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Friday, June 20, 2014

Suspensions, Expulsions, Arrests Don't Work: On School Discipline, We Can Do Better

From RealClearEducation

By Daniel Willingham
June 17, 2014

RCEd Commentary

Stick a few hundred kids together in a building for six hours and you can bet that a few are going to misbehave. How teachers and administrators should react to rule infractions -- especially more serious ones -- is perennial problem. A
newly published report from the School Discipline Consensus Project, with over 700 experts contributing, offers the most comprehensive answer I’ve seen.

The reports starts with two grim facts. First, present practices are ineffective. Policies tend to focus on student removal--suspensions, expulsions and arrests—as a way to keep schools orderly and safe. But while they are removed, the offenders fall behind in their schoolwork, and removal puts them at greater risk for dropping out or getting in trouble with the law.

Second, present policies are poorly implemented. Students are often suspended for minor infractions such as cell phone use, and kids from some groups—those with disabilities, kids of color, and LGBT youth—are disproportionately disciplined.

What’s a better way? The overarching principle emphasized in the report is the creation of more positive environments in schools and classrooms, and more supportive relationships among students, teachers, and administration.

Sounds great! How do we get there?

Read the entire article HERE.


Daniel Willingham is a columnist for RealClearEducation and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. He also writes the Daniel Willingham Science and Education Blog.

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