Zero-tolerance policies, which require out-of-school suspension or expulsion for certain inappropriate behaviors, have become the go-to disciplinary approach in many schools. But research suggests such punishments may not change students’ behavior and are often meted out unfairly.
The idea of out of school suspension for being truant or late makes no sense at all. Schools and parents don’t have control over the kids when they’re at home. Some children see this kind of suspension as a reward and look forward to missing school so that they can engage in other activities like watching television. In addition, data indicate that suspension has been shown to disproportionately affect black, Latino, and male students and those with disabilities. How do students who have been suspended make up the work they have missed? Data also indicate that these punishments force students out of school – “push outs.”
What are the alternatives? Why not in-school suspension during lunch where these students can be isolated from friends? Or how about mandatory in-school suspension on Saturdays?
LLE, Ky. – Two Catholic school athletes who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old told police they did it because they thought it would be “funny,” according to court records released under a Jefferson County judge’s order.
Savannah Dietrich had been frustrated by what she felt was a lenient plea bargain for the two teens who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her in August 2011, so she tweeted their names and criticized the justice system.
Both teens, who were 16 at the time of the assault, said in interviews with a Louisville Metro Police detective before their guilty pleas that they also took explicit pictures of Savannah Dietrich with their cellphones while she was intoxicated.
After Dietrich initially complained about the plea deal the two teens received, Paul Richwalsky, chief prosecutor in the juvenile court division of the county attorney’s office, told her “get over it and see a therapist. … The jail was for ‘real’ rapists, murderers and robbers,” according to an affidavit released Thursday.
Dietrich’s lawyer, Thomas Clay, told the court that Richwalsky gave the teens favored treatment because they were athletes at Trinity High School, where Richwalsky is an alumnus, serves on the reunion committee and supports the sports teams.
The teen boys pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and misdemeanor voyeurism as part of the plea agreement. They are required to do 50 hours of volunteer work and the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice will determine the level of supervision and treatment needed. The conviction could be set aside and erased when the teens turn 19½ if they complete a diversion program.
The teens told Detective Chris Horn in separate interviews that they were drinking with Dietrich and a few other people at her home in August 2011 when they were left alone with the heavily intoxicated Dietrich. They said they lifted her shirt, pulled down her pants and penetrated her vagina with their fingers because, according to one of the teens, “we thought it would be funny, but it wasn’t.” They said they took two or three pictures each, put Dietrich’s clothes back on and carried her upstairs to her room. Numerous other teenagers told police that the teens showed them the pictures, according to police reports.
Dietrich later learned of the teens’ plea deal, which she considered too lenient, then tweeted their names and complained about the court’s treatment of her. The lawyer for the accused at first sought to have her held in contempt for exposing what was, at the time, a confidential juvenile court proceeding. Dietrich and her parents gave permission to use her name.
The older of the two teens told police in his interview that he molested Dietrich because “she was fine with it.”
“How do you know she was fine?” police asked him.
“I mean she could have definitely been like, ‘Stop, don’t do this’ and we would have stopped, but she didn’t,” the boy responded, adding that she was conscious but “very drunk” and had “low eyelids.”
Before they were charged, the teens pleaded with Dietrich in several text messages not to go to court over what happened, according to copies of the texts released in the files.
“Savannah I know u probably think I’m the worst person in the world,” the younger teen texted her in December, asking if they could meet with her and apologize, according to the court records. “There is another way to deal with this other than jeopardizing our lives forever.”
When the older teen said their lives could be ruined, Dietrich responded in a text: “You don’t think you ruined my life forever? How would you feel knowing you basically got raped. Knowing people are seeing your pictures, tell me who all saw these pictures? It’s humiliating I feel exposed.”
Richwalsky says he told Dietrich and her mother about the plea deal and denies telling her she needed to move on or get over anything, calling the allegations “preposterous.”
The teens pleaded not guilty in March and were put on house arrest though they were allowed to go to previously scheduled college visits.
On June 26, they pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and voyeurism; their sentencing was put off for seven weeks for a required sexual-offender risk assessment.
Both teens have had to withdraw from their Catholic high school. Details about the younger teen were not available, but the Department of Juvenile Justice said the older teen had a GPA of 3.83 and was ranked 25th out of 328 students.
Jefferson County Public Schools said he would have to attend an alternative school because of the charges.
Does your school give favored treatment to a specific group of students? Or are all students treated the same? The perception of favored treatment is a difficult one for schools to overcome. I believe that schools need to recognize students who “give back” whether they perform in school plays, play in the orchestra of play in sports. However, most school recognition programs favor athletics and athletes. We give them recognition, jackets, dinners and trophies. Why not give the same recognition to academic achieving individuals? Schools were built to recognize academic achievement as well as athletic achievement.
A 2011 study, “Understanding and Preventing Violence Directed Against Teachers,” reported 80% of about 3,000 K-12 teachers surveyed felt victimized by students, students’ parents or colleagues in the past year. Teachers reported that students were most often behind the verbal intimidation, obscene gestures, cyberbullying, physical offenses, theft or damage to personal property. But few teachers or researchers are talking about it.
The study found that 44% of teachers said they’ve experienced physical victimization. Men who participated in the study were more likely than women to report obscene remarks and gestures, verbal threats and instances of weapons being pulled on them. Women, on the other hand, were more likely than men to report intimidation. Young teachers especially might be afraid to talk with a principal about being victimized in the classroom because they believe it means “they’re being ineffective somewhere.”
The Internet has created multiple avenues to increase the bullying of educators. Students have the ability to create fraudulent twitter account pretending to be someone else, possibly a teacher. The perpetrator then intentionally creates a fake account with the sole purpose being to harass and humiliate an educator. By creating a twitter or false Facebook account with malice of forethought is a violation of education codes as well as cyber bullying laws and Facebook and Twitter can be made to take down the accounts..
Tenure of teachers in the K-12 system is different from tenure in universities. In colleges and universities, tenure basically insures lifetime employment. In the K-12 educational system, Tenure simply insures ‘due process” – a series of steps that schools/districts/cities/states require before a tenured teacher can be dismissed.
In Los Angeles, a judge allowed a lawsuit that would overturn teacher tenure laws and seniority rights to move forward. A committee in the North Carolina legislature is now studying a bill that would eliminate tenure for all teachers.
On Election Day, Idaho voters rejected a series of anti-teacher laws, including scrapping tenure, proposed by the state legislature. In South Dakota, voters shot down an effort to make teacher tenure a local option instead of automatic statewide.
Teacher tenure is complex, controversial, and political throughout the United States, and many state legislatures plan to examine the matter in their upcoming 2013 legislative sessions.
What is tenure, exactly? Legally put, tenure gives teachers a permanent contract after a set term of employment, ensuring that they cannot be fired without just cause. In order to fire a teacher, administrators have to conduct intense reviews of the teacher’s performance and navigate miles of bureaucratic tape.
Proponents cheer tenure because it protects jobs, academic freedom, and teachers’ rights. Unions often cite that without tenure, school districts could easily fire veteran teachers, who cost more, and hire first-year teachers who would work for less pay. It also protects teachers, advocates say, from dismissal because of political, social or religious beliefs.
Opponents say that it makes firing bad teachers virtually impossible. They argue that teachers are granted tenure before it’s proven that they can actually teach.
States vary on when teacher tenure occurs. Mississippi, for example, allows for tenure after only one year of teaching. The majority of states allow tenure after two or three years. Ohio doesn’t grant tenure until after seven years of teaching.
In most states, before tenure is granted a teacher can be dismissed without going through the process noted above. I know of a teacher with tenure who was threatened with dismissal because he was teaching about the United Nations in a history class. The removal of tenure laws would allow states to get rid of higher paid senior teachers to be replaced by younger, less-experienced, lower-paid educators. If you were faced with critical surgery and were given a choice between a newly graduated surgeon, who was highly trained at a prestigious medical school or an experienced surgeon who had performed the surgery hundreds of times, who would you choose? Obviously politicians do not want to give parents and students a similar choice.
The state-by-state data show graduation rates that range from 59 percent in the District of Columbia to 88 percent in Iowa. The new method requires states to track individual students and report how many first-time 9th graders graduate with a standard diploma within four years.
According to the department, the new, common metric “can be used by states, districts and schools to promote greater accountability and to develop strategies that will reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide.”
Today’s data show glaring achievement gaps. In Minnesota, for instance, the graduation rate for black students was 49 percent; for white students, it was 84 percent. In Ohio, the graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students was 65 percent; for all students it was 80 percent.
The new standards make schools, districts and states to be compared. Some states have larger achievement gaps than others. Some gaps are because of ethnicity, while most gaps are caused by economic diversity and the difficulty of those districts to be funded as well as some of the higher performing districts.
Schools that serve high percentages of African American and Latino students are more likely to have teacher absences, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress. The report, Teacher Absence as a Leading Indicator of Student Achievement: New National Data Offer Opportunity to Examine Cost of Teacher Absence Relative to Learning Loss, bases its findings on the U.S. Department of Education’s biennial Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) survey on teacher absences, released in early 2012.
The report analyzed 56,837 schools, the CRDC survey revealed that nationwide, 36 percent of teachers were absent more than ten days during School Year 2009–10; individual states range from a low of 21 percent in Utah to a high of 50 percent in Rhode Island.
According to the report, 5.3 percent of teachers nationally are absent on any given school day. But in New Jersey’s Camden City Public Schools—a district where $22,000 per pupil is spent annually—up to 40 percent of teachers are absent on any given school day.
One factor in this gap is state policy: states influence district and local leave policy for teachers. States can set a floor as low as seven days for paid teacher sick leave, but many states set the floor much higher, providing the means for teachers to take more sick time. The report believes that states with higher floors are far too “permissive” for teachers’ absences. There are also gaps in percentages of teacher absences by grade level. Middle schools experienced the highest percentage of teacher absences with a national average of 37.8 percent, compared to 36.7 percent in elementary schools and 33.3 percent at the high school level.
The report notes that teachers have long been recognized as the most important determinant of student success. When they are absent from the classroom, learning slows. In addition to the academic cost, schools incur a large financial cost for teacher absenteeism. Although the report does not determine a comprehensive cost, it points out that stipends for substitute teachers and associated administrative costs alone amount to at least $4 billion annually.
What can be done to reduce teacher absenteeism? Some states and local districts are incentivizing teachers to take less paid leave through enhanced participation in pension plans and pay outs. Research finds that policies requiring teachers to phone-in to their principal to report being out reduces teacher absences, as well.
Read the full report at?http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TeacherAbsence-6.pdf.
|Teachers may have valid reasons for being absent. In crowded classrooms with children coughing and sneezing, it is easy to get cold’s or the flu.
A suggestion: Why not credit a teacher’s pension giving credit at the end of a teacher’s career for every day in the teacher’s “sick bank? In addition, for a teacher’s perfect attendance a bonus or 10 or 20% can be added.
Dr. Lee Jenkins is a long-time friend who is doing amazing things in education. Lee is a former California superintendent. He is making his newsletter available to those of you who read this blog. You can do so by registering at his website, www.LtoJConsulting.com
Dr. Jenkins has agreed to write a description of his work for this blog in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned.
I am indebted to Davide Savenije and Education Dive which compiled a list:
18 iPad uses: How classrooms are benefiting from Apple’s tablets
iPads are quickly becoming a popular and powerful educational tool for classrooms. Beyond the immediate benefit of engaging students, iPads can improve education efficiency and standards. However, many teachers are unsure of how to use them effectively. Coupled with concerns over the costs involved, iPad implementation in schools is seen as an unnecessary and expensive risk.
As the case studies below demonstrate, iPads are being used in education environments around the world with great success. Teachers can have paperless classrooms, take attendance, share interactive presentations and test their students—all on their iPad.
1. SHOW MATH PROCESSES, NOT JUST ANSWERS
Presidio Middle School in San Francisco, California uses iPads to teach students algebra. While the material is the same in the textbook, the iPad helps students understand how to solve math problems because they can view videos explaining the material as many times as they need.
2. POLL STUDENTS
Julie Wilcott, a science teacher at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, uses the eClicker app to poll her students on what they know and don’t know, which allows her to spend more time teaching the lessons they struggle with.
3. GO ON VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS
Most students and schools cannot afford to take a field trip to another country. However, Monica Mitchell, a fifth-grade teacher at Albert Harris Elementary in Martinsville, Virginia, took her class on virtual field trips to the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth, England and Yellowstone National Park using the Skype app for the iPad. Mitchell projected the tour of the Royal Navy Museum onto the SmartBoard in her classroom where students were able to interact with the museum guide and ask questions.
4. TAKE ATTENDANCE
Lonnie Strickland, Professor at the University of Alabama, is testing out an iPad app that tracks student’s attendance and participation. While that particular app hasn’t hit the market yet, Apple already has an app to take attendance for teachers called Attendance.
5. PROVIDE INTERACTION WITH MATH AND PHYSICS CONCEPTS
Chris Williams, the Mathematics Co-ordinator at Spring Cottage Primary School in Hull, England, has a list of ten interactive iPad apps that helped him teach math to his students. Red Bull Kart Fighter, a track racing game, helped teach students how to calculate averages. International Snooker was used to help students solve problems such as, how many ways are there to score a set amount of points? Angry Birds, a catapult game with high scores, was used to help teach students how to order and partition large numbers. Similarly, John Burk, a ninth-grade physics teacher at Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, used Angry Birds to teach students constant velocity and constant acceleration.
6. NURTURE CREATIVITY WITH STORYTELLING PLATFORMS
Educators at Ringwood North Primary School in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, created the Epic Citadel Challenge to foster storytelling, creative collaboration and individual initiative. Students used their experiences in the virtual landscape to tell a story in the medium of their choosing.
7. CONVERTS WORDS INTO RAPS
The Holy Family School in Ashland, Ky., is taking advantage of teacher and student-friendly apps that convert educational texts into engaging material for students. For example, AutoRap will take your words and turn them into a rap and Strip Designer enables the creation of comic strips.
8. GO PAPERLESS
Jackson Christian School in Jackson, Tenn., has virtually paperless classrooms. Students no longer carry binders and textbooks, while teachers administer tests on their iPads.
9. ENGAGE THE DISENGAGED
Educators at Manor Lakes P-12 Specialist School in Wyndham Vale, Victoria, Australia, found that the iPads were most effective in prompting their most disconnected students to interact in the classroom and have fun while learning. For example, the iBooks and Marvel Comics apps were used to engage students in reading.
10. IMPROVE PRESENTATIONS
Federico Pavano, teacher and technology director at Immaculata-La Salle High School in Miami, Fla., uses Nearpod, an iPad app that creates slide presentations. Nearpod enables Pavano to fill his presentation with text, images, videos and surveys while allowing him to control the speed and flow of the lesson as students interact with the material.
11. ENHANCE PHYSICAL EDUCATION
SPARK, a health and physical education program, has an app for PE classes. PE teachers at Eastlake Middle School in Chula Vista, California use SPARK to record student’s physical activity and show them how to refine their movements.
12. GRAPH DATA
Julie Garcia, a teacher at Innovation Middle School in San Diego, California, uses the iPad to show students how to graph data and look for correlations.
13. TURN IN ASSIGNMENTS
Leslie Langham, a seventh-grade English teacher, uses Dropbox, a free file sharing app, to post homework assignments. Students turn them in using the app and she then grades and returns them all on Dropbox.
14. TAKE NOTES
Christina Weltmer, a science teacher at Garden City High School, was actually taught by one of her students on how to use Notability, the iPad app that enables the user to take notes, record lectures and annotate PDFs.
15. IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS
David Andrews, a Year 6 teacher at Spring Cottage Primary School in Hull, England, has a blog where he posts case studies of iPad implementation in his school. His fellow teacher, Mr. Williams, used Bike Baron, a motorcycling game, to improve his student’s writing skills by having them write about their experiences playing the game.
16. SHARE LECTURES
Jesse Lazzuri, a science teacher at Saint Andrew’s School in Savannah, Ga., used Keynote, part of iWork, to enable teachers to share lectures with students. Students could access lectures whenever they needed and were able to learn at the pace that suited them best.
17. ASSIST SPECIAL NEEDS LEARNING
Warringa Park School, a special needs institution in Hopper’s Crossing, Victoria, Australia, has a list of apps which have been particularly successful in teaching students who have special learning needs. Proloquo2Go aids students who have trouble speaking. Mad Addition, Mad Subtraction and Mad Multiplication help students learn math and have fun while doing it. Red Fish 4 Kids assisted students in learning how to spell.
Similarly, First Words Animals aids with letter and word identification. Jack and the Beanstalk Children’s Interactive Storybook helps keep students engaged as they learn how to read. Whizzit 123 and Toddler Counting helped students with numeracy. Likewise, the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia allows teachers to maintain a group learning environment even with students who cannot leave their hospital beds and do not have fine motor skills.
18. DECREASE EXPENSES
While iPads are often seen as a luxury, a study by Oklahoma State University reported that iPad implementation actually decreased costs for students and schools because they reduced and sometimes nullified the need for physical textbooks.
Franklin presented two sessions for the National Dropout Prevention Center’s Forum in Myrtle Beach. Here are a few of his attendees comments:
“Franklin is very dynamic and his material is extremely relevant for anyone working with youth or adolescents.” C.Williams, Director of Social Work, The Leadership Program
“This session was great! Common sense, practical, evidence-based strategies. Teachers, like me, are starving for this type of information.” B. Tomberlin, Program Consultant, KY DOE
“Wonderfully engaging with information to bring back to my campus and implement now. Inspiring!” A.K. Lene, Chief Academic Officer
“The presentation offers statistics, humor, and resources to improve education and instruction that our children so desperately need.”
“Great presenter! Mr. Schargel keeps the audience engaged at all times with his humorous attitude and interaction with the workshop participants.” B. Bush, Attendance Supervisor, Fairfield County Schools
“This is a great program for all school professionals, parents and community agencies working with at risk!” M. Bullock, DOP School Counselor, Guilford Co. Schools
“Engaging, interesting, motivation, practical, well-supported, exactly what I needed!” L. Herring, Student Advancement Coach, East Davidson High, NC
“Franklin is full of encouragement and helpful information!” C. Creech, Bahavior Support, Whiteville City Schools
“Factual, helpful, student-centered.” M. Baker, Assistant Principal, Southwest High School, Jacksonville, NC
“On target, informative, insightful, great resources!” L. Ingram, Teacher, Strom Thurmam HS, Johnson, SC
“Franklin’s program is true and brutally honest of what we are experiencing day by day in our schools. It’s evident that the same things are happening everywhere.” L. Edwards, Inkster Schools.
According to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution two times more students dropped out of Georgia schools as had previously been reported.
Documents obtained under the state’s open records law showed that 30,751 students left high school without a diploma in the class of 2011. That is nearly double the 15,590 dropouts that were earlier reported. Under a new formula, the state’s graduation rate dropped from nearly 81 percent to about 67 percent, one of the country’s lowest.
The new formula only counts graduates who earn their diplomas in four years. Students who earn a degree in a longer period are not counted in the graduate rate.
It also appears that schools generally assumed that students who left had simply transferred to another school, even if there was no evidence to support that. In general, students were only counted as dropouts if they formally declared they were quitting. The new formula forces officials to count students who leave as dropouts unless there is evidence they enrolled elsewhere.
I agree that there needs to be a uniform way of counting school dropouts. However I disagree that the formula of a 4 year high school graduation rate makes little sense. We used to believe that college should take only four years to get a bachelor’s degree. We now accept that graduation from college can take 4, 5 or even, 6 years. Why shouldn’t we and the government acknowledge that some students will take longer to achieve mastery of material? Is a 5 year high school diploma less valuable than a 4 year high school diploma? Is a 6 year high school diploma less valuable than no high school diploma?