Thursday, August 23, 2012

'Expelling Zero Tolerance: Reforming Texas School Discipline for Good'

The headline of this post is the title of a new policy brief from the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation arguing that "zero tolerance" policies in public schools cost taxpayers millions will little benefit in increased school safety to show for it. Go here to read the full report.


Anonymous said...

As a special ed advocate for over 15 years, I can tell you this: zero-tolerance works. But, for the reasons you cited, it's not working as well as it should. But, when properly and uniformly applied, it not only reinforces discipline standards and provides for structured discipline, the result protects districts and employees from accusations of favoritism and retaliation. A tiered approach could also work, but it would fall victim to the same pitfalls as zero-tolerance. That is, haphazard and arbitrary application.

And, of course special ed students fall victim to disciplinary action more often than regular students. Quite often, their learning disability is connected to their behavior problem, and vice-versa. That's why you have so many special ed students that have a Behavior Improvement Plan as part of their IEP.

Stephanie said...

With all due respect to 7:45 I know of no research that supports the efficacy of zero tolerance and there's abundant evidence that removing children from the classroom fails to increase empathy, self-insight or change behavior.

Unknown said...

I have worked 18 years in the Texas prison system. When I first began I thought if an inmate was asked if they were guilty of committing the crime they were now incarcerated for that the answer they would give in most instances would be that they were innocent. Surprisingly the answer given almost always was”yes”, they committed the crime but, their attitude was that they shouldn’t of been locked for its commission. Whatever the crime the thinking that prevailed was that they were only doing what they had to do to survive and make a living.

Anything less than the “Zero Tolerance” concept in the Public Education system would only enable this sort of thinking. Since in the world beyond public education, society pretty much maintains the “Zero Tolerance” concept as evidenced by the penalties in its legal system I feel it has a place in the education system. However, total expulsion leaves little room for the student to learn how to conduct him or herself properly and that is a problem.