Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Virginia Governor Wants To Rid School Suspensions… Why??

This month, Virginia
Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill that looks to curb school suspensions.  The state’s lawmakers passed the legislation this year in an effort to encourage alternatives to a type of discipline that
sometimes backfire.
They say suspensions are counter-productive and make it more difficult for young kids to reach their full potential. To that thought, I say bullsh#t.
I mean, don’t get me wrong.. there is a problem in Virginia. In 2014-2015, public schools in Virginia issued over 125,000 suspensions to more than 70,000 students.  However, if kids don’t want to learn then why should it be the school that forces them? Where is the parent or guardian in all of this?
“I don't have to tell anybody in this room that if you suspend or expel a child, you are beginning down a road that will make it much more difficult for that child to get a quality education and to join our workforce," McAuliffe said. 
Maybe your right, McAuliffe.  So , let’s agree that the majority of these kids who were suspended or expelled belong to a struggling family.  That problem starts in the household.  Let’s also agree that there were a significant number of kids who have been suspended or expelled who have behavioral issues.  That too is a problem that is recognized in the household. 

So why do we want to automatically shift a household problem to a school problem. Certainly there are some kids who are going to school because they want to learn.  Why not be generous to them by keeping those who are disruptive out of functional classrooms? Aren't we still addressing the issue of bullying in schools?  Or was that just a fad?  

I will be interested to see what the alternatives are.  Certainly, it's not the suspensions or expulsions that cause a child to not reach his/her potential.
The new law asks the Virginia Board of Education to “establish guidelines for alternatives to short-term and long-term suspension for consideration by local school boards. But do these alternatives include positive behavior incentives, mediation, peer-to-peer counseling, and community service? Because these types of alternatives and more are needed.
If the focus shifts to recognizing the behavior that causes a kid's suspension then that’s constructive.  However, this focus may require teachers to be more tolerant to disruptive behavior.  Unfortunately, it means that the disciplined kids will have to be more patient as well. The bottom line is simple... no one wins.

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