Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kicked Out of School

Beth has a pretty interesting post at MinnPost.

Kicked Out of School: Disparities are a Looming Crisis for All Districts

It seems to align with our discussion on prejudice and racism.

I am not even sure where to start this discussion...  I don't think the suspensions and expulsions are effective punishment when the child probably does not want to be at school in the first place.  However keeping them in the classroom to disturb the Teacher and other students isn't acceptable either. Thoughts?


John said...

You always say that Teachers should be able to handle larger numbers of students if discipline is handled correctly...

Is expulsion / suspension what you were thinking of? Or something else?

Sean and Laurie,
Is this a case of excessive racial bias? Or does that group of children just tend to misbehave in class more often?

Laurie said...

This topic is too complex for my usual 2 sentence comments. Of course disruptive students need to be educated. The question comes down to how/where/at what cost. I have 2 students with me in spec education the entire day and a couple more with me most of the day.

I also worked for 10 years in fed setting IV programs, which are separate school sites for teaching the most disruptive. This is the most restrictive placement and should be a true last resort

With the best teachers disruptive students will be less disruptive. In urban education the term cultural competence is used for being effective in teaching/ managing students from diverse backgrounds.

Any how managing disruptive students effectively for everyone's benefit is a very difficult problem and I certainly have lots of experience and very few answers.

John said...

I just skimmed it, however it seemed they were weaving between expulsion/suspension of "trouble makers" who were to often minorities for whatever reason, to how to educate Special Ed kids.(ie main streaming)

I am sure there is some overlap, especially with EBD and ADHD kids, however I think often they are totally different topics.

When a non-special ed child is raised poorly at home, I assume this spills over in the classroom often. And if that child does not want to be in school, or wants to be seen as "tough"... Suspension and/or expulsion may be more of a reward than a punishment.

John said...

A possible Root Cause Comic

John said...

Anita noted the following at MinnPost and I replied per below.

"So as a former pre-K and K-5 educator, parent of children with special needs who have attended both MPS,and a charter school and someone who has routinely spent 1-4 hours per week volunteering in K-12 schools, I have a few things to add.

Charter schools are all open enrollment by law and while they can designate an attendance area, must enroll any student who applies/registers. All schools are limited by their particular resources and if a challenged student does leave, it is by the guardian's choice because all resources to address the student's needs have been exhausted.

This very same thing happens within school districts; though students don't have to leave the district to attend another school program, Charter schools are a district of that one school so if a student leaves they must go to another district.

*No one can force a child to learn. Educators engage students at all age levels in a process of initiating, accessing, associating and integrating material/ content. Many students do this in "non-traditional" ways so that educators need both skills and resources/supports to provide this to all learners.

Society has consistently removed both resources and supports while requiring educators to provide "more accountability" with asinine schemes like standardized testing. NO ONE is engaged by learning test questions!!

This is the Cliff Notes version of education that we are expecting to prepare students for jobs and life.

* Behavioral issues increase exponentially for students who cannot begin to engage with test prep content that has not a whiff of meaning to the contiguous learning they'd had up to the beginning of testing in grade 3.

And most importantly, Pre-K and primary Ed used to be about teaching all students classroom skills and foundations for learning. Since core content competency (reading by grade 1 and computational math) have been pushed down to kindergarten, no one has the time to teach the all important skills that students take with them and continue to hone throughout their entire learning career. And it shows!" Anita

"Plan Do Check Act: "NO ONE is engaged by learning test questions!! "

It is interesting that you are against accountability, however not surprising since you are a former Teacher. They do seem to think that they should be left alone to teach what they want to teach, to who they want to teach it...

The fact is that the teaching method is left to the Districts and Teachers, all that is measured is how well did the students learn the required content.

I am waiting for the day when Teachers decide that students don't need to submit homework and/or take quizzes/tests... And the Teachers choose to not judge whether the child is proficient by checking their work and capability. Since that is what they seem to want society to do.

"Trust us... We know what we are doing... And No Child is Being Left Behind... Trust us..."

I am a big believer in trust but verify... I think one test set per year is pretty minimal. (ie MCAs)
" G2A

Laurie said...

It's odd that though the topic is what to do with disruptive students your focus returns to accountability. At my school there is very little complaint about MCA's. We have a terrible past rate (<20%) but we keep plugging away trying to improve.

About those disruptive students I think the chronically most disruptive should be evaluated for a behavior disorder. A sixth grade student in my school was counseled out rather than expelled this winter and I still feel bad that I didn't check more on his behaviors and push for special education. I still have a soft spot for the trouble makers.

About those St. Paul students, I read about their return to the main stream last fall (from the setting III behavior learning centers) and my opinion is that it was illegal, as there was no due process and considering the needs of each child.

The article did renew my determination to work harder to increase to my students time in general ed. My most disruptive (second grade) student spends too much time playing or watching others use my ipad, as this allows me to teacher my other students with less disruption.

Anyhow, my opinion of what to do in most cases with the most disruptive students is label them EBD and give them special ed services (up to 100% of their day if needed) serving them in their home school when possible.

John said...

Anita brought it up. I am just easily distracted. Maybe I have ADD...

jerrye92002 said...

There is a school near here with bars on the windows and a full time police officer. There are a few students for whom that is necessary. There is another school near here where those who struggle with the regimentation of normal school can help write their own curriculum, and work cooperatively with the teaching staff to graduate.

But the largest number of "troublemakers," IMHO, are those who are not sufficiently engaged and challenged by the teaching and subject matter. And the more we try to "dumb down" the curriculum for those who aren't interested in the first place, the more of these average-to-gifted students we bore to tears, and to mischief. Think about it. What is the main attribute of successful schools? High expectations.

John said...

"those who aren't interested in the first place"

So what do you want to do with these "aren't interested" kids?

High Expectations are great, if the kids and parents are engaged. And the parent(s) has some academic capability with which to help their child.

However if the Parent(s) isn't enforcing homework discipline... The comic above comes into play...

John said...

Attitude Matters
Parental Pressure

John said...

This discussion reminds me of what the one middle school Teacher told me before. And my daughters thought she was a great Teacher...

The teacher said she was torn with what to do when 1/3 of the class was actively engaged, 1/3 was passively listening and 1/3 was tuned out or falling asleep. Should she waste the time of 2/3rds of the class to force the 1/3rd to pay attention, or just let them be left behind.

And before you say it... The 1/3rd was not "gifted" and "bored", as noted by their test scores and grades.

jerrye92002 said...

High expectations are great, period. If kids know what is expected of them, and that the school is there to help them reach it, most will climb on board. Regardless of WHY they are disinterested, or bored, 99% will try to reach something they know is attainable, and the few that don't can be dealt with.

The problem you mention is created by the fact that no two kids are alike, which our current system makes worse. Schools using computer-aided instruction have larger class sizes, generally MUCH better results, and no discipline problems, because every kid proceeds at his/her own pace. Also, there's no penalty for giving a wrong answer, no concern if it takes you a while to come up with it, and a VERY patient "teacher" to drill you over and over on areas where you are struggling (with a real human teacher as last resort). Now it used to be that we would divide kids up into groups, by ability, and all students progressed faster. But of course that isn't fair and "hurts self-esteem," so instead we let the slowest be called "dummies" and leave them out of the education. No wonder they become discipline problems.

John said...


"Schools using computer-aided instruction have larger class sizes, generally MUCH better results"

Personally I am betting that any improved results have more to do with who signs up for these classes than the effectiveness of computer led education.

I mean these kids likely have "high speed internet" in the home if they are even pursuing it. That leaves out the poor right out of the gate.

John said...

So you are saying that 99% of kids will be self motivated to go home and do their homework instead of watch TV, play video games, go outside, hang with friends, etc?

You must know some really highly self disciplined kids. It took years of consistent nagging to condition our kids that homework comes before play. And often my sweet little academically motivated rule followers still need reminders.

jerrye92002 said...

Sorry, I do not have a study to cite. What I have is some very up-close and personal experience with a private school for "poor" kids, where they consistently exceed grade-level standards that "poor" public-school kids struggle to meet. And they don't HAVE homework, because the "classes" are so effective. The "class size" is effectively one. It just makes sense that would be vastly superior to the current system. You sit in those classes and all you hear is clicking keyboards.

John said...

School name?

jerrye92002 said...

Privacy, please.

John said...

So you put out a comment like this. "Schools using computer-aided instruction have larger class sizes, generally MUCH better results" and have absolutely no data you are willing to share...

jerrye92002 said...

That is correct. I learned long ago that anything that exposes kids to even the most benign prying eyes is an undesirable breach of trust and responsibility. But I was not sharing data; I was sharing experience. You want data, go look for it. I'm convinced, and it makes simple common sense. You keep arguing that class size matters, and surely a class size of one is the ideal, is it not? How much of a discipline problem can you possibly have in a class size of one?

John said...

I am not looking to pry into the children's lives. I am looking to compare a school's results to other comparable schools via readily available public data... No children will be harmed in the pursuit of this knowledge.

I agree that computer assisted learning is excellent for some kids. Just as home schooling works for some. However I don't think the results are that much better than the other forms.

Getting back to the point of this post. What do we do with the EBD, ADD, ADHD, academically challenged, and kids who just want to cause trouble while at school for any other reason.

It is easy to teach kids that truly want to learn and have the capability to behave, participate, understand, etc. And have responsible Parents that actively support the childs development and learning.

Now what do we do with those others...

jerrye92002 said...

Why do you assume that the number of truly disruptive kids is so overwhelming? Are YOUR kids part of that group? I firmly believe that kids need to be taught socially acceptable behavior and learning skills at school, even if they don't get it at home. That is one of the big reasons we mandate "public education." But then we put them in classes with few expectations for good behavior and limited consequences for bad behavior, for fear of harming their self-esteem. And we tell them they are there for an education and then fail to challenge them adequately while simultaneously failing to help them adequately. Simply put, we have absolutely no idea of how few children would be truly disruptive until we eliminate all of these systemic SOURCES of the disruptive behavioral response. The big advantage to computer-aided instruction is that every child is fully engaged, all the time, because the computer will challenge them continually as long as they are progressing, and drill them continually when they are not. There is no "idle hands" problem. It just simply works in a way that one teacher speaking in front of 25 students cannot. Yes, they will need to learn the social skills outside that setting, but at least their self-esteem is set by real achievement.

In other words, our discipline is woefully inadequate, and our education paradigm is a major cause of discipline problems.

John said...

"But then we put them in classes with few expectations for good behavior and limited consequences for bad behavior, for fear of harming their self-esteem."

The teachers I know have a pretty high expectation regarding the behavior of children in their classes.

And here is what I have been asking you. How would you increase the consequences for bad behavior?

What would you do with the troublemakers?

jerrye92002 said...

I prefer to first eliminate the causes of the bad behavior wherever possible, which is offering the students a truly challenging curriculum for EVERY student, and the belief they will be receiving enough help to reach for those challenges. I really am convinced that 80% of the problem, or more, disappears once that is done. Sure, easier said than done, especially when some of these "cultural differences" come into play, but we get nothing by punishing kids for behavior that is a natural reaction to being challenged too little or too much. AFTER you eliminate that issue-- the major part of the problem-- then you can start dealing with the problem kids. Under a voucher system, of course, that would be easy.