Bring Back Discipline

Tulsa Public School recently surveyed current staff to find out why they were leaving.  You might think that the top reason would be a money issue.  If you thought that was the main reason, you would be wrong.  The top response from 56 percent of the staff was to cut down on routines and meetings.  The next category coming in at 54 percent of teachers was getting support for student discipline issues.

In an article by Jason Riley entitled, An Obama Decree Continues to Make Public Schools Lawless, he goes back to a 2012 Department of Education study showing that black students are suspended from school at a higher rate than whites, which then fueled a predictable call that school discipline policies were racist.

In 2014, the department then sent a warning to school districts to do something about the disparity, which meant stop suspending so many disruptive black students.  If districts ignored the warning, they might be the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.

Mr. Max Eden of the Manhattan Institute wrote a report entitled, “School Discipline Reform and Disorder.”  He found that 27 states and 50 of the largest school districts moved to reduce suspensions with predictable results to the dismay of those like in Tulsa who are on the front lines.

A Chicago teacher said her school became lawless after the new policy was implemented.  A teacher in Oklahoma City said, “We were told that referrals would not require suspension unless there was blood.”

Another example was a Buffalo teacher who was kicked in the head by a student said his students were well aware of the change in policy.  They say, “We can’t get suspended, we don’t care what you say.”

From 2002 to 2011, discipline was enforced in New York City by Mayor Michael Bloomburg.  His successor Bill de Blasio has made suspension much more difficult.  Suspensions have dropped by 50 percent and the learning environment has suffered.

Overall in New York City, fighting, gang activity and drug used worsened at three times as many schools as saw an improvement.

Mr. Eden goes on to say none of this is likely to sway liberals who believe that racism explains all racial disparities.  The Left’s decision to place the welfare of bullies and thugs above the welfare of kids who are in school to learn is counter-productive.

Thanks to liberals’ opposition to school choice, Mayor de Blasio is opposed to opening new charter schools in a city where 40,000 students are on waiting lists for charter schools.

In Mr. Eden’s analysis, a finding was that white students are suspended at a higher rate than their Asian counterparts.  Is the system anti-white as well?

Over the past three decades, the number of minority teachers has more than doubled.  These are the front line defenders who are doing the suspensions.  They are not racist. The Obama administrations “guidance” to schools was wrong.  Unfortunately, it is still in effect and should be withdrawn.  Discipline needs to return to the classroom.