In New York City efforts to improve alleged racist school discipline appears to have failed miserably. The Obama administration along with New York City Mayor de Blasio supplanted additional measures to help schools. School discipline improves when teachers are empowered to transition the culture of the school rather than the top down approach which always ends in failure.
According to the article, Report: Obama’s fight against allegedly racist school discipline has been a total disaster in NYC, a recent study, School Discipline Reform and Disorder: Evidence from New York City Public Schools, 2012–16, by the Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Max Eden, claims that school discipline reform policies instituted by de Blasio have led to more “violence, drug and alcohol use, and gang activity. Specifically, teachers report less order and discipline, and students report less mutual respect among their peers, as well as more violence, drug and alcohol use, and gang activity. There was also a significant differential racial impact: non-elementary schools where more than 90% of students were minorities experienced the worst shift in school climate under the de Blasio reform.”
Mayor de Blasio elected to require principals to seek written permission to suspend students. He also “introduced a $1.2 million initiative to train staff from 100 NYC schools in restorative justice and the School Climate Leadership Team to evaluate and report on the progress of his discipline reforms and their impact on school climate”, according to Eden.
The problem with the plan to eliminate school discipline is that it does not empower the frontline persons such as the teachers. The decision is paramount to a power over decision for which many politicians make their decisions. They made this decision because their basic belief is that the educators are to lazy or unwilling to improve school discipline. Therefore they emphasize tight controls, threats, and punishment.
One example of this leadership usage was the threat to public schools through a ‘Dear Colleague” letter. “In January 2014, the U.S. Department of Education issued a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter, advising districts that if their school discipline policy ‘is neutral on its face—meaning that the policy itself does not mention race—and is administered in an evenhanded manner but has a disparate impact, i.e., a disproportionate and unjustified effect on students of a particular race,’ they could become the subject of a federal civil rights investigation for unlawful discrimination.”
In response to the letter regarding school discipline, twenty-seven states revised their laws which caused school suspension rates to plummet. In New York City, there were 53,504 suspensions during the 2013–14 school year. During the 2015–16 school year, that number had fallen to 37,647, a decline of more than 29 percent. However, this decrease was not without casualties.
For example, minority high school students were impacted by the new school discipline regulations. Since 2013, the reading scores for minority students have plummeted from a passing rate of 71.2% to a rate of 60.2%. Furthermore, since 2013 the math scores for minority students have plummeted from a passing rate of 67.4% to a rate of 49.9%.
There are two positive alternatives for reducing school discipline which empowers teachers. The first alternative is using The Raccelerate Formula. The Raccelerate Racism Formula provides schools and teachers a formula for determining possible racism against students in their school or school district without teachers becoming offended. It allows teachers and administrators to reflect on their practice and make the decisions on what types of school discipline are the most important to process.
The second alternative is to Promote Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships. Having positive and caring relationships in schools increases resilience and protects children from academic failure, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and destructive behavior and violence. Positive relationships between teachers and students motivate students to meet teachers’ requests for compliance which is the original intent for implementing school discipline strategies.
All the best,
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
The Raccelerate Phenomenon
Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President