zero tolerance of students

Zero-Tolerance Education Policies Are Destroying Young People's Lives | Civil Liberties | Alternet   Compulsory attendance started with a limited amount of school time and families were all still really local, there was a lot of social capital, and the schools were a new, advanced thing and a way forward for many. But we have extended the time spent in school and the communities around schools have withered as have the support systems for families and kids.

We can make all schools treat all students far more respectfully by getting schools to start providing learning services in a humane way for everyone.  We can move out of the factory model. And that will change the entire social fabric of our schools and communities.  In the meantime, this group is doing essential work and students and families have the right to demand more, myself and many homeschoolers would say,  they have a right to demand much more.

The Numbers

Nationwide, suspension and expulsion rates are at crisis levels. The most recent data from the National Center on Education Statistics showed that more than 3.3 million students were suspended or expelled in 2006 -- nearly one in 14. Of those, fewer than one in 10 were for violent offenses. The vast majority were for vague, noncriminal offenses, such as tardiness, talking back to a teacher, or violating dress codes. 
For students of color, the crisis is even more extreme: In 2006, about 15 percent of black students were suspended, compared with 7 percent of Hispanic students and 5 percent of white students, according to NCES data. That year, about 0.5 percent of blacks were expelled from school, compared with 0.2 percent of Hispanic students and 0.1 percent of white students. Many of these suspensions are the result of excessively punitive discipline policies. Mirroring tactics used in the adult criminal-justice system and the "war on drugs," many school districts embraced practices that emphasize the long-term exclusion of students who violate school rules. Schools are relying more and more on the police and juvenile courts to address school-based behavior that used to be handled by educators. 
In New York City, a recent analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union revealed that suspensions of 4- to 10-year-olds have increased 76 percent since 2003.
The author acknowledges the school-to-prison pipeline, cousin to the pipelines to elite colleges and corporations, and a metaphor that relates te factory processing of oil and gas to human beings.  That is bad design .

This is what's known as the "school-to-prison pipeline." The United States now has the world's highest incarceration rate, and the number of juveniles in detention has swelled in recent decades. In the United States, more black men ages 18 to 24 live in prison cells than college dorm rooms, according to U.S. Census data.
So much for ending child labor.  Next time you feel smug about child labor around the world, think again.  

Change?
The article offers some feeble suggestions for change:
  • Creating respectful and welcoming school environments; 
  • Teaching positive behavior skills and conflict resolution; and 
  • Expanding access to academic and counseling services for children and families.
We can do a lot better than this. Parents have been actively changing compulsory attendance laws for 30 years.  Maybe educational activists can step this up a good bit.

Students in schools should not have to worry about truancy police, grades and harassment.  If they want to sleep in some days, it should be ok. We should provide learning services that students want and need and allow them to make choices for themselves.  

In fact, what needs done is to change from a factory model of education to a services approach that is not class-based but social in nature.  The importance of the social atmosphere in a place of learning cannot be overdone.
 And a truly positive social learning environment cannot be achieved with police and families forced to use a service with no real input or choice.  


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