Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Distressing news about suspensions/expulsion of Black/Latinos.

Personal anecdote: I teach at a school that is 65% Latino 34% Black and 1% other. Last year was the first year we increased our suspension rate in three years. Last year we had our single largest jump in API score. Last year we recommended more students to outside services to help with the underlying cause of their behavior. Last year more parents than ever elected to send their kids to Charter schools because the Charter schools had zero tolerance for bad students.

Large scale: The number of expulsions and suspensions is a by-product, it is good to record, it should inform how we shape policy. The number is not the end. Wonks generally look at numbers as ends and not byproducts, which is great if you're in the cynicism business, but not very good if you are a wonk.

 Public officials will ask "what is wrong with LAUSD?"  LAUSD will harass deans and administrators to reduce suspensions for minority students.  Deans and administrators will create new labels for suspensions, students will be sick more or just plain absent and the number will go down.  A negligible few will actually try and attack the problem at its roots.

I apologize for the melancholy.  I'm still too sad to make a racially insensitive joke that won't be made by LAUSD's response.

For more on how vital it is America talks about injustice, watch Bryan Stevenson's TED talk.

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