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tv   Federal School Discipline Directives  CSPAN  March 12, 2018 12:00pm-1:07pm EDT

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saying that rick saccone has represented part of the district in the legislature. he is a good fit for the district and would be an effective representative for it from his first eight on the job. he also write mr. lamb can get more experience, perhaps following the footsteps of his grandfather. we hope he does state involved. some of his obvious talent is to be encouraged. coming up life here on c-span from the heritage foundation, a scotian on school discipline and directives issued by the obama administration to deal with suspension rates of certain students. this should start momentarily.
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>> good afternoon. welcome to the the heritage foundation. we welcome those who join us on our website on all of these occasions. and see guests, check that our mobile devices have been silenced and turned off. for those watching online and in the future, you are welcome to comments byns and simply emailing. on the post this heritage homepage for your future reference. leading is -- the discussion is lindsey burke. forctor of the center education policy. she writes and researches federal and state education issues, focusing on critical areas of policy, where we are reducing the federal role in education and empowering families with school choice. she has spoken on reform issues
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across the country and internationally. she has appeared on numerous theirand television shows shields a bachelor degree in politics and a master of teaching degree in foreign language education from the university of virginia, number one seed. please join me in welcoming lindsey burke. [applause] lindsey: thank you and thank you to everyone for being here to discuss this important issue. public schools across the when theut on notice obama department of education dear colleague letter notifying schools that differences in suspension rates among different student groups would because for federal investigation. the department enforced school districts to overhaul discipline policies, and that threat alone safety of schools
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across the country. suspension rates declined dramatically, but evidence suggests that due to school safety. safety data and news stories across the country suggest that schools have become less orderly and a less safe, leading some x hurts to ask whether the policy -- some experts to ask whether the policy tendered more people vulnerable to violence. serious about be the safety of students, you must wrongdoing of troubled students. to discuss this issue in depth today, we have an excellent panel of scholars and practitioners. first we will hear from gail harriet and she is professor of law at the university of san diego and specializes in labor law, product liability, civil rights. harriet clerked on the illinois supreme court.
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prior to entering academia, she decision chicago and washington, d.c.. she also was on the judiciary and is an associate and professor of law at george mason school of law. she joined the faculty in 1989. she is currently a member of the united states commission of civil rights and sits on the board of directors of the national association of scholars and the california association of scholars. she is the author of a new paper along with her co-author who is in the audience today, obama era initiatives, racial disparities and school discipline, wrong for students, teachers, and wrong for the world. the next evening. he is a senior fellow -- next is max eden.
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was coeditor with frederick hess of the every student succeeds act. he has appeared on the scholarly and popular areas. following his remarks, we will is afrom robert, who senior fellow and vice president of external affairs at the thomas b fordham institute. he is also a former senior adviser to democracy public charter schools and charters based in harlem, new york. he writes and speaks extensively on education and education reform is sous, -- issues. after 20 years in journalism, including senior citizens at time and business week, he became a fifth-grade teacher at a struggling south bronx school. forerved as vice president the knowledge foundation.
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virginia,egina, -- .ho founded d.c. for choice it is a health organization for parents and washington, d.c., and that founding led to the successful establishment of the d.c. opportunity scholarship ingram, school choice option the nation's capital. she is also a founding member of andblack anions -- alliance served on the d.c. advisory committee for the civil rights commission. she is also a member of the inat -- breakthrough network d.c. as well p she currently serves on the board of the freeman foundation and the connections academy. she is executive director of the arkansas information network working to make choices available to arkansas parents. she is also a visiting fellow at
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the heritage foundation. please join me in welcoming our panelists. [applause] >> thank you lindsay and the heritage foundation period have only 10 minutes. pointsconcentrate on two here. i suspect a lot of people agree with me that the policy and practice of school discipline should not be a federal issue. the federal role under title vi of the civil rights act of 1964 should be confined to investigating and acting on allegations of race discrimination. otherwise, discipline is a matter that is best handled at the local level, where teachers know the students, no the facts on the ground better than bureaucrats do. when the edicts sound reasonable, at the time they
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reached the foot soldiers on the ground, they get garbled. if the federal government had said, don't discipline minority students unless it is justified, it would have sounded reasonable . that is naturally understood by school districts as, don't discipline a minority student unless you are confident you can persuade some future federal investigator whose judgment you have no reason to trust that it was justified. in turn, that is presented to principles. don't discipline a minority student unless you and your teachers jump to the following time-consuming seadrill limited designed to document the satisfaction of some future federal investigator whose judgment none of us have any reason to trust that it was justified. finally, teachers here the directive this way, just don't discipline so many students. it will only create giant hassles for everyone. in the nature of iraq
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was sea, ladies and gentlemen. those who complain that schools overreact -- natch -- this is the nature of it, ladies and gentlemen. schools thaty told if your teachers and principals are disciplining her personally more african-american students than white or asian students, we are coming after you with massive investigations and threats to cut off your funding. under this approach, it is not actually race discrimination that gets schools in trouble, it is having bad numbers. the law for bit actual discrimination. it does not for bit bad numbers here in -- numbers. policy, nobody disputes that african-american students are disciplined at higher rates than white students or asian students nationally. reason for that is
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that african-american students misbehave more often? the cost of failure to disciplined the students falls on their fellow african-american students who are trying to learn a made classroom disorder? should point out that white students get disciplined at rates higher than asian students, and that boys get disciplined much more than girls, and yet no one seems very interested in those numbers. that virtually undisputed students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are behavekely to miss instance from middle-class backgrounds. not surprisingly, therefore, when empirical studies are undertaken, they find when so santee sioux -- the black white pneumatically.ks it does not disappear altogether.
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african-american people who are disadvantaged is still somewhat more likely to be disciplined. the mostbe because widely used measure of disadvantage is inadequate eligibility for the free or reduced price lunch event. -- lunch program. twomber the title of students from you might well qualify for a free lunch. in any event, the remaining racial difference does not prove discrimination. the most likely immediate expiration for the racial gap in discipline is that teachers are being honest. for whatever reason, african americans behave -- misbehave in class more than whites and whites misbehave more than asians and boys misbehave more than girls. by far, the best study in this area is called open prior problem behavior accounts for
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the racial gap in school suspensions." behavior,rior problem not race, is the best predictor of who will get suspended from school. in other words, the teachers are being upfront and identifying .tudents who are misbehaving especially for the worst offenders, it tends to be the same kids over and over again, regardless of race. once hired behavior is taken into account, race drops out as a predictor entirely. however, the obama administration's policies have had severely negative effects. schools toas caused back away from discipline generally, with the result of more chaotic classrooms. second, it has led to real discrimination, where white and asian students on the one hand and african-american students on the other operate under a
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different discipline rules, all in order to make the numbers look good. say we havei would a mess on our hands. i would certainly urge the department of education to withdraw the dear colleague letter establishing that policy. we need to put teachers and establishments back in charge. we have a much better shot at getting it better than the federal government does. two, forpoint y telling them they can have their funding cut, the obama administration was misstating the law. for the nonlawyers among you, disparate impact liability, the government means that it does not matter whether the teachers are actually treating students tivoli based on race.
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-- student differently based on race. solely because african americans are misbehaving more often, the school is still in trouble unless it can prove its discipline method is necessary. they have to prove, for example, that before suspending a student for punching another student out, they are just giving him a good talking to or taken away his library privileges. that is just not the law. title vi, the statute that supposedly is being enforced outlaws actual based discrimination, not disparate impact. the supreme court has repeatedly said, and no one disputes that. the department of education during the obama administration
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argued instead that way back in 1966, the federal government issued all-purpose title vi to galatians that go beyond title vi by creating liability for --parate impact -- that when clarence thomas was for civil rights, he did not interpret them that way. if that were at the regulations, it would create giant problems since a lot of what schools do has a disparate impact on some racial group. for example, do we need to place the basketball hoop so high up? disproportionally harder for asian americans, who on average are shorter to make the team. let me say this instead, because this is a slamdunk legal argument.
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if the regulations mean the obama administration said what they mean, then we are about the scope and hence no envoy. void -- null and void. the agency would not have the power to vastly expand statutes i declare you can't marry your second or third cousin either or anybody who grew up on the same street as you. not only would that go beyond the way the sketches allow, there is no argument that the regulation is aimed at ensuring the underlying statute enforcement. the kinds of things that would be permissible in that context would be a requirement that one present one birth -- once birth certificate when they get married. regulations that are passed pursuant to a statute can
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sometimes go beyond what the statute requires, that they have to be aimed at enforcing the statute. they can be a sneaky way to expand it. that aper analogy is case that concern how far congress can go in enforcing the equalmendment's protection clause. there he held that title vi is basically a clone of the equal protection clause, and the case is a near-perfect fit. the course held that congress can pass a statute that goes somewhat beyond the equal protection clause. there has to be an honest enforcement, not just an expansion. any congressional enactment needs to be congruent and proportional to genuine if cult used in enforcing actual -- genuine difficulty enforcing actual cause. there is no way, assuming they
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really are authorizing all-purpose disparate and impact liability, would be upheld as congruent and proportional to title vi violations. it is a massive overreach. somehow,omewhere, there are recipients of our discriminating, fixing it by a like a response disparate and all-purpose impact regulation would be overkill. there. i better stop bear in mind that i have just essentially summarized a very, very long article for you. if you really want to know what my co-author and i have to say, you are going to need to read the whole article. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. [applause]
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>> could you pull of the powerpoint? next: -- max: i have spent the last year researching the scope and effect of the dear letter on discipline. i want to share what i have learned. first, this was not guidance. these were orders. there was a three-part disparate impact test. one, is there to spare to? is it necessary for eight legitimate goal? three, is there an effective alternative? maybe not unreasonable, not what they actually did. suspensions don't work, and there are effective alternatives available. if we know the answer to the second and third question, then there is only one actual question, is there a disparity? if there is some of you might
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face a federal investigation. the numbers, what you better do is get the numbers down. the most effective way to get the numbers down is by holding students to lower standards. because if you don't, you will face an investigation. to beinvestigations used noble and diligent efforts to find discriminatory treatments. after the guidance, they became syntax for prosecutions intended to thwart school districts to adopt lower standards. take oklahoma city, for example. the allegations were false. those students were suspended same way for the same thing. investigators found the white student was actually hispanic. that didn't really matter. after two years, they did not get around to asking teachers within the discipline policies were justified. the second part of the test rarely happens.
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they forced a policy change, even as teachers are crying out about the chaos it was causing. for now, we could take rochester, minnesota. there were no allegations of discriminatory treatments. no particular policies were scrutinized. after five years, the district emailed them, the effect of this matter has dragged on for five years requirement expenditure of enormous resources on the part of the district without any evidence of wrongdoing is unconscionable. closed inigation september 2015. three weeks later, a new one opened. rochester, minnesota has been under investigation for the past eight years. i will you know when they close it. ago, walking was forced to adopt lower standards for student behavior. the superintendent said she had no choice in the matter. the school board did not even know that there was an
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investigation that had been going on for 3.5 years. not talking we are about the public and the teachers not known, we are talking about the school board not knowing. so much for local control. these investigations hit hundreds of school districts serving millions of students. the scope of it is breathtaking. i am happy to tell anybody whether or not your district has been under investigation. new york has been 47, seattle for seven years, fresno for four millions and millions of people are in districts where teachers have been forced by the federal government to hold them to lower behavioral standards. what are the results of this? we know terrifyingly little. after schools were forced to lower suspension, lazy reporters take the sign that schools are getting safer. it could be true. it could be schools are getting less safe. it could be that the numbers are
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just fake. in washington, d.c., they saw a 40% drop in suspensions. it turns out, principles cap suspending, they just stopped telling district about it. it was fake news. state data can become pretty dubious. after they banned suspensions, they also stopped reporting thousands of flights to the state of florida. crime data also can become dubious. sheriff israel can boast that arrests are down in broward county. that tends to happen when you stop arresting. that does not mean that schools are safer. there are many academic studies, student and teacher surveys. i have repeatedly asked advocates of these policies to direct me towards any evidence that isn't bad because there is so little. i will run you through everything i have found in the last year. they lowered the length of suspension and
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declassified some things from suspensions to in school suspensions. better attendance, no economic effects. more crime and disorder according to teachers and worse relationships according to students. turning back. philadelphia, a ban on suspensions for willful defiance and nonviolent behavior and severe disrespect cannot be punish for them. not every school complied, but across the board, putting serious drop in academic achievement. about 5% with some fluctuation-year-old, but troubling. truancy -- you cannot do the same controls, but has been dropping your after year, and then started writing right after by 16% to about 40% total. why? it may be kids were staying home from school because there were more scared. maybe there were more scared
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because they were more serious incidents. this gets to the truly first part of this house see. african american students ended up spending more time out of school on suspension after the suspension band. why? because of the rise in serious incidents. maybe when schools are not allowed to enforce a sick norms, serious problems increase. in los angeles, academic growth tanked. other california schools that didn't deal with the ban, ellis schools was 1/5 of year of learning. schools that suspended fewer than 10 times, took a hit. more than 10had suspensions and defiance lost one third worth of year of learning. we have some school level service where students are asked the same question from one year to the next, and you can see how the answers change and are they feeling more or fewer feeling
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safe? city, the bar graphs represent all schools in america city and changes in student answers to various questions on drugs, fights, respect, gangs. the gray zone are schools that the answers did not really change. the orange zones are schools were 5% to 50% fewer students gave answers. 15% fewer where students gave an answer. on the left, and that was deblasio's and bloomberg's on the left. you told to does your not allowed to suspend the first time a student is a low-level offense. things are stable. on the right we have deposit is reform which said to teachers, after the third time, you need to provide extensive documentation to your principal who will take the documentation and write an application to the
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central office which is disinclined to accept the application before we will approve a suspension for a nonviolent offense. according to students, more school sulfites, disrespect, drugs, gang activity. the rules changed and the students knew it. students serving the high shares of minority students were hit hardest. 60% saw respect deteriorate. it is not just an urban problem. we see the same thing. in a two-year. before the reform, things were stable. markets were respecting the rules. after the reform, it is all worse. 60% 80% of schools were respecting the roles, each other, respecting teachers, feeling safe. questionsave these from before the reform could will have them from 2015 to 2017.
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we can see that fewer kids are reporting an ability to deal with frustration and understand their emotions, even to tell right from wrong. i only found out about the discipline reform after digging into an article about the great success they were having with their social and emotional learning initiative. twice 17 is5 two the same thing. very bad. kids say teachers aren't protecting them from bullies. teachers say -- kids say teachers at spotting bullies. they don't feel safe. to advocates, they point to seattle as the place of getting this right. for student surveys. mostly, they don't exist. sometimes they exist and won't share data with me. -- as soon as things go south, the change questions or the answers. sometimes, when the reform start, they stop publishing or
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asking. that is the case in charlotte, new haven, portland, broward county. surveys that are commissioned by teachers unions. teachers unions -- teacher's unions are against traditional discipline. the nea declared it to be a product of institutional racism, which is kind of a funny thing to say given they are the institution. [laughter] arehe local level, unions interested ideology but more interested in protecting teacher. they cannot do that when the feds are in town. the least they can ask teachers what is going on. .eachers are not feeling safe these are not good answers could we do not want our teachers not feeling safe. teachers don't think the new approach works great 13% in
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charleston, 13% in denver. 13% in madison. awfulare incredibly approval ratings. you do not want your school to be forced to do something that 10% of teachers think works. remember, the department of , thinks theoday teachers are wrong. they think suspensions do not work and that restorative justice does. social justice activists think teachers are not only wrong, but racist. to them, only institutional racism can explain why teachers believe traditional discipline works and why they do not believe the new approach keeps kids safe. they have silenced teachers. teachers are afraid of being called racist if they speak out to the safety of their students. only threeedge, districts under investigation have given teachers the
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opportunity to speak anonymously on what is going on. words toad you their give them a voice and leave you with a question. city, we were told referrals would not require suspension unless there was blood. the firste fights in nine weeks than we had in the last five years. i would like to see a consequence of bad behavior of some kind, such as when a male enis out and his p showed it to a female student and nothing was done. the school environment is unsafe. teachers are afraid. students have little to no consequence. these comments were public during the investigation. most admitted they do not talk to teachers. did they not notice or did they not care? buffalo, never seen anything like it, the behavior is unreal.
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students are threatening teachers with violent and in many cases physically attacking teachers. andonsequences for anything we are not allowed to write up students electronically. in 1991 that he rips up writeups. 81% of teachers in buffalo say underreportstrators behavioral problems. it is the only district my problem -- my knowledge that put this question to teachers. why should we think buffalo is unique? fresno, i had a student punch another in the face. the perpetrator was sent back to class without a suspension. when a special education student is violent, the district makes excuses for the behavior. a student said he would shoot and kill me. three students heard the threat as shoot and kill. the administration believed the perpetrator, who claimed he was
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going to prank me with a slingshot. because he did not specifically use the gun, the administration said it was not as serious a threat as i thought. question, why today, one year into the trump administration do we still have on obama policy that forces districts to abandon traditional discipline, a policy that encourages administrators to systematically suppress records of disturbing behavior, a policy that encourages adults charged with the care of our nation's children to willfully ignore clear threats to shoot and kill. [applause] good afternoon. i would loveject
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to see a researcher undertake with a small army of graduate students, going to various schools with a stopwatch and record the amount of time the student spends on task. that a bet real money significant portion of the achievement gap is actually a time on task gap. much of that cap is caused by disruptive behavior. there is some suggestive evidence for this. , the american ago federation of teachers found 17% of teachers say they lost or more hours of instructional behavior per week to disruptive behavior. another 19% said they lost two to three weeks -- hours. that is nearly 43% of teachers losing two to three hours of behavior per week. 21% said theyls,
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lost four more hours per week. in urban secondary schools, it was 24%. every student that ever talked had -- i taught fifth grade for several years in a south bronx elementary school that was the lowest performing school in new york city's lowest performing school district. just alluded to align lines perfectly with my own experience. this rupture and was easily the biggest challenge we faced and question the biggest impediment to student learning. --my post bathroom life, classroom life, most of my interests are in curriculum and instruction. i would argue getting the school's climate and culture right matters more than getting its curricular -- curriculum right. nobel prizeve winners delivering best in class
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curriculum, but my gut tells me it will not make much difference if students are hemorrhaging their learning time to disruptive behavior, feeling physically unsafe. my first year in the classroom coincided with joel klein's first year as new york city school chair. if you were the principal of a school like mine, as i understood it, there were two ways a principal could sign. the first would be to raise test scores, the second was to have a low suspension right, which ostensibly indicated you are running a tight ship. our scores were abysmal. started, 16% of students were reading and above grade level. -- at or above grade level. about thati knew policy was filtered to me through my administration. i do noty, he said
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care about suspensions, i just want to see higher test scores. suspending kids. climate improved, scores climbed appreciably. the next year, new principal evaluation system was put in plays that once again validated low suspension right. my teacher started the next year saying we are going to tighten up on discipline this year. i remember thinking we just did that. we just tightened up discipline, that is why things are improving. you can predict what happened. these it confirmation i can make a this discussion as nonlawyer, nongovernment person is to remind people how well intended policy initiatives land in the classroom. i always likened it to a game of telephone where a finally caliber to policy becomes a blunt instrument at the school level.
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when i started teaching it was the height of bullet and board maniac. -- mania. the idea had taken root that in -- that bulletin window intothe best the quality of instruction in a classroom. that is what they wanted to see. instruction, as best as i could tell, did not change much, but did the quality of bulletin boards skyrocket. teachers started planning units specifically produce -- specifically to produce bulletin board work because it is what they wanted to see. this impulse to get the appearance of effectiveness while remaining an effective can take on cartoonish dimensions.
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one time, an assistant principal came to me and said why don't pattern blocks on the student desks that you use for math? my answer was that i am teaching ela. she told me it did not matter. -- many goodideos lives had to be within student reach at all times. even when i'm not teaching math? yes was the answer. because it is what they want to see. if they want to see lower suspension rates, they will get them. what they will not see is improved school climate, better student outcomes. classrooms were students feel safe, respected. in a few years, we would be back -- will be back in this room talking about the crisis on school safety.
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the concern about this -- as max has documented, it is likely to have consequences, it is already having consequences that are not intended. they will damage the outcomes of students who can afford it the least. there are good reasons to be concerned about exclusionary discipline, but there are equally good reasons to be concerned about the concern and the signals it sends to teachers and students. i have been on panels like this aboutwe wring our hands education and how to get students to be more cynically engaged. -- cynically engaged. schools are not just places students come to be cynically ngaged, it civically e is where they come to be engaged
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by others. we give them schools were they feel unsafe -- unsafe, there is no meaningful consequence. when that is the engagement we inflict upon them, we are saying something to them about their values, about the value of coming to schools. pointrings me to my final all of this runs the risk of schools imposing a value system on families that families might not support. i am uncomfortable as a teacher and a parent with the idea there is a right way to discipline anymore than there is the right way to parent your children. and that any. from from said right way needs to justify itself. control means anything, it should mean responsiveness about community norms about how our children conduct themselves, what the school stands for and what they will not stand for. that cannot be managed from
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washington dc. [applause] >> good afternoon. to theing to bring it personal point. i am going to talk about parents. i run a program in little rock that serves children first mac programs. in the mist of running this program, i've known -- grown to know the kids. one came in to my office a few months ago at 3:00 and i said why are you not in school? what you home early for? she clearly had not gone to school that day. i'm not going to school today or tomorrow. i said why? she said i had a fight with this cool and they did not do anything. i know if i go back to school
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today or tomorrow, the girl is going to want to fight me again. she might be over it by next week, but today and tomorrow she is going to fight me so i'm not going to school. then she sat down and explained that kids at her school did not feel safe because the kids that were creating a lot of the discipline problems in schools were just getting a slap on the hand. --y were dealing with what they had no consequences to their action. this little girl was probably a little tiny thing and she has been continually bullied all year long. my advice has always been talked your counselor, talk to your parent, talk to your teacher. thatade it clear to me that was not doing any good. does notuse her school want to suspend the students, they are trying to keep the suspension right down.
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i am hearing this from the panel appear and i am learning that these things are happening in the real world. tose children are going school and they are filling -- feeling unsafe. there was another girl in this group, the thing i like about this group of kids is they are -- one little girl bites all the time. i said why are you fighting all the time. she said because i can. people bother me, so i had them. hit them. she is case, she knows not going to his -- get suspended. she knows there will probably send her to an in-house class. there is no threat. any threat. feel
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he can go around the smacking people all day. they tried that at the church, but there were consequences to them hitting people at church. we made that clear. we brought parents in. , the parentsrents of the first little girl i was discussing, her mother is terrified to send her child to school. she agreed with her staying home from school and not going in and hoping this little girl next week will be over it. not, i think she is going to be continually terrorized for the rest of the school year. those are the kinds of things that we are seeing in our schools in arkansas. we probably have low suspension rates. thatthis group of children i'm serving in this community, i am seeing terrible things not going to school.
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they brought in report cards last week, i never saw so many f's my entire life. i said why are you getting them? they said nobody cares about us. nobody pays attention to us. the african-american kids and hispanic kids my church serves, those kids are not getting served, academically, protected, they are not -- we feed them every day. they are not getting the kinds of things we need. when we were growing up, going to school you knew you were going to be safe. you knew the teachers were going to take care of you, administrators were going to take care of you. you knew that was something going -- something that was going to happen. when my children were in school, i never worried about them.
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i knew they were safe in the school. later on, i thought something different with my younger kids. now it has gotten so terrible kids are not going to school. what about the truancy rate? kids are not going to school, now they are true and. we're having a decrease -- truant. we are having a decrease in the number of kids going to school thanks to policies that create these and firemen's were teachers are afraid to do anything. my sister just retired and she retired from any of these reasons. you cannot touch the kids. she would see kids running up and down the street, cussing each other out, and nobody ever did anything. she would, home every day and girls had a fight in school with knives. they send them both to class. things areof
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changing the environment of the school. kids that need to feel safe, kids that want to learn, we are seeing higher dropout rates. we can see kids staying home. there is a battleground for children instead of a safe haven for children. we have seen it since the obama administration policy, teachers are too scared to do anything. my parents were teachers, my friends were teachers. i've heard the exact same thing from them. because theysafe cannot make decisions on how to discipline the kids. rules are the rules. you do with the principal says you can do. slap them on the wrist, send them back to class. let the security guard or police officer on campus talk to them. that is not making any difference.
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they will listen and tomorrow they will do it again. at our church, we are providing the safe haven. more and more students and kids stay home and come over to the church. we send the back to the school because we do not want them to to get theme tried what the processes. the process has changed. now you have a conference with the principle and the teacher, and the teacher slaps the other student on the hand. parents do not want to go through that. they tell me i am not going up there. they did nothing the last time i child got beat up. they are not going to do anything this time. i'm not going to take off for my job and spend half the day at the school for somebody to tell the school -- tell me these kids will work it out.
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i'm going to send george over here and johnny back to class and they will be fine. we had this conference and that is going to stick in their brain and it does not. the saddest part is kids understand they cannot do nothing to them. young, he dids something really bad. i said what did you learn? that studies kids, they call grandma and tell on them, but nobody does anything. he knows grandma told me not to do nothing, i would not. that is what they're feeling in school. these guys are coming to the church and talking to me and saying i can do anything i want. then i say no you cannot. then they continue to do that. i am assuming it is happening in most of the schools in little of the schoolsst
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in little rock are predominantly black and hispanic. i am seeing too much and hearing too much. we have a terrible crime rate. max talked about the crime rate. kids, i was telling somebody today, they put a rp on -- a report out on african-american boys who have been killed since january. 40 african-american boys under 24 have been killed in little rock, all dropouts. what is happening that is causing this to happen in little rock? i can speak for my city because icame from d.c., where thought it was pretty rough year. then i go to my hometown, i spent 30 years in the see, and i thought -- d.c., and i thought this was bad. then i get home and it is worse. it terrifies me. we have legislators trying to make a difference.
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what i am seeing is kids just running the show. teachers do not feel safe enough to say anything. they do not feel like they can according to policy say anything. letting things go the way they go. that is the on the ground perspective. that is what i see. i think this policy has made it for the classroom teachers. and for principles. i am a big supporter of classroom teachers and principals. i think teachers are amazing. i'm living in fear at not being able to discipline their own classes is horrible. it makes a statement we are not heading in direction -- the direction we think we are. if we do not figure out a way to solve this kind of problem, it
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is going to get worse and we will see in a few years, we will be back talking about more safety and more crime. [applause] thank you for your remarks. we have a couple of minutes to take questions. if you have a question, raise your hand and somebody will come around with a microphone. yes sir? point aboutoberts the conflicting trade-offs between exclusionary and the overly concerned about exclusionary discipline spoke to me. i wonder what the panel thinks about the fact that at the federal level we are promoting both of those absurd's of either
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end with the fact we continually subsidize the higher income school resource officers. we have both at the federal and state level all the zero-tolerance policies that remove the discretion of principals at the school level to build school cultures by having more discretion about what to do about infractions. i am curious what the panel thinks about what we should do to try and not be taking any stance on discipline at all. how about federally not taking any stance on discipline? this stems from a discomfort with the excesses of zero-tolerance. i'm sympathetic. was zero-tolerance said to teachers was do not use your judgment. if a student does this, you have
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to do that. the fix was to tell teachers do not use your judgment. if a student does this, you cannot do that. it is two sides of the same coin. it is fundamentally about distrusting teachers to exercise their judgment. schooldo not want resource officers, if we do not want the cop staff to handle this, we have to let -- cops have to handle this, we have to let the teachers make the decisions. at theve never taught elementary, middle, or high school level. i teach law students and law students are pretty well behaved , most of the time. i miss staying after school as a nice punishment that is much more effective than telling the student who is disruptive they get to go home because they have been suspended.
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and arrests are often over-the-top for what we're talking about. we have overused arresting in the past. elementary school children accused of sexual harassment when their little kids. they cannot even spell sexual harassment. in the 1970's, there was litigation that made it difficult for schools to have students stay after school which is actually unpleasant and make students who might be disruptive otherwise not want to do it. an incentivet -- not to be disruptive. maybe does a wrong turn in a 70's that made these other wrong turns possible. i am curious as a newcomer to this area, has there been any discussion by the administration. they have been in office for 14 months. why has there not been
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discussion about resending this memo? i think they are scared. narrative on this can be very clear and overwhelming. either you are for misguidance or you somehow support systematic racism or for the prison -- the school as a prison pipeline. you watched the interview with secretary devos, she was asked a couple of questions with frames i would have challenged the premise of, and she cannot answer them adequately because it is, don't you think this is institutional racism? kind ofook at this, i see institutional racism, but a different kind. i see dramatic disparities in suspensions that are profamily -- profoundly troubling.
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i do not think teachers are responsible for these disparities. i think they are baked into american civilization due to the awfulness of slavery and awful .olicies when i see the department of education telling school districts across the country you have to hold african-american , idents to lower standards see institutional racism there. our kids articulate. i think they've been intimidated the way teachers have been. >> any other thoughts from the panel on that? >> we have time for one more. >> thank you for your presentation. you highlighted some of the largest urban districts. i was wondering if you think we have a handle on what is happening in the other suburban, rural communities. there are a lot of states at the community level long before the
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federal guidance limited exclusionary discipline in places like california and colorado. do you feel more comfortable with local communities making those decisions? >> of course. you have to be consistent. --i do not think it is ok administrators are there. they know the community. they are the ones who for them it is not a distraction, it is something they see every morning. i cannot think of a good reason -- we would not almost reflexively defer. if that is what those communities one, that is what those community should have. as a teacher, i was accused of being authoritarian. it was not a compliment.
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on the one hand, that is my bias. the stem charter network in brooklyn are as opposite of that as possible. they have of their own accord gone full board restorative but they politics for it. they sold it to the staff and families. this is what they do and it works beautifully. i could even see myself teaching there because there is a cohesive school culture that everybody is on board with. that should be the goal. i would not want that, and we are seeing this in new york city, this works well there so we are going to put that there, no training, no buy in, and their turns to garbage. it is about the end of the day, buy in. another aspect is a locality, when it makes a mistake, it is a lot easier to correct at the local level then when the
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federal government is saying you must do this. when teachers start complaining to the principal, when parents start complaining, they start thinking maybe we made a mistake. when you are dealing with a situation where the pressure is coming from the federal government, when a parent complains, they are told there is nothing we can do about this. arkansas, there are 140 little school districts. a lot of them handle their own problems. they do not have the same problems little rock has. i see a difference when they come up and we have workshops and talk about kids and school discipline. they talk about we handle everything ourselves without secretly saying we are not going by anybody's policy but our own, and they have less trouble in the a schools with their students than anywhere in the
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states. think this plan should always be handled at the local level. we know our kids. we know what needs to be done. in is thenity i am only public housing project left in little rock. i know there is some issues that should be handled in the school with the teachers and parents that may not be in other areas. my level of discomfort with reform increases the further it gets from the classroom, because of the disconnect between the teacher and the principal, the principal and superintendent, the superintendent and the school board. between the school board and the state. between the state and the feds. the more we put this down to between the teachers and the principles, the better the decisions will be.
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i hear a lot about how we need to protect students. i am all about protecting students. the location is the feds ought to protect them from their teachers. i do not agree with the premise of that. as to where else this is happened and what we know, i think he would be shocked by how few places did this before the guidance without direct threat -- federal coercion. outside of the scope of districts that have done this investigation, given we barely have data for the largest of america's school districts, i have nothing but anecdote to .ffer for smaller districts >> thank you for coming. please join me in thanking our panelists. [applause]
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