you can’t swat, spank or discipline kids because it damaged their self-esteem. They also told schools not to fail students that refused to learn because that also damaged their self-esteem.

Now we have a school board banning suspensions of unruly and disruptive kids because it might lead some them to prison. Their liberalism has blinded them from all use of common sense. They can’t see the truth, or they refuse to acknowledge it, that kids need discipline. Some kids need stronger discipline than others. The end result of their liberal blindness will just make it that much harder for good and well-behaved kids to learn. They are the ones that will suffer from this irresponsible decision, but it seems the Seattle school board isn’t concerned about them at all.


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