August 13, 2012

Discipline, or lack thereof

Continuing with the theme highlighted by Hans Bader regarding the Obama administration's pressuring school districts to implement what are, essentially, quotas in school discipline, Heather Mac Donald follows today with a rather lengthy -- and scary -- essay on the topic. Here's something we've heard of before -- and an example of the type of teacher we need more of to speak up against this politically correct garbage:

Aaron Benner, a fifth-grade teacher in St. Paul, Minnesota, scoffs at the notion that minority students are being unfairly targeted for discipline. “Anyone in his right mind knows that these [disciplined] students are extremely disruptive,” he says. Like districts across the county, the St. Paul public school system has been on a mission to lower the black suspension rate, following complaints by local activists and black parents. A highly regarded principal lost his job because his school had “too many” suspensions of black second- and fourth-graders. The school system has sent its staff to $350,000 worth of “cultural-proficiency” training, where they learned to “examine the presence and role of ‘Whiteness.’ ” The district spent another $2 million or so to implement an anti-suspension behavioral-modification program embraced by the Obama administration.

Benner sees the consequences of this anti-discipline push nearly every day in the worsening behavior of students. He overheard a fifth-grade boy tell a girl: “Bitch, I’ll fuck you and suck you.” (“I wanted to throw him against the locker,” Benner recalls.) The boy’s teacher told Benner that she felt powerless to punish the misbehavior. “This will be one of my black men who ends up in prison after raping a woman,” observes Benner. Racist? Many would so characterize the comment. But Benner is black himself—and fed up with the excuses for black misbehavior. He attended one of the district’s cultural-proficiency sessions, where an Asian teacher asked: “How do I help the student who blurts out answers and disrupts the class?” The black facilitator reminded her: “That’s what black culture is”—an answer that echoes the Obama administration’s admonitions to teachers. “I should have said: ‘How many of you shouted out in college?’ ” Benner remarks. “They’re trying to pull one over on us. Black folks are drinking the Kool-Aid; this ‘let-them-clown’ philosophy could have been devised by the KKK.”

Delaware's Christina School District gets a mention, too. It seems it was the target of a federal investigation into "disparate" discipline procedures because it supposedly "failed" to properly distinguish between a white first grader's Cub Scout tool (“a combination of folding fork, knife, and spoon”) and and 11 year-old black girl's box cutter. The girl claimed she had no idea how the box cutter got there. When school officials moved on expulsion, the mom screamed "racism" to the Delaware Human Relations Commission, and the rest is history.

And "history" is what school and classroom order will become very quickly if the current administration gets its way. Delaware already has the highest percentage of school children per capita attending private/parochial schools. Stand by for a national upsurge in such ... or, at least a lot more vociferous demands for charters, vouchers, and school choice.

Posted by Felix at August 13, 2012 10:12 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Leaving aside the absurdity of disruption being normal or acceptable, I think the one way that this problem is not being addressed is the teaching model. You have a factory model that was built on top of 18th century technology and you're trying to teach digital age kids. Further you cannot expect one modality to work equally well for all students. Frankly we should be looking at these kids in terms of modality as much as ability and focusing efforts at reform in that direction.

Posted by: Duffy at August 14, 2012 03:14 PM