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  #151  
Old 09-13-2019, 01:46 PM
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Apples and oranges. Those are all good reforms. Nowhere do I see any mention of the complete elimination of suspensions.
And no one proposed that, so one should stop trying to build that straw man.

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It does occur to me though that proposals to eliminate suspensions may just mean to use ISS instead, in which case I completely retract my opposition. But if they just mean the kid gets to stay in the classroom with everyone else no matter what they do, no way.
And even Manda JO reported that that is not the case, so this baby step straw man is also not needed.

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  #152  
Old 09-13-2019, 01:49 PM
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I haven’t read the whole thread or really anything from before I started posting on page 5 or whatever it was. If this is not about eliminating suspensions* then cool. I’m not strawmanning, just going with what I assumed we were talking about based on the title of the thread.

*Or, almost as bad, insisting on racial quotas for suspensions.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 09-13-2019 at 01:50 PM.
  #153  
Old 09-13-2019, 05:44 PM
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In the vast majority of these "horror show" schools that people love to hear about, there are teachers who don't have significant discipline problems. They manage.
I wanted to make two points on this:

1. Some of the most veteran teachers after time can cherry pick their classes so they only teach upper level ones. So for example in math they make the first year teachers teach all the freshmen and basic classes, and usually the most difficult kids. They also stick that teacher on a cart. I saw once at a middle school where the new teacher had to teach science off a cart. Yes, she had to haul all the lab equipment and such and set up and take down to each room, each hour.

New teachers have to "pay their dues".

While the senior teachers only teach say advanced trig or something which are usually the older and better behaved kids so they can go "I don't have any problems".

At another school the senior teacher was teaching in "their room" and would often leave materials out on tables and such (and tell the visiting teacher "dont touch any of my things") and often and without warning, move all the tables and chairs around which threw off the other teachers seating chart.

So you have a struggling new teacher having to move all of their materials around to each class, getting the worse kids, AND having to deal with crap from the older teachers. NOT a good recipe for success.

Now some district spread things out better and require the older teachers to teach some basic courses while allowing a new teacher to teach 1 or 2 sections of an advanced one.

2. Some teachers dont have trouble because they make deals with the kids, you dont cause trouble, I wont make you work. If you look at the schools test scores and you notice how say certain kids english grades are way too low, that is often the case.

It's not all the teachers fault either. I was in one school where teachers who gave to many F's were penalized even if the F's were deserved (ex. the kids didnt show up, didnt turn is assignments, did poorly on exams, etc...). How can a teacher teach if a class of 25 kids only 12 show up?

In another school it was in May and getting close to graduation and they looked and only about 1/4th of the seniors were eligible to graduate. They made all the teachers do all these extra things to get their grades up.

So saying "some teachers have no problems" can be a complex one.
  #154  
Old 09-13-2019, 06:00 PM
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Apples and oranges. Those are all good reforms. Nowhere do I see any mention of the complete elimination of suspensions. It does occur to me though that proposals to eliminate suspensions may just mean to use ISS instead, in which case I completely retract my opposition. But if they just mean the kid gets to stay in the classroom with everyone else no matter what they do, no way.
I totally agree, their can be much better ways to handle discipline that just out of school suspensions.

For example when I taught in Olathe the kids who got in trouble were put in a special program where they were taught separate and if allowed to go back to regular classes, they had to have this form signed off by each teacher regarding attendance, behavior, and classwork. These forms were sent to a special counselor each day and another copy sent home to parents. This way their was a clear paper trail and students were held responsible for their actions. Finally it ensured 1 or 2 teachers were not giving the kid a pass NOR were they being too harsh on the kid.

Now why KCMO didnt do this I dont know. ISS was a joke, not even funded sometimes.
  #155  
Old 09-13-2019, 11:02 PM
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Has anyone looked at the possibility that youths who hate school and consider it a pointless waste of their time have no incentive to avoid expulsion for behavior, and in some cases might be actually seeking it?
  #156  
Old 09-13-2019, 11:16 PM
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That’s why I say they should get ISS or juvie if necessary.
  #157  
Old 09-14-2019, 08:26 AM
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In my experience, ISS is only marginally more effective than normal suspension. It's a dumb idea that if a kid does his "work", learning hasn't been impacted. It's the instructional time that a kid, especially a struggling kid, needs. My class can't be replicated in a worksheet, and it's a pain in the ass for me to have to try--it's basically writing a whole second lesson. Furthermore, as has been mentioned, it often doesn't even live up to it's modest goals--there's no teacher, or the teacher doesn't give a shit. It's just a warehouse at best and an opportunity for unhappy, disruptive kids to meet each other at worst.

The problem here is that with certain kids--and black kids, poor kids, and poor black kids, especially--teachers and administrators are so quick to assume that bad behavior reflects a Bad Child who needs to be Taught to Respect Authority. In all my years of teaching, I cannot tell you how often I had a kid I thought was lazy or just a little shit, and it turned out there was a nightmare going on. They were being raped or beaten or watching their mom be raped or beaten or they were suicidal or starving or sleeping on the train or some other horrific circumstance. When it's a kid that seems to acting "out of character" (i.e., not how we expect), we manage to root out these circumstances and address them. When it's a kid that "looks like a thug/thot", we assume it's just their inherent nature, and we try to break them.

Referrals/ISS/Suspensions/Alternative School/Prison have been the playbook for years. Once a school decides a kid is "bad", they start compiling paperwork to get the train moving so that the kid can be removed. So, so often, no one has any real belief that the behavior could be corrected: it's a bad kid, and it's just a matter of jumping through hoops and checking off boxes to get rid of him. People actively don't want to figure out what's really going on because it conflicts with the "bad kid" narrative they already have in their mind. This kills children, quite literally. It dooms them to prison, quite literally. We've been using this playbook for generations. It doesn't work.
  #158  
Old 09-14-2019, 09:48 AM
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Has anyone looked at the possibility that youths who hate school and consider it a pointless waste of their time have no incentive to avoid expulsion for behavior, and in some cases might be actually seeking it?
This was certainly true of a (white) neighbor kid of my folks. He got kicked out of every school in Tucson including the school for at risk youth because all he wanted to be was some sort of criminal badass. His parents shipped him off to a military academy. He got kicked out of there. Last anyone heard of him he (an adult at the time of the crime) was doing time for an armed carjacking.
  #159  
Old 09-14-2019, 10:18 AM
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The sarcasm and eye rolling does not offer or address the actual problem, but instead tries to cover up or otherwise go around the facts that you'd rather not address. If racist teachers were an ACTUAL problem, they would be dealt with, quickly. Since this seems to not be the case, whom else would you like to blame other than the person or the people responsible for that person (ie, the parents...)?

See Shodan's post above for better insight. (I can hope right??!)
Of course it doesn't address the problem. The post they were responding to didn't address it, either. Your "solution" is to fire the racists. To think that is possible shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how racism works.

How do you propose these teachers get fired? They themselves don't believe they are being racist. They are among many others who are just as racist, but also think they aren't. So they will defend them. They are paid by a populace, 25% or more who also do not believe that what they are doing is racist.

We can't even agree that disparate results for black and white students in regard to discipline is racism. Hell, as a wider problem, we can't even agree that black people going to jail more often for the same crimes means more racism. When BLM is still contentious, how in the world do you think that we can apply the same logic to schools and get teachers fired? We can't even get racist cops fired!

The idea that they are not being fired means racism isn't a significant problem only works if there are no hurdles to detecting racism and firing teachers. But there very obviously are tons of hurdles.

So your idea of "just fire the racists" is a poor one. It fits the maxim "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." Firing the racist teachers is not a solution--it's a goal.
  #160  
Old 09-14-2019, 10:22 AM
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In my experience, ISS is only marginally more effective than normal suspension. It's a dumb idea that if a kid does his "work", learning hasn't been impacted. It's the instructional time that a kid, especially a struggling kid, needs. My class can't be replicated in a worksheet, and it's a pain in the ass for me to have to try--it's basically writing a whole second lesson. Furthermore, as has been mentioned, it often doesn't even live up to it's modest goals--there's no teacher, or the teacher doesn't give a shit. It's just a warehouse at best and an opportunity for unhappy, disruptive kids to meet each other at worst.

The problem here is that with certain kids--and black kids, poor kids, and poor black kids, especially--teachers and administrators are so quick to assume that bad behavior reflects a Bad Child who needs to be Taught to Respect Authority. In all my years of teaching, I cannot tell you how often I had a kid I thought was lazy or just a little shit, and it turned out there was a nightmare going on. They were being raped or beaten or watching their mom be raped or beaten or they were suicidal or starving or sleeping on the train or some other horrific circumstance. When it's a kid that seems to acting "out of character" (i.e., not how we expect), we manage to root out these circumstances and address them. When it's a kid that "looks like a thug/thot", we assume it's just their inherent nature, and we try to break them.

Referrals/ISS/Suspensions/Alternative School/Prison have been the playbook for years. Once a school decides a kid is "bad", they start compiling paperwork to get the train moving so that the kid can be removed. So, so often, no one has any real belief that the behavior could be corrected: it's a bad kid, and it's just a matter of jumping through hoops and checking off boxes to get rid of him. People actively don't want to figure out what's really going on because it conflicts with the "bad kid" narrative they already have in their mind. This kills children, quite literally. It dooms them to prison, quite literally. We've been using this playbook for generations. It doesn't work.
Outside of a 24/7 boarding school how is the school system supposed to solve those sort of problems?
  #161  
Old 09-14-2019, 10:55 AM
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Outside of a 24/7 boarding school how is the school system supposed to solve those sort of problems?
Just having an adult aware of the problem and a counselor who teaches some coping techniques can work wonders. Just hearing an angry kid and helping him understand that he's not angry at his teachers can help. Calling the cops on the parents of a kid who is getting hit often causes the abuser to rachet down the abuse--at least for a while. A visit from CPS can have the same effect. Sometimes in primary education, the parents really are just clueless. They can be educated. Hungry kids can be fed. Kids with learning disabilities can be diagnosed, and they can get supports. Older homeless kids can be directed to drop in shelters for homeless teens, where they can stay the afternoon and evening before they go to whatever couch they are crashing on tonight. They can do homework, have a meal and shower--which makes them less of a burden on others, and makes finding a couch easier.

Let me tell you how this happens. You have some kid, he's 12 years old. His mom has been leaving him alone overnight, because she's dumb and careless. He shows up to school in clothes that are outside dress code--his jeans have a hole in the knee or whatever. He didn't mean to violate dress code, it's just in trying to figure out how to get himself up, fed, dressed, and to school. He's embarrassed that his mom is gone. He thinks others will call her a whore, and if anyone finds out, she's going to get in trouble. At the door, he's yelled at by the security person. She sends him to the office. The office is a busy, chaotic place. They tell him if he doesn't change clothes, he can't go to class. He freezes. He can't get home, he can't call his mom, and he thinks he can't tell them why.

Now, this is the critical part. If this 12 year old is visibly upset, if's he's little, if he's middle class, if he's white, and especially if he's all of those things, there's a really good chance the powers that be will let it go. When he says "My mom can't come", they will assume she's working. It's a kinda borderline offense anyway. They may give him a piece of duct tape to put over the hole, and send him to class.

But if he's black, and especially if he's dark skinned and BIG, and especially if he doesn't look upset, they will read that as willful defiance. If he just stands there are looks dumbly at them--petrified, and holding it all in out of pride and fear--they will see that as "fuck you". They will feel vaguely threatened. They will tell him if he can't call someone to bring his clothes up, he will have to go to ISS. They will see this as a threat to make him give in, and call mom. He will see it as a way out of the crisis of the moment. He will say "That's fine", trying to convey his willingness to comply. He will say it in the flattest voice possible, in order to show he's not angry. They will take that as "fuck you, I don't care about school". He will go to ISS. He will try to do his work, but it doesn't show up until afternoon. When he does get his work, he does his best, but without directions or support, it's terrible. He's bored most of the day. He does meet some other guys, and they seem alright. He's a little less afraid of being "bad", and ISS seems okay.

His 6th grade teachers are notified that he's in ISS. They don't know it's for having a hole the size of a quarter in his jeans. They mentally put him in the "bad" kid category, which is easier to do when it's a big dark-skinned black kid who never talks and holds himself rigid all the time. The work they get back is crap, and they assume that's because he's stupid or doesn't care, because they haven't really thought through what doing the work without the lesson would be like.

At this point, this kid is fucked. He will never be extended the benefit of the doubt on anything. Everything he does will be interpreted in the worst possible light. He will end up in ISS more and more often for stuff other people get away with. He will start to identify with being a bad kid. He'll make friends in ISS. They will start to engage in behaviors that really are disruptive. His grades will drop further and further because he's in ISS often enough (and there are days he doesn't come to school, by this point) that he feels lost and confused when he's there, but he's too embarrassed to ask for help. He cares less and less about school. The powers that be will be more and more frustrated with him because "ISS doesn't affect him", so they start suspending him "for real". At this point, he's got no chance of graduating HS.

This sort of thing happens ALL THE TIME. I promise you. It's a huge problem. But again, in America our biggest worry is not helping people, it's making sure that no one gets away with anything. So better for a 100 well-intentioned children to be suspended and their life derailed than one legitimate "bad kid" learn how to work a system and get away with being a shit.
  #162  
Old 09-14-2019, 11:07 AM
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This is sickening to read, Manda Jo, and 100% true. Shit like that goes down all the time.

One of the hard things for me to learn is to read cross-culture emotional reactions accurately. When a small white girl in the AIG program bursts into furious tears, and when an athletic black boy makes "Psssht" noises and won't look at me or respond to me, both of them are probably expressing the same emotions; but my own upbringing, my own culture, gives me a different emotional reaction to the behaviors. I really have to monitor myself to treat these two kids fairly.
  #163  
Old 09-14-2019, 11:18 AM
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This is sickening to read, Manda Jo, and 100% true. Shit like that goes down all the time.

One of the hard things for me to learn is to read cross-culture emotional reactions accurately. When a small white girl in the AIG program bursts into furious tears, and when an athletic black boy makes "Psssht" noises and won't look at me or respond to me, both of them are probably expressing the same emotions; but my own upbringing, my own culture, gives me a different emotional reaction to the behaviors. I really have to monitor myself to treat these two kids fairly.
Oh, me too. Constantly. And it blows my mind that this is even a controversy. It's so self-evident that this is a problem to me, and I don't understand how anyone can take the position that kids like this are a small fraction of discipline, outliers, and act like derailing the lives of kids in these sorts of situations is acceptable collateral damage to the pressing need to punish the incorrigible little shits.
  #164  
Old 09-14-2019, 12:31 PM
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In my experience, ISS is only marginally more effective than normal suspension. It's a dumb idea that if a kid does his "work", learning hasn't been impacted. It's the instructional time that a kid, especially a struggling kid, needs. My class can't be replicated in a worksheet, and it's a pain in the ass for me to have to try--it's basically writing a whole second lesson. Furthermore, as has been mentioned, it often doesn't even live up to it's modest goals--there's no teacher, or the teacher doesn't give a shit. It's just a warehouse at best and an opportunity for unhappy, disruptive kids to meet each other at worst.

The problem here is that with certain kids--and black kids, poor kids, and poor black kids, especially--teachers and administrators are so quick to assume that bad behavior reflects a Bad Child who needs to be Taught to Respect Authority. In all my years of teaching, I cannot tell you how often I had a kid I thought was lazy or just a little shit, and it turned out there was a nightmare going on. They were being raped or beaten or watching their mom be raped or beaten or they were suicidal or starving or sleeping on the train or some other horrific circumstance. When it's a kid that seems to acting "out of character" (i.e., not how we expect), we manage to root out these circumstances and address them. When it's a kid that "looks like a thug/thot", we assume it's just their inherent nature, and we try to break them.

Referrals/ISS/Suspensions/Alternative School/Prison have been the playbook for years. Once a school decides a kid is "bad", they start compiling paperwork to get the train moving so that the kid can be removed. So, so often, no one has any real belief that the behavior could be corrected: it's a bad kid, and it's just a matter of jumping through hoops and checking off boxes to get rid of him. People actively don't want to figure out what's really going on because it conflicts with the "bad kid" narrative they already have in their mind. This kills children, quite literally. It dooms them to prison, quite literally. We've been using this playbook for generations. It doesn't work.

Those are good points, and I was too glib when I said ďISS or juvieĒ. Mea culpa. When I subbed (which was over a five-year period, BTW, not two years as you keep saying) they often sent me to the alternative high school, probably because they had trouble getting other subs to go there. I thought it was a good program. And I support having more interventions to help kids, like washing machines at school for them to keep their clothes clean, plus sending social workers out to help make the family home a more nurturing and stable environment.

However, in the reaction to this weekís Democratic debate, we see how fraught this policy preference can be. Joe Biden was excoriated by one of the editors of TIME magazine for things he said that the editor interpreted as ďblack parents donít know how to take care of their kidsĒ. What do you suppose he would make of your ďdumb momĒ remark? (To be clear, Iím not criticizing that comment, just pointing out how tricky the terrain is: it can be a ďdamned if you do, damned if you donítĒ dynamic.)

Your heartrending story about the 12-year-old boy with a hole in his jeans illustrates how much more precise we need to get here about different types of misbehavior. That type of situation should definitely get the kind of nurturing support you advocate. But anyone who has spent a lot of time in classrooms with teenagers (and this is not about race, by the way: the rural school system I worked in was high poverty but mostly white) knows that there are some kids who are not acting traumatized or withdrawn or anything like that: they are just surly, sarcastic, and disrespectful in a way that gets them and their friends cracking up but disrupts the learning environment. Itís not only not necessarily about race but not even necessarily about class: one of the worst offenders I ever had was a rich white douchebro who was a star football player. Do you really want someone like that not to get his comeuppance?
  #165  
Old 09-14-2019, 01:09 PM
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Itís not only not necessarily about race but not even necessarily about class: one of the worst offenders I ever had was a rich white douchebro who was a star football player. Do you really want someone like that not to get his comeuppance?
I would bet good money that the rich white douchebro star football player is NOT getting his comeuppance in equal measures as his poor black non-athletic classmate. That's because it is about race and class.
  #166  
Old 09-14-2019, 01:09 PM
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This is sickening to read, Manda Jo, and 100% true. Shit like that goes down all the time.

One of the hard things for me to learn is to read cross-culture emotional reactions accurately. When a small white girl in the AIG program bursts into furious tears, and when an athletic black boy makes "Psssht" noises and won't look at me or respond to me, both of them are probably expressing the same emotions; but my own upbringing, my own culture, gives me a different emotional reaction to the behaviors. I really have to monitor myself to treat these two kids fairly.
What's AIG?
  #167  
Old 09-14-2019, 01:10 PM
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What's AIG?
Academically/Intellectually Gifted.
  #168  
Old 09-14-2019, 01:13 PM
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To be clear, I never meant to imply that ISS is a great idea. Frankly, I'm not sure that there is any truly good solution to the problem of disruptive students. It's just a solution that's less bad than either OSS or doing nothing.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:17 PM
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I would bet good money that the rich white douchebro star football player is NOT getting his comeuppance in equal measures as his poor black non-athletic classmate. That's because it is about race and class.

I donít dispute that unfortunate disparity, but can we agree that the kid Iím talking about (and anyone of any race or gender who acts that way) should be removed from the classroom until they can stop peacocking around, making a mockery of the educational process?
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:21 PM
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I donít dispute that unfortunate disparity, but can we agree that the kid Iím talking about (and anyone of any race or gender who acts that way) should be removed from the classroom until they can stop peacocking around, making a mockery of the educational process?
The removal needs to be tied to addressing the underlying cause of their behavior. When kids are removed from the classroom, but the underlying issues are unaddressed, their behavior is not going to improve on their return.

Douchebro's underlying causes are likely very different from those of the kid in Manda Jo's post.
  #171  
Old 09-14-2019, 01:23 PM
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And how would you address it?
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:32 PM
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But anyone who has spent a lot of time in classrooms with teenagers (and this is not about race, by the way: the rural school system I worked in was high poverty but mostly white) knows that there are some kids who are not acting traumatized or withdrawn or anything like that: they are just surly, sarcastic, and disrespectful in a way that gets them and their friends cracking up but disrupts the learning environment. Itís not only not necessarily about race but not even necessarily about class: one of the worst offenders I ever had was a rich white douchebro who was a star football player. Do you really want someone like that not to get his comeuppance?
I've spent nearly 20 years in the classroom, and I don't know that "there are some kids who are not acting traumatized or withdrawn or anything like that: they are just surly, sarcastic, and disrespectful". I imagine some of them are, but all, all too often, the kid I thought was being a dick was dealing with trauma far beyond my understanding. And honestly, I really cannot begin to give a damn if some kid "gets his comeuppance". He's a child. Life is hard for everyone. I am not the Hand of Karma. I'd rather 100 little shits get away with it than play a part in exacerbating one kid's trauma and inequity.

Anyone who thinks they know which kids are just inherently little shits, and feels confident that their own biases are not coloring thier judgment, is being foolish, and it's a foolishness that hurts children who are already disadvantaged.

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To be clear, I never meant to imply that ISS is a great idea. Frankly, I'm not sure that there is any truly good solution to the problem of disruptive students. It's just a solution that's less bad than either OSS or doing nothing.
There's a million other things. Most of them start in the classroom, and involve making sure that things never get to that point in the first place. Honestly, the single most effective thing I ever knew was one administrator I worked with who 1) always assumed something was wrong, it wasn't a bad kid and 2) talked to them until she figured out what was really going on. She turned more kids around than I can count, and her impact lasted years. She was blunt and real and patient with kids and it worked. But there's a lot of people who are really invested in the idea that 1) inner city schools are all war-torn hellscapes 2) most of the kids are a lost cause and 3) effective interventions are not possible.

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I donít dispute that unfortunate disparity, but can we agree that the kid Iím talking about (and anyone of any race or gender who acts that way) should be removed from the classroom until they can stop peacocking around, making a mockery of the educational process?
No, I don't think they should be removed from the classroom. I think they should be controlled within the classroom, with effective classroom management--and I think the vast majority of kids can, in fact, be controlled that way. It won't be pretty, and they may be a pain in the ass all year, but they can be controlled enough that they aren't damaging the education of others. On the rare occasions when that's truly not possible, their is a problem that needs to be solved, and removal for a couple-few days isn't going to solve it.
  #173  
Old 09-14-2019, 01:34 PM
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And how would you address it?
It depends on the kid.

The star football player may have led a life where he doesn't get told "no" a lot, where as long as he excels at sports, he's given carte blanche to mistreat those around him however he wants. If that's the case, kid needs to be told "no," and needs to have some consequences put in place for misbehavior, consequences that he'll take seriously. In an unjust/corrupt social setting, this may prove impossible (e.g., if the principal refuses to allow the kid to be benched or otherwise punished, or if a judge refuses to hold the kid accountable for sexual violence, etc.). However, it's what should happen.

The kid living in poverty may have the opposite problem: he may have been told "no" so many times, so often, that he thinks the only way to survive under authority is to ignore it. If that's the case, he needs to get the real help he needs. Again, this may be impossible under a system with a racist administration, or in a town with a racist police force, or even a country with a racist prison complex that's sent away his dad; but it's what should happen.

These cases are hypotheticals. What should actually happen will depend on the specifics of the case.

Address the underlying causes.
  #174  
Old 09-14-2019, 01:38 PM
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One other thing: a lot of times, the kid in my story IS an incorrigible little shit by the time he's 14. But he's that way because we made him that way, by immersing him in a system that treated him unfairly, showed no concern for his physical, emotional, or educational well-being, treated him like an terrifying animal that needed to be forced to accept authority above all other considerations, and was utterly interested in his side of any story whatsoever.

So yeah, he's a total ass to some teacher he has two years later. And it's not her fault. She didn't do any of that to him, directly. But, at PTerry taught us, something can be not your fault and still be your responsibility. Continuing to suspend him--even if these later incidents, stripped of context, seem to justify the suspensions--is just speeding him to prison that much faster. And it's gross that adults are so willing to so quickly shift the blame to a child.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:41 PM
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I've spent nearly 20 years in the classroom, and I don't know that "there are some kids who are not acting traumatized or withdrawn or anything like that: they are just surly, sarcastic, and disrespectful".
I realized I shouldn't've been using the "douchebro" language. I totally get where it comes from, but it ain't healthy for me to think of any child that way; and you're right that kids who act that way have a reason.
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No, I don't think they should be removed from the classroom. I think they should be controlled within the classroom, with effective classroom management--and I think the vast majority of kids can, in fact, be controlled that way. It won't be pretty, and they may be a pain in the ass all year, but they can be controlled enough that they aren't damaging the education of others. On the rare occasions when that's truly not possible, their is a problem that needs to be solved, and removal for a couple-few days isn't going to solve it.
Well, most of the time, sure. But I've definitely seen kids at the elementary level who were being deliberately disruptive to the degree that other kids were going home in tears; and other kids who weren't deliberately disruptive, but whose meltdowns involved sustained high-volume shrieking, or knocking over furniture, or shouted violent threats against other kids. Removing them at least short-term from the classroom to help them regain control can be, with proper support, a positive strategy. And the rarely-used ISS to get a kid (and sometimes parent) convinced to take the issue seriously can be a valuable tool.

But that's very different from sending the kid out in the hallway every day for long stretches of time, or suspending them on a regular basis. Those aren't strategies to help the kid, they're strategies to avoid addressing the kid's needs, and they can be very harmful.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:03 PM
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I realized I shouldn't've been using the "douchebro" language. I totally get where it comes from, but it ain't healthy for me to think of any child that way; and you're right that kids who act that way have a reason.
You know what? Maybe they don't. Maybe some just really are horrible people. But I try (and often fail, but I try) to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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Well, most of the time, sure. But I've definitely seen kids at the elementary level who were being deliberately disruptive to the degree that other kids were going home in tears; and other kids who weren't deliberately disruptive, but whose meltdowns involved sustained high-volume shrieking, or knocking over furniture, or shouted violent threats against other kids. Removing them at least short-term from the classroom to help them regain control can be, with proper support, a positive strategy. And the rarely-used ISS to get a kid (and sometimes parent) convinced to take the issue seriously can be a valuable tool.

But that's very different from sending the kid out in the hallway every day for long stretches of time, or suspending them on a regular basis. Those aren't strategies to help the kid, they're strategies to avoid addressing the kid's needs, and they can be very harmful.
I am certainly willing to defer to you on what's appropriate with the littles. Short-term removals (into the hall) can be appropriate on occasion in HS, but I don't know of a case when I really felt ISS helped. If a kid is truly so out of control he's making the class unteachable, it should be treated like a big deal--the counselor should be involved, there should be a referral to the school psychologist (if you are lucky enough to have one), the principal should be on it. Just spending the days writing referrals until you can get him removed isn't helping anyone.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:11 PM
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My first ever sub assignment was for middle school boys’ P.E. (yeah, they gender-segregate in that district, which I found really weird). At one point one boy hit another, and I sent him to the office posthaste. Seemed pretty obvious to me.

Before long, his SpEd teacher came marching in, full of righteous fury. How dare I! He’s a good kid, the other boy must have started it.

I had been watching the whole time, and while I may have missed some muttered insult, the kid I sent to the office was definitely the only one to use any kind of physical violence. I was flabbergasted by her anger at me.

Now that my wife is in her eighth year teaching SpEd, I understand and appreciate the fierce dedication these teachers have for their students. But I think a story like this one illustrates how they can get a distorted sense of priorities that doesn’t adequately allow for the rights of reg ed teachers and students.

ETA: FWIW, every boy in the class was white.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 09-14-2019 at 03:12 PM.
  #178  
Old 09-14-2019, 06:19 PM
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It really sounds like your whole set of opinions on school discipline is based on one anecdote, in a circumstance where you truly didn't know the context (the other kid might have a history of baiting students, for example). It sounds like you are still offended that your authority was publicly undercut. I don't think any of that is grounds for whatever claim you are making, which, honestly, I have lost track of.
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Old 09-14-2019, 06:50 PM
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It wasn’t publicly undercut. No one but she and I were in the room. And it’s pretty specious to claim that after five years subbing and four kids of my own going to public schools, a teacher wife, and extensive reading about school reform, that my views come down to one “anecdote”. Why is your anecdote (12yo with a hole in his jeans) valid but mine is not?

As for your “losing track of” “whatever claim [I am] making”, did it not occur to you that I might be engaging in a dialogue and letting it unfold organically, rather than tenaciously piledriving some predetermined agenda? What a thought!
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Old 09-14-2019, 07:07 PM
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BTW, I seriously doubt that SpEd teacher had the support of the administration. If she did, it could all have been settled down at the office. Much more likely is that this boy had been skating on thin ice due to previous violent outbursts, and she had been trying to keep him under the radar. Yelling at me was her taking out her frustration on what she saw as a proximate cause of the trouble rather than reckoning honestly with either her student’s violent tendencies, or perhaps the overly harsh punishment levvied by the assistant principal. I don’t know what the consequences were, so I’m just speculating—but why else would she be so upset that I sent him to the office? It’s not like I rapped his knuckles or paddled him or something (both of which I consider unambiguously wrong, just to be clear).
  #181  
Old 09-14-2019, 09:23 PM
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We weren't there, so we can't know why she was so upset with you. But even though it's the sub telling the story, I trust the teacher who's worked with the boy all year way more than I trust the sub who came in one day and thinks the boy works as a symbol of teachers' "distorted sense of priorities that doesn’t adequately allow for the rights of reg ed teachers and students."

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  #182  
Old 09-14-2019, 10:05 PM
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I would bet good money that the rich white douchebro star football player is NOT getting his comeuppance in equal measures as his poor black non-athletic classmate. That's because it is about race and class.
Why muddy the situation?

If you want to claim that "the rich white douchebro star football player" is treated differently than his poor black star football player classmate, you would be disagreed with. Tossing in more variables fuzzes up the problem.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:20 PM
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Why muddy the situation?

If you want to claim that "the rich white douchebro star football player" is treated differently than his poor black star football player classmate, you would be disagreed with. Tossing in more variables fuzzes up the problem.
ok
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:26 PM
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Just having an adult aware of the problem and a counselor who teaches some coping techniques can work wonders. Just hearing an angry kid and helping him understand that he's not angry at his teachers can help. t.
I totally agree and I've seen how just one teacher can really affect a kid and get them on the right track.

Now the question is how to find that adult that can work with the kid . If your a teacher of 125 kids, very hard or a counselor with an already overworked caseload.

Sometimes groups like Big brothers can help.
  #185  
Old 09-15-2019, 05:21 AM
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We weren't there, so we can't know why she was so upset with you. But even though it's the sub telling the story, I trust the teacher who's worked with the boy all year way more than I trust the sub who came in one day and thinks the boy works as a symbol of teachers' "distorted sense of priorities that doesn’t adequately allow for the rights of reg ed teachers and students."

Meaning I shouldn’t have sent the kid to the office for hitting another kid? That’s insane. I have sent kids to the office for far less, like just talking repeatedly after having been told to be quiet. Being sent to the office is not some final punishment. It’s just the start of a process, and in the meantime the rest of the class can get on with the tasks at hand. If the assistant principal judges the student to not need any further punishment, that’s their call. And I was never told by administrators that I should stop sending so many kids their way, and they still kept calling me for sub jobs on a regular basis. They are the ones who run the school, so...

I’m pretty sure that if one of your own children was hit at school and the teacher did not even send the kid inflicting the violence down to the principal’s office, you would be pretty unhappy about that.

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  #186  
Old 09-15-2019, 06:40 AM
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Turning this over a bit more in my mind, I realized it’s an even more bizarre rubric than I first perceived. It would be like if you were a juror in a trial for assault and battery, and you heard from the victim and from an impartial witness that John Doe definitely did it. But John’s mother, who was not present at the scene of the crime, also took the stand, insisting “John’s a good boy, he wouldn’t hurt anyone!” So you decide you should trust the word of the woman who has after all known him his entire life, and you vote not guilty.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 09-15-2019 at 06:41 AM.
  #187  
Old 09-15-2019, 08:48 AM
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Meaning I shouldn’t have sent the kid to the office for hitting another kid?
No, not like that. Like, I don't know all the pieces you're not including, but the fact that the kid's regular teacher was irritated with your actions, and that you as a sub are still angry about it years later, makes me think the details you left out are pretty important.
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It would be like if you were a juror in a trial for assault and battery, and you heard from the victim and from an impartial witness that John Doe definitely did it. But John’s mother, who was not present at the scene of the crime, also took the stand, insisting “John’s a good boy, he wouldn’t hurt anyone!” So you decide you should trust the word of the woman who has after all known him his entire life, and you vote not guilty.
It would be nothing remotely like that. Worst analogy ever, dude.

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  #188  
Old 09-15-2019, 10:59 AM
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THIS BILL just passed says schools in California grades k-8 are no longer allowed to suspend students for "willful defiance". The idea behind it was that too many students of color were being suspended and they want schools to come up with alternatives rather than kick kids out school.

My opinion: as long as the school tried some alternatives first like communication with parents, they should have the right. Kids being disruptive prevents teachers from teaching and the other kids from learning.

This bill tells kids its ok to walk in late, cause major disruptions, call the teacher names, and act like a total ass.

What is your opinion?
I think you nailed it.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:45 AM
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One other thing: a lot of times, the kid in my story IS an incorrigible little shit by the time he's 14. But he's that way because we made him that way, by immersing him in a system that treated him unfairly, showed no concern for his physical, emotional, or educational well-being, treated him like an terrifying animal that needed to be forced to accept authority above all other considerations, and was utterly interested in his side of any story whatsoever.

So yeah, he's a total ass to some teacher he has two years later. And it's not her fault. She didn't do any of that to him, directly. But, at PTerry taught us, something can be not your fault and still be your responsibility. Continuing to suspend him--even if these later incidents, stripped of context, seem to justify the suspensions--is just speeding him to prison that much faster. And it's gross that adults are so willing to so quickly shift the blame to a child.
How far do we take expecting teachers to be saints, with the wisdom to see past multiple layers of defensiveness to heal the traumatized core?
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:02 PM
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How far do we take expecting teachers to be saints, with the wisdom to see past multiple layers of defensiveness to heal the traumatized core?
I expect them (myself) to TRY, even if we often fail. I expect them to try to remain objective and not get personally offened in a power struggle with a child. I expect them to not let their own egos get in the way of the best interest of the child. I expect them to give the child the benefit of the doubt.

Why on earth is that controversial?

Last edited by Manda JO; 09-15-2019 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:08 PM
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I expect them (myself) to TRY, even if we often fail. I expect them to try to remain objective and not get personally offened in a power struggle with a child. I expect them to not let their own egos get in the way of the best interest of the child. I expect them to give the child the benefit of the doubt.

Why on earth is that controversial?
Exactly. It's hard not to take things personally, but it's a key piece of professionalism. Your job is to help all kids learn, and anything that gets in the way of doing your (our) job needs to be confronted.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:36 PM
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No, not like that. Like, I don't know all the pieces you're not including, but the fact that the kid's regular teacher was irritated with your actions, and that you as a sub are still angry about it years later, makes me think the details you left out are pretty important.

There are no missing details, not that I was privvy to. Except that they were playing dodgeball, if that somehow matters. I didnít do anything to the kid but send him to the office, and the SpEd teacher took me completely by surprise in lambasting me for doing so. She frankly did not strike me as terribly composed or professional, but I cannot deny her passion and dedication, even if her ire was totally misdirected.
  #193  
Old 09-15-2019, 02:18 PM
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I don't consider you a reliable narrator here, certainly not to the degree that I accept your account, without her perspective, as one that "illustrates how they [teachers] can get a distorted sense of priorities that doesn’t adequately allow for the rights of reg ed teachers and students." That's all. Plenty of people love to opine about schools without having the least idea what they're talking about. You, as the sub, do have the least idea; but her perspective is vital to understanding this story, and we don't have that.
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Old 09-15-2019, 02:37 PM
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Yes, the vast majority of problems can be solved without ever removing students from the classroom. But sometimes, the solution that doesn't require removing the student is one that requires the skilled cooperation of every single teacher that kid has ever had, and not all teachers are great, and so that specific kid's problem would require a time machine to solve. And sometimes, even very skilled teachers can't find what the root cause is for a problem. And so, yes, sometimes the best you can do in this flawed world is, in fact, just to remove that one student from the classroom for the sake of the other 23. It's not very often, maybe, but it does sometimes happen that way.
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:10 PM
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Yes, the vast majority of problems can be solved without ever removing students from the classroom. But sometimes, the solution that doesn't require removing the student is one that requires the skilled cooperation of every single teacher that kid has ever had, and not all teachers are great, and so that specific kid's problem would require a time machine to solve. And sometimes, even very skilled teachers can't find what the root cause is for a problem. And so, yes, sometimes the best you can do in this flawed world is, in fact, just to remove that one student from the classroom for the sake of the other 23. It's not very often, maybe, but it does sometimes happen that way.
You hit upon a good point being often by the time we get a kid in high school they have been so messed up by the system in elementary and middle school we cannt handle them.

For example in most districts in elementary school they have this system where all the kids get passed on every year regardless if they actually learned anything. So over times many dont. So their math and reading levels are way below grade level. Now in most cases if a kid has all F's the school can suggest they be held back but its the parents decision.

granted elementary level is when you need to start making those interventions with their personal lives if that is what is keeping them back.

Then you get to middle school and often kids get further behind both academically and behaviorally.

Then by HS we expect them to be ready to handle advanced topics plus start getting ready for college when in truth your still teaching concepts at the 5th grade level. I remember one HS math teacher being frustrated that his advanced algebra class was barely above the basic levels.

You really see the difference when you go from a well managed school to a bad one.
  #196  
Old 09-15-2019, 05:12 PM
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I expect them (myself) to TRY, even if we often fail. I expect them to try to remain objective and not get personally offened in a power struggle with a child. I expect them to not let their own egos get in the way of the best interest of the child. I expect them to give the child the benefit of the doubt.

Why on earth is that controversial?
I think one of the problems is that with teachers, our classroom is our castle. Our little kingdom and we want things run a certain way. Your right though if we go to far in that and not see the needs of the kids we get into trouble.
  #197  
Old 09-15-2019, 06:45 PM
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You really see the difference when you go from a well managed school to a bad one.
Overwhelmingly, the differences in school achievement levels are correlated with socioeconomics, not with management styles. North Carolina is a great laboratory for this: since we're one of the few states that gives letter grades to schools based (80%) on achievement levels, you can see the overwhelming correlation between wealth and achievement.

Nothing has radicalized me as much as paying attention to these education statistics.
  #198  
Old 09-15-2019, 07:58 PM
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Overwhelmingly, the differences in school achievement levels are correlated with socioeconomics, not with management styles. North Carolina is a great laboratory for this: since we're one of the few states that gives letter grades to schools based (80%) on achievement levels, you can see the overwhelming correlation between wealth and achievement.

Nothing has radicalized me as much as paying attention to these education statistics.
For some people, that's just proof that lazy stupid people are also bad parents who don't care about their kids, and since their kids are so unworthy their own parents don't give a shit, why should we?

I, too, grow more radicalized.
  #199  
Old 09-15-2019, 10:02 PM
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Or be even nastier about it: the parents are poor because they are stupid, therefore their kids are stupid by genetics, so why waste money trying to put lipstick on pigs?
  #200  
Old 09-16-2019, 01:49 AM
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Overwhelmingly, the differences in school achievement levels are correlated with socioeconomics, not with management styles. North Carolina is a great laboratory for this: since we're one of the few states that gives letter grades to schools based (80%) on achievement levels, you can see the overwhelming correlation between wealth and achievement.

Nothing has radicalized me as much as paying attention to these education statistics.
In a previous discussion the ones ignoring that correlation completely ignored or dismissed how some retiring millionaire made a real difference by instead of blaming their poor students for the decay of his neighborhood decided to not only help the poor students but their families too to become more stable economically.

https://www.today.com/news/millionai...town-1C9373666

I consider the results good evidence to point out how sick are the priorities of many in power that prefer to spend billions in unneeded military or wall projects instead of looking to make American communities safer and more stable with well funded education and more family support for poor families.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 09-16-2019 at 01:51 AM.
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