I cheer Farina for this initiative. BUT.....The contract with a golden chance to encode some permanent solutions on the discipline issue failed to address any recourse that would protect teachers and children for the day Carmen is not there anymore. Or de Blasio either.
Fariña said that she wanted to see schools reform their discipline policies to focus on restorative justice, not suspension.--NY Daily News, NY Post ....Chalkbeat
Or even while they are there we have so many principals that blame the teachers for everything and provide no support, there is a need in the contract to protect teachers.
Read Laurel Sturt's "Davonte's Inferno" for a horror story of 4 principals over 8 years not lifting a finger. Here was the opportunity to give teachers some control over the piece of crap principal -- how about a contract item that if a certain percentage of the staff signs a petition on discipline issues in a school the DOE will send in people to monitor?
I'm not talking about harsh discipline but a system to manage discipline. [I was saved in my early days by an amazing AP named Norman Jehrenberg -- a hard ass guy who once he thought you were really trying provides support by removing any child I needed removed for a cooling off period - and it worked - for me. He would show up within 10 minutes - and once he did a few times I didn't have to use him again.]
The amount of short-sighted "trust" the UFT/Unity crowd is giving this administration is astounding. We have learned from almost 50 years in the UFT - if it's not in the contract, there are no guarantees -- even if it's in the contract, many have learned that the loose language and loopholes allows the DOE to drive truck bigger than Godzilla through.
One of the biggest complaints you hear from teachers is around the discipline issue - a lot of it about lack of support from administrators. On the other end we hear about the other end of the stick - harsh no excuses from the charter schools.
I have always opposed suspending students and never once asked a supervisor to do so. I felt that was a defeat. Since the kid always was coming back I knew I had to have a permanent solution - and I usually found one. But let's leave that for another time.
The articles in the Post and News doesn't give Restorative Justice its due. I instinctually used some of the concepts in my classes to resolve things. I taught in a high poverty area and I was lucky - discipline was easy for me. But the administrations I had were supportive - except in my 3rd year of teaching when we had a fairly new principal who didn't have a clue -- and I left that school partially because I didn't feel he supported teachers on discipline.
I hope that Farina works with the Teachers Unite crew on this initiative. Sally Lee and the gang have been doing fabulous work on restorative justice and the DOE should consider funding them to expand their work. [I am very proud to have been one of the first 5 people to join TU].