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(tagline from Real News) Bart Lubow: Zero tolerance policies and racial bias are pushing many kids out of school and into jail
Bart Lubow: (transcription mine)

"... the majority of kids who are in custody in this country are kids who are being locked up because they frustrated or angered an adult primarily for acts of defiance more than acts of violence .."

"Research on delinquency has long held that a weak connection to the educational system is a strong risk factor for delinquency."

"... if we push those kids out of the school system whether because of zero tolerance policies ... if we kick those kids out of school now, we increase the odds that they are going to engage in criminal behavior ..."

"Cuts to education funding are going to motivate school officials to push the poorest performing, most behaviorally challenging kids out the school quickly..."

Lubow goes on to call for a wholesale reconsideration of zero tolerance policies, many put in place after the Columbine school shootings which have resulted in the "mindless suspensions" of hundreds of thousands of kids for offenses that were not always considered worthy of that.

Zero Tolerance Comes from Families Having Zero Power 
Zero tolerance policies are part of the police mindset that has taken hold within schools that do not see themselves as community resources for families. Schools have never been directly accountable to parents or communities and have been sheltered by compulsory attendance laws that allow them to police kids and families while dismissing their needs in favor of curricular schemes of content and testing quants in remote corporations. They know what kids need and they have the power to make or break kids and families. And they do.

The vast majority of people I talk to believe that voluntary attendance is a code for neglect or ignoring kids. Nothing could be further from my point of view. And I am also uninterested in doing away with government or taxes: they are here to stay. But so is the fact that we need sustainable systems of life for people and mas coercion is not an approach that will work in the long run.

Working-class and poor families know better than anyone else the value of education.  I think all families need the police out of the schools and families with fewer resources, if they were empowered to ask for learning services, would be down there asking for more services than schools expect.  And I would expect the schools to start delivering them. Families need to be able to make real, substantial choices and a system with a different structure would allow that to happen. Choices like: what to take and when to take it. Real choices.
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