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  1. #1 Undisciplined The Obama administration undermines classroom order 
    Power CUer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Great article and worth the read. Just excerpt here.

    The Obama administration undermines classroom order in pursuit of phantom racism.

    .....Aaron Benner, a fifth-grade teacher in St. Paul, Minnesota, scoffs at the notion that minority students are being unfairly targeted for discipline. “Anyone in his right mind knows that these [disciplined] students are extremely disruptive,” he says. Like districts across the county, the St. Paul public school system has been on a mission to lower the black suspension rate, following complaints by local activists and black parents. A highly regarded principal lost his job because his school had “too many” suspensions of black second- and fourth-graders. The school system has sent its staff to $350,000 worth of “cultural-proficiency” training, where they learned to “examine the presence and role of ‘Whiteness.’ ” The district spent another $2 million or so to implement an anti-suspension behavioral-modification program embraced by the Obama administration.

    Benner sees the consequences of this anti-discipline push nearly every day in the worsening behavior of students. He overheard a fifth-grade boy tell a girl: “Bitch, I’ll fuck you and suck you.” (“I wanted to throw him against the locker,” Benner recalls.) The boy’s teacher told Benner that she felt powerless to punish the misbehavior. “This will be one of my black men who ends up in prison after raping a woman,” observes Benner. Racist? Many would so characterize the comment. But Benner is black himself—and fed up with the excuses for black misbehavior. He attended one of the district’s cultural-proficiency sessions, where an Asian teacher asked: “How do I help the student who blurts out answers and disrupts the class?” The black facilitator reminded her: “That’s what black culture is”—an answer that echoes the Obama administration’s admonitions to teachers. “I should have said: ‘How many of you shouted out in college?’ ” Benner remarks. “They’re trying to pull one over on us. Black folks are drinking the Kool-Aid; this ‘let-them-clown’ philosophy could have been devised by the KKK.”

    Tired of writing up disciplinary referrals that had no further effect, Benner finally did the unthinkable: he spoke out to St. Paul’s board of education last December. “Disruptive students cannot remain in my room and affect those who want to learn,” he pleaded. Even more controversially, he laid the primary responsibility for student misbehavior on parents and community leaders, rather than on racism and cultural insensitivity. The “achievement gap / suspension gap is a black issue. My community must take the lead in correcting our children’s behavior,” he said.

    The response was predictable. “People who think like that are like the people who believe that [black people] are . . . less than civil or human,” Victoria Davis, an education advocate with St. Paul’s NAACP chapter, told the local Star Tribune. An e-mailer called Benner a “tie-wearing Uncle Tom.” Benner remains undaunted. The refusal to hold students accountable only guarantees their future failure, he says.

    Teachers across the country corroborate Benner’s observations about student behavior. Patrick Welsh, an acclaimed high school English teacher in Alexandria, Virginia, used to try to separate fights between black girls, he told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 2011. “But as I get older, I’m not going to get in between them,” he said. “We’ve had staff members injured separating them. There’s an anger in those girls, where there’s no fathers in the home, . . . that is almost unbelievable.” Louise Seng taught eighth-grade social studies for 34 years in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Her students, who were mostly minorities, “came from families where they observed violence at home, and they therefore thought that it was acceptable to use violence to solve problems,” she told the commission. “It was not terribly unusual . . . for one student to throw a chair at another during the middle of class because the second student made a nasty verbal comment.”....

    ...Students know that their teachers are hamstrung. Allen Zollman, a middle school remedial teacher in Pennsylvania, told an eighth-grade girl who would not stop talking over him: “You have two choices: either stop talking, or I will have you removed.” Her response: “I’m going to torture you. I’m doing this because I can’t be removed.” When students see no consequences for bad behavior, not only do they continue to misbehave, but the behavior worsens, with more and more students joining in, Zollman told the Commission on Civil Rights. Under such conditions, very little teaching or learning takes place.

    Any student actually suspended from school will have received an enormous amount of prior adult attention. “Everything is attempted to support students inside school; it’s all we do,” says Rosenthal. A school removal usually comes only after multiple infractions and a “tremendous amount of process that involves psychologists, social workers, guidance counselors, teachers, deans, and assistant principals. The student will have been repeatedly discussed and known,” Rosenthal says. This intense care is a far cry from the arbitrary process that the critics allege....
    Last edited by Elspeth; 08-13-2013 at 02:32 PM.
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