Education Week - April 1, 2015 - (Page 24)

COMMENTARY Decriminalizing School Discipline Why Black Males Matter By Tyrone Howard R ecent events in Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland, and New York City have ignited a series of debates about the lives of black males in the United States and how they are viewed in the larger society. Regardless of what anyone believes, however, the reality is simple: Black males are disciplined and punished disproportionately more than any other group. The historical narrative often depicts black males as violent, anti-intellectual, and resistant to authority. What needs to be understood, however, is how schools contribute to building this narrative, and what can be done to help change that. In many ways, young black men have a much lower threshold for engaging in inappropriate behavior while at school than their peers; overwhelming data show that black male students ex1965-2015 The ESEA at 50 " Marciene S. Mattleman Sept. 29, 1982 "Bringing Theory Into the Classroom: The Key to Successful Learning" PERSPECTIVES FROM THE ARCHIVES The policy implications of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and its most recent reauthorization, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, have been at the heart of an enduring public debate that has also taken place in Education Week's Commentary pages over the years. The debate intensified with the passage of NCLB, particularly around its impact on the federal role in schooling, education equity, and standardized testing. For reflections on the 10th anniversary of the signing of NCLB into law, including from Sen. Lamar Alexander, R.-Tenn.; former Rep. George Miller, D.-Calif.; Kaya Henderson; Lillian Lowery; Michael Mulgrew; and others, go to Evaluations of funding efforts have been able to identify those elements associated with successful programs, yet 17 years after ESEA there has been negligible evidence of the use of those research findings in urban school systems. The challenge is no longer to discover what components work, but rather to replicate those approaches that we know to be related to school success. If the current insistence on noncomparable tests is enacted, the great promise of the [George W.] Bush education plan will be lost. Then we will have testing for the sake of testing, which will rob the initiative of its purpose. At great expense, we will have mountains of data, of no comparative value. The status quo will be reaffirmed. And count on it: Lots of children will still be left behind. Diane Ravitch May 2, 2001 "The Travails of the Bush Plan for Education" 24 | EDUCATION WEEK | April 1, 2015 | Despite the many fine education reform efforts of the past 20 years and the national commitment to learning that the federal No Child Left Behind Act appears to embody, teachers have not been provided with the necessary training and support to carry out these mandates. Vartan Gregorian Nov. 10, 2004 "No More Silver Bullets" perience school in a very different way than do their nonblack peers. The U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights reported in 2014 that 42 percent of all preschoolage black children have received at least one out-ofschool suspension, compared with 28 percent of their white peers. The department also found that black males are three times more likely than their white male peers to be suspended and expelled, resulting in the loss of valuable learning time. Moreover, it is not uncommon, as data from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Schott Foundation have shown, for districts with small percentages of black males to report that this group still represents a majority of students being disciplined. A study released in February by uClA's Civil Rights Project identified, based on a statistical analysis of school districts nationwide, the most egregious records for unequal school discipline. Researchers discovered that states such as Mississippi, South Carolina, and Delaware, have strikingly disparate racial breakdowns in disciplinary actions. The report cited in particular the state of Missouri, where unrest over a police shooting of a young black man continues to unfold. The data show that, statewide, Missouri elementary schools suspended more than 14 percent of their black students at least once in 2011-12, compared with only 1.8 percent of their white students. More specifically, the analysis indicated that the Normandy school district, where Ferguson shooting victim Michael Brown attended school, is one of the highestsuspending districts in the nation, with the overall suspension rate of black students close to 50 percent. Nearly two decades ago, responding in part to the school shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado and other locations across the country, school officials adopted so-called zero-tolerance policies around student behavior. The idea was that instances of disrupiStockphoto

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 1, 2015

K-12 Law’s Legacy Blend of Idealism, Policy Tensions
Testing Security Prompts Scrutiny Of Social Media
Virtual Spec. Ed. Is Evolving Option
Turnover at Top Can Leave Funders Wary
Education Week - April 1, 2015
News in Brief
Report Roundup
New Studies Affirm Impact of Board-Certified Teachers
Blogs of the Week
Honored Educator Decries Current Climate for Teaching
‘Opt-Out’ Push Sparks Queries For Guidance
Texas Lawmakers Wrangle A Herd of Education Measures
A View From the Top As the Policy Clock Ticks
Blogs of the Week
TYRONE HOWARD: Decriminalizing School Discipline: Why Black Males Matter
THE ESEA AT 50: Perspectives From the Archives
REBECCA GIVENS ROLLAND: The Ticking Clock of American Education
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
MARILYN BURNS: What Reading Instruction Can Teach Us About Math Instruction

Education Week - April 1, 2015