Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. yesterday to release new guidelines to help schools improve the way they handle disciplinary issues, the Washington Post reports.
While emphasizing the importance of safe schools, Duncan said a re-boot was needed to bring fairness to the process, which often discriminates against minority students.
“The need to rethink and redesign school discipline practices is frankly long overdue,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said yesterday at a school in Baltimore.
The guidelines released yesterday offer ways to improve school climate while keeping more students in class.
According to the report, some 2 million high school students are suspended or expelled each year. The majority of out-of-school suspensions are for non-violent acts.
“That’s a staggering amount of lost learning time and lost opportunity to provide more meaningful support,” Duncan said.
Nationally, and in New Jersey, incidents of violence are decreasing. Still, schools can improve their efforts to manage discipline issues, Duncan said.
RICK NOTE: As a former public high school teacher I would like to point out one talking point from the new guidelines.
Section 3 states:
Train all school staff to apply school discipline policies and practices in a fair and equitable manner so as not to disproportionately impact
students of color, students with disabilities, or at-risk students.
The last school I taught at was 75% black. Using this logic, 75% of the punishment should be dished out to black students. Sounds fair, right? Ok, let’s reverse this logic. If the school was 75% white, the punishment should be about 75% white. Unfortunately, studies from across the country would make this policy ridiculous. What if a minority of the students create the majority of the problems? Hmmm, political correctness would be the death of this country.