Friday, March 14, 2014

Discipline disparities: A national push

Last year West Charlotte High and Martin Luther King Middle School reported more than 90 suspensions per 100 students. Providence High and Robinson Middle had fewer than four per 100.

Those are extremes within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, but I doubt anyone is surprised by the pattern or needs a hint about the demographics of those schools.  Across the nation,  African American students are far more likely than white classmates to be sent home from school.  And the schools where low-income and nonwhite students are concentrated tend to have the highest suspension rates of all.

This week a national team of researchers, educators and policy analysts who have spent three years studying this phenomenon released a series of briefing papers summing up their findings.  The Discipline Disparities Collaborative,  founded by Indiana University's Equity Project and financially supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies and Open Society Foundations,  concludes that the disparities are driven by flaws in school discipline more than by differences in behavior.

Some will say that black students get suspended more because they behave worse,  and that changing policies to reduce that trend amounts to giving a free pass to troublemakers.  This group says that's a myth.  If African American students were actually doing more bad things,  the researchers say,  they'd be more likely than white students to be suspended for serious offenses such as bringing guns,  drugs and alcohol to school.  But they cite data showing that racial gaps disappear for those offenses but open up when judgment is involved,  with offenses such as disrespect or disruption.

The group also says it's wrong to believe that suspending the  "bad kids"  is the best way to protect the learning environment for the good students.  In fact,  better alternatives for dealing with minor offenses  --  or creating environments where such clashes are less likely to occur  --  benefits all students,  they say.

All of this is consistent with what Heath Morrison has been saying since he was hired as CMS superintendent in 2012.  The challenge,  he says,  is helping educators learn better ways to deal with cultural differences without labeling anyone a racist or making teachers feel like they're expected to overlook serious offenses.  Those discussions are going on in various schools and with other community groups,  such as the Race Matters for Juvenile Justice Initiative.

To look up suspension rates for N.C. schools,  go to the school report cards and select the  "Safe, orderly and caring schools"  tab.

And on the data front,  CMS has posted school poverty levels for this year.


Anonymous said...

So they're letting the Providence and JM Robinson students get away with more?

We need Common Core Discipline at all schools, ie: one size fits all!

Anonymous said...

Its pretty simple when you have parents involved in their kids life, there are less problems. the black community has many single parents and more problems. This report is a load. If you do the crime you should do the time. Its time that the black community step up and accept responsibility, instead of deffering blame to the "cultural difference". Being disrespectful is not a cultural difference. No problem will be solved until the black community accepts that this is not a racist, cultural problem, or problem with the white but one of their culture that only they can fix. The truth hurts, but hey that's what it is!

Wiley Coyote said...

Same, stale arguments about Black versus White suspensions.

Remember the kid at Ashley who was suspended 13 times because "he was angry"?

I guess we should overlook that.

Regarding the poverty numbers Ann, there seems to be a 2,692 student difference between the number of students on the latest bogus poverty list as compared to the new enrollment numbers CMS just released a few days ago.

145,304 on poverty list, 142,612 official enrollment.

Maybe this is just a coincidence:

...CMS had 142,612 students as of the 20th day of school, an increase of 1,441 over the same time last school year, according to the new report. That’s well below the increase of 2,700 students CMS had projected when planning the 2013-14 budget.

Anonymous said...

Not mentioned is that predominantly minority schools tend to have minority administrators issuing the discipline. Classroom disruption is caused by students who don't want to be there. Finding a non-traditional track like vocational studies would be helpful with chronic discipline issues.

Anonymous said...

Easier said then done. Put yourself in the teacher's shoes when he or she tries to give a lesson and they are constantly being disrespected or having to deal with constant classroom disruptions. But nothing is every done because we don't want to suspend or discipline a student who has many underlying things going on in their life. So what message are we sending to those students? It is okay to do what you want when you want too no matter what the expectations or rules are?

Anonymous said...

..."helping educators learn better ways to deal with cultural differences"..../// Hmmm. Is it being suggested that teachers should learn to accept a child's cultural difference as 'appropriate behavior"? Or is that teachers must overcome their own 'cultural' bias when delivering discipline? If the former, that is not acceptable. If the latter, that would be a tall order, because I doubt many teachers would see themselves as having a bias..if one does indeed exist.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, poverty list includes pre-k. Other tally was K-12.

Anonymous said...

"We underline the term hypothetical because there is not yet, to our knowledge, any direct evidence that the implicit racial bias held by decision-makers in the disciplinary chain contributes to the disproportionate numbers of children of color who are severely punished in schools."


So we will blame those meting out the discipline and not figure out why the same children who are respectful at places like home or church are not at school.


Wiley Coyote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shamash said...

This is exactly what is wrong with our schools.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

All based on "demographics".

And little to no PERSONAL responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Great, let's keep dumbing down our society.

Why are we turning behavioral issues into a racist issue? Is this a way to diminish an unacceptable behavior situation?

Wiley Coyote said...

CMS should be using ONE number for enrollment.

It's all tax dollars...

Any chance of getting the actual numbers corresponding to the percentages from year ago?

Anonymous said...

News flash: No doubt there are fewer disciplinary cases at more "desirable" schools. However, those few instances are also, shall we say, under-reported by the administrators to maintain the school's reputation. "Let's just keep this one between ourselves, eh Compadre?"

Anonymous said...

And how many of the kids are comfortably numb on ritalin or some other drug? Without knowing that number it is difficult to compare populations.

Anonymous said...

if kids are engaged, they cannot be behavior problems. Typically, removing a student from the classroom is the cheap and easy method of poorly trained teachers.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, here's the link for several years of enrollment/poverty reports:

It looks like what I suspected: They changed up some of their alternative schools, so you're comparing a "special schools" total from years with different schools in that category. You're right that it wouldn't add up if it were just the changes in the schools that are listed this year.

Anonymous said...

all one has to do to figure this out is merely ask a teacher or observe for yourself. Whether white or black, it makes little difference. Children who are blessed with parents who care and are involved behave better and perform at a much higher level academically. We really need to do research to figure this out?

Anonymous said...

Schools merely reflect society. Look at the statistics between our prison population and the statistics from this "study." See a correlation? You should.

Impoverished minority students tend to cause the most discipline problems. No father-figure, deeply seeded anger issues because of it...that strikes at the root of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:03...

You are obviously not a teacher.

Shamash said...

"We really need to do research to figure this out? "

No, they need the "research" to justify spending billions of dollars "correcting" the "problem".

So even if they don't find anything of substance, they can still give expensive "recommendations" to keep the educracy humming along with all the extra "social services" (other than actual EDUCATION) they can provide.

Just like every other sorry excuse for failure (except taking personal responsibility) that they've drummed up in the past.

Wiley Coyote said...


Thanks for the link. I'll take a look at it later in detail.

I deleted my original post because I couldn't make the math work trying to figure out the percentage differences, which are still suspect in my opinion. I think your comment shows that this data should be taken with a grain of salt.

It seems to me that the -0.2 percentage point DROP in poverty rate has to be a reflection of a large portion of students who left for charters and other schools.(if the numbers are accurate to begin with)

With the large increase in welfare recipients in the US over the past few years and increase in poverty for Mecklenburg County, those numbers should be reflected in the data but say otherwise.

This from the BOCC Retreat in January:

Sixteen percent, or 151,000, of Mecklenburg County residents live in poverty. The County provides some form of public assistance to 223,512 residents, of whom 121,000 are between the ages of 0-18.

Of course those numbers are from the County/US Census and not the USDA who oversees the school lunch program, which snares even more kids using 130 and 180% of poverty.

Wiley Coyote said...

After comparing the totals LY v. TY, it seems to me the percentage changes for this year - if based off the same report LY - are incorrect, or unless CMS is using some form of voodoo math I'm not familiar with.

Elementary ED students last year 35,384, this year 35,159. Percent change is -0.6% but this year's report says -0.9%.

Middle school last year 21,443, this year 21,757. Percent change is +1.5% but report says -0.1%.

High school last year 20,541, this year 21,258, a percent change of +3.5% but report states +1.0%.

Special schools last year 594, this year 464 for a percent change of -21.9%, report states +0.5%.

Total reports: last year 77,962 ED students, this year 78,638 Ed students for a percent change of +0.88%. This year's report states a -0.2% overall drop.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should examine and compare crime reports for the neighborhoods that feed West Charlotte and Martin Luther King Middle and for the Providence and Jay Robinson neighborhoods. It seems to me that if the kids at Robinson and Providence are actually acting out as much as the West Charlotte and Martin Luther King kids (but not getting punished for it as some seem to be implying here)then many of their neighborhoods should be as problematic as many neighborhoods in West Charlotte. In other words if there are really no differences in behaviors between the two groups wouldn't that also be true for out of school time. But somehow I don't think the crime statistics bear that out.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a better way to drive strong families of all races out of public schools than by excusing behavior that is counter productive to gaining an education.

Anonymous said...

I find this article and the above comments troubling on so many levels.

First, why is race being added to a discussion about behavioral issues in the classroom?

Apparently, by comparing troubled schools to non-troubled schools we are supposed to equate that to mean if the bad kids were allowed to attend the non-troubled schools that they would not be getting into trouble, or that the students at the better schools would be getting into trouble also at the troubled schools.

Am I missing something here?

First we're told that school administrators need special training to deal with urban students, and now there's a study that says all students are the same, it's the way that their dealt with that is causing the issues.


Shamash said...

Anon 11:54.

Of course we ALL know that the crime stats match the school misbehavior because adult crime is basically the same problem with the same people just a little bit older.

But the "excuse" is already out there for ALL that misbehaving, even murder and the death penalty.

It's called "disparate impact".

And it is based on the ridiculous assumption that we are "all equal" and that ANYTHING indicating otherwise MUST be a form of discrimination.

Of course, sane people are going to just move away from this problem.

Rather than see how much worse it gets once the "politically correct" solution is applied.

And to think that some people actually believe it's Charter schools that are "destroying" public education!

Shamash said...


You make a valid point with the fact that "poverty" isn't the same even by government standards.

The Census uses one set of numbers, while the USDA uses another.

And yet other folks use other measures.

But on an international scale, many, if not most, of our people in "poverty" would be considered middle class (or at least not in poverty).

What we call "poverty" is only so relative to our higher wealth, not so much in an absolute sense.

That's one reason so many of the truly "poor" flood across our borders.

Almost no one is getting by on $2 a day in the US (one international standard for poverty) .

Or even has to try.

I don't think the media should report the FRL numbers as the equivalent to "poverty" numbers.

But they usually do and it truly distorts the picture.

But that's probably the intent.

Shamash said...

"First, why is race being added to a discussion about behavioral issues in the classroom? "

So the government can lie to you and take more of your money to fix a problem that cannot be fixed because it isn't being properly identified.

It's the way they work (and help grow themselves).

Anonymous said...

Why does this continue to be studied when the real reason for these behaviors is single parent households period. Period. Study the students in Providence vs West Meck. vs Vance vs Ardrey Kell that have behavior issues...they all have one thing in common they come from single parent households period. Then there is another mind blowing correlation, there is a higher number of kids in West Charlotte coming from single family homes then compared to Ardrey Kell or even Vance. Period, research done. This is not a race thing but a societal problem of to many people having children out of wedlock. White or black or Hispanic or Asian, kids have behavioral issues when they come from stressed out single parent households (just south charlotte single moms just know how to put things on credit better, hence "playing the part").

Wiley Coyote said...


All you have to do is look at the Obama administration, especially Holder, to see they are helping feed this frenzy.

Holder refuses to prosecute hate crimes against Whites, states too many Blacks are unfaily sentenced, refuses to enforce laws on the books regarding DOMA, immigration and drugs.

Here is a perfect example of why we have problems in public education:

Ann Doss Helms May 2013

Ettolrahc said...

Another puzzle we will never be able to figure out.

Shamash said...

Yeah, Thomas Sowell has written about this (Obama, Holder, and education) quite a few times as well.

"But even the hoodlums can end up worse off, if lax discipline in the school lets them continue on in a way of life that usually ends up inside prison walls."

At least a few people understand the harm they are doing.

But that's politics for you.

Anything for a vote.

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

~Benjamin Franklin

I would add "vote themselves out of prison" to this...

(And, yeah, I remember Malik...)

Anonymous said...

Maybe this makes me a mush brain in some folks' eyes, but I saw Malik as a real young man who has some ability and desire to succeed, as well as a lot of strikes against him. Intellectually, yeah, it's easy to write him off as a statistic and figure he'll land in jail. But I've got to respect the folks who were trying to give him a chance, which included pushing him to take responsibility for his foul-ups.

Shamash said...

Well, I think someone needs to consider all the OTHER kids who have had to put up with the various hijinks in class from similar kids.

I can remember some of the situations we were put through in the name of "tolerance" of some of the misfits of my era.

The occasional class clown is one thing, but some of the stuff I witnessed (and saw excused) in school was criminal.

And a lot of these kids become bad "role models" precisely because they get away with so much and have for so long.

It really does destroy the ability to teach and learn in a classroom.

So I don't have nearly the same level of sympathy for those who help someone like that continue to stay in school.

Especially, when you consider that there may be half a dozen or more just like him vying for attention.

But, I'm sure some folks think I'm just as much of a mushbrain for not "tolerating" such things.

But one thing I have vowed is that my children will NOT have to put up with what I had to put up with in school.

Anonymous said...

Go back to "separate but equal". It was the only system that ever worked.
Integration aka socialism has failed miserably.
We are only talking for education nothing else.

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the
blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of
misery." – Winston Churchill

Wiley Coyote said...


I don't know the young man. He may very well be President someday and I wish him well.

However, I'm still trying to understand how a kid can be suspended 13 times in one year without repeating the grade, not to mention he "already had a reputation" before he got there.

I guess being suspended 13 times doesn't count toward your unexcused absences and all you have to do is just get by on EOGs and be promoted to the next grade....

How much time and energy was taken away from other kids who were trying to do the right things everyday and just wanted to learn?

Anonymous said...

Dealing with students who were unfocused and/or disruptive was a huge challenge for the faculty at Ashley Park, no doubt about it. I couldn't do their work, and they weren't always successful. They tried to avoid out-of-school suspensions yet still had a rate of 76.5 per 100, and that includes the elementary children.

It's easy to say "throw the bums out," but what then? Where do you put all the adolescents you write off? And how do you justify giving up on them? My eighth-grade behavior was pretty stupid at times, but thankfully, it wasn't the end of my road.

Anonymous said...

Ann, if we don't "throw the bums out", what then for all the other kids? We're already at the point where some claim that any public school that has mostly orderly and well behaved children is really a "private school using public money". (This concept floored me when we first moved to Charlotte.) Create an alternative for the problem kids and if that winds up being mostly for black or poor kids so be it. Take off the kid gloves,ignore the race issue, and figure out how to straighten these kids out. Enlist black public officials and civic leaders and business leaders to talk to the black community and let them know they are doing their kids no favors by demanding they be coddled. Don't let white activists and Tuesday Morning Breakfast forum types lead the discussion. And don't proceed with the idea that everyone else has to accept a culture that is not a prescription for a successful life.

Shamash said...


One school I went to had bloody razor fights in the halls between girls, bullying in the bathrooms (knocking heads against walls while at urinals, so you had to "watch your back"), and eventually a shooting the year after I left.

Dozens of smaller excused "incidents" (like gang attacks with baseball bats) led up to the grand finale of the shooting, though.

And then they finally got serious and installed a police sub-station on the school premises.

This is the kind of stuff I'm talking about that eventually happens when you just let go.

I seriously doubt that you were one of those types.

You justify "giving up" on them as soon they become a threat or danger to others, if not sooner.

And remember, they had a "gun" incident at that school shortly after you did the Malik report.

Of course, it wasn't him, but, still, I have to wonder about that "environment".

Personally, I don't care WHERE they put the troublemakers as long as it's away from my kids.

I'd recommend reform school or something similar, though.

Given MY experiences, of course.

Anonymous said...

Change the laws that make public school mandatory. Enrollment and attendance should be optional. This way you enroll students interested in an education only.

This would end 90% of all school problems and reduce the student population 50%. Schools would be free to teach and students learn without distraction in a true education environment.

Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over with the same result. Public schools today keep spinning their wheels going nowhere and digging a deeper hole.

Anonymous said...

Shamash, yeah, let's just say "That 70s Show" brought back some memories, but we never did violence and had very little of it, aside from occasional fist fights which I was not involved in.

Anonymous said...

I am saddened to read that some people think we should merely give up on young people. Do you realize what that could lead to and the cost to society? I don't have all the answers, but one thing I do know, abandoning these children is not in the best interests of anyone.

my own personal opinion,perhaps introducing vocational programs back into school might be a very good place to start. Not every student is college bound or even wants to go to college. We need skilled people in our society.

Wiley Coyote said...

There's a difference between stupid behaviour and learning from it and facing the consequences of that behavior than chronic disruptive behaviour from elementary on into middle school.

Let's hope this individual has gotten all the anger out of his sytem because that sort of behaviour in high school becomes a different animal based on what I've read of the student code of conduct.

Regarding discipline disparities, prove it. I'm all for the same discipline for a particular infraction, no matter what your skin color is. If there is proven bias, then end it.

Alternative schools should be the next step. If that doesn't work, then the "bums" should have these same people working with them outside the school system until they are ready to return.

If that doesn't work, too bad.

Look at Chicago. 10% White yet the race card is being perversely used to explain the high minority suspension rates and students want the zero tolerance policy

Anonymous said...

So Ann, very little violence at your school. How is that school today? And how do you explain that there were far fewer behavior issues back then in Indiana (I think) and so many issues today in Charlotte? Also, curious that you tried to equate your behavior in eighth grade with the behavior today's school's are dealing with.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see what is ment by "disrespect". Being rude or a smart A, is not the same as someone in your face MFing you. Or is that just a culture difference? Good luck teachers!!

Anonymous said...

Its hard for some kids to be engaged if there high, or if their only there because the courts make them.

Anonymous said...

As an African-American educator the behaviors at school are just intolerable. The students with behavior problems tend to be the ones with learning deficits who have been passed along from year to year.
If a student has a 3rd or 4th grade reading level and is 16, you can bet little Johnny will be a difficult student. Extra resources should be provided in k-5 with pull outs if necessary. Many prisoners have a learning disability or a mental disability. These issues go on for years without intervention until they reach adolescents and single parents can no longer control their young men. The current high school curriculum is too one size fits all. All students are now on a college track. If one can't do simple calculations, how long will it take them to complete high school math and science courses?

A consideration may be to provide parenting classes to those who receive transitional assistance and free medical care. Taxpayers are the ones footing the bill for teenagers or young adults who have babies before they are intellectually prepared to care for them anyway. Parenting classes should be made mandatory, especially when you account for just the number of babies & children who are abused each year.

Anonymous said...

As an African-American educator the behaviors at school are just intolerable. The students with behavior problems tend to be the ones with learning deficits who have been passed along from year to year.
If a student has a 3rd or 4th grade reading level and is 16, you can bet little Johnny will be a difficult student. Extra resources should be provided in k-5 with pull outs if necessary. Many prisoners have a learning disability or a mental disability. These issues go on for years without intervention until they reach adolescents and single parents can no longer control their young men. The current high school curriculum is too one size fits all. All students are now on a college track. If one can't do simple calculations, how long will it take them to complete high school math and science courses?

A consideration may be to provide parenting classes to those who receive transitional assistance and free medical care. Taxpayers are the ones footing the bill for teenagers or young adults who have babies before they are intellectually prepared to care for them anyway. Parenting classes should be made mandatory, especially when you account for just the number of babies & children who are abused each year.

Anonymous said...

Great Idea, if only you worked downtown...

Ettolrahc said...

I guess as a volunteer at CMS if I walk by a large group of kids listening to a very nasty song with the n word in it, I must be the one who is wrong in thinking that is not appropriate.

If so, I do need to change my values way down.

Shamash said...

That 70's Show?

Well, that could explain some of our attitude differences toward those on the edge of delinquent culture.

While some may criticize me for wanting to "abandon" the delinquents, I can only think of all the other kids who were "abandoned" by teachers and administrators who were supposed to protect us and give us a decent education.

A lot more people suffer than just the misbehaving kids we occasionally hear "redemption" stories about.

Their behavior affects everyone and no one ever interviews their victims. And typically there are a few victims around somewhere, if you check.

What happens to THOSE kids?

The ones who have to leave the school because they are a victim of violence or bullying or gangs or whatever else is "tolerated"?

The girl who was slashed with the razor, the boy whose ribs were broken with the baseball bat, the other kids bullied all the time and who just had a miserable school experience and probably learned little.

And for every victim like that, there are probably dozens who simply receive substandard educations and lived their lives just hoping to get out of school unscarred to someplace where they have actual rights and are not threatened daily by little thugs.

We moved before my sisters went to school because my parents didn't want to expose them to what I experienced.

And it was a smart move, considering how many of our old friends had all kinds of problems, including jail time.

We moved to a place more like That 70's Show, (thankfully).

I just remember how liberating it felt to get to college (and work) and realize that, as adults, we were ALL subject to adult laws and rules with NO excuses.

Anonymous said...

Or 9:03 is downtown drinking the koolaid.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is!!!

Anonymous said...

4:02, I'm not equating my middle school with Ashley Park, nor my circumstances and behavior with Malik's. What I am saying is that as an adolescent my judgments weren't always the best -- and I do see Malik as a young person worthy of as much human dignity and hope as any of us.

For the record, Malik committed no acts of violence during the time I visited the school. The two things he was suspended for during that time were smoking weed and making a disrespectful, smart-alecky comment to a teacher. Both were, um, within the scope of what someone at my school might have encountered. And if the Ashley Park teacher felt intimidated by Malik while mine just found me annoying ... well, isn't that part of what this study is getting at?

Anonymous said...

Ooooo, one group may medicate it's trouble makers while the other lets them run wild.

Ettolrahc said...

So someone who disrupts the flow of things should get to stay in the system?

Good to hear, good to hear indeed.

Shamash said...


"And if the Ashley Park teacher felt intimidated by Malik while mine just found me annoying ... well, isn't that part of what this study is getting at? "

Well there's that quote from the Thomas Sowell article...

"But does any sane adult really believe that there cannot be any difference between the behavior of black boys and Asian girls, for example? "

I'd say there IS a reason someone might be more concerned about Malik's behavior than yours, generally speaking.

Just as someone is more likely to be afraid of a snarling Doberman than a snarling Chihuahua.

Yes, both are snarling dogs.

But one is indeed intimidating while the other is mostly annoying.

That said, still, this guy had plenty of problems, and a lot these "longitudinal studies" of delinquents DO show that kids who get suspended a lot are more likely to end up in trouble with the law.

But, since they are usually written from a "liberal" slant, they assume that the early suspensions are the CAUSE of the later troubles with the law instead of an INDICATOR of someone who is just serious trouble waiting to happen.

So they say that keeping the kids in school will make them less likely to end up in prison.

But they need more "research".

So maybe they're right and maybe they're wrong.

To me, this is a DANGEROUS EXPERIMENT which I would like to see carried out AWAY from MY CHILDREN in a more tightly controlled environment.

One statistic I'd like to see with ANY school system, though, is WHERE all the local murderers went to school.

Including all schools they attended and what their suspension records were.

I doubt that many of them had clean records.

Wiley Coyote said...


1.persuade or dissuade by frightening: to frighten somebody into doing or not doing something, e.g. by means of violence or blackmail

annoying: disturb or bother (a person) in a way that displeases, troubles, or slightly irritates.

Yeah, I'd say they are the same worthy of the same punishment.

Anonymous said...

I think this study is bs and only adds to the problems in our schools. The people it will hurt most is minority students who want to learn. We will now start to implement programs to make sure the problem children stay in school. They still will not get a better education. They will be put in another room bouncing of each other. They will take a staff member for babysitting duty. The static's will improve and all will be good... Until a student gets hurt. Many staff members will be hurt but they don't matter in NC. I am sure the burocrats in CMS are are creating "strategic plans" right now.

Anonymous said...

Shamash, did you just call me a snarling chihuahua? :-)

Anonymous said...

When in doubt, blame the teachers. It is better then taking responsibility for ones own actions.

Shamash said...

Anon 8:18,

Did you read the studies?

They specifically DO NOT want to confine these kids in ANY way.

"alternative schools, school police, or
other security mechanisms"


So bouncing off each other in a separate room supervised by a babysitter (or policeman) is out of the question.

They aren't sure what WILL work better, but they JUST KNOW that SOMETHING WILL.

Ya just gotta believe...

So they're going to put all their focus (and fund research) on those as-yet-unknown, yet-to-be-proven "solutions".

Yes, I know this sounds incredibly stupid, but here it is in "officialese":

From the Executive Summary Key Findings:

" New research funding (similar to what the Institute for Educational Sciences has already begun) and sup-
port for local initiatives at the federal and state levels can be used to create and document systemic improvements in
disciplinary disparities, and scale up successful models.

Ensuring that funding for alternative schools, school police, or
other security mechanisms are not prioritized over methods with greater evidence of effectiveness."

Unknown said...


(( Don’t read this if you see racism everywhere you look ))

Cultural Competency states that it isn’t the students that are the problem, it is the adults.

CMS newest administration has never backed away from its position that many White teachers don’t understand students of color. Those leaders came within a tick of the clock of bringing in a consultant who was prepared to make white teachers line-up and say they were racist, either intentionally or unintentionally.

If CMS wants to push this issue again in that manner it can count on one of the worst times in Mecklenburg education history.

Cultural Competency as a “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is good policy. But like the problem of last year test when students knew the test wouldn’t count, the students will not show the process any respect if they don’t have skin in the game. CMS will have to find someway to have students and staff participate equally.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

@ 7:06AM...As a teacher at one of the schools you mentioned, I can say that those students aren't getting away with more, it's that they are "getting away" with WAY less. The line is clear and consistent, which is why both schools run efficiently and calmly. I was at another CMS school and saw craziness and inconsistent enforcement of policies, administrators who don't want to rock the boat with certain's amazing who has a mamma when she's getting suspended. At the schools who fewer issues, it's not because the kids are just getting away with everything, it's because those kids are given a high standard and most of them follow it.

Unknown said...

TO: Anon 11:54


Since this story leads with West Charlotte, let’s use its neighborhood.

West Charlotte is bounded by two very different influences. On the I-85 side is the Community Center. All year round it provides community support that is unequalled in any other area of Mecklenburg. That includes the J. M. Robinson MS zone.

To the town side of West Charlotte is the worst. One block away is a vacant lot next to a cheap retail store. 24 hours a day, boys and young men are holding down the corner there. Amazingly this exists just across the street from a L.I.F.T office.

I’ve been to West Charlotte a few times over the last year. I don’t see bad students. I really don’t. But when they leave the campus too many of them pass the vacant lot. I always feel it has the capacity to do more harm than the community center has to do good.

And as a small afterthought. Northwest School of the Arts is just blocks away. Two weeks ago an administrator there told me about a warning that had to be given to a prostitute that had been regularly cutting through the campus. So it may not be just disrespect that some students are learning.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Easy fix. We need more "real" alternative schools. Not the one's in CMS where you show up, put your name on a sheet of paper and are given an "A", then a month later returns to their home school where they are a month behind and the kid's attitude and behavior hasn't changed. No. Here's how it works....if your behavior warrants it, and three out of four of your teachers "recommend" it, you go to the alternative school for a minimum one semester, where you have to earn your way out. The alternative school has a modified curriculum, which is a hybrid of the JROTC program (for structure, discipline) and the AVID program (self-determination, organization) and remediation in the basics (reading, writing, math). Students wear uniforms (polo-style shirt, khaki pants). Class sizes are small, more resource officers on staff, more guidance counselors on staff (to actually "counsel" these high-risk children), retired military personnel to run ROTC, pay veteran teachers more to work in this environment and serve as "chairs," while most of your staff can be Teach for America staff. Student has to "earn" his way out, based on commanding officers approval. In fact, if the charter school movement followed my prescription, I would be on board. We shouldn't be trying to find an "out" for the "good kids," where there option becomes going to a charter school with less than half certified staff. We already have schools with good teachers. We should be removing the bad, not removing the good. We also should be heavily investing in vocational schools. School systems should have three tiers: public schools (college-prep), vocational schools, and alternative schools (as I've described, NOT the current structure). There ya go. Any questions? Just ask.

Anonymous said...

In the end all the responsibility will be put on the classroom teacher. One more slap in the face from the great state of NC.

Ettolrahc said...

I want to build a better parent.

Help me with your ideas.

Maybe a story will appear in the observer about the need for someone like this mentoring kids.

First I do not want you to use any of these qualities. A single parent, or parents, or guardian/s who never shows up or even could pick the Teacher from a line up.

But who show up instantly like a ghost in the home office yelling because their little one was not allowed to use the phone to make a call to their (insert excuse here, dying Grandmother, Doctor warning or other needs they may have for a phone when they are taking a test)

But have the time to have great coiffured hair, painted nails with pictures on each.

Who ask while there about any other things they can get for their kids other than free lunch, free mentoring and the like since their kids are being treated so unfairly from the rest of the world.

Who could tell you less about what their child/ren are studying, their lesson plans, anymore than a visit to a fortune teller. Actually the fortune teller may know more.

Who have free phones, but do not for some reason get text messages from anything that happens at the schools and assume Teachers do not text anyone.

So add what you can and maybe we can come up with a good parent or parents to make folks like me happy who volunteer and get tired of them yelling at me because I am only a volunteer at the school and not even worth getting paid. Yes I have had that said to me.

So come on Ann let's make a better parent or one which works.

Anonymous said...

One little problem with your plan, 8:22. If the populations of these alternative schools are not "diverse" enough the Justice Department, the NAACP, our local advocacy groups, and probably (sad to say) The Observer will be all over them trying to prove discrimination by virtue of numbers.

Anonymous said...

I doubt you've ever taught at any high school - low-income or high-income. Yes, my job is to "engage" students in their educational pursuits to the best of my ability which isn't the same thing as "entertaining" students. My job isn't to entertain, my job is to teach. I can't teach and students can't learn in an environment where I'm not respected and basic classroom civility and rules don't apply. I'm sorry but it simply isn't humanly possible to present basic multiplication facts in excitingly "engaging" ways for every student, everyday, in a classroom. I believe in the educational value of teaching students how to "engaged" in a process called zipping-it and sucking-it-up sometimes. Most people quit musical instrument lessons and ballet lessons. Do you know why? Because it isn't always fun and requires long hours of disciplined practice doing the same thing over and over again through less than engaging teacher directed instruction.

My teacher education training keeps reminding me of the importance of holding low-income and minority students accountable to the same educational expectations as high-income students. Research has shown that teachers often have lower academic expectations for low-income and minority students. Therefore, I WILL hold ALL students accountable for their behavior which - at age 16 - is a colorblind and income-blind matter. If a 16-year-old student can't appropriately behave him or herself and is consistently disrupting other students who want to learn, I will unapologetically kick them out of my classroom regardless of color, race, sexual orientation, height, weight, hair length, number of navel piercings, or income. Receiving an education is a privilege, not a God given right. This being said, I do believe in the glory of redemption and second chances. I also believe in the importance of getting to know students on a personal level which often provides insight into a student's behavior. People are human.

I certainly wound NOT take this classroom management approach with a 6-year-old.


Anonymous said...

"Engage". Education's more popular buzz-words of late.

Thinking I might have been set up by a fellow educator to respond to this comment.


Anonymous said...


The location of NWSA is interesting. Historically, magnet schools were placed to attract wealthier students to schools in less desirable areas as an alternative to forced busing. The key to achieving this goal successfully was to strategically place high quality schools catering to highly specific interests in areas that weren't completely blighted and generally safe but close enough to marginal areas of town where low-income students lived. I attended a remarkable arts magnet school in New Haven, CT that was strategically placed in a former synagogue. Having housed a former NWSA student as well as having substitute taught at the school over a 2-year period, your comments are worth noting. I've never thought twice about making a right hand turn out of NWSA whereas I did think twice about making a left hand turn out of the school. NWSA is an interesting case in study. In my perfect world, I'd build and support this school to compete on our national stage starting with beautifying and renovating the campus so it doesn't remotely resemble a vacant lot next to cheap retail and where prostitutes might think twice before strutting across campus. Secondly, I'd renovate Garringer High and it's National Geographic library to it's original architectural integrity and up to the same building standards as the state-of-the-art Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department station down the street.


Anonymous said...

All the kings horses and all the kings men will not put theses kids back together again. Two parents and a loving home will never be replaced by government. The soviets tried the big father state hand. After the threat of the gun and prison camps was removed, the place went wild. Teachers are the last escape goat for the liberals and an excuse for men like Tillis and Mcory to scrap public education and privatize it.

Anonymous said...

In 1938, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act which among other things placed limits on many forms of child labor. This needs to be changed. Big big liberal mistake.

Congress needs to immediately pass laws or use the US Supreme Court similar to Roe vs Wade to stop mandatory requirements to enroll youth in public or any other type school and reverse child labor laws.

America is a democracy and free republic. Freedom of choice for education on a national level would extend the privilege of allowing parents to choose school or work for their non-education oriented youth.

As democrats continue to make America a 3rd world nation the only hope of salvaging whats left of this once prosperous strong nation that has become weakened to the core with debt and crime is to recreate a new responsible society of non-mandatory education giving a chance for youth to begin early training working earning wages.

Rather than import trillions in products from 3rd world nations all who employ hundreds of millions of younger workers, America can begin to use well regulated child labor here.

Business can be revitalized and society become a fully self contained productive self sufficient strong nation instead of
allowing China, India, South and Central America to import most of Americas products building character and creating a lifetime work ethic for youth teaching self reliance and responsibility for the non-academic oriented lower proletariat class.

America needs to be fully self reliant self sufficient and begin the process get at least 50% of students out of public school and into a manual work force training developing thousands of regulated new business to employ tens of millions of youth here as opposed to other 3rd world nations.

It would also keep youth off the streets, eliminate gangs, drugs, crime, etc.

Non-mandatory education and reversing federal child labor laws is the only solution to getting America back on track.
The 50% who are academically oriented will be allowed to pursue their destiny without interruption and problems.

Outlawing or restricting the internet should be considered that has created tens of millions of completely worthless welfare food stamp fake disability bums in America who should be forced to work manual labor jobs and sweat shops.
Work should be nonrestrictive for all ages. Welfare and fake disability bums cost taxpayers trillions.

Anonymous said...

Geez, though I do believe the world needs ditch diggers too, having our children go back to labor and hence no labor laws is a little extreme. What you have described 8:48 would cause a Class System or Republic (aka India, China and Russia) and pretty much do nothing to enhance or modernize our country. Maybe what you wanted to say was more apprentice type jobs starting at younger ages like maybe at 15-17? I hope so.

Shamash said...

Why call this the "discipline gap"?
I've noticed that this problem with delinquent behavior among minorities is being called the "discipline gap" by those trying to get more money thrown at the "problem".
Of course,by doing this, they are trying to associate the two as similar problems with similar solutions all based on "discrimination" (due mostly to the worn out excuse of "disparate impact", not any ACTUAL ACTS of discrimination).
However, what they do not want us to recognize is that the problem with these kids is not TOO MUCH discipline, but TOO LITTLE.
So, they are trying to turn the word "discipline" into something bad and something to avoid so these kids can feel good about NOT having "discipline".
And a lot of good that is going to do for them for the rest of their lives.
Of course, by "discipline", I don't mean "punishment", but the ability to stick to something until it is completed. And that is what discipline is all about, isn't it? It takes discipline to master nearly anything, whether it's a musical instrument, math, spelling, writing, or even physical activities such as sports or even something as mundane as keeping a job.
And that is the REAL "discipline gap". A lack of self-discipline which results in the need for punishment to keep someone in line and keep them from disrupting the lives of others. Discipline is a necessary skill for all aspects of life. If you lack it, you just may get locked in a cage.
So why are they turning "discipline" into a nasty word as if there are whips and chains and all sorts of medieval torture involved?
All the schools are usually asking is for the kids to sit down ,pay attention and not disturb others (and occasionally learn something). Most kids can do this .
All we are doing is making it more likely that these "undisciplined" kids will turn into "undisciplined" adults.
Until the state finally takes over their lives and puts them in a cage where they likely belong, that is.
Until then, we're just delaying the inevitable.

Wiley Coyote said...


There is a cottage industry pushed by the PC Police to redefine words for their talking points.

So many words have been bastardized it's pathetic.

Now we have the word "bossy" being ravaged by the left with actual public service announcements trying to ban it.

So do we call "bossy" the "B-word #2"? We're running out of first letters. Maybe we can revert back to the original B-word to really describe the attempt to ban bossy.

Diversity, discipline, bossy, retard, midget, and on and on...

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that Respect applies to people differently.

Shamash said...

Anon 8:48am.

I'm not sure that we should deliberately emulate India's and China's former class systems.

But it may be the direction we are headed anyway.

In a more global economy, I suspect our less talented folks will move down the economy a bit while the more talented folks in other countries move upwards.

And we'll probably meet somewhere near a middle, with us having more of our share of "poor" (in both skills and wealth)and them having more "rich".

So those expecting "income redistribution" to enrich our poor probably have no clue how much poorer our poor will become.

We were largely immune to this in the past, but not so much now.

So maybe that's the plan after all.

Once our poor reach parity with the poor of other nations in comparison to their skill levels, we probably WILL see more production return to the US.

It's already starting to happen with the Chinese.

Anonymous said...

Bingo, 4:42!

My child is in 2nd grade and has a LD. The only reason he is at grade reading level in CMS is because my husband and I sent him to a specialized reading program, a program that took lots of our time and money. I feel lucky that we can more or less afford to have sent him to this program bc there are so many families out there that cannot and their child gets more and more behind bc CMS can not meet the education needs of all children with disabilities. Our elementary school's EC dept is doing the best they can with the resources they have with my son, but they don't have the time or money to deal with every child's specific need, even though IDEA states they should. He was also retained in 1st grade to give him a better foundation in reading and writing bc my husband and I demanded it and school staff that stood by us to get the administration to approve it. We were lucky as far as that goes bc CMS doesn't want their numbers hurt by retaining stats. If only the children's success was more important than the numbers. Sigh.

Even with all we have done to help my child in school, I already see the frustration of my child in knowing he is different and cannot read as well as his peers. Imagine the frustration of the child with EC/LD whose family does not have the resources and money to help their child succeed in school, to do what CMS EC dept. should be doing for these children in the first place.

Anonymous said...

What did the special program do? At my school, we have 8 EC teachers for about 100 EC students. 3 EC teachers have left this year.. Its only going to get worst. EC is in high demand nation wide. They don't have to stay in NC.

Anonymous said...

CMS EC departments lost money because to many minority boys in EC where being suspend. Most EC teachers do not equate bad behavior with a disability (unless it is specifically diagnosed). Consequences should be the same for all children. I guess the people in Raleigh disagree.

Anonymous said...

Almost 200 EC students, sorry tired...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, about 180 EC students.. Was sleepy..

Anonymous said...

My son has dyslexia. We went through the same thing you are going through now - Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

I'm currently student teaching 4th grade with the MACS system which 12 years ago did not accept students with disabilities. My son was denied admission into the MACS system in kindergarten the same year I served as PTO president.

Today, the MACS system accepts students with all sorts of disabilities including Down's syndrome, autism, dyslexia and Struge-Weber syndrome. The 4th grade class I'm student teaching in is surprisingly "diverse" with students on the intellectually gifted end to one formerly home-schooled student who arrived completely illiterate halfway through the school year.

I don't think the MACS system is perfect but I can assure you the school I'm at embraces the philosophy "it takes a village" very seriously. Student teaching is a humbling experience and this same philosophy applies to me when I'm "drowning" - as my highly experienced cooperating teacher puts it. The "it takes a village" philosophy includes the administration and staff as well as the PTO, clergy, and community of parents who comprise the school. The school culture of embracing "all God's children" is quite remarkable considering that my son's disability that resulted in a rejection phone call is minor compared to some I've seen 12 years later here. MACS is adopting Common Core standards as well - in the right way - without heavy handed bureaucratic oversight and without excessive standardized testing measures aimed at punishing schools when a 4th grader shows up out of the blue who can't read. And BTW, I was not raised Catholic. My father is a retired public school superintendent.

As you pointed out, parents at this school who have children with disabilities also typically pay for additional outside educational therapy services which, tragically, CMS can't make up for no matter how many tests they administer. EC teachers are also in critically short supply with some charter and private schools willing to provide extra money and additional resources while giving EC teachers the opportunity to work in more ideal and supportive environments.

And how does the state plan on evaluating EC teachers on a pay-for-performance scale who are fortunate enough to work with children who's parents are able to provide additional and costly outside educational services? Houston, we have a problem...

I always appreciate it when another mother has the courage to enlighten the world on the topic of learning disabilities. Thank you.